Friday, March 22, 2013

What are you having with your cereal?

Sorry for the pun in the title. Couldn't refuse myself at leat one today.

Starting Monday morning, my twelve-year old novel, The Uncivil War is going to be released as a serial novel at Venture Galleries. This is the third release of a serial novel for me and a few of my writer friends have asked, “Why do it?  Aren’t you taking money out of your pocket?”  The answer is at once both yes and no.

Yes, the books are free to read at the publisher’s web site.  And daily you can get a new chapter— or in the case of long chapters, at least a meaningful portion to keep you going until the next day. And should you miss a day, or a week for that matter, you can always go back and pick up the sections you skipped.  All free. No charge.

But the no part of the answer comes in from the increased sales of books that the serial novels deliver. It seems that when a serial is running, readers discover me and my other works. And they go to the appropriate retailers and buy them. So while we give a few words away for free, they seem to whisper into the readers’ ears to buy more. God bless America. Marketing works.

But speaking of America, I was blown away to discover recently that my work has gone to something like 47 foreign countries. (Now I am sure that I have bastardized the English language well enough to confuse some very well-meaning folks out there. Sorry.) I have even sold books in China. Not sure Mao would have approved, but then again I was never impressed with his Little Red Book all that much.

I thought The Man on the Grassy Knoll would be one of the favorites overseas, but Stuff is leading the way. Go figure.

So the freebies coming to you by way of my publisher, Venture Galleries, are also a good marketing tool to get folks, like yourselves reading my work (and by the way, other authors listed with the publisher that you can find on their web site, as well.) As my good Friend Stephen Woodfin says, “Keep publishing, Crawley. You’re helping my sales.”  And so it goes.

Look for The Uncivil War starting Monday, March 25th. On this Sunday will be a blog at their site ( about how the story and the research all came together. Enjoy.

And keep Reading.

Just as a bit of news, look for a new novel from me later this summer – Fishing Lessons. It will be something quite different from me, I promise.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

What is good for the goose is good for the gander.

One of my kids recently decided to move. She and her boyfriend found an apartment to rent and went to see the owner about it. Dogs?  Okay.  Cats?  That too was fine. BUT…”You two aren’t married…I have a problem renting to people who are not married. What if you break up?”  This after they have been together close to 8 years.

Then my daughter finds out this guy is gay.  How dare him be that insensitive toward a couple living outside of matrimony. He and his partner are as well. What gives him the right to judge? It is backward discrimination. He, of all people, should have a more open mind about people living together who are committed to each other.

It is time all discrimination end. Discrimination against gays. Discrimination against lesbians. Discrimination against blacks and Hispanics and Jews and even two white kids who decide to live together rather than get married.

So Mr. Landlord, if you want your freedoms in Texas…if you want to have us support your right to get married…if you want your rights as a couple…then you award those same rights to others who are not like you. That is what you have been asking for, start living it as well.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

An open letter to all osteriches.

Yesterday I posted a chart about the warming of planet Earth. A group of scientists believe that we may be warming at an alarming rate. Perhaps fifty times what we are used to seeing in the cooling cycle of the planet for the last 100 years or so. 50 times. So it is not that we are just going through a hot spell. That I can understand. But we are getting hotter by fifty times a greater degree than we are cooling down.

But still certain people scoff. Others bury their heads.

Then I added pieces about beef and grape production suffering. I could have picked other industries in the agricultural system, but those two will do just fine to explain what is going on.

Texas is inside a five-to seven-year drought cycle. Yes, it has happened before. We are an arid section of the country. At least part of the state is. But Texas and the Southwest have undergone this drought for so long that the water tables are being affected. We have more people using the same resources as before, only now we’re pulling more and more water from the ground. When a major beef producing processing plant closes because there are no more cattle to feed it, and when grape production begins to limit the amount of wine bottled, then the climate change has had an impact. As water resources dry up, we are going to see more and more crops in trouble. Farmers in the Tran-Pecos range of Texas say that cantaloupe production could be in short supply again this year. Crop yield was down for the third straight year last year. Corn could be in the same boat. Last year was one of the poorest production years for corn in the last 100 years. Corm futures look so dim that Maker’s Mark whiskey (a corm-based Bourbon from Kentucky has decided to change their recipe after a century and dilute their beverage because they can’t make enough from the corn mash available to them.) Hey, it is one thing to cut into my wine supply, but when you cut into my whiskey supply, you’ve got my attention.

So let’s pretend it is just a cycle. It will go away. We have nothing to worry about. Just some liberals trying to get fossil fuels banned — right? They are just troublemakers and all this will come back. Good as it was! Okay. No worry.

Now, lets suppose they are right — that Greenland is truly melting away and that glaciers that have been with us for centuries and centuries are melting away at an alarming rate?  Big deal. Nobody really lives on Greenland. And glaciers are nice for national parks and for cruise ships to visit, but what’s the big deal?

But you start to limit beef production and wine production and cantaloupe production — you cut into citrus fruit and apples and wheat and corn production not to mention rice and other commodities… soon, with a 7.07 billion humans on the planet to feed, you’ve got a real problem. And forget about feeding them much. Once they eat, they have to wash it down with something. Water is getting more and more scarce.

We have to do something about this. It may go away. (I don’t think so. Not without a lot of help from us.) But if this trend continues, Earth is in for a very rough ride. And its passengers are going to feel every bump. Water riots. Food riots, corn and burger wars…sounds like science fiction, but it could become a reality. People will do crazy things when they get hungry and thirsty. Wars have been fought over far less important things…things like religion, for example.

So it is time we quit making this a political issue. Time we get off the fence and start looking for real answers to help turn this trend back the other way. Even if the scientists are wrong (which they are not) the idea of protecting our planet and making it work for all of us in generations to come is vital.

The new Pope could play a real important part in this. We need real, honest incredibly sensible birth control around the world. And it is time the Mother Church got out of the way and became less a part of the problem and more a part of the solution.

This new information isn’t about the climate change issues you stuff into your mind. It is about the lack of food to stuff into your gut.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Money for nothing

It is reported today that the U.S. will release 200+ million dollars to Egypt. And that's out of $400 million we have ear marked for that country — and yet we have to have a sequester to find funds to run our own country. Does anyone else see a problem here?

It is timer we stop trying to buy friends around the globe and rebuild America from within. Our infrastructure needs it. Our people need it. Our deficit needs it.