Instruments of torture?
Carrie York, DDS
NPS and federal agents discovered and eradicated six illegal marijuana fields in North Cascades National Park Complex in 2008, a scene you won't see anymore now that pot's legal in Washington.
Credit: David Snyder/National Park Service
GREG GILBERT / THE SEATTLE TIMES
Will books like this help indie authors make money?
Photo Credit: Manoj Vasanth, Flickr
The Old Library, Muntmuseum of Utrecht, The Netherlands
ONI headquarters in Suitland, Md.
Slightly smaller than a standard HK45, the HK45C has all the same features.
An SH-60B Seahawk helicopter and SH-60F Seahawk prepare to land on the flight deck of USS Kitty Hawk.
May 15, 2013
Total darkness forced Tess to rely on her other senses. She practically had to feel her way around, but fortunately she was in familiar territory. She scrabbled toward a better position on silent feet, straining to hear the slightest sounds, to feel and smell changes in the air around her.
She turned and stood her ground, panting from exertion. (more…)
May 10, 2013
Washington, D.C., a few weeks earlier.
Austin Dunn sat across the table from his father and drew patterns on the linen tablecloth with his finger. He stifled a yawn. Quickly looking away so his father wouldn’t see how mind-numbingly bored he was, he pretended to take in the trappings of the formal dining room and the people at the other tables. As usual, his father had picked one of the stuffy, high-end restaurants in town not far from his office. He’d sent a car to pick up Austin from the private school Austin attended near home. Well, the house where they lived, if you could call it that. More like a museum. Huge, ostentatious, filled with someone else’s old crap, er, antiques. Nothing like the modern suburban home they’d left behind four years earlier. He still hadn’t forgiven his parents—his father—for that brilliant move. (more…)
May 10, 2013
I’ve always hated going to the dentist. I remember going to Dr. Cook as a very young child, five or six, and thinking he was more like Captain Hook than Dr. Cook. I don’t know many people who find dentist visits a pleasurable experience. I’m not squeamish, and I can handle the pain—I’ve even had several small gum-line cavities repaired without anesthetic. I just don’t relish having someone stick their hands in my mouth, stretch my lips and cheeks until they feel like they’re about to rip and operate power tools close to sensitive nerve endings.
When we first moved to the Seattle area, my ex-wife picked the family dentist. Scott somebody-or-other. A young guy, quite competent, but what a nag. Even my ex agreed that she couldn’t stand the way he guilt-tripped us, berating us for not taking care of our teeth or not perfecting our oral hygiene technique. Since his office also was somewhat inconveniently located, my ex took our dental business elsewhere, a little closer to home.
Our next dentist was a kindly old bear named Clyde Curfew. Dr. Curfew was very nice with a soft chair-side manner. But he was a bit clumsy and had large hands which, despite his gentleness, left me feeling like I’d spent a couple rounds in the ring with a prizefighter when he worked on me. But, better the devil you know, so I stuck with Dr. Curfew long after my divorce, and long after the kids were gone until he retired.
A young doctor bought Dr. Curfew’s practice. Can’t even remember his name now, but one visit I saw Dr. Curfew, and the next I saw this new guy. No advanced warning. Just show up for my annual appointment and get an introduction to the new guy. New Guy seemed pretty competent and must have been a great salesman because he put in two crowns and several fillings and sold me a night guard that I never wear over the course of a couple years.
And then, suddenly, New Guy was gone. In the same way that Dr. Curfew was gone. I showed up for an appointment with New Guy, and another new guy, Dr. McNab, had taken New Guy’s place. New Guy, he said, had moved his young family back to the east coast to be near extended family. So I inherited Dr. McNab.
A perfectly pleasant man, young and intelligent, with a reasonably caring chair-side manner, Dr. McNab repaired some fillings that New Guy had put in and saw to my general dental health for a few years, but I never felt like I was Dr. McNab’s patient. He’d inherited me just as I’d been stuck with him.
