Saturday, December 28, 2013

UW Huskies go 9-4 on Season

This will probably be the last mention of the Huskies on this blog until sometime in August 2014.

Last night the University of Washington Huskies football team beat the Brigham Young University Cougars in the Fight Hunger Bowl to finish with a 9-4 season.  That's their best finish since 2000 when they were 11-1 and Marques Tuiasosopo was the quarterback.  Which is significant because Tuiasosopo was the head coach for last night's game, being appointed interim head coach after Steve Sarkisian left for USC after the Apple Cup victory.

The game seemed to start out slow with low-energy on both sides of the scrimmage line.  But the Husky defense held the Cougars over and over, making them settle for field goals if they didn't out right punt.  The Cougars had a better second quarter and scored 16 but never were able to surpass the Huskies who then went on to win 31-16 holding the Cougars scoreless in the second half.

Even a fourth-quarter illegal hit that took out starting quarterback Keith Price (a hit that wasn't penalized) didn't help the Cougars.  The Huskies did have trouble scoring after that but their defense kept the Cougars scoreless, too.  Star running back Bishop Sankey also left the game with an injury.

I was worried about this game because of the emotional beating the team has taken with Sarkisian abandoning them for USC before their bowl game.  From all accounts, the player leadership including Price stepped up and kept the team together.  And the affection the players felt for Tuiasosopo was almost palpable on the sidelines.

This is the Dawgs first bowl win since 2010 when as underdogs they beat Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl.  These two bowl wins are the only two they've had since 2000.  Husky fans have put up with a lot and I consider myself a die-hard.  We had a season the team went 0-12 in 2008.  We've had coaches fired for gambling.  We've had coaches who couldn't get the team to finish a game.  And this for a program that used to regularly win the Pac-10 championship and national titles.

So next year with our new head coach Chris Petersen and a lot of fresh young talent coming up (some of which was on display last night) I'm looking forward to next year.  Yes, we'll still be in the Pac-12 North Division with powerhouses Stanford and Oregon (even this year we finished third to those two teams) but we'll have a chance, a chance to become a contender in one of the toughest conferences in college football.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Life in Cougar Country

Washington State University Logo
I live in Washington State.  When I tell people that they always say, "Oh, that’s such a pretty state."  Which is true, mostly.

You see, the Cascade Mountain Range runs down the length of the state from Canada to Oregon cutting the state roughly into a western third and an eastern two-thirds.  The Cascades is a barrier geographically, climatologically, culturally, economically, and politically.  The Washington State most people think of when they praise its beauty is what those of us living in the rain shadow of the Cascades call "The Wet Side."  That's the side with the Seattle metropolitan area, with Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands.  That's the side with Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, Mount Adams, Mount St. Helens, and the majestic Olympic Mountains.  That's the side that has 78% of the population of the state.  That's the side of the state with the headquarters of Fortune 500 companies Microsoft, Costco, and Weyerhaeuser.  It's where Boeing builds most of its planes.  It's the side with trees and green vegetation.

The Eastern two-thirds of the state are quite different.  A large part of it is the Columbia Basin that runs roughly from Grand Coulee Dam to the Oregon border, from the Cascades to the rolling, wheat-covered hills of the Palouse.  Scrubbed clean by ice age mega-floods (parts are called "The Scab Lands") and in that aforementioned rain shadow, here you only see green vegetation if someone is irrigating it.  And there's a lot of irrigation of potatoes, corn, wheat, alfalfa, apples, and grapes for the famous Basin wineries.  The economy is mostly agriculture, which lately is paying worse than usual.  Then there are the sparsely populated, mountainous counties along the Canadian Border, the farmland of the Palouse in the southeastern corner, and the foothills of the Rockies along the Idaho Border.  Spokane is the second largest city in the state, and Spokane County the fourth largest county.

And the east side of the state is "Cougar Country."

There are two major universities in Washington State: the University of Washington in Seattle and Washington State University in Pullman.  The contrast couldn't be more stark.  UW (also known as U-Dub) is in the state's largest city.  It is the largest university in the Pacific Northwest.  It is considered one of the "Public Ivies" (universities that are public or state owned but are on a par with the Ivy League).  It has for decades led the country in research grant dollars.  Its medical school is world class.

WSU (also known as Wazzu) is in a small town of about 30,000 people.  The next nearest large town is
Spokane which is 75 miles due north on slow, two-lane roads.  It is 8 miles from Moscow, Idaho (home of the University of Idaho).  It is known for its agriculture and animal husbandry programs (which is earned it the nickname "Cow-tech").  And most of the east side of the state is considered "Cougar Country."  And the Cougar fans (or simply "Cougars") support their "Cougs" come hell or high water or losing seasons or whatever may come.  Even as a UW alum and supporter and fan, I have to admit the Cougs are more virulent in their support of their school.  The potato storage pictured at right is an example (this is located along a major east-west highway in Eastern Washington).

And I have to admit, the WSU alumni are more supportive.  For example, there was a competition that the alumni who donated the most money to Habitat for Humanity got their flag to fly at the top of the Space Needle during the week of the Apple Cup, the annual rivalry football game between the two schools.  The Cougs won and not but a small margin.

University of Washington Logo
So I live in Cougar Country but I'm a "Husky."  And I'm not quiet about it.  I have a big purple W on the back window of my car (Husky's colors are purple and gold) and University of Washington licence plates.  I often wear Husky T-shirts and polos.  And I never lose a chance to tweak some Cougar about their team (assuming the Huskies win the Apple Cup as they did this year).  And Cougars never fail to tease me if the Huskies don't win the Apple Cup (like last year).

But even in Seattle (home of UW) the aura of support for the Huskies is nothing like it is in Eastern Washington for the Cougs.  It's pervasive with crimson clothes, license plates, and the WSU logo (see above) everywhere.  In fact, I might be (due to my rebellious streak) more supportive of UW than I otherwise would be because I'm so steeped in WSU support.

But it's all in fun.  I've yet to meet a Coug who couldn't take good-natured ribbing about their team.  And if a Coug gets smart with me I just smile and point out how the Cougars "couged" their first bowl game in 10 years.  And I'm looking forward to Friday's Fight Hunger Bowl, when the Huskies will be playing the Cougars (of BYU).

