Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Review of: "Rock & Roll Homicide" by RJ McDonnell

Music and detective work. What a great combination! This book combines two of my favorite subjects. RJ McDonnell introduces us to ex-muscician, private detective, Jason Duffy in this wonderfully written mystery. I found the combination of the music industry and detective/police work was a super mix. As one who's dabbled around the edges of the music industry most of my life and been in or around law enforcement even longer, I truly enjoyed this read. Mr. McDonnell does a tremendous job of building and developing his characters. There are a lot of them in this book, and I never had trouble keeping track of them. They were all developed so fully that I got to know them and care. The relationship with his retired policeman father is particularly interesting. This book takes us everywhere from a recording studio to the Russian mafia. There's even some old-world Ireland in it!

The pace is quick. The narrative is done in a lively, friendly voice. Humor is strewn thoughout the entire book. It kept me turning pages late into the night. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys music, investigative novels, or a fun read. I'm looking forward to another installment in the Rock & Roll Mystery series.
Rock & Roll Homicide

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Heilbronn Stimme Article!

German Bestseller!!

At the urging of German fans on my Facebook fan page, I contacted the Heilbronn Stimme. It’s the newspaper in Heilbronn, Germany where my first book “SAT & BAF! Memories of a Tower Rat” happened. A month or two ago, an editor from the paper sent me a message to send him a book and he’d write about it. I put together a press packet and didn’t hear anything back for weeks. Then another reporter contacted me last week to send some pictures for the article! The original editor had the reporter read it because his English was better.
The article ran today! Several German fans contacted me this morning to let me know it was in the paper and mentioned on the front page! The reporter sent tear sheets to my e-mail, but I haven’t had a chance to translate them yet. The fans told me it’s a good article. Here it is if you’d like to take a peek.

 I’m on the front page of a major, German newspaper!! In case you wonder if print media still has any power, here are the rankings of “SAT & BAF!” on Amazon.de earlier today:

Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 161 in Englische Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Englische Bücher)

·         Nr. 1 in Englische Bücher > Geschichte > Weltgeschichte > 20. Jahrhundert

·         Nr. 1 in Englische Bücher > Reise & Abenteuer > Europa > Deutschland

·         Nr. 1 in Englische Bücher > Geschichte > Militär > Waffen & Kriegsführung

 For the mono-lingually challenged among us, here’s an English translation of the ranks:
Amazon Bestsellers Rank: # 161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
# 1> in Books> History> World History> 20th century
# 1 >in Books> Travel & Adventure> Europe> Germany
# 1> in Books> History> Military> Weapons & Warfare

Awesome! I’ve been waiting for word to get out in Germany. It has been rising all day. I knew there was a market in Germany! I’d like to thank the Heilbronn Stimme for expressing an interest in the book and for running the article. What a wonderful day!


Ghosts of the Past

Social media is amazing. I wrote a while back about an old, Army friend I ran into due to my book. He found me on Facebook. Well, a couple months ago I ran into an extremely old friend named Becky. We were the dearest of buddies in first, second, and third grade at a very tiny school. We were in the same class for all three grades because it was the same teacher. In a town with 47 people, friends take on a whole new meaning. We moved away suddenly in third grade and as Becky put it “disappeared”. She found me and sent a friend request. As soon as we became Facebook friends, she sent a message that said, “Where did you go?” We’ve caught up a bit in the last couple months, and she also became friends with my wife. We mostly talk about music.

Becky invited us up to see her sing last weekend. She’s been singing professionally since she was nineteen years old. It was something I felt like we should do, so we drove the three hours up to watch her in a theater show. We watched her in a country classics variety show where she sang lead on five or six songs. After the show, she invited us to see her, her mom, and her daughter sing karaoke. She wanted a chance to show us what she could do on songs she picked. She said the band that hired her for the show picks her outfits, songs, and everything. She wanted to be able to take requests. It was at a little VFW hall in my old hometown.

She is incredible!! Seriously, she’s among the best female singers I’ve ever heard live. I don’t know how she’s not a star. She’s an extremely talented singer. I suppose it had something to do with raising four kids. She’s still out there making money off her voice, though. We meant to go home after the show. Then we meant to go home about ten or eleven from karaoke. Then we were staying as long as Becky was willing to sing. She’s that good. What’s the hurry? Watching one of my oldest friends doing what she loves was the most important thing in the world this weekend.

It was also a lot of fun catching up. She has a whole lot in common with my wife, and I think they both found a new buddy. They were chattering all night long. Becky told all kinds of stories from the old days in Cherryville…population 47. She is so funny! She says things like, “I grew up so far out in the country that a two-lane road meant going to the city.” My wife told me on the way home that it feels like she’s known Becky their whole lives when she just met her. She’s such a sweet girl and incredibly funny! She had us rolling all night long. She’s also excited to collaborate on some songwriting. It meant a lot to her that we were willing to drive up there to watch her, but it was a pleasure. We had her autograph the show tickets before we went home, and she almost cried. She finished the night by performing Martina McBride’s “Broken Wing”, and it was unbelievable. When everybody fizzled out and it was time to say goodnight, everybody hugged. When she hugged me, she said, “I missed you so much!” It’s not every day that you get a chance to touch someone so deeply. It meant a whole lot to her that somebody would travel that far to hear her sing. It meant a lot to me, too.

All in all, it was a really fun weekend. Facebook is an incredible tool. Our friendship might have been frozen in time during the Ford administration if it hadn’t been for modern technology. Now my wife and I have a very dear new friend.

I don’t think it’ll be thirty-six years before we see Becky again. There’s some big book news, but I’ll save that for another post. This one is about my old friend. If you ever get a chance to hear her sing, I highly recommend it. She’s great!