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A Natural Born Citizen: the novel (reviewed)

No, this is not about Obama. Former newspaperman Don Rosebrock has written a suspense thriller about a hypothetical battle over the eligibility of a President. In this scenario, the vice president is sworn in to succeed  a president who dies in office. The speaker of the house launches a legal attack claiming the new president was born in Mexico. Oops, no birth certificate! The Kindle edition is only $1.99.

Cover of book: A Natural Born Citizen

Here’s my review:

This is an interesting “what if” examination of American government and what might happen if some “evidence” surfaced saying that the President of the United States was really not born in the United States not and eligible to office. The title of the book comes from the specific qualification in the United States Constitution Article II that the President be a “natural born Citizen” (all nouns in the US Constitution are capitalized).

Folks these days have probably heard of conspiracy theories about the foreign birth of the current US President and there is some necessary overlap between current events and this book’s scenario, but the book is really a very different story and the key difference is that the fictional challenge to the President’s legitimacy comes from within the government itself, making the challenge more newsworthy and credible.

As a novel, the book gets off to a slow start, perhaps due to the lack of an initial conflict. In fact, I was wondering whether I would finish the book at all until I got about one-third of the way through it. I remember thinking “hey this is getting interesting” when the Kindle reader said I hit 34%. After that I couldn’t put it down and stayed up until 3 AM when I finished it.

The book has three threads that I identified. The first is the legal thread invoking a lawsuit that attempts to get the President removed from office. Having seen 140-something cases thrown out of court in real life from Presidential eligibility challengers, I found the crazy federal judge Quinn character an unlikely one. The Supreme Court in the book is made up entirely of fictional characters, but even keeping in mind the real-world example of Bush v. Gore in 2000, I still find the Supreme Court’s vote in this book not credible.

The second thread is the media circus. This, I felt was much more true to life and the characters where quite believable. What was missing, and probably missing to build drama make the story work, was one essential character, the “liberal media.” News coverage was entirely characterized from one side, and in the real world there would have been a vocal response from the other side that we don’t see. Nobody took the President’s side.

The third thread, and I’m not going to spoil the suspense, is the action thriller part. In my mind this was the most plausible part of the book and the part that glued me to the pages until the end. Yes, there are machine guns and military-grade explosives employed.

Overall, it was an engaging book and I recommend it and think readers who get past the slow start will find it rewarding.

I personally am somewhat a devotee of the conspiracy theories and legal machinations about the current President, so I read this book with certain specialized interest, knowledge and background. What follows may not be of interest to the general reader.

One of the legal moves in the book is a quo warranto lawsuit, one brought against an office holder challenging his or her right to hold that office. The book notes that federal quo warranto actions, by statute, must be brought in the US District Court for the District of Columbia. The author had to introduce a crazy federal judge to advance the plot past this barrier. What the book does not address is that it has been further held in the federal courts that federal quo warranto actions can only be brought by the US Attorney General or the United States Attorney. It might be possible to argue under the book’s scenario that those precedents could be overruled, but in a realistic scenario the issue would have been raised.

Another legal nit I would pick on is the discussion of “standing.” The book oversimplifies the concept. It says that to have standing, a plaintiff must have a particularized injury and that’s fine as far as it goes; however, standing is described as a three-legged stool, and a particularized injury is only one necessary part, the other two being Causation and Redressability.

Finally, I found the crazy judge’s total lack of regard for a parish baptismal record, particularly in the jurisdiction where he presided, not credible even for a crazy judge and in fact the crazy judge is a plot device that I find a weakness in the faithful playing of the “what if” scenario. How can you have a plausible story when everything the crazy judge does is highly implausible? Perhaps the author has more experience with crazy judges than I do. Further, I found the Appeals Court decision incomprehensible. I guess it’s necessary to “suspend belief” with any fiction.

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69 Responses to A Natural Born Citizen: the novel (reviewed)

  1. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy August 3, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

    So I’ve started reading the book. I don’t think David Baldacci has anything to worry about just yet.

    The book’s still fairly good except for one thing: There is a white supremacist character writing on a white supremacist web site. That racist screed is the worst imitation racist screed I’ve ever seen. Racist screed is not just using nasty words, it’s the totality of disrespect, and this effete liberal faux racist screed is completely out of character. Mr. Rosebrock is not channeling his inner racist.

  2. avatar
    Clestes August 3, 2012 at 5:50 pm #

    Is this a bad joke?

  3. avatar
    Zixi of Ix August 3, 2012 at 6:21 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: So I’ve started reading the book. I don’t think David Baldacci has anything to worry about just yet.

    From reading the reviews on Amazon, I can’t get a feel for whether or not Mr. Rosebrock subscribes to Birtherism or not.

    From what you have read so far, is there any evidence either way? Thank you.

  4. avatar
    Dave B. August 3, 2012 at 10:42 pm #

    Yeah, but does it have…ZOMBIES?
    I’d buy it in a heartbeat if you still had the widget, Doc. Just for you.