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Updated Website

I have updated my website to include a exclusive and exciting excerpt from my forth-coming novel, Gods of Strife.  Also on my website are the "buy links" for all of my books that are currently available.  So go check it out:!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Drivers and "Motor Vehicle Operators"

The other day I pulled into Starbucks' parking lot and I saw an attractive car I didn't recognize.  Which, of course, caught my eye.  On closer inspection I saw the Toyota logo and the Camry nameplate.  I was surprised.  For years Camrys have been what Car and Driver described as "aggressively bland."  But it must have worked for them because for years it has been the best selling passenger motor vehicle in the U.S.  But now that Hyundai and Kia (owned by Hyundai) are putting out very pretty cars, perhaps Toyota has decided it better keep up.

Doesn't change my opinion of the Camry as a "transportation appliance."

There are, in my opinion, three types of motor vehicles on the road and two type of motor vehicle operators.

The three types of vehicles are:
  1. Utility vehicles
  2. Transportation appliances
  3. Cars
Utility vehicles are vehicles designed to do a certain job.  Trucks, pickup trucks, delivery vans, etc. are utility vehicles.  Sports utility vehicles (SUVs) were once in the category exclusively but have migrated into category 2.

Transportation appliances are vehicles that are designed to get you from point A to point B with
Toyota Prius
the least travail.  These include: SUVs, minivans, almost every vehicle sold by Toyota and Subaru in the US.  (Exceptions are the Scion FR-S, Lexus LFA, Subaru BRZ (which is the same vehicle as the Scion FR-S), and the Subaru WRX).  The Toyota Prius is the ultimate transportation appliance, designed solely around getting good fuel mileage.  The people who are behind the steering wheel of these transportation appliances are "motor vehicle operators" (and often the most clueless people on the road).

Cars are vehicles that are fun, a joy to drive, bring a smile to your face with their looks, performance, and handling (yes, all three; a good looking Camry is still a transportation appliance).  These cars do not have to be high-powered (although that helps) and they don't have to be small.  A Chrysler 300C with the V-8 Hemi is huge, but it is fun to drive and therefore a car.  And cars tend to have "drivers" behind the wheel.  These are people who take an active part in operating their vehicle.  They know it's limits (because they've tested them) and it's capabilities (because they've used them).  They pay attention to the road (not the radio or their cell phone), they don't think driving slow equates to safety more than driving aware.

Of course, some cars are driven by motor vehicle operators who don't know what they have, and some drivers are forced behind the wheel of a utility vehicle or a transportation appliance and gaze lustfully upon the Ford Mustang beside them at the red light.

I have, in my life, owned one transportation appliance, a minivan to hold my three sons (and have some separation between them).  Even then I pushed the limits (admittedly low) of that vehicle.

Next time you drive, look around, see if you can spot the drivers and the motor vehicle operators.  The latter will be in the left lane going under the speed limit in a Subaru.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Future of Husky Football

It's been a while since head football coach Steve Sarkisian announced he was leaving the University of Washington for USC.  In the meantime, former Husky quarterback and current QB coach, Marques Tuiasosopo has been named interim head coach and will coach the Dawgs in the Fight Hunger Bowl.  Which I don't understand because UW announced not long after naming Tuiasosopo interim head coach that Boise State University head coach Chris Petersen will be the new head coach of the Huskies.

Things seem to be in carefully hidden turmoil on the Husky sidelines.  Sarkisian is poaching a great deal of the assistant coaching staff to take to USC with him.  I haven't seen any instance where Petersen is bring coaches from BSU.  And the future of Tuiasosopo is up in the air after the bowl game.

I am, to be honest, not completely happy with the choice of Petersen to coach the Huskies.  Petersen's record as head coach is 92–12.  But at least two of those 12 losses came at the hands of the Huskies.  The BSU Broncos are in the Mountain West conference.  That conference has never been strong nor very respected as far as I can tell.  Looking at it this year, there is one ranked team in the Mountain West (Fresno State at #20) and only five teams have winning records and only six are bowl eligible (out of 12 teams).  Compare with the Pac-12 where Petersen will now be playing.  Nine teams are going to bowls and five are ranked, including Stanford ant #5.

And I don't think BSU has ever played Oregon or Stanford, something UW does every year.  My worry is Petersen may have been great in the Mountain West but will be over his head in the Pac-12.  Playing out of his league, or conference.

They say Petersen is a great recruiter, which is good because apparently Sarkisian is also dragging recruits to USC from UW.  Petersen is said to be able to find the diamond in the rough where others just see rough.  And I would think recruiting to UW would be easier then BSU ("Hey, you want to go to Seattle and UW that gets national exposure, or Boise and BSU and labor in obscurity?").  But I am cautiously hopeful that Petersen will prove me wrong and be a great head coach.  Of course, I was hopeful that Tyrone Willingham would be a great coach, and he nearly destroyed the team.

And since Tuiasosopo is coaching the Dawgs through their bowl game, we won't see Petersen's work until next fall.  That's a long wait.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Fun with Numbers

I know there are people who hate math.  I see their posts on Facebook.  And some talk about how story problems are, to them, incomprehensible.  To which I say, "Life is a story problem."  In engineering, every problem is a story problem. 

I don't understand not liking math because I do like math.  I don't really love it because I'm not really good at it.  I'm slow and have to think a lot.  I took math in college up through differential equations which I loved because it took all that math (algebra, calculus, etc.) and applied it to the real world.  If someone asks me why they have to study algebra I say (if I'm feeling snarky), "So you can study calculus and God speaks calculus."

It's been 20 years since I graduated college (almost) and because I haven't used my calculus and differential equations, I've pretty much forgotten how to do them.  I know the principles involved, but to sit down and do a derivative or an integral, forget it!  But I still enjoy math.

One area of math were a lot of people have misconceptions is statistics.  That is probably because there's "luck" involved, they think.  You've heard, perhaps, that the lottery is tax on those bad at math?  Well, specifically, it's a tax on those bad at statistics.  According to the Powerball page the odds of winning the big prize are 1 in 175,000,000.  That's one ticket out of 175,000,000.  The odds of flipping a coin and getting heads is 50% (1/2).  The odds of winning the Powerball is 0.0000000057% (1/175,000,000).  That's close enough to zero to basically be zero.

