Friday, August 23, 2013

What Was It Like? - An Interview with Cyrus Webb -

Last Sunday evening I was fortunate enough to spend a little time on BlogTalkRadio-Conversations Live with Cyrus Webb, internationally known TV and radio host, to discuss my first novel, Chain of Evidence.
This was no small event … not for me at any rate.
Cyrus rubs elbows with the likes of Jackie Collins, Oprah, Michael Rooker of The Walking Dead, and more top-flight artists, entertainers and authors than I can mention here—and he actually interviewed me about the novel!
It was a very big deal, and all day, I was fine. Until I called in.
I began to sweat, because I was nervous—and I’m almost never nervous. Years ago I wrote a column for One of the local FM talk show hosts had me on several times to talk about the material I reported on, and after a couple of minutes, the butterflies disappeared along with the stutter in my voice and the chirpy-quick speech pattern.
But that was a column I did for fun. I was never too serious about it, even though some of the subject matter occasionally qualified as such. I just didn’t get too excited. Now I have a book published, and folks like it, professional book reviewers like it, it holds 5-Stars on Amazon, and I’m still trying to get used to all of this.
When the Intrigue folks set up the interview with Cyrus, I mentioned it to one of the site managers I work with.
“Oh yeah," he said. "I know him.”
That was my first inkling that this was a big deal. I tried not to think about it, and honestly, there was so much going on the past few months that I didn’t have the time to dwell on it.
Then the book launch was over. It was a great success, and I took a week to bask in the glow, as they say. Silly me … I should have practiced speaking without saying, “UMM, and UHH” every other word, and I should have not used a headset. Being “I-talian,” as Maggie says, I tend to use Italian-speak and move my hands and my head and everything else above my shoulders when I talk ... everything except my brain. Had I moved that more, I wouldn't have done all those other things.
But, always gracious, Cyrus said to me the next day via Facebook, “You did great, DB. Was glad to have you on the show.”
See? Gracious.
So I am busily working on the next effort, and if I'm fortunate enough to again to be on with Cyrus Webb, I will be ready. 
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Saturday, August 17, 2013


Well, I suppose you know by now that the Chain of Evidence book launch at Two Rivers Steak House in Pasadena, Maryland went off without a hitch, thanks in no small part to the efforts of Maggie and Mary and Delaney and Michelle. Lots of ‘M’ names for sure. Now I get a chance to sit back and see what I’m made of, or more exactly, what the novel is made of. The reviews are starting to trickle in, and I won’t burden you with them here, but should you care to read a few, you’ll find them on 

So far, the reception is good. One 3 star (on Goodreads—a rating, not a review), one 4 star and the rest 5 star on Amazon and others. Above average, I’d say, and four of those are professional reviews. 

Now it’s true I know a goodly portion of the folks writing the Amazon reviews, and I don’t count the ones I wrote for myself (kidding). I fully expected those folks to be positive and encouraging, and to some degree, liars. But they tell me they are being honest and speak the truth, so I believe them.  

Then I hear from folks I don’t know—and these are the ones who really surprise me—people who I wouldn’t know if I fell over them, people who heard of the book through word of mouth, or saw it in the paper, or read it because a “local” guy wrote it. One gal downloaded it to her Kindle, read it in two days, and liked it so much she asked me to send her a signed copy that she would gladly pay for.  

Blew me away.  

I’ve been hearing from folks I haven’t seen in twenty-five years. They’re finding me on LinkedIn and Facebook and readers are telling me how good the novel is, and how much they enjoy the local flavor, and want to know if the next one will be #2 in a series because the liked the protag. Some say they thought they had it figured out only to find they hadn’t. Others had inklings, and so far, no one has thrown the book across their living room.   

Most say that they can’t wait for the next one, and brother, I’m hoping I ain’t wakin’ up no time soon. 

The feedback is awesome and quite humbling, and the Intrigue folks told me this would happen last year when this all began— 

But Maggie, the love of my life, says I’m turning into a Diva.  

"You need a bigger office," she says. "To fit your head."

It’s not true, of course …
… just because I redecorated my office with pictures of me….

 OK … I’m only kidding.

 There’s just one.

 Poster size.

So Cloud 9 is way up there. And I’m on it. But I’ll be back down soon.
Maggie insists I keep my feet on the ground, and I always listen to Maggie.

Besides, it’s hard to write way up here.


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Friday, August 9, 2013

In The Blink of an Eye

On Wednesday August 1st, 2013, I achieved the goal of penning a published novel. It took me eight years. Some folks wait a lifetime; others, barely one. Therefore, you’ll understand when I say that I consider myself fortunate that the Word Gods favored me above some others who still labor, who still seek elusive Success; a cruel taskmaster that stays just beyond your reach, yet tantalizes you with images and imaginings of cover art and 20-city tours and lectures to throngs of the devoted who seek your audience at conventions and conferences. Success changes before your eyes, shifts its shape and appears nothing like it did when you began. It is the Brass Ring, The Lombardi Trophy, The Stanley Cup. It is a tease, a Siren who beckons, and you follow, because if you do not, if you give up, you will live forever in the shadow of failure. The “what ifs” will fuel your self-doubt, and your self-doubt will define you.

