Monday, December 22, 2014
10th Anniversary: Christmases Past
Long time readers know
Christmas is important to me – and I can get downright insufferable about
it. In keeping with that, I
thought this 10th Anniversary year of this blog would be a good time
to look back at past Christmasy posts.
My first Christmas as an
Anglican and the first one of this blog was bittersweet. On Christmas Eve and the day itself, I
missed out on having an Anglican churchy Christmas, and I was disappointed
My 2007 studies in Oxford
brought about a tutorial paper that is one of the best things I’ve written, if I
may say so myself. It ties
together the Black Death with our celebration of Christmas today, if you can
And, of course, I’ve
fretted over when I should allow Advent to become Christmasy.
Yes, it’s been good to be
an Anglican at Christmas.
But I cannot let this
Christmas pass without mentioning a past Christmas far more memorable than any
of mine. This Christmas Eve will
be the 100th anniversary of the Christmas Truce near the beginning
of World War I. I recommend this BBC documentary.
That was a
bittersweet Christmas indeed.
May you have a memorable
and happy Christmas.
Labels: Christmas, this blog
Friday, December 19, 2014
Christmas is less than a week away. DON’T PANIC!
some may be so behind on preparing for Christmas that they may find my
admonition not to panic not helpful.
But I do indeed want to be helpful and will do so with two suggestions
concerning a task that should be a joy but often becomes a burden - gift
Remember that Christmas Day, glorious as it is, is the first day of
Christmas. Christmas is not only a
day; it is a season of twelve days.
And, as in the song The Twelve
Days of Christmas, it is perfectly fine to give Christmas gifts that arrive
after Christmas Day (although trying to give the particular gifts mentioned in
said song will not make anyone’s
Christmas easier). So do not be in
a mad rush. Gifts that come in the
midst of the Christmas season are often a greater surprise and even more (and
certainly more leisurely) appreciated than gifts opened on the 25th.
there are a few who hold up their nose at gifts that arrive after Christmas
Day. They consider them
“late”. As one who used to have
that attitude, such are in need of prayer for repentance.
There are numerous ways to make gift giving quicker and simpler. I will suggest one here.
you have friends or family who like e-books, it is very easy to give the gift
of a Kindle book. I’ve done it
myself. At the Amazon Kindle page
for a book, click “Give as a Gift” on the right. Then once you’ve signed in, you can select “E-mail the gift
directly to my recipient” and fill in their e-mail address (the method I’ve
used) or you can have the Kindle book e-mailed to yourself, and you can pass it
on yourself. (Note that you can
write a personal message when having Amazon e-mail the gift to someone.)
the order, take care of the payment, and it’s done! No messing with gift
wrap. No worries about snail mail
delivery. And Kindle books usually
cost less than print books, sometimes a lot less as is the case with my novel.
of which, I of course do hope you use this tip to give my novel Pilot Point, which is only $2.99 in Kindle form. But if you have other
books in mind to give, as the owner of too many books, I understand and am glad
you have a blessed last week of Advent and a happy Christmas free from
unnecessary stress and fretting.
Labels: Christmas, Pilot Point
Thursday, December 18, 2014
10th Anniversary: The Choir of King’s College Cambridge
And, yes, I do plan to see them again in Dallas this March.
I later found out the name of the cheeky soloist. Any guesses?
many of you I’m sure, I am behind on getting ready for Christmas and other
matters. So I may imitate a
favorite blog, Instapundit, and have short posts with links instead of my usual
do have some treats in mind for you nonetheless, particularly with Christmas
upon us and with the 10th Anniversary of this blog coming to an
the way, if you need some assistance with gifts, don’t forget my novel Pilot Point. Thanks.
Labels: choirs, King's College, this blog
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Pilot Point Gun Show Tour Update
mentioned here the possibility that I will take my novel Pilot Point to the Fredericksburg Gun Show this weekend. Well, the show is so full that it is
unlikely I can get a vendor’s table.
And, with the grace of my presence desired closer to home, I have
decided to cancel.
I do have a big book signing lined up for Christmas Eve Eve, on this Tuesday
the 23rd at Half Price Books, Corpus Christi, from 4 to 7pm.
it is not a gun show. Sorry.
those unable to make the trip, remember it is now only one week until Christmas
Eve. And remember that I do not have a tip jar. To assist with both situations, Pilot Point is available in both Kindle and paperback. You’re welcome. :)
this last week of Advent be a great blessing to you. (This Advent has been a blessing to me, and I hope to find
the time and energy to share some of that.)
Labels: Pilot Point
Hannah Overton Will Be Home for Christmas
three month delay in her release is hard to excuse. But part of the delay was her defense team’s wise and
successful effort to get Judge Jose Longoria recused. He presided over the 2007 trial and has demonstrated he
cannot be trusted to be a fair judge of this case.
result of said recusal is the success of yesterday’s bond hearing. Bond was set at a reasonable $50,000
with no onerous conditions. So,
finally, Hannah Overton is home with her family after seven long years.