The odds of being hit by lightning sometime in your life is 1 in 3,000.  So you are 58,333 times more likely to be hit by lightning in your lifetime than to win the Powerball lottery with one ticket.  Or, to make the odds of being hit by lightning the same as winning the Powerball, you'd need to buy 58,333 tickets in your lifetime.

So don't play the lottery.

Powerball is different for a lot of lotteries because of the power ball.  But if a lottery is where you pick six numbers out of, oh, 50, then any six numbers have the same (low) odds of winning.  Using 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 will win just as much as any other six-number combination (including your grandchildren's ages).  It doesn't matter which numbers you play, you'll still lose.

Another area people don't understand statistics is with lucky runs.  The odds of flipping a coin and getting heads is 50% (1/2).  The odds of doing that three times in a row is 12.5% (1/2 x 1/2 x 1/2).  That means if you flip a coin three times 1,000 times, 125 times you'll get three heads in a row (or three tails).  So on that fourth throw, what are the odds of getting a heads?  It's 50%. Coins don't have memory.  Before the first flip the odds of flipping a coin and getting heads four times is 6.25%.  But after three flips (all heads) the odds the next flip will be heads is 50%.  Most people don't believe that (bar bet time!).

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Movie Review: Man of Steel

This week I watched two very different (yet in some ways similar) movies from Netflix.  The first was The Wizard of Oz, which I probably haven't seen for at least 40 years.  Made in 1939, it had what, for its time, was amazing special effects (although on Blu-ray it is sometimes very easy to spot the matte paintings).  In Oz the special effects do what they are supposed to do in a movie: show the audience things it cannot see in real life that are integral to the story.  The special effects enhance the story, they aren't the story.

Then I watched Man of Steel, a CGI effects-laden movie the kludges you with over-the-top violence and effect after endless effect.  Man of Steel (the latest re-boot of the Superman movies) was directed by Zack Snyder who has directed some really good movies (300) and some not so good movies (Watchmen).  And he does direct action scenes with an intensity and power few directors and muster.  But there was a point near the end of Man of Steel that I stopped caring and just want to CGI to stop and the story continue.  But the story is old and if you've seen Superman II, you'll pretty much know it.  And stripped of its CGI, the story is wafer-thin.  This movie is two hours and twenty-some odd minutes long.  If the fight scenes were cut in half (and they could have been if Snyder wasn't so in love with his computer enhancements), it could have been an hour and a half, easily.

Remember our discussion on the uses of special effects?  Special effects are to enhance the story, not be the story.  I think Zack Snyder forgot that with Man of Steel.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Busy Day

Yesterday was a busy day for me.  I had two freelance interviews (with pictures needing to be taken) 90 miles apart, the first at 7:30 A.M, the second scheduled for 10:00 A.M.  But to get the to the first one, I had to drive about 70 miles.  All in all I ended up driving 204 before noon.

To get to that 7:30 interview, I planned to leave the house at 6:00 A.M.  This would give me plenty of time to get there a bit early (as I always try to do with freelance interviews).  Because the trip is mostly on two-lane roads the trip usually takes about 75 minutes.  And of course I needed to stop at Starbucks. 

But then just before I went to bed the night before, I realized I didn't have enough gas in the car.  So I decided to leave at 5:45 to get gas.  That meant getting up at 4:45 to be ready to go and have time to do the daily Facebook promotional work for my publisher.  Best laid plans . . .

I woke up at 3:00 A.M. and couldn't go back to sleep.  Finally got in the shower and left the house about 5:00.  Got gas and treated myself to breakfast at a local diner and hit the road at about 6:00 A.M.  This time of year it was pitch black and freezing cold (about 8 degrees F).  Luckily the roads were bare and dry (if the weather had been bad, it would have been a miserable trip).

Got to the first interview early as I like to do.  But then the subject showed up late (and he was the one who insisted on 7:30 A.M.).  Got the interview done (and pictures taken) and scrambled to the next one, 90 miles away (and a different direction from home).  I did take one exit wrong which cost a bit of time.  When the interview was supposed to happen (10:00 A.M.) I was, according to my navigation system, about 25 miles away.  I call the subject and let him know I was running late.  He had no problem with that (I'd called him the day before and said I might be late).

Got that interview done and had to drive about 30 miles to home, going in a big triangle-shaped circuit, southeast, northwest, and then east to home.

Getting home I ate lunch and dove right in to writing the articles.  It was nearly 3:00 P.M. when I was done.  That's a 9-hour day going non-stop (except for some lunch).  That's a lot for a semi-retired freelance writer and author.

Then I had Toastmasters at 5:30 to 6:30.  Came home and fell asleep in my recliner around 8:00 P.M.  I was tired.

I love writing and I really enjoy freelancing (except when people won't return my calls I get a bit stressed).  Freelancing lets me practice my craft, make a little extra money, and meet interesting people.  Sometimes when you're dealing with corporations it can be frustrating.  Earlier this month I was debating if freelancing was worth it.  But then I remembered January of this year when I had no freelance work and was bored to tears.  But days like yesterday, while rare, are both fun and hard work, two things not mutually exclusive.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Disappointment and Hope

I had decided I wouldn't do anymore sports posts until after the University of Washington Huskies won their bowl game.  Then came the news yesterday that Huskies head coach Steve Sarkisian has accepted an offer to immediately become the head coach at USC.  He won't even be coaching the Huskies in their as-to-be-determined bowl game.  His twitter profile today says he's the head coach at USC.  According to what I read in the Seattle Times today, he'll basically double his salary (to nearly $3 million per year) taking the USC job and be able to return to his home area of Los Angeles.  Sarkisian was an assistant coach at USC under Pete Carroll (now head coach of the dominant NFL Seattle Seahawks).

I have mixed feelings about this.  Sarkisian did a great job taking a team that was 0-12 five years ago
Steve Sarkisian
and making it 7-5 two years later and won the Holiday bowl against Nebraska in an upset victory.  Then came two more 7-5 years and two bowl losses.  The Huskies seemed to have stagnated.  They'd play brilliant for a game or two, then get blown out by a team they should have been able to beat.  And he never, ever beat Oregon, the team Huskies love to hate (admittedly, Phil Knight bought Oregon a pretty good team).  The Huskies were 8-4 this season losing to very tough teams that went on (mostly) to do great things (Stanford, Oregon, Arizona State, and UCLA).

