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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Surfing at Good Harbor Beach

Surfing at Good Harbor Beach plays a role in the mystery at the center of Burning Questions. Last month I asked Joey C, the guru of the blog GoodMorningGloucester to ask his followers whether they knew anyone who claimed to have surfed there prior to 1963. No one responded. The picture above is of me surfing there in 1964, but I rode my first wave there in 1963. I've never been first before, but until someone steps up with evidence that they rode waves at Good Harbor, or anywhere in Cape Ann for that matter before 1963, I'm laying claim to being the first.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Special price reduction on Flight of the Sorceress. Now only $2.99

This just in. Wild Child Publishing is offering gift certificates knocking $3.00 off the price of The Flight of the Sorceress good until Dec. 31, 2011. Special $3.00 discount on Sorceress e-books.

Burning Questions e-book is $3.99!

Heads up! If you want to buy Burning Questions as an e-book and go to the publisher website: Whiskey Creek Press it will tell you that the price is $6.99. We are in the process of changing the price, but alas, the holidays have interceded and the webmaster had drunk his fill of eggnog. It is only $3.99 on the Amazon site so go to Burning Questions Kindle edition.  I'd prefer that you buy directly from the publisher because Amazon takes a 55% cut but I'd rather you get the book sooner than later and I don't want my readers to overpay.

Also, for all you disappointed contestants who didn't win the giveaway that ends on 12/25, I intend to give away 2 more paperback copies on Goodreads in January. There are also two copies up for a January giveaway on LibraryThing.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Class warfare in Burning Questions

Q. In your blurb for Burning Questions, you say that “There’s class warfare in a New England fishing community when the teenage heir to a Gloucester MA fortune is found shot after recently witnessing a hotel being torched. Can you describe what you mean by ‘class warfare?’”

A. For me class warfare begins with the actor’s motivation for behavior. First, the actor has to identify with a particular class. Second, the actor needs to justify his/her behavior consistently with the class identification. A worker who pilfers her employer, and justifies it by saying: “The boss is rich. He won’t miss it. And besides, he pays starvation wages.” is engaged in an act of class warfare. A wealthy boss who fires an injured worker to avoid paying compensation and justifies it by simply believing the worker is malingering and gaming the system is also engaging in class warfare. This king of under-the-radar class warfare goes on every day just about everywhere. Only when it gets violent will we read about those incidents in the paper. We prefer to think that it’s just a bad apple, but it originates in a sense of injustice based upon one’s class.

When my characters in Burning Questions speak the exhibit a “class subconsciousness” that translates into their actions. Here’s what some of them have to say:

Teresa Lima, Christina’s mother, uses the example of Teddy Kennedy at Chappaquiddick to tell Christina she should break off her relationship with Kenny, her rich boyfriend:

“One way or the other, Kennedy’ s gonna get out of this clean. You just watch. He comes from those people who always get away clean. That’s why they do the things they do. ’Cause they get away with shit. Daddy or someone always comes in with the bucks an bails ’em out.’ …when people like us run with them, an’ the shit hits the fan, we’re the one’s that catch it. We either get hurt or the blame.”

Christina tells Nate about failing in her attempt to explain to her boyfriend, Kenny, her fear that she will become like the girls she babysits for:

“He didn’t understand,” she said, her shoulders drooping. “Mr. Lewis, I mean Nate, look. Know how I get my spending money? Baby-sitting. I don’t get no allowance or nothing. And you know who I baby-sit for? Girls my age, or a couple of years older. They’re on welfare, Nate, and food stamps.” … “And they got two kids already, snottin’ and poopin’ up their three-room apartments. Know what their idea of fun is? An evening at the local tavern, and I don’t mean this place. And when they get up the next morning and the bed beside them is still warm but empty and they walk into the kitchen and see the guy left them a ten on the table, they know what they are and all they’re ever gonna be and they sit there cryin’ ’til its time to feed their little brats. And I get some of that money for watching the kids.

“Nate, what Kenny couldn’t understand was the fear poor people like me got. Folks with money, they don’t know that fear.”

When asked whether Steven diSimone may have sexually assaulted Christina, Charlene, the diSimone’s Caribbean maid says: 

“I got a daughter jus’ her age back in Jamaica, you know. She a pretty girl too. It da worst fo’ dem, you know, ’cause da rich man, he like ta taste da honey, you know. But when he finish his dinner, den next day he want to taste sumptin’ diff’ent. An’ he can do dat easy enough, ’cause he rich. But da pretty po’ girl, she gonna jus’ end up yestuday’s dinner, she don’t watch herself, you know.”

