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Fall Newsletter, 2015

Howdy Folks,

Just got back from a wedding anniversary trip to Miami's South Beach. In one of my less lucid moments early this summer, I asked Shirl if, instead of us giving each other gifts neither of us needed, would she like to take a trip. Since she's almost finished with a new historical, THE CHEROKEE, she jumped at the chance. Check the Upcoming page for an excerpt. Now Shirl absolutely loves South Beach Miami and has used it as a locale for a couple or three novels...and is planning a fourth. "Let's make it a research trip!" Bloody wonderful.

She is talking about another romantic suspense, but a sci-fi writer would have a field day down there as well. There is a constant parade of people up and down streets like Collins Ave and every other one is an alien. I don't mean undocumented humans. I mean ones with antennae. But I must admit that some of the human folks and events would be good local color for Shirl's work. There was Ray, the tour guide, who was also a stock day-trader who professed to make more at day trading than he did on his driving job. Every now and then, he would stop at stop lights (often green) and lean over the front passenger seat, while horns blared behind us. I thought he was referring to maps...until I looked. They were stock earning graphs and spread sheets.

Then one morning I was sitting out on the patio of the hotel waiting for Shirl to join me and this rickety old dude stopped on the sidewalk (about 18 inches from the patio wall) and pointed at my old USS BUSHNELL cap. "Hey, matey, you in the Navy?" I told him I had been. He sort of weaved back and forth and took a puff on a hand-rolled smoke that he had burned down so that just a nub stuck out from his pinched thumb and tip of his index finger. "Yeah, I was too." He started cackling. "I was a galley slave! Here, sailor, have a toke." I pointed out that the only way I could have a toke was to smoke his fingers. "Damn," he sounded surprised, "no wonder my fingers burn. Don't think I'm crazy though. I just got a dementia." I sympathized. "Know how that is, mate. I have a dementia, too, and she'll be here pretty soon."

For that day, Shirl decided that we should take the harbor tour around the bay islands, especially Star Island. When I reminded her that years ago, we had bluffed our way onto the island itself. She informed me that a lot of property had changed hands since then and a lot of new homes were being built. And we couldn't bluff our way on the island this time in a taxi, since I had refused to rent a car.

Okay, so it was a tour of the harbor on a sight-seeing boat. Now, what she plans to do with the info and pixs of Madonna's former mansion or Hugh Hefner's or the guy's who patented Viagra. I have no idea. But the trip yielded one useful episode for her next Miami book. As our boat was chugging back to the dock, we passed three smaller craft that were lashed together to form a sort of dock. About a dozen people were partying. Some little kids sitting next to us waved at the young folks on the "dock." They waved back. One extremely well built blonde took off her bra and waved it back and forth with admirable vigor. Another black-hair beauty, not be out done, had already taken off her bra, so she turned around and in her thong twerked our boat. Our guide who was doing the talking on the tour was a very cute, very young Latina. She looked down at the deck and her cheeks got a bit ruddy as she said, "Welcome to Miami, folks!"

This event could be the basis of a very funny scene featuring Corrie and Cannon, the protagonists of HEARSTOPPER who will also be the main characters in the next book of the "Miami Heat" series. Corrie is a brilliant surgeon, not plain but not the sort of looker people expect Frank Cannon, a homicide detective, to be involved with. Frank looks like a movie star. And Corrie can't help envision every hot chick who comes on to Cannon as a patient on her operating table. Yeah, the dock party alone might make the trip worth it...if not for our homecoming.

The trip back to St. Louis was the flight from hell. We got to the Miami airport early. Ah, plenty of time to relax, have a casual dinner, and read. Nope. We would get settled and they would announce a gate change. This happened four times and each time we had to go from one end of the terminal to the other! Then, our flight was delayed about an hour and a half.

Next, the pilot missed the runway in St. Louis because of dense fog. He had to pull up sharply at the last minute and swing round for another pass. When we landed and got out of the terminal to get shuttle transpo to our car, we waited and waited and waited. There are about half-dozen lots and a team of shuttles for each, but someone said that one of the drivers for lot C (ours of course) had either just quit or been fired. So we waited some more. Finally, a harried driver pulled up, packed up the shuttle, and we got to C. We loaded the car, drove down to the exit gate, and the automatic equipment announced that both our parking ticket and credit car were invalid. Finally, we got in the long line, about midnight, for the one booth manned by a human. Welcome to St. Louis, folks!

Happy 2015,


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