So maybe it's a good think Sark is moving on.  Maybe he's taken the Dawgs as far as he can.  Maybe some new blood will help make the Huskies dominant again not only in the Pac-12 but nationally.  Maybe we can bring in a coach that can take this team to the next level.  Candidates mentioned include the current defensive coordinator, UCLA's head coach (and former Husky player) Jim Mora, and Boise State's head coach.  We'll have to see.

In a way I'm heartbroken.  And I'm looking forward to the future.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Traffic Jams

Every since I first experienced traffic jams on a regular basis when I moved to Seattle in 1980, I've never quite understood them or what causes them.  I don't know if anyone has really researched them.  They seem to be often a physiological phenomena as much as a function of over-crowded roads.

For example, a freeway in the Seattle area, SR 520 (we don't name our freeways up here), had three lanes going westbound (into Seattle from the 'burbs), one of them an HOV lane (car pool lane).  And every weekday morning there was a jam on the freeway for miles.  Here's the weird thing.  When the freeway crossed Lake Washington (on the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge) it dropped to 2 lanes.  Did traffic get worse?  No, it often opened up and was no longer jammed.  Why?  I had two theories: 1) traffic merging off the HOV lane or and 2) there used to be toll gates right before the bridge and people were so used to jamming up there they still did.  (The toll gates were removed 1979, there were no tolls for years, now they are tolling again automatically to pay for a replacement for the 50-year-old bridge.)

In the evenings going eastbound (out of Seattle into the suburbs of Bellevue and Kirkland), the traffic would jam up to (you guessed it) the former toll booth plaza then open up.  Same number of cars, same number of lanes.

Last night I was driving to Seattle on Interstate 90 and suddenly traffic went from about 70 mph to stop and go.  Same number of cars and same number of lanes.  And the same rainy weather.  The picture above was taken during that jam last night.  It took us 70 minutes to go 30 miles for an average speed of 26 mph (on rural interstate with a speed limit of 70).

Now some traffic jams have obvious causes: blocked lane, way too many cars for the road (I-5 downtown Seattle's permanent traffic jam).  But when the same number of cars on the same number of lanes suddenly comes to a halt as if the road suddenly got sticky, that's when I don't understand.

And then there's the other question about traffic jams: why is the lane you're in always the one moving slower?

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Tire Pressure

Yesterday I took my car to the tire store to have the snow tires put on.  They are on rims so it was what they called a "switch," not a mount and balance (which is much more expensive).  I forgot to check the tire pressure before I put the tires in the trunk of my car and decided to check it when I got home.  Also, I have a tire pressure monitoring system on that car which is fairly accurate (but all TPMS I have are glitchy and tend to read low).

After waiting a bit (the weather is turning and lots of people are putting on snow tires) I got my car back and drove home.  As I pulled into the driveway each tire on the TPMS read around 37 psi.  The recommended pressure is 30 psi.  I grumbled.  It seems (at least around here) every tire store over-inflates your tires.  So later in the day I went out and lowered the pressure to 30 (which is probably a bit high considering how cold it was; see below).

Tire Rack, whom I pretty much trust for all things tire related, says over-inflation is bad for a number of reasons:
An overinflated tire is stiff and unyielding and the size of its footprint in contact with the road is reduced. If a vehicle's tires are overinflated by 6 psi, they could be damaged more easily when running over potholes or debris in the road. Higher inflated tires cannot isolate road irregularities well, causing them to ride harsher.
Some people think over-inflating tires gives them better gas mileage.  But it doesn't.  Also, you can wear out your tire faster I've been told because the center will be taking more of the load and the middle will go bald faster than the edges.

Some people think the tire pressure listed on the tire is what they should be inflated to but that's the maximum tire pressure the tire can handle, not the recommended pressure.  Cars weigh different amounts so the same tire on a different car could have a different manufacturer's recommended tire pressure.  Always check your owner's manual or newer cars have a sticker on the driver's side door jamb.  Also, if you inflate your tires to that maximum pressure, then go drive 100 miles at 60 mph, the tire pressure will increase due to heat and, bam, you have a blowout!

The problem is, measuring tire pressure is tricky business.  Pressure depends on three factors: the amount of air in the tire, the size of the tire, and the temperature of the air (I discussed this relationship in great nauseating detail here).  Now the size of the tire is constant but the temperature changes.  The manufacture's recommended tire pressure is the "cold" pressure.  But cold doesn't mean "cold" it means "not hot."  Again, from Tire Rack:
Set according to the vehicle manufacturer's cold tire pressure(s) recommended on the vehicle's tire placard or in its owner's manual. This must be done before rising ambient temperatures, the sun's radiant heat or even driving short distances temporarily warms the tires.
(I once checked my tire pressure with one side of the car in the sun and once side in the shade and I was shocked at the difference.)  And then there's a bunch of correction factors for temperature listed.  They never say what the optimum ambient temperature is but I suspect it's about 68 degrees F (20 degrees C).

Now, if you drive 100 miles at 70 mph, your psi will be about 2-3 pounds higher.  That's okay.  That's designed into the pressure and the design of the tire.  If you start your car and it's 20 degrees F out your psi could be 3-4 pound low.  Again, once the car gets moving the tires will warm up and that'll get them to the right pressure.  You can't always maintain the correct pressure of 30 psi (or whatever is recommended for your vehicle).  But you should try to get close with a good tire pressure gauge (I don't recommend the "stick" kind, not accurate enough).  Your tires will thank you.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Apple Cup Win for Washington

With yesterday's Apple Cup victory over the Washington State Cougars, the University of Washington Huskies improve to 8-4, their best record since 2001.  This puts them firmly in 3rd place of the Pac-12 North (after Stanford and Oregon) and 6th overall.  Okay, not great but for a team that went 0-12 just 5 years ago, that's not too shabby.  It is, of course, worse than I had hoped at the beginning of the season.  One problem is, the Pac-12 is strong this year.  For instance, of the 12 teams in the Pac-12, five are ranked and we played four of them (our four losses).  But, there was a time this season the Huskies were ranked #15, before hitting the meat grinder in the middle of their schedule playing Stanford, Oregon, then Arizona State (the other loss was to UCLA).