  5. avatar
    JPotter August 4, 2012 at 12:46 am #

    I came across this book on Amazon a while back and couldn’t figure out if it was a poker-faced spoof of birtherism, an intentional provocation of birther fears, or written by a wingnut looking to cash in on wingnut phobias (backdoor anchor baby president! ay caramba! )

    Sounds like it was not written by a wingnut at least.

    If I remember correctly, Amazon controls pricing on Kindle pubs. The author/publisher can set parameters …. but $1.99. Yikes. The beauty of digital is that every sale is found money, but still.

    Do you think you’ll get to the end?

  6. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy August 4, 2012 at 10:29 am #

    I doubt Rosebrock is a birther. I’m not far in, but it appears that the Democratic President is portrayed sympathetically.

    Zixi of Ix: From reading the reviews on Amazon, I can’t get a feel for whether or not Mr. Rosebrock subscribes to Birtherism or not.

  7. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy August 4, 2012 at 10:48 am #

    The book is 2 years old and ranked like 400,000 so I can see the bargain price of the Kindle edition.

    I’ll probably finish it. Right now, my main read is Raffles of Singapore by Emily Hahn.

    JPotter: If I remember correctly, Amazon controls pricing on Kindle pubs. The author/publisher can set parameters …. but $1.99. Yikes. The beauty of digital is that every sale is found money, but still.

    Do you think you’ll get to the end?

  8. avatar
    Don Rosebrock August 5, 2012 at 7:17 pm #

    Allow me to introduce myself–I’m Don Rosebrock, author of ‘A Natural Born Citizen’.

    First, thanks for putting the book into a public forum.

    And, allow me, if you will, to address some of the comments:

    No, I’m not a wingnut birther. I voted for President Obama in the last election and support him now. The evidence of his birth in Hawaii appears overwhelming to me.

    I am a former newspaper reporter who covered politics and courts. When the birther conspiracy wingnuttery emerged it triggered that old reporter’s response…’what if?’

    So, what if we actually had a president with no birth certificate? And whose birth story was in question? What are the legal ramifications? Is there actually a legal remedy? What would the political and social fallout be? How would it play in the Far Right media, i.e., Fox News, Limbaugh, Hannity, et al?

    That’s what I set out to explore, using a fictional format.

    On the critique of my racist screed: I did a lot of research of white supremacist, racist websites (gagging most of the time) I tracked through the Southern Poverty Law Center. The wording in the book is nearly identical (I had to change it a little bit to avoid outright plagarism) to posts on several of the sites, misspellings and grammatical errors and all.

    I live in Boise, ID, and this part of the country–north Idaho, eastern Washington–is a haven for those types of folks. You get exposure to it whether you like it or not.

    Regarding the Kindle price: I initially set it higher but dropped it to $1.99 for several reasons. Research showed there are a LOT of Kindle users who shop by price, i.e., they look for free, 99-cent, and $1.99 books. I thought it would make the book more accessible to a wider reading audience.

    Again, thanks for the notice on the book. I’ll be watching the posts and am happy to answer any questions or address any other comments. And, being a former newspaper reporter, I’m used to criticism.

  9. avatar
    Scientist August 5, 2012 at 7:46 pm #

    Don Rosebrock: Allow me to introduce myself–I’m Don Rosebrock, author of ‘A Natural Born Citizen’.

    Welcome!

  10. avatar
    G August 5, 2012 at 7:53 pm #

    Welcome and thank you for taking the time to come here and post! I very much appreciate your additional information and explanations. 🙂

    Don Rosebrock: First, thanks for putting the book into a public forum.
    And, allow me, if you will, to address some of the comments:

  11. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy August 5, 2012 at 7:55 pm #

    Don, thanks very much for coming by and commenting!

    I guess you just can’t please everybody with racist screed. I’m more attuned to southern style racist screed, the pepper and vinegar kind rather than either the tomato or mustard based screed.

    Personally, if a book is $1.99 or less, I’m liable to buy it on a whim and consider it no loss if the book’s not good or I don’t get around to reading it. This one is residing on my phone.

    The scenarios I have read, e.g. Prof. Charles Gordon’s paper when George Romney was running, are all candidate challenges before the election. Outside of the birthers who totally lack standing, I don’t think I’ve seen the post-election court scenario developed, which is why I’m looking forward to your book.

    BTW, I found a typo. It has “E1 Paso” instead of “El Paso” (the number one) in two places.

    Don Rosebrock: Allow me to introduce myself–I’m Don Rosebrock, author of ‘A Natural Born Citizen’.

    First, thanks for putting the book into a public forum.

    And, allow me, if you will, to address some of the comments:

    No, I’m not a wingnut birther. I voted for President Obama in the last election and support him now. The evidence of his birth in Hawaii appears overwhelming to me.

  12. avatar
    Don Rosebrock August 5, 2012 at 8:04 pm #

    Thanks for the welcome. It looks like an interesting forum.

