Oct 10, 1960 - The Manhunt

If someone were to ask me what The Andy Griffith Show was about, I'd likely show them this episode. It has everything in it - Andy and Opie fishing on the lake, an escaped convict, the condescending State Police, Barney Fife at his finest, and Andy with the strongest country accent of the entire series.

The first time I saw this I was about Opie's age. I remember this episode so well because weeks before I'd missed it when it aired on television. A few weeks later I noticed it was in the TV listings. I was sure to set the VCR (one of the first tasks I learned) this time. I wasn't about to leave my fate up to the very unreliable local television station in case they never aired it again.

A couple things struck me as funny then with this episode and still do. The chief one being how funny it was that Andy was so entranced by the board and magnets the State Police brought to plan the recapturing of an escaped convict. I have a lot of scenes to choose from as my favorite - what is yours?

Be sure to check out Dave Newell's first novel Red Lory, a small-town story of suspense, due out on November 2, 2012. For updates and info, join his Facebook fan page.

Another Anniversary for The Andy Griffith Show

On October 4, 1960 television viewers were likely talking about a new television show they'd seen the night before. They'd seen the first episode of The Andy Griffith Show called "The New Housekeeper." [caption id="attachment_80" align="aligncenter" width="519"] Opie doing his best to keep the first housekeeper single and attached to him.[/caption]

Because I wasn't there to see the series when it was first on television my first contact with the show was a VHS tape. The first episode I saw was "The Bank Job." I then had the luxury of going on to the next episode on the tape and then the next. I can't imagine how wonderful, but difficult, it would have been waiting a full week for the next episode. On the 10th of October, 1960 viewers were treated to the second episode: "The Manhunt."

Today we have Netflix, Hulu and a bundle of other options to guarantee we see our shows. There's something nostalgic and special about yesterday's means of entertainment. I imagine there's a special and strong bond among the people who first saw these episodes. For them, the shows were flashed on the screen and gone just as quickly. I believe this is what makes The Andy Griffith Show so special to such a tightly-knit group of fans. The show is so wonderfully done but got its start in a time where entertainment was something special families enjoyed together and not the way of life - just as life was in The Andy Griffith Show.

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Signed Paperback Winner Announced

Our very first contest is over. We had some entertaining folks trying to get my attention, but in the interest of fairness we went to an online resource, plugged some names in, and it shot an answer out at me. Want to know who it was? Scroll down...

LEANN PUTMAN!!!!

Leann, shoot me a message on Facebook with your mailing address because you've just won yourself a signed paper back of Red Lory - due out on November 2, 2012.

Novel Release Announcement

I remember the very moment I decided on a name for my parakeet. My mom and I were going to the grocery store, and we'd stopped at the T-intersection leading from our neighborhood. I looked to the right to check for cars just as she did.

"What will you name him?" she asked.

I thought of Captain Flint, Long John Silver's parrot.

"Silly question," I probably thought.

"Captain," I said.

Reading books and becoming a part of the world found within the pages has always been a part of my life. My brother Jonathan gave me Treasure Island as a Christmas gift when I was six. It's a prized possession of mine.

Since that Christmas gift, I've taken many journeys with the tour guides being Jules Verne, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen King, Daniel Woodrell, Cormac McCarthy, and Ron Hansen. I've watched them just as much as I have their stories.

I began to write in elementary school, but the stories only amounted to more clutter in my room and possibly concerned parents. I wrote humorous stories in high school and got some giggles. I wrote even more in college and got louder giggles. Something happened after college though, and I stopped writing altogether. Between a job that didn't encourage creativity and a general lack of incentive, writing was no longer a priority.

Then I remembered something a college professor told me: "When you're on your deathbed, I pray you don't regret your choice to stop writing."

I now have two full-length novels in hand. One of them will be published on November 2, 2012.

Red Lory has always been in the back of my mind. It's a story my brother Jonathan and my bird Captain inspired with a small idea when I was years shy of ten. That small idea has grown for over twenty years. I hope you'll read it, enjoy it, and pass it along.

It's a story about love, human depravity, and their correlation:

"Douglas Howard’s career as a small-town physician is crumbling. Enraptured by Mrs. King, the calculating wife of a wealthy but dying patient, they settle behind closed doors determined to stave off loneliness. Equally desperate is Dr. Howard’s beguiling secretary, Miss Derringer, whose own troubles become their own.

What follows is a fatal scandal and an exploration of human expression, desire, and manipulation all in the name of love."

For numerous reasons I've made the decision to self-publish this book although I'll continue to seek a traditional route for my other manuscript. I've hired people to help me produce a quality story I trust you'll enjoy but also think about once you've finished it.

Red Lory will be available on November 2, 2012 on Amazon Kindle and paperback. Head up to the top of the blog and subscribe to my Author Facebook page so you'll be in the loop when I release a book excerpt. The cover art will be something to scream about, and you'll see it on November 2 when Red Lory becomes available.

Splitsville: A Noir Breakup (Writing Sample)

Who knows, maybe you'll see parts of this in a future story I write, but for now it's a taste of the style and tone of Red Lory. Speaking of Red Lory, several exciting decisions have been made concerning it. I'll fill you in when the dust settles. For now though, I hope you enjoy this short sample I've called Splitsville: A Noir Breakup

Between us were two glasses of stale beer, a pack of smokes, a foul ashtray and a serving of tension so generous it would last us the night. The black diamond veil of her velvet and satin pillbox hat was pulled down. I remained intent on meeting her indifferent blue-eyed stare through the netting.

“Where do we go from here?” I asked.

She raised a thin eyebrow high. “I don’t think we, you and I, go anywhere.”

With her black-gloved hand she raised a cigarette to her cardinal lips, removed it and exhaled from the corner of her mouth. She mashed the cigarette into the tray, and I stared at the bent shape topped with a ring of lipstick.

I opened my mouth to speak, but I stuttered my noises until I managed to say, “What’s to be done?”

“You could put some music on.”

“All right,” I nodded and walked to the juke, feeding it my last coin. I pressed a selection and watched the record slide into place. When I turned I saw her stand from the table and walk toward me. The music started, and we embraced on the open dance floor, couples taking notice of us. Just as with light, human eyes are attracted to a shape like hers.

My hands slid down her sides to her hips as she danced against me slowly.

“We was yesterday,” she whispered in my ear. “Remember this for tomorrow.”

See Dave Run

I've been running for close to two years now. Beforehand, I'd just been thinking about it. [caption id="attachment_22" align="aligncenter" width="531"] This isn't me, but it's a picture of someone running so it applies.[/caption]

My upbringing wasn't one that fostered independent thinking. I was told what my beliefs, standards, and philosophy should be. I'm running from that - from being told what I believe from men and women who present themselves as having achieved total self-control and live as a saint would.

I'm not running out of fear. I'm running to make up for lost time. In the past year I've finished rough drafts for a set of novels, both centered on the idea of evil residing in the most unlikely of places. Human depravity isn't always wearing a black hat. Sometimes it's wearing a neatly-pressed suit and waistcoat while carrying a doctor's bag as in the case of Dr. Douglas Howard in my Red Lory project.

Over the next few months I'll begin to post more frequently about my philosophy and how it has influenced my writing. I'm interested to hear your thoughts at the same time. My end goal is not to convince you of my beliefs. On one level, I write to entertain. On another, I'd like to encourage independent thinking. I'll consider myself successful should I achieve either of those goals. Of course, I'll also be updating you on my progress toward getting these books published. I look forward to hearing from you and having you join me as we go for a run.