The Huskies are, however, inconsistent.  Last week against Oregon State, going in as underdogs, there were brilliant.  Yesterday they were dodgy the first half and came out the second half and dominated the Cougs for a 27-17 victory.  So if coach Steve Sarkisian is going to work on anything, it's got to be consistency.  Yes, he's done amazing things with this program (there was a time that if the Huskies were losing, and they usually were, they'd give up about half-way through the third quarter).  But he need to work more and get his talented team working more consistently.  And he needs to stop relying so much on Bishop Sankey.

As you can tell I'm a die-hard Huskies fan.  I'd love to see this team return to the glory of the 1990s.  We keep hoping "next year" looking at the talent of the younger players.  Maybe Sarkisian is the problem.  Maybe he can only bring the Huskies this far and to complete the journey to national dominance they need a different leader.  I don't know.

One more game this season: a bowl game against whom no one knows (I saw one prediction it would be against BYU).  Then we wait, again, for "next year."

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The End of NaNoWriMo is Just the Beginning

So it's November 27th and there are three (including today) days left in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).  You are probably getting toward the end if you aren't there already.  Personally, I'm at 54,615 and I'm sticking a fork in it and calling it "done."

So, we hope, you have pounded out 50,000 words (at least) by Saturday (I know, it'll be hard tomorrow; why they put NaNoWriMo in November with a major holiday in the U.S. I have no idea).  So now what?

I hate to tell you that you're maybe about half-way done with the work.

At the beginning of NaNoWriMo you signed an "Agreement and Statement of Understanding" which states, in part:
During the month ahead I realize I will produce clunky dialogue, clichéd characters, and deeply flawed plots.  I agree that all of these things will be left in my rough draft, to be corrected and/or excised at a later point.
But I think a lot of NaNoWriMo participants forget the last part: "to be corrected and/or excised at a later point."  They hammer out a first draft and think they are done.  They aren't.

Here's what I plan to do with my NaNoWriMo writings:
  1. Let it sit a bit and "fester."  At least a week (the longer the better).
  2. Re-read and proofread and edit.
  3. Let it sit a bit and fester some more.  Another week, at least.
  4. Re-read, proofread, and edit.  Yes, again.
  5. Get as many people as I can to proofread and edit it for me.  They will see things I won't (if you read this blog you know what a lousy proofreader I am!).
  6. Have it read to me.  This is a great way to hear bad writing.  Make changes as you go.  (Also, the person reading will also see typos that were missed before.)
  7. Edit it again.
  8. Send to betas and incorporate any suggestions they have you think is valid.
  9. Smile, because now it's done (three or four months later).
If you are planning to self-publish, you might want to after step 8 have it professionally edited by someone you pay (yes, you have to pay).  If you have a publisher, they should edit it.

But please do not think that after hammering out 50,000 words of "clunky dialogue, clichéd characters, and deeply flawed plots" you are done.  That's the easy part.  If you want to be a writer, you have to finish the work and do it correctly.  The end of NaNoWriMo is just the beginning of your work.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

High Hopes

When I was a kid my mother used to sing songs a lot as she worked around the house.  I thought she made them up because they were so silly no one else would have thought of them (like Mairzy Doats).  One song talked about "high hopes."  And "high hopes" was what us University of Washington Husky fans had for this football season.  And to be honest, at the beginning of the season, it looked that way.  Opening day in the new Husky Stadium we were underdogs to Boise State and beat them soundly.  We went on to a 4-0 record, the best start we'd had in years.  We were ranked nationally at #15.

Then came Stanford, Oregon, and Arizona State.  When we played Stanford, they were ranked #5 and I still think a bad call cost us the chance to win that game.  Then we had to play the Phil Knight Ducks, who were at the time ranked #2.  I didn't get to see the game but all accounts said the Huskies held their own until the fourth quarter.  Then we played Arizona State who, I thought, we should be able to beat.  We got killed in a blow-out.  In our defense, this was the first game of ASU's surge to go on and win the Pac-12 South title and be currently ranked #12 in the AP poll.

So now we were 4-3.  We beat a hapless California, destroyed Colorado (even pulling out our first stringers), and then lost to #13 UCLA.  We were 6-4, barely bowl eligible.

Then came our game over Oregon State last Saturday and, as I said, where was this team all year?

So going into the annual Apple Cup cross-state rivalry game against Washington State Cougars, we are 7-4.  We are in third place in the Pac-12 North (after Stanford and Oregon) and tied for 6th in the Pac-12 overall (tied with Arizona who we beat).  Yes, we could have been better but with a very strong Pac-12, it would have been tough.

If we win the Apple Cup against the Cougars we will be 8-4, barely an improvement on the 7-5 we've been the past three years.  If we lose the Apple Cup (and anything can happen with the Apple Cup) we'll be 7-5 again.

The good news is, in the Colorado and Oregon State games we played a lot of second stringers and they look good and are young players who will be starters in future years.  Because starting quarterback Keith Price was injured in the UCLA game, back up quarterback (and probable starter next year) redshirt freshman Cyler Miles looked great against the Beavers.

So, once again, I'm am saying "Maybe next year."  Seems I've been saying that for 20 years or so, now.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Where Was This Team All Season?

I have to admit I was more than a little worried going into last night's University of Washington Huskies football game against the Oregon Beavers.  Both teams had the same records: 6-4.  But the Huskies had not won a game on the road against a Pac-12 opponent in recent memory.  Add to that that starting quarterback Keith Price was not going to start due to an injury he sustained in last week's horrible loss to UCLA (adding injury to insult).

Apparently I needn't have worried.  From the opening kickoff the Huskies dominated.  Back up quarterback Cyler Miles (a redshirt freshman) performed exceptionally well (much better then when we took over at UCLA) and Bishop Sankey ran for 179 yards and three touchdowns.  Toward the end of the third quarter Miles was using an arsenal of weapons: up and coming players who will help the Huskies be a better team next year.

The hapless Beavers didn't score a point until the fourth quarter when the Huskies had who-know-how-many second and third-string players on the field, including their third-string quarterback.  And the Huskies still managed to score, almost without trying very hard, it seemed.  The final score was 69-27.

If this team has shown up at UCLA last week, they could have won.  They would have had a chance against Stanford or Oregon and maybe not have lost to a resurgent Arizona State (who last night won the Pac-12 South championship with a victory of UCLA).  If this Husky team shows up next week, an Apple Cup victory against Washington State will be a assured.