Well, that all sounds very literary, very profound, but it’s a bunch of crap!

Failure doesn't define you. It strengthens you! Educates you! Improves you!

That’s its function.

That’s why it exists.

Ever heard the term, “What doesn't kill you just makes you stronger?”

That’s Failure.
I started writing in 2005 only because I proposed a challenge to myself. I was fifty-six and hadn't done much more than my ol’ man. When I became an adult I got a job, bought a house, raised some kids, and hoped to retire for a little while before I died somewhere down the road—The American Dream, tarnished somewhat by the years. I challenged myself to write a book, just because I knew I’d never be able to do it, and I think that’s why I tried—better to have loved and lost; better to have tried and failed?

Same thing.

Writers write books. I wasn't a writer; I was Everyman; a father and a son, a citizen and an outlaw, a saint and a sinner. But I decided to see if I could do something more, something different, and that was select eighty-five-thousand words from Merriam-Webster and order their placement on the page so that they constituted something that would pass for a story; something with a beginning, a middle, and an end; something with a plot and a direction, a good guy and a bad guy, a place for it to happen, and for someone to win, and someone to lose. That’s it. Nothing more. I didn't care to enter any contests or be nominated for any awards … no Edgar, no Allen, no Poe. All I cared about; all I required to achieve success, was to do only that.

It took three years, and it was terrible, and the success I had just achieved shifted its shape, and became Failure.

The Siren beckoned. I had to try again.

A friend of mine said to me upon hearing the news, “Even if you publish just one novel in your lifetime, you’ll have done something few have. It’s something special.”

On Saturday August 3rd, I celebrated having my novel published. The two-hour celebration was over in the blink of an eye. Such is Success. I barely remember it. What I do remember is courting Failure for all those years as it led me to Success. As I failed, I learned, I grew, I improved. I mean, how else could I write all this flowery shit? I had a two-thousand word vocabulary when I graduated high school, most of them no more than three letters, and the rest of them profane.

I usually place the photos I use in my blog at the beginning, but not this time. I’m placing them at the end in an effort to symbolize a beginning; a beginning of a new career … for all involved.

Here’s to mistakes.

Here’s to failures.

And here’s to wherever we are, one year from now.

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Crime-Cakes by Delaney

And a HUGE shout out to Mary, Maggie's partner in crime,
for all the help she gave Maggie putting this together.
You two gals should start a Party Planning business.
(Since she didn't get me a photo of her,

I had to go all the way back to Halloween last.
Photogenic, isnt she?)

And the winner of the contest is...


Sandra with DB and Michelle of Two Rivers

Daughter Delaney greeted the masses,
handled the transactions,
and kept Chaos at bay.

The Intrigue Group

Monday, August 5, 2013

Someone Far More Important

Last Saturday afternoon I launched my very first novel, Chain of Evidence; an achievement that I am extremely proud of, and one I would normally write about here. But I will wait several days to discuss it, and I beg the indulgence of those who attended, as it will be a little while before I can send out the emails expressing my gratitude for their presence and support. Because today, I am in mourning. 

I discovered today that one of my childhood heroes —Artie Donovan of The 1958 World Champion Baltimore Colts—passed away yesterday at age 89, so anything I might write about myself or my activities falls well short in substance and importance, in comparison to that great man.

Art Donovan played Defensive Tackle for the Colts in the 50s and 60s. And he was a character; larger than life itself, and beloved by all. He was a regular guy, and played football before the sport made instant millionaires out of kids today, turning them into prima donnas that donned fancy football uniforms and squeal because someone actually tackled them. He didn’t celebrate sacks or tackles or showboat for his play on the field, dismissing the Hollywood crap that today’s players love to indulge in to draw attention to themselves. He just did his job and played the game the way it was meant to be played; hard-nosed, and without complaint. 

The radio and TV stations were abuzz with stories and Donovan colloquialisms all through my ride into work, and although I never met the man, he was like the uncle that came to your house twice a year and sneaked you a beer when your mother wasn't looking. He had too much of the kind of fun that was frowned upon in those days. That's why I feel like I've known him for years. I would be hard pressed to attempt my own faulty remembrances of so long ago, so instead of that, I have elected to allow anyone and everyone reading this blog to experience Artie for themselves though the magic in the internet.

Rest well, Artie. We will all miss you.