Nate Lewis explains to Abby, his Yankee blueblood girlfriend why he thinks Kenny’s murderer will escape justice:

“They’re rich and connected. They’ve got the best lawyer in town and the judge and the cops in their pocket. What’s a poor girl’s death against those odds? Hell, even Marilyn Monroe went down in flames under those circumstances... ”

Steven diSimone, Kenny’s wealthy stepfather tells Nate why he thinks Christina’s murderer will never be brought to justice:

“(N)o one’s going to testify that they know anything about any arson. No one’s going to pursue an investigation of a dead teenage girl who was despondent over the death of her boyfriend and the end of a possible marriage that would have made her rich. Her accusations against me wouldn’t cut it even if she were alive.”

When blueblood Trish Foster, the victim’s sister, describes the nearly six-foot tall Christina as:

“Little Lolita, the Portuguese bombshell.” She’s saying Christina seduced the murdered teenager. Kenny’s’s her victim. And she’s also disparaging the girl’s ethnicity. Plus, by diminishing her size, she’s subtly diminishing her. There’s an unseemly ethnic subtext in the description.

Nate and Abby, his Yankee blueblood girlfriend, have an argument about her withholding sex:

“Were you just slumming? You wanted to see what dating a Jew without money was like?”
“And you. Is it just that you wanted to screw a Yankee? Sometimes, when we were together, I got the feeling that all you wanted was to get into my pants. You wanted that trophy. After that it would have been over, right?”

When Christina’s disappears the cops refuse to pursue Nate’s lead because they don’t want to inconvenience rich people to save a poor girl. Nate, tells a police investigator:

 “I told the police last night that the two guys drove by me in a new black Continental. But you did nothing about it.”…

The police inspector shrugs it off:
“ You get down to the rich part of the county, Manchester, Prides Crossing, Beverly Farms, there’s probably dozens of those cars,” (Detective) Poole said and shrugged. “ You want us to roust every millionaire in Essex County?”

Just about every exchange of dialogue Burning Questions hints of a societal double standard ⎯a privileged rich class that gets a pass and a suspect poor class that gets accused. As you read the novel notice the undercurrents of disrespect and humiliation. That’s class warfare in my book.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Burning Questions by Barry S. Willdorf

Burning Questions

by Barry S. Willdorf

Giveaway ends December 25, 2011.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Friday, December 16, 2011


What will it take to put YOU between the virtual covers of a brand new e-copy of Burning Questions? Amazon is now selling it for only $3.99.
There’s murder, Russian roulette, burning hotels, Mafia, a NAZI general’s overcoat, a ghost town, witches, wild doggies, some sex, surfing, cops and donuts, crooked politicians and lawyers, some religion, a little bit of marijuana and pizza. It’s just the right length to read on a single plane trip across the country. Why settle for a crappy airline movie when you can read about all this good stuff? Part Two of this trilogy, A Shot in the Arm is coming up in April . Why not read part one first? Do you really want to be Left Behind?

Buy one before Jan. 1, 2012 and I’ll give you a second copy free. So when you give that certain somebody that new Kindle this holiday season, they can have something to read on it. Buy one on Amazon. (Here's their link, so you hardly have to lift a finger: buy Burning Questions. ) When Amazon sends you an order confirmation, email a copy to me at with the email address of the person to whom you want me to send the gift copy. I will send them a copy. That's it: two copies for $3.99.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


PART TWO of the 1970's Trilogy A SHOT IN THE ARM has just gotten the green light for an April 2012 publication date! We're working on the galleys and the cover right now. Here's a preview:

Twenty thousand dollars was a hell of a lot of dough back in 1973, especially if it came in cash and you didn’t mention it to the tax man. In many nice parts of San Francisco, you could get three bedrooms, a view of downtown, and have some bread left over. Scuttlebutt told me that twenty Gs was the standard retainer for someone looking at a murder rap, so that was how much I quoted Umoja Simama.

I was running a shoestring law practice in the Mission at the time. One of his lieutenants, Oso Pardo, showed up at my office with a silvery metal briefcase, snapped it open and dumped packets of bills—a year’s supply of cash—all over my desk. I’d hoped that by asking for that kind of money, Umoja would go looking for another mouthpiece. I wanted out, especially for the sake of my relationship with Christina. But as fate had it, Umoja was unaccountably flush at just that moment. 

Buy Burning Questions. Keep your proof of purchase and you'll get a discount on A Shot in the Arm!