The Huskies have gone 7-5 the past four years.  They are now 7-4 so a win Friday against WSU would improve their record to 8-4.  Not a great improvement but as good as Cyler Miles and other young players looked last night, the Huskies might be in for great things next year, even against what will probably be still, a very strong Pac-12 North.

Last night's win puts Washington in the third position in the Pac-12 North behind top-10 teams Oregon and Stanford.

(In other good news, the Phil Knight Ducks lost to Arizona yesterday, which should knock them out of BCS contention.  Yes, that's pure schadenfreude but when it comes to Oregon, I'm guilty.)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Guest Book Excerpt: Luke Murphy

Luke Murphy
Today, once again, we are featuring author Luke Murphy on our blog.  Monday we had an interview with Luke, Wednesday a guest blog on marketing, and today we feature an excerpt from his debut novel Dead Man's Hand.  You can find Luke on Facebook and Twitter and learn more at his website.

Please enjoy this excerpt from Dead Man's Hand:


At exactly 6:15 p.m. on a Sunday, Calvin Watters parked his rusted Ford Taurus across the street from a vacant house. Climbing out, he put on a pair of sunglasses and scanned the neighborhood for any movement or potential hazards.
He moved to the back of the car and opened the dented trunk. It creaked in the still night as it slowly swung up. He pulled out a worn black leather case and slid it under his vest. Then he closed the trunk and headed for the door.

He'd been using the rundown house in the red-light district of Las Vegas as his workshop for three years. It suited his purpose. No interruptions, no inquisitive neighbors. Even the local police avoided the area.

He checked the perimeter again. At six-five and 220 pounds, with tattooed arms and gold chains dangling around his thick, muscular neck, a black man like him just didn't go unnoticed in Las Vegas.
The street was silent as he approached the house. Weeds sprang from cracks in the sidewalk and shattered liquor bottles blocked the entrance. The barred windows were broken and the screen door had been ripped off its hinges. His sense of smell no longer reacted to the stench of urine and vomit.

Calvin surveyed the area one last time. Extreme caution was one of the reasons he had succeeded in the business for so long. His habits had kept him alive. Satisfied no one had seen him, he trudged his way up the walk.
Even though he was the best in the business and had once enjoyed the adrenaline rush that came with the trade, the next part of the job made his skin crawl. His goal was to save the money he needed to get away, start over, but he didn’t know if he could last on the job long enough. That uncertainty made his life even harder.

He unlocked the door, stepped inside and shut it behind him. Heading for the basement, he took a narrow set of wooden stairs that creaked as he descended into darkness. His dreadlocks scraped cobwebs along the rough ceiling. He flicked the switch and a low-watt bulb cast dim light.
The tiny room had almost no furniture. The bare concrete floor was dirty and stained with dried blood. In the middle of the room, a lone wooden chair—double nailed to the floor—was occupied.

"Hello, James," Calvin said, his face expressionless.
James Pierce stared at him through bulging, fear-filled eyes.

"Sorry about the bump on the head, but I couldn't have you conscious when I moved you here."
When Calvin removed the case from his vest, he saw Pierce's pant leg moisten.

"I’m sure you’re wondering why your shoes and socks are off and your pant legs rolled up. We’ll get to that."
He laid the case on a small table, strategically placed next to the chair. "There's only one way out," he said, snapping open the lid. He knew his hostage saw one thing when he looked at him—professionally trained brutality.

He checked his watch. Pierce had been there for four hours. The waiting and anticipation alone were more than most men could handle. They often begged for their lives. It was a very effective method.
He stared at Pierce for a long moment and then turned away, his stomach churning.

Get a grip, Calvin! Hurry up and get it over with before you change your mind.
And lose the reputation he'd spent three years building.

He ripped the duct tape from the man's mouth and pulled out the old rag. "Time for me to collect."
Pierce gasped, breathing in air greedily. "Please, Calvin. I beg you. Don't do this."

"You're a degenerate gambler, James. Your expensive hobby and inability to pay has put you here. You knew the rules. They were laid out well in advance."
"No! Please…"

Calvin tried to block out the man's cries. A sudden dizziness overwhelmed him and he grabbed the chair to steady himself. Finish the job. "You know how this works." He stared at Pierce.
"I promise I'll pay. Just give me one more day. Please."

"You knew the rules. You've already had an extra week, James. You're lucky Mr. Pitt is a forgiving man, more forgiving than I am. He’s only counting that week as one day late. But if you aren't in his office tomorrow morning with all the money, you'll be seeing me again. Every late day will count as two. And I won't be so nice next time."
"I'll pay." Pierce sobbed.

Calvin heaved a sigh. "Relax. It'll all be over soon."
He leaned over the table. For effect, he took his time as he opened the leather case and removed the tools of his trade. "One day, one joint."

This was when most of them broke down all the way. And Pierce didn't disappoint him. A scream boiled from the man's belly and erupted like a relentless siren.
Calvin ignored Pierce as best he could. There were 206 bones in the human skeleton. A pro had trained him to use them all.

"Hammer or pipe cutter?"
"God, no!"

"Hammer or pipe cutter?" He threw a punch at Pierce's jaw, sending bloody spit into the air.
"Hammer!" Pierce screamed.

"Finger or toe?"
Pierce squeezed his eyes shut. "Toe."

Calvin stuffed the dirty rag back into the man's mouth. He turned and pressed play on the radio resting on the table, turning the volume up a few notches, careful not to bring attention to the house. The pounding, vibrating beat from Metallica not only drowned out his prey's moans of pain, but the sound took him back to his glory days. He removed a ball-peen hammer from the pouch and moved in on his quarry’s bare feet.
"Toe it is then."

He got down on one knee and lifted the hammer above his head.

After Pierce had passed out from the pain, Calvin checked the man's breathing and then entered an adjoining room that could be locked from the inside. On one side, the shelves were piled with canned or packaged food and beverage containers. He had stored several months' worth of supplies in case he ever came under siege and was trapped.
His complete arsenal hung on the other side. He'd been collecting weapons for three years, purchasing them where he could when he had saved some money. Now the arsenal was almost complete and in his mind, quite impressive. The arsenal had been developed for defensive purposes only.

He had never carried a gun as a collector, but now he selected a weapon for his trip. Something small enough to conceal, but at his ready in case he ran into a nosy cop or former client.
He checked on Pierce again as he left the bomb shelter and moved upstairs to his computer. Once the computer booted up, he hacked into a couple of restricted sites, trying to find any mention of his name by a babbling client or angry competitor. Seeing nothing, he switched over to the LVMPD site to make sure Rachel was staying clean. He checked up on her three times a week. He wouldn't let her slip up.