I had no specific complaints about Dr. McNab, but I recently decided that I wanted to choose my own dentist. So, on the basis of some stellar recommendations, I picked a new dentist, Dr. York, and asked if she was accepting new patients. Her practice is wildly popular, but she accepts one new patient a week these days. I had some immediate needs—one of the fillings McNab had put in popped out—which Dr. York agreed to address right away. At my first appointment, though, she and her staff simply assessed the problem and had me schedule a new appointment three weeks later for the actual work. In the meantime, her staff said she could fit me in for a comprehensive exam in November—six months from now.
But this past week, her office called and said they had an opening, so I went in today for the exam, x-rays and all. I like her. She’s thorough, has all the latest equipment (digital x-rays, for example), has a terrific chair-side manner, and explains exactly what she’s doing and why.
I think there’s a little bit of a sadist in all dentists, though. Despite how nice she is, her exam hurt worse than almost any dental procedure I’ve ever had. Not physically. No, the pain came from the fact that because I’ve put some work off for a year or two, I now need about five grand worth of work done if I want to save a couple of teeth. Ouch!
Oh, and the filling that needs replacing? That work isn’t scheduled until next week.
What’s your dentist like? Sadist or savior?
May 3, 2013
I judged a short story competition this past week. I’ve judged other writing competitions before. I’ve been judge for both ITW Thriller Awards and MWA’s Edgars, so I’m no stranger to the singular task of ranking one person’s writing above another’s in the most objective way possible. And right off the bat no doubt you can tell there’s an inherent problem with judging fiction. Reading is, after all, a subjective business. One man’s meat is another man’s poison and all that.
This contest is a bit different. (more…)
April 24, 2013
Just wanted to see if anyone is paying attention. I don't think anyone's reading this blog, so why the hell am I knocking myself out trying to figure out a new topic every week? (more…)
April 18, 2013
I think I’m depressed. Oh, no, not “Clinically Depressed.” That would give it the imprimatur of a shrink with ready access to the DSM IV. And not really even depressed with a little “d,” a self-diagnosis that would convince my GP to prescribe one of those wonder drugs that pharmaceutical companies spend billions advertising on TV.
No, I think that what I suffer from is the old-fashioned, Jimmy Carter kind of malaise that comes from exposure to too much fucking insanity in the world. (more…)
April 11, 2013
If there is any blame to be placed for the existence of Night Blind
, the first in the new Blake Sanders thriller series, it should be laid squarely at the feet of Roger Page, the proprietor of Island Books, the local independent bookstore. (more…)
April 4, 2013
After my college graduation a lifetime ago, my older sister told me, “You know, Dad cried during the ceremony.” My father was pretty typical for his generation and not given to emotional displays of any kind, so her statement took me by surprise. I asked her why he’d gotten choked up. She said she’d asked him the same thing, and he replied, “Because none of my kids has ever won a prize.” I’d received my degree, but I hadn’t won any special honors.
I won a special honor this week. This past Monday, International Thriller Writers released its nominees for Thriller Awards, and my novel Night Blind
was nominated for Best Original Paperback. (more…)
March 28, 2013
I received a cruel reminder today that publishing is a business. After a six-year saga of developing a new thriller series concept, writing multiple drafts of the first novel in the series, working with an editor to polish it, shopping for and landing a terrific agent, sending the book around to publishers, finally landing a deal with Thomas & Mercer and seeing the book come out, the publisher today notified my agent that it wasn’t going to make an offer on subsequent books in the series, two of which I’ve already written. (more…)
March 21, 2013
With the publishing industry changing practically daily, independent bookstores are, rightfully, concerned about how they’ll survive. My local bookstore owner figures he has between five and ten years before the landscape changes so dramatically that he may get out—or be forced out—of the business.
Part of it is electronic publishing. Part of it may be due to fewer readers who want the convenience of ordering books online. An independent owner at Left Coast Crime told me today that she thinks people want to read brand names today. No one has the patience to read new authors, or is willing to make the investment in something they might not like. So, she said, people don’t value hand-selling. They don’t value what independent bookstores have to offer. (more…)