Daily Archives: May 5, 2009

Randy Ford Author- Allegiance when it counts, or the slick take-over of the University of Philippines

      Don got to know some of the students involved in the first Battle of Mendiola.   He talked to a lot of different ones.   He was always friendly, cunning, and on guard; he had to be or he wouldn’t have been effective.   He hadn’t been back in Manila for very long.   He would say, for instance to people around the Peace Corps office, about Zamboanga or the Sulus where he would still be if it weren’t for all the trouble in Manila, “It isn’t the location stupid, it’s the movie that interests me.”   But he had to center his focus on volunteers.   He had become quite perceptive, and at the same time very sensitive, and he felt that he might’ve made a mistake by becoming so involved with Susan and Ted.   He moved in with them (they opened their apartment, and because they lived in Manila volunteers assigned elsewhere often stayed with them).   He slept on the couch.   He got to eat Linda’s cooking, and he loved it.   He liked being with Alfred.   There were times he would go places with Susan without Ted.   That was when they had their best talks.   But Don had to be careful not to takeover, which was his tendency.   None of them knew why he was in Manila, and his job down south wasn’t generally known.   There was as yet no need to evacuate anyone.   With the guerrilla activity on Basilan and around Jolo, it had been almost too close to call; but now with all that was happening, Don couldn’t say what the agency would do.   In Manila, there was still a margin of safety.   It was for him like being in the Wild Wild West, but the city had always been that way for him.   Now he had to move with more urgency and quicken his step.

      Ted said to Don one day, “Would you like to see what I do?   They rode a jeepney and a bus to Diliman, taking time out at Quiapo to go in the church, and they had lunch at the University with Nick, who behaved himself by not bringing up Mao.   Normally the noon-crowd in the cafeteria was a mix of faculty and students, normally very nosy and not so somber, but today there were only one or two students.   Now people didn’t seem to be in a talking mood.   They were looking around more than they did in the past.   Even with people who had known each other for a very long time; and they knew who was who and what was what: you wanted to go up and slap them to wake them up.   The Americans weren’t like that.   They were quite talkative.   Elaine had joined them, and Ted said to himself so far so good, so far nothing but small talk.   He said, “Nick, why don’t we ever see you at a performance at the fort?   We’re getting better all the time; and when was the last time you went down in the dungeons?   You’ll be surprised at the improvements.”

      Ted had to stop himself from saying that they had made the dungeons nice and that he had already figured out how he would seat an audience down there.   For darn sure he wouldn’t pack them in like prisoners like Nick suggested.   No way he’d do that.   In the beginning he focused on somehow recreating the worsening crisis, until he realized he didn’t have to do that because the crisis was real enough.   He hadn’t known how far he wanted to go or if anyone would want to go with him.   As an American after a while, he carried more blame than perhaps he should have; he played the blame game when he didn’t need to.   He had shifted his allegiance, which made him less of a target (because of Nick’s initial friendship, he really didn’t know whether he had ever been one (target) or not).   Alfred’s ideas had seemed to meld in with his, or had they?   Hadn’t he constructed the “K” flag?   Or had Alfred somehow seen the flag and knew the story behind it?   In fact their ideas were very close, and that bothered Ted.   He had thought of involving Nick in his drama in some way; Nick had been that great of an influence; he couldn’t ignore that.   However, he found it hard to ask Nick directly.   It was impossible with Don and Elaine sitting there anyway.   He began compromising.   It didn’t feel quite right.   He tried to think it through, but it still wouldn’t jell in his mind. He thought, “I’m going to sound everyone out.” And then he thought, “I better not.”   Timed with the completion of their meal, they were all told about an impending demonstration.   Yes, another one.   But the difference now was in the timing; as for timing, it turned out very bad for Ted because Don couldn’t be pulled away.

      Nick was dead right; it was the big one, the one he had planned for.   Ted wanted to get out before it started; but Don didn’t want to leave.   Instead, they went back to Ted’s office, all of them, even Nick.   Ted thought Nick was out of character.   They watched, now from Ted’s window, now when they should’ve been thinking about getting out of there.   Every minute or so another student would appear, with something in hand, a bullhorn, a placard, a stick, and no telling what else.   At first there were petty arguments over what to do next, arguments lit by previous successes, buoyed by them.   And then with the yelling and the chanting and a song or two, and a few leaders, some students and some not (and with Ben among them), they found themselves with the numbers and the strength to shut down the university.   Yes, the University of the Philippines.

      Don said, “Pretty slick.”

 Randy Ford

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Arizona Mystery Writers- Murder, Mayhem and Drugs, workshops

      Next AMW Meeting- May 9, 2009, 10:00 am to 2 pm at Home Town Buffet at Oracle and River Roads.  Tucson, Arizona

       Workshop – First Annual Membership Meeting

       First Annual Membership Meeting (like no other) includes election and announcement of new Board of Directors, discussion of new organization for workshops and the future endowment fund writing contest.   This meeting is very important.   So much can be accomplished if all members give their input and support.

       Speaker – Murder, Mayhem and Drugs

      Tucson Police Detective Ben Jimenez to Speak at Arizona Mystery Writers Forum May 9, 2009

       By Carol Dee O’Mahony

       Murder, Mayhem and Drugs are on the menu at the May 9th Arizona Mystery Writers Forum. Detective Ben Jimenez, who spent 17 years in Homicide and the last 2 ½ years in street        Narcotics, will share with AMW members some of his experiences.

       Det. Jimenez, a 28-year veteran of the Tucson Police Department is a Tucson native.   He grew up on the west side, graduating from Flowing Wells High School, Pima College and the University of Arizona.   In addition to his police duties Ben also speaks to organizations and schools about TPD police procedures and historical cases.    Ben and his wife, a CPA, home-school their five children; the two oldest are now in college.  