He logged off and documented his latest collection, noting the methods that worked with Pierce, as well as times and techniques. All of the information was added to a file that spanned three years.
Shutting down the computer, he returned to the basement. He transported Pierce to the gambler's blood-red sedan, which Calvin had parked by the river. He knew that within the hour James would wake up and drive home. What would he tell his wife? There was no worry about Pierce ever relaying this incident to anyone else. Calvin was sure of that.

As he drove back to his workshop, he let out a soft groan. "I need out."
Dead Man's Hand
What happens when the deck is stacked against you…
From NFL rising-star prospect to wanted fugitive, Calvin Watters is a sadistic African-American Las Vegas debt-collector framed by a murderer who, like the Vegas Police, finds him to be the perfect fall-guy.
…and the cards don't fall your way?
When the brutal slaying of a prominent casino owner is followed by the murder of a well-known bookie, Detective Dale Dayton is thrown into the middle of a highly political case and leads the largest homicide investigation in Vegas in the last twelve years.
What if you're dealt a Dead Man's Hand?
Against his superiors and better judgment, Dayton is willing to give Calvin one last chance. To redeem himself, Calvin must prove his innocence by finding the real killer, while avoiding the LVMPD, as well as protect the woman he loves from a professional assassin hired to silence them.
"You may want to give it the whole night, just to see how it turns out."
—William Martin, New York Times bestselling author of The Lincoln Letter
"Dead Man's Hand is a pleasure, a debut novel that doesn't read like one,
but still presents original characters and a fresh new voice."
—Thomas Perry, New York Times bestselling author of Poison Flower
"Part police procedural, part crime fiction, Dead Man's Hand is a fast, gritty ride."
—Anne Frasier, USA Today bestselling author of Hush
And you can find Dead Man's Hand at

Thursday, November 21, 2013

NaNoWriMo Seems to Work

Yes, I was, (and still am a bit) a NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) skeptic.  I said it didn't think it was a good idea to encourage people to write just for writing's sake.  And yes, I still think a lot of bad fiction will come out of NaNoWriMo and a lot of it might be self-published without proper editing/re-writing.

But, having said that, I think now, since I'm participating in NaNoWriMo, it does have value.  I participated in NaNoWriMo due to peer pressure.  My local writing group is very much into it so I decided to go along although I was already 40,000 words into a planned 60,000 word WIP (Work in Progress).  So I have been cheating a bit (I'm on my third "WIP" in November).

But, here is the thing that I think makes NaNoWriMo a fairly good idea: one of the hardest parts for a lot of would be (and established) writers is sitting down and actually writing.  You have great plans but to write it is tough.  So many distractions and self-doubts get in the way.  NaNoWriMo gives you an excuse to say, "to heck with it, I'm writing."  And it has worked for me.  I have written two things I may not have ever written if it weren't for NaNoWriMo, both ideas I've had bouncing around my head for a while.  When I finished those (both short stories about 5,000 words long) I was floundering around for something else to write because I was still short of 50,000 words by more than 10,000 words.  So I latched onto something I wrote and posted here a long time ago and decided to continue the story (I am not counting the 509 words posted on this blog in my NaNoWriMo total).  That is now at 7,787 words and no where near the end.  I'll probably get to 50,000 total words in a couple of days and still have more to write on that story (I need a conflict to arise and soon).

Why am I bothering?  Because I don't want to let down my local MLs (municipal liaison) who are friends.  I don't want to let down my local writers' group, which is full of friends.  Yes, it's the peer pressure to write and it works.  (This is, they have found, why people in wars will risk their lives: they don't want to let down their unit which probably contains friends and at least contains peers.)

So, what NaNoWriMo seems to do is to get you to actually write.  But, what it does that I don't like it is gets a lot of people to write badly.

However, writing badly is the first step to writing well.  So that, in itself is not horrible, as long as those books don't end up on the Kindle and damaging the reputation of all writers.

So I've gone from being a complete NaNoWriMo skeptic to an adherent.  Well, sort of.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Guest Post: Luke Murphy

Luke Murphy
Today we welcome back Luke Murphy who we are featuring all week.  Monday we had an interview with Luke and Friday we'll have an excerpt from his novel Dead Man's Hand.  You can find Luke on Facebook and Twitter and learn more at his website.

Today we have a guest post from Luke on marketing, something I think all writers and readers would be interested in.  So please welcome once again, Luke Murphy:

Marketing my Debut Novel

It can be said with near certainty that I didn’t follow the path of the average writer. As a child, I never dreamed of writing a best-seller, never aspired to write the next classic novel, I wanted to be an NHL superstar…period. Unfortunately injuries shortened my career to only four games with the Florida Panthers in 1999 and a six-year career in the minor leagues, so I needed to find a new path.

From a family of avid readers, even as a child, I always had a passion for books. Whether it was reading novels on road trips or writing assignments in school, literature was always part of my life.

In the winter of 2000, after sustaining a season ending eye injury while playing professional hockey in Oklahoma City, I found myself with a lot of time on my hands, and a new hobby emerged.

I didn’t write with the intention of being published. I wrote for the love of writing, as a hobby. I continued to hobby write through the years, honing my craft, making time between work and family obligations.

Then I made a decision to take my interest one step further. I’ve never been one to take things lightly or jump in half way. I took a full year off from writing to study the craft.

I constantly read, from novels in my favorite genres to books written by experts in the writing field. My first two purchases were Stein on Writing, a book written by successful editor Sol Stein, and Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King.

I read through these novels and highlighted important answers to my questions. My major breakthrough from Stein’s book was to “Show don’t Tell”. I had to trust my readers. I even wrote that phrase on a sticky note and put it on my computer monitor.

The Self-Editing book helped me learn how to cut the FAT off my manuscript, eliminating unnecessary details, making it more lean and crisp, with a better flow. I learned to cut repetition and remain consistent throughout the novel.

I continually researched the internet, reading up on the industry and process “What is selling?” and “Who is buying?” were my two major questions.

I attended the “Bloody Words” writing conference in Ottawa, Canada, rubbing elbows with other writers, editors, agents and publishers. I made friends (published and unpublished authors), bombarding them with questions, learning what it took to become successful.

