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Showing posts from February, 2017

Laika: Poor Soviet Space Dog

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The sequel to Judging Angels is about Laika. Sort of.
Laika was shot into space by the Soviet Union in November of 1957, when I was just three months old. She was a stray, probably part Samoyed, and part Terrier. She was the first animal to orbit the Earth.
The Soviets, however, did not give Laika a round-trip ticket. The circumstances of her demise was long a secret, and too sad to relate here.
The world is full of Laikas: people other people shoot off into the worst places in the world, and they can never come back. Not really. Laikas are the abandoned people who can do nothing to help themselves.
Laikas are waiting for a hero. 
Is there a part of you that is moved by Laika's tale, and wish there was something you could do to give it a happy ending? The sequel's theme is that moment when you realize you're working for the worst people in the world, and decide to rescue as many Laikas as you can. It pulls back for a wider picture of the events begun in the first novel, …

Meet Joey Catania: the Catania Elephant

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Joey was not in the Navy, although he had tailored Navy uniforms he seldom wore, but wore well when he did. His business card read, “CDR Joseph Catania, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, Environmental Health Officer.”

He reported only to the Surgeon General of the United States.

Yeah, I know. "Surgeon General" just screams thrills and intrigue. And who wouldn't be interested in the adventures of an Environmental Health Officer? Radon gas discovered in some mortadella's house!

Sure, for the sequel to Judging Angels I could have picked the CIA, or Seal Team Six or something. It would write itself. What can anyone do with Joycelen Elders?

But, that's exactly what they want you to think.

Does it help if Joey used to be known as l'Elefante di Catania?

When you're a fixer for your boss, who is himself a fixer for your mutual associates, there might be a bump or two in the dark after all. Even for an "Environmental Health Officer."

Just …

The God of Crows

First of all, I'm really excited about the tens of visitors to this blog. Hey, it's getting more traffic than St. Corbinian's Bear, a Curious Entertainment for Catholic Ladies and Gentlemen of Discriminating Tastes, did at first. (See sidebar.)

Some may wonder what I'm up to. (Probably not, but let's pretend.)

While JA is still in editing, I have been hard at work on a sequel, working title, "Departed for a Season." This is how the King James Version describes the devil's retreat after tempting Jesus. A holy man once said something to the effect that, "You will struggle against sins of the flesh until the day you die. Even then you will struggle against them."

A little holy hyperbole, no doubt. I think he was Orthodox.

You never beat temptation. The devil may flee if you resist, but you can bet he'll be back, having only departed for a season.

The definition of an optimist is writing a sequel before the first book is even published. I…

What's Up with the Death Penalty?

The Role of the Death Penalty in Judging Angels
I am a former death penalty lawyer. I am in what has to be a very small club of lawyers who have both prosecuted and defended death penalty cases. Naturally, there are sorta elements of the death penalty included in Judging Angels.

Judging Angels does not take a position. Those who might be expected to be against the death penalty are. It is not a theme, nor is any effort made to resolve it as a moral or political question.
The protagonist is not even practicing law. There are no trials, and the line between good guys and bad guys... gets scuffed.
If it makes any real point about murder cases, it is that prosecutors and defense lawyers both (and the profession in general) might put the macho image aside and address the effect a decades-long diet of mayhem and murder is having on their psyches.
Some Thoughts on the Death Penalty
But since the question is reasonably on the table, let me give my thoughts. No one was ever persuaded on this mat…

In the Beginning

Judging Angels starts with a short, portentous sentence that has more than one meaning. Perhaps Catholics will understand.

"It was a day of very last things."

What does it mean to be human? To live, to love, to try to do the right thing and fail, because everything is against you? And, yes, to die? "Last things" indeed.

Judging Angels is about playing the game called "Being a Human" on hard mode. Everything is a puzzle, including identities, and characters may not be who they think they are.

Also, what does the criminal justice system do when 2 + 2 = 5 no matter how many times it adds up the numbers? I am a death penalty defense lawyer, after all, so you can expect a dollop of police procedural whipped cream on this puzzling pie.

What is the real story? The exciting adventure/crime narrative that propels the characters along a dark road of self-discovery? Why are main characters constantly warned about "the real story?"

What is your "real s…

Status and Beware of WHAT?

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Judging Angels status: in editing. I'm guessing a May roll out date.

More to come. In the meantime, one finds the strangest things our our place. Like this pizza delivery box. Oh, how I would love to know the story behind this!