       Join us at the Hometown Buffet at River and Oracle on Saturday, May 9th from 10:00 to 2:00. $12 includes the general meeting in the morning, lunch and Det. Jimenez’ presentation in the afternoon. Speaker only, no lunch is $5. Exact change or a check please, no credit cards.

     May Elections

     The ballot will be sent via email.    Please vote and return the ballot by e-mail ASAP in order to have your vote count.

      Review of April 11, 2009 Meeting

by Mary Bellin

      Business Meeting- April 11, 2009 

      Out of the 34 people who attended, eleven were potential members.

      Mary Ann reminded us that the monthly meeting fees will be going up to $12.50 beginning in September and that the meeting format will switch to having a speaker in the morning and the workshop in the afternoon.

      Our new Public Announcement System worked great.

     Review of April 11 Workshop

      Liz Gunn, Arizona Mystery Writers member and author of the Jake Hines mystery series and the new Sarah Burke Mysteries set in Tucson, conducted the most delightful workshop.    Before Liz spoke, the guests introduced themselves and many admitted to having a manuscript tucked away in a drawer for the past ten years.   Liz called herself the “Grandma Moses of Writing.”   The first Jake Hines novel got its start fifteen years ago when she visited her sister in Minnesota.   Her nephew, the chief of police, laughed when Liz suggested it would be ironic to put a homicide in the peaceful town of Rochester, MN.  Obviously, Liz hadn’t been home for a long while and things had changed.   She didn’t need to be invited twice to come to the police station the next day.   In writing police procedurals, Liz talked about how invaluable it is to go on police rides and visit the crime labs. The public and university libraries are also a source of information.   In police procedurals, the detective is the main character.   It is important that your facts be correct and your protagonists’ actions be in keeping with police policy.   His/her character quirks and wanting to know what he/she will do next is what keeps the readers turning the pages.

      Review of April 11- Speakers Mike and Tama White

       Mike White spoke on the process of publishing with his company Ghost River Images.   He doesn’t advertise and has published more than 300 books.   All of his customers come by “word of mouth” or from talks and classes he conducts at Pima College.   Anyone can buy the software and publish their book.   However, most authors don’t want to be bogged down with the details and that’s why they hire him.   Mike’s philosophy of why spend more money than is necessary was refreshing to hear.   He estimated the average 100,000 word novel would cost about $1,000 and then $5 a book afterwards.   Tucson is a good environment for self-published authors, the local bookstores, Borders and Barnes and Noble’s will sell your books.   Many authors enjoy getting income from about 1000 books each year.   In the current market when the big publishing houses are in financial trouble, self-publishing has seen an increase in business.   Tama is the primary editor at Ghost River Images.   She talked about editing books for authors and how that is a separate cost from publishing.  

       Visit their website at www.ghostriverimages.com.

       Liz Gunn’s new book

       By a happy coincidence, J. M.”Mike” Hayes and Liz have mystery novels coming out the first of May.    Liz  wrote the following message about her and Mike’s new books:

       We’ll be on Arizona Illustrated April 30, at 6:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m.May 1.

       We’ll sign at Poisoned Pen, in Scotsdale, at two p.m. on Saturday, May 2.

       And at Clues Unlimited, for the gala opening of the new store in Winterhaven Square, Fort Lowell and Country Club, at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 8.

       Also at Mostly Books, 6208 East Speedway, from 1 to 2 pm. on Saturday, May 9

       All the details are on my web site:  www.elizabethgunn.com

       COZIES –

       At the April meeting, the subject of mysteries known as “Cozy Traditional” came up.   The website, Stop You’re Killing Me.Com offers the following definition, along with an alphabetical list of authors who write them – from Barbara Allen to Rhys Bowen to Agatha Christie to Richard Yancey.   Check into the website, it’s definitely worth it:

Cozy (Traditional) Mysteries
       The genre is loosely defined as mysteries which contain no explicit sex or excessive gore or violence;
      And usually featuring an amateur detective, a confined setting, and characters who know one another. 


       We’re going to try something new beginning in September – the speaker will be presented in the morning and the workshop in the afternoon.   We may be able to entice more speakers who won’t mind giving up a morning, rather than interrupting a full Saturday. Let’s give it a try and see how it flies.

      Monthly meeting costs are going up to $12.50.   It’s the economy folks.   We’re lucky that the cost only rose by fifty cents.


       How would you like to begin a story in September, and be guided through all the steps it takes to make a story a good one?  That’s what we’re going to do.   Our workshops will focus on developing a plot, characters, point of view, and so on.   The goal?   By May 2010, you’ll have a story polished and ready to be published where you see fit.


  1. You’ll find more information at www.ssa-az.org.

      A really super deal is the annual conference, Wrangling with Writing.    The 2009 event is set for September 26th and 27th, at Holiday Inn Palo Verde.    If you want to learn about the newest trends in publishing, this is the conference to attend, fer shurr!   Interview with agents and editors and attend workshops and learn about your craft; meet and greet people with the same interests and enthusiasm as you have for writing.

      And, don’t forget the writing contest!    It’s open till June 1st.    There are four categories: short story, short story for children 6-12, poetry, and personal essay/memoir.    Three judges in each category provide a few lines of feedback; more detailed appraisals are also available.    The entry fee is just $10/piece, and there are cash prizes beginning at $300.00.    Head over to the SSA site for the rules and an entry form!  www.ssa-az.org


Enjoy your summer! AMW does not meet in June, July or August.


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