County DA Mark Skurka has said he intends to retry Overton for capital murder. But a development during the bond
hearing would make much a foolish task even more difficult:
Arguably the most dramatic
moment of the hearing came when Hannah’s attorneys revealed that one of the
state’s star witnesses at trial, Dr. Alexandre Rotta—who had treated Andrew on
the night he was brought to the hospital in 2006 in a coma—had recently
contacted Hannah’s defense team. Dr. Rotta told Hannah’s attorneys in an email
that seven years after Hannah’s trial, her conviction still kept him up at
night. This complicates matters for Nueces County District Attorney Mark
Skurka, who has vowed to retry Hannah on capital murder charges. The fact that
key prosecution witnesses such as Dr. Rotta— along
with Dr. Edgar Cortes , another physician who examined Andrew on the night
he was admitted to the hospital—now question Hannah’s conviction casts doubt on
whether Skurka can win his case . . . .
would be wiser to clean up his office. Yet another indication of the
corruption of the Nueces County DA’s office has come out. Eric Hillman is suing said office. The former prosecutor claims he was
fired for following the law:
Eric Hillman prosecuted
drunk driving cases, but, when he uncovered a witness who had the potential to
help someone he was prosecuting, he claims his bosses told him not to share
that information with the other side.
He did and the lawsuit he filed Monday
claims it cost him his job.
"It is unlawful to
fire or terminate an employee because they refuse to commit a criminal act and
that's exactly what happened here," said Hillman's attorney, Amie Pratt
with the Gale Law Group.
are required by law to share any evidence that may help the defense. This legal requirement was also alleged
to have been violated in the 2007 Hannah Overton trial.
that violation inadvertent and isolated?
I think not. And I am not alone.
[Hillman’s] attorneys say this
case could point to bigger problems in the pursuit of justice in Nueces County.
"Nueces County seems
to be in favor of withholding evidence from defense counsel which is a huge
problem," Pratt said.
Labels: Hannah Overton, justice, prosecutorial misconduct
Monday, December 15, 2014
Christmas and Aloneness – an excerpt from Pilot Point
mentioned that Christmas and other holidays can be difficult times for those
dealing with aloneness, difficult family situations, and past traumas. Mother’s Day used to be my bad holiday.
(And do read my post last week if you are among those not looking forward to
Christmas for similar reasons.)
of the plots of my novel Pilot Point
is how Clayton Hays and his friend Bowie Smith deal with their aloneness – and
they do not deal with it very well.
One Christmas opens a window to this.
following excerpt from that Christmastime is short and simple. We see their reluctance to accept an
invitation to a family Christmas; it reminds both of the families they do not
have. Bowie instead has arranged
to work cattle on Christmas Day.
also see Bowie adding logs to a dying fire. That does not seem a significant moment at first. But his words as he does so end up
echoing through the novel – and through Clayton’s struggle.
Bowie, and Clayton were playing poker over at Bowie’s. He had a fire going, but
it was dying from neglect—the three were so intent on their cards.
armadillo on the rafter had a red elf cap on, and there was a picture up of
Santa wearing a cowboy hat with his sleigh being pulled by longhorns. Those
were the only Christmas decorations Bowie had up.
a hand, Kim asked Bowie, “What are you going to be doing Christmas?”
much.” He shuffled the cards.
wife says you’re welcome to stop by for Christmas dinner. So come on over.”
appreciate that, but I don’t know if I’m going to have time. I’m going to give
the Hunt land workers Christmas by taking over for them. Most of them have
families to go to, and I don’t. So I figured I’d stand in for them so they can
have the day off. Seven-card stud.”
awful nice of you. I didn’t know you were doing that for us. I appreciate it.
The offer still stands though.”
about you, Clayton?”
shrugged his shoulders and kept looking at his cards. “I don’t have any plans.”
come over for dinner at my place then.”
but I’d feel out of place. Christmas is a time for family and…” his voice
it in mind anyway. Janet’s cooking and hospitality can make anyone feel like
they finished the hand, Bowie looked over at the fire. “Hell, there’s only one
log left burning and barely at that. We’re so busy with cards, we weren’t
paying attention.” He got up and walked over to the logs he had piled to the
side of the fireplace. He leaned over. But before he picked one up, he looked
back at Clayton with an expression both wry and yet as serious as a long
log can’t keep a fire going. A lone fire dies. You’d think we’d know that.”
watched him as he turned back to the fireplace and put three logs on. They
watched as the fire began to grow strong again.
came back to the table. And they went back to their cards.
the cards came around to Clayton, he asked Bowie, “What kind of work are you
going to be doing Christmas.”
mainly just feedin’ and docterin’.”
shuffled the cards and began dealing them. “Five-card draw.”
losing some more money, he asked, “Could you use a hand on Christmas?”
are you offering?”
haven’t won that much money off you, have we?” The three chuckled.
appreciate that,” Bowie then said without any bluster, looking at Clayton.
Labels: Christmas, Pilot Point
Friday, December 12, 2014
Pilot Point Gun Show Tour Resumes!
apologies for not writing a more normal post this morning. Trust me that I had a post or two in
mind with all the craziness going on in the world. But today I am a bit swamped. I am happy to report that, unlike the world, my craziness is
a good craziness. Nonetheless,
busy is busy (as work is constantly interrupting me as I try to type this!).
reason I am busy is later today I go set up my table for the Aransas Pass Gun
Show tomorrow. Yep, the Pilot Point Gun Show Tour resumes
tomorrow Saturday at the Aransas Pass (Texas) Civic Center from 9 to 5.
I know most of you are not within driving distance to meet me and buy my novel
tomorrow. And, with less than two weeks until Christmas, some may be a bit
busy taking care of their naughty and nice lists. If so, may I make a suggestion? ;)
my novel Pilot Point is an
appropriate gift for both the naughty and nice. Or at least I think so. Click the "Pilot Point" link below to find out more. Better yet, go to and "like" my Pilot Point Facebook page.
God bless the remainder of your Advent season and preparation for Christmas.
Labels: life, Pilot Point