 Tell it like it is, Artie.... Like it is.
And good night.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Shopping for the Book Launch

Since the book launch is Saturday, I decided to up my blog output just a little to chronicle the events leading up to the big day. For example, Maggie said that I should have some new clothes for the launch. I don’t know why. I have plenty of t-shirts, and I thought jeans with holes were the style. Just because I wore the holes in them myself, shouldn’t change that.
But who was I kiddin’….
“You need some new clothes. I’m tired of seeing you in those same ol’ ratty jeans. Besides,” she said, “I’m an author’s wife and I want to look nice, so you’re going shopping with me.”
“Me? You talkin’ to me?”

“Yes I’m talking to you…. I want your opinion.”

“Okay. You look good in everything.”
Now most guys hate to shop. And I’m no exception. I shop when I have to—once or twice a year maybe, not counting Christmas: a couple pairs of jeans, some shirts, underwear … maybe a pair of socks, and I’m set. But then there’s the occasional occasion when there’s no avoiding going shopping ... with a woman. A book launch qualifies.

Visions of traipsing from store to store passed before my eyes; like your life when you think you’re gonna die. Back and forth, from one store to another, then back again. I mean, how many times does one have to visit the same store? I saw myself following her like a dejected child—pouting; standing around while she rummaged through rack after rack trying to find something that:

Didn’t make her look fat.
Was pretty.
Didn’t make her look fat.
Was appropriate.
Didn’t make her look fat.

So she drags me to the Mall. There must be a thousand stores in that place. And I fully expected to visit each-and-every-one. She likes Macys. So that’s where I park. Who knew the store she’d actually buy in was on the other side of the planet.

The dressy casual dresses are on the second floor. I didn’t even know that was a category. Thank the Lord there were escalators. We head upstairs and walked a mile or so to the casual dress section. She begins her run and I wait. A day later, she says, “I can’t find anything. Let’s go to Penney’s.”

We walk to the other side of the Mall. She starts another run. I wait. “There’s more dresses downstairs,” she says, so down we go. This time, we have to use the stairway outside the store because it’s closer than the escalator. Well, that’s fine with me. It was downhill.

“There’s nothing here. Let’s go back. I want to look at one I saw upstairs again.” Now, it’s uphill. Two landings. I hate stairs. She decides “we” need to go to another store. We pass Sears.

“Let’s try here.”

“Sears? You need power tools?”

“No, silly. A dress.”

It may as well have been power tools, since there were no dresses that she liked. We make a beeline to Boscov’s. Nothing. Back to Penney’s. We come to a set of stairs that look awfully familiar. Up we go.

“I can’t make up my mind. Help me.” She disappears and comes back wearing the first of seventeen dresses she’s picked out.
 “I like that one. Let’s go home.”

Ooooh-noooo! I have to see each one. Between changes, I occupied myself by taking short trips across the tile floor, making sure my sneakers landed squarely on the tile without touching a grout joint. Tiring of that, I traveled in tiny figure eights. Its funny how, if you look at them sideways, they look like the symbol for Infinity, meaning without end; just like this trip.  
At one point, a salesman walked by.
“Can I help you, sir?”
The answer came as a sigh preceded by a breath. “Noooo … shopping with a woman.”
“Ah!” he said. “Well, we have plenty of comfy chairs,” and then he continued on, snickering under his breath.
Eventually, she settles on a dress she likes.
Finally. "You look great. Let's go home."

“I need accessories.”

“Accessories? What? … like an A/C adaptor?”

So with dress in hand, we traipse over to the shoe department.

“I’m not paying $80 for a pair of shoes,” she says. “We can find them cheaper someplace else.”

Great! Now she’s frugal.

After visiting a store that had the gall to refer to itself as “Payless,” there were four other shoe stores to visit. None had anything that matched the dress. Back to Penney’s. I forked out the eighty bucks hoping to get home before the turn of the century.

“Okay, just one more thing.”

Another “thing?” How many “things” do women need? This is a one-day affair, not a camping trip.

Back to Payless. Handbags.

“Why didn’t you just get the handbag when we were here the first time?”

“We didn’t have the shoes. The handbag has to match the shoes.”

“Don’t the dress match the shoes?


“So? …”

“So the handbag has to match the shoes.”


“Weren’t you just here?” the saleswoman said.

“Yeah, in another lifetime.”

Nothing there. Back to Penney’s. I think I’m gonna buy stock.

“The weatherman said it was going to be cool Saturday,” she murmured.

“Yeah. So?”

“I might get chilly. Help me find a bolero.”

“Okay…. That’s some kind o’ hat, right?”

I never heard so many women snickering at one time.

Well, I have to admit. When we did finally get home, she put everything on and looked stunning. I decided it was worth the trip and then some.

“You know, honey” I said. “You’ll be the prettiest woman there.”

By the way, I know I have a flare for exaggeration, but honestly, most of this actually happened. I just embellished a little.


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