Feeling that I was finally prepared, in the winter of 2007, with an idea in mind and an outline on paper, I started to write DEAD MAN`S HAND.

My marketing started with the writing of my book. I always had a plan, an idea of the plot, but now I had to think about the characters and setting.

I wanted characters who readers could relate to. Characters that were real, not fictional to the point of unbelievable. My protagonist, Calvin Watters, is as real as they come, with faults and weaknesses like us all. Because of my sports background, I wanted Calvin to also have an athletic background. I was a pro hockey player, but I decided that hockey would be fine for a Canadian fan base, but I wanted to cater worldwide, so I chose football. I believe that more people follow football than hockey.

For the setting, I needed a major market in the United States that people would want to read about, so I chose Sin City, Las Vegas. Everyone is interested in this fast-paced, party-all-night lifestyle and city that is party-central.

But in today’s society, most people don’t realize that writing a book is more than just putting a good story down on paper. I learned this quickly. Agents and publishers want someone with a “platform”, someone who already has a fan base and is guaranteed to sell books. It’s risky for a publisher to take a chance on a new writer, because there is no telling how many books they will sell, no matter how good that book may be.

In 1999 I graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology with a degree in Marketing, so I felt I had a running start at promoting my work.

It took me two years (working around full time jobs) to complete the first draft of my novel.

The first person to read my completed manuscript was my former high school English teacher. With her experience and wisdom, she gave me some very helpful advice. I then hired McCarthy Creative Services to help edit DEAD MAN’S HAND, to make it the best possible novel.

I joined a critique group, teaming up with published authors Nadine Doolittle and Kathy Leveille, and exchanging manuscripts and information. Working with an editor and other authors was very rewarding and not only made my novel better, but made me a better writer.

When I was ready, I researched agents who fit my criteria (successful, worked with my genres, etc.) and sent out query letters. After six months of rejections, I pulled my manuscript back and worked on it again. Then in my next round of proposals, I was offered representation by the Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency.

After months of editing with Jennifer, and more rejections from publishers, my dream was finally realized in April, 2012, when I signed a publishing contract with Imajin Books (Edmonton, Alberta).

Once my publishing contract was signed, then the real work began, building my “platform”. I knew that when I signed on with a smaller publisher that the bulk of the promotion load would fall on my shoulders, and I accepted that.

I did four things quickly: created my own website, started a blog, and opened a Facebook page and Twitter account.

Now, I have been fortunate to have had many jobs in my life, jobs that have created interest in not only myself, but what I do.

Here are some things I did next:

-        I scribed a letter to all of my email contacts (2500) and all of my FB friends (2500).

-        I scribed a letter for all of the media outlets (radio, TV, print) in the cities where I played hockey, or have contacts. One of the benefits of playing professional hockey was that I went through a lot of interviews with personalities in all forms of media.

-        I picked out the site for my launch party and spoke with the owner about it.

-        I played hockey for teams and leagues all over North America, creating a fan base in a variety of cities, and also worked in hockey camps, so I already had some followers that I contacted.

-        I was a reporter on the radio for a couple of years after retiring from hockey, and my radio reporting was a presence on the web as well as in radio.

-        My sports column, Overtime, which was a main feature in The Pontiac Equity, not only had a following but helped in writing concise and exciting prose.

-        I composed a list of local stores for potential book signings

-        I compiled a list of local stores to sell my book

Next I picked out my target audience and searched the web for them:

-        Thriller readers looking for an atypical thriller hero—an African-American who is no saint.

-        Sports fans will be fascinated by Watters’ struggle to recover his decency and win, a kind of Blind Side story with little sentimentality and few illusions.

-        A Las Vegas setting—the world of The Hangover movies and many youth films like Bridesmaids—will appeal to 20s-30s readers.

-        Watters’ romance with a former prostitute will appeal to younger female readers.  The marital tension between Detective Dayton and his wife will interest adults. Both men and women will enjoy the twist on the femme fatale figure of the murderer’s lover, who has her own schemes.

-        Lovers of history, as the term, “Dead Man’s Hand”, is a legend dating back to the Wild West of the 1800’s.

I started creating relationships on the internet through Facebook and Twitter. I met not only authors, but fans of the genres I write.

When my book was released in October, 2012, I felt I had a solid foundation to stand on, but I still had a long way to go.

I contacted media for interviews, held book signings, joined shows and blog toured. I contacted anyone who wrote a blog and asked about being a guest. I joined Pinterest, Linkedin, and Google +, as well as sites created to support Indie authors. I did anything I could to get my name out there, get my book in front of readers.

My publisher set up special promotions where my book was FREE on Amazon for certain periods of time. All of this was done to increase my following, and expand the awareness of my book on a worldwide scale. This will hopefully lead to future sales with not only my debut novel, but subsequent books.

I’ve been happy with the result thus far, but I don’t have anything to compare it to. I feel that the more books I write, the more success I will have. The more I get out there, the more excitement and interest is garnered.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint. J
Dead Man's Hand
What happens when the deck is stacked against you…
From NFL rising-star prospect to wanted fugitive, Calvin Watters is a sadistic African-American Las Vegas debt-collector framed by a murderer who, like the Vegas Police, finds him to be the perfect fall-guy.
…and the cards don't fall your way?
When the brutal slaying of a prominent casino owner is followed by the murder of a well-known bookie, Detective Dale Dayton is thrown into the middle of a highly political case and leads the largest homicide investigation in Vegas in the last twelve years.
What if you're dealt a Dead Man's Hand?
Against his superiors and better judgment, Dayton is willing to give Calvin one last chance. To redeem himself, Calvin must prove his innocence by finding the real killer, while avoiding the LVMPD, as well as protect the woman he loves from a professional assassin hired to silence them.
"You may want to give it the whole night, just to see how it turns out."
—William Martin, New York Times bestselling author of The Lincoln Letter
"Dead Man's Hand is a pleasure, a debut novel that doesn't read like one,
but still presents original characters and a fresh new voice."
—Thomas Perry, New York Times bestselling author of Poison Flower
"Part police procedural, part crime fiction, Dead Man's Hand is a fast, gritty ride."
—Anne Frasier, USA Today bestselling author of Hush
And you can find Dead Man's Hand at