    And, yes, the post-election, post-swearing in legal questions are pretty interesting.

    Actually the whole question of Presidents and birth certificates is interesting.

    Here’s a question for you: Who is the first US President who has a verifiable birth certificate?

  13. avatar
    Scientist August 5, 2012 at 8:27 pm #

    Don Rosebrock: Here’s a question for you: Who is the first US President who has a verifiable birth certificate?

    I have seen FDR’s at Hyde Park. He was born around when they first came into use, so he might be the first. His Harvard report is there also. Gentleman’s Cs all around.

    Certainly he never showed any of that when he was running or in office. IMO opinion, the birthers can damn well wait and see what Obama puts in his library after he leaves office, just like happened with all the rest.

  14. avatar
    Paper August 5, 2012 at 9:20 pm #

    Cool! Well, getting right to the important point, I just bought your book on Kindle, in response to reading your posts here. I’m interested in the post-swearing in scenario.

    Thanks.

    Don Rosebrock:
    Thanks for the welcome. It looks like an interesting forum.

    And, yes, the post-election, post-swearing in legal questions are pretty interesting.

    Actually the whole question of Presidents and birth certificates is interesting.

  15. avatar
    JPotter August 5, 2012 at 9:36 pm #

    Don Rosebrock: Allow me to introduce myself–I’m Don Rosebrock, author of ‘A Natural Born Citizen’.

    And, allow me, if you will, to address some of the comments:

    Hello, Mr. Rosebrock! Glad to hear your pricing is under your control. I was responsible for managing a stable of digital publications from 2009-2011, and at the time, their policies made it clear that pricing was ultimately up to them. My firm’s clients weren’t too crazy about that. These were monthly publications, so, nothing was around long enough to find out.

    I would think there’s no way Amazon could be manipulating reviewing pricing on all Kindle titles anyway, other than by algorithm.
    ____________

    Also, I’d like to say your choice of a Mexican President was, IMO, brilliant. You seemed to be choosing not only the most likely, but also the most provocative.

    I haven’t read the book, am happy to know more about it, and wish you success.

  16. avatar
    Squeeky Fromm, Girl Reporter August 6, 2012 at 12:19 am #

    I will buy a copy. it sounds interesting.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  17. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy August 6, 2012 at 3:13 am #

    I finished the book. I’ll post a review as an update. Spoiler: machine guns are fired.

  18. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy August 6, 2012 at 3:27 am #

    While I don’t know if it has survived, I would presume that our second president, John Adams, would have been the first. He was born in Massachusetts in 1735. There was an Order of the General Court from 1639 requiring the registration by the Court of every birth in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

    Equally, I would presume that President Washington did not have a birth certificate since rumors that he was born in England were persistent after his death.

    It is interesting that in the early days parish baptismal records were annually reported to the state government for registration purposes.

    The response of crazy judge Quinn to the Baptismal record was decidedly odd. Baptismal records are generally respected as a secondary proof of the place of birth.

    Don Rosebrock: Here’s a question for you: Who is the first US President who has a verifiable birth certificate?

  19. avatar
    The Magic M August 6, 2012 at 4:26 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy: Spoiler: machine guns are fired.

    I was so waiting for the marching of the frogs.

    I think it’s quite common to write conspiracy books (not that this one seems to be one) without being a conspiracy believer. After all, that is what authors do.
    After 9/11, I wrote a synopsis for a novel that offered a totally different take on the events than common trutherism. My main idea was that Flight 93 – more precisely, someone *on* Flight 93 – was the target and everything else was just one giant smokescreen to cover that up. I never found the time to write the novel, though, as other projects took precedence.

  20. avatar
    Don Rosebrock August 6, 2012 at 9:58 am #

    Thanks to all for the warm welcome and kind comments. For those of you who actually buy and read the book, I’m interested in your comments and opinions–really! As I said above, I’m a former newspaper reporter and have a pretty thick skin.

    Back when I was first starting out, I wrote a story that infuriated the governor of the state where I was working. He called me up and tore me a new one. ‘Oh my God! The Governor! What have I done? Oh my God.’ About then my editor–one of those grizzled old types straight from Central Casting–looked over to me desk and said, ‘Kid, don’t worry about it. He’s just another f—in’ politician…only he got elected.’ It was good advice.

    Regarding my question on the first President to have an actual birth certificate:

    According to the Library of Congress it’s Jimmy Carter. Other births may have been recorded but the issuance of a birth certificate as a legal document is a fairly recent development.

    I checked out the online archives at FDR’s Presidential Library and they have a birth announcement–the little card with a stork on the front that you send out to folks to let them know you’ve propagated successfully–but no birth certificate in the archives. FDR was born in 1882 and like most births from that era, it was at home. Birth certificates as we know them now were initially issued in more urban areas for babies born in hospitals–as was Jimmy Carter, who the LoC says is the first President born in a hospital rather than at home.

    And, yes, I queried the Library of Congress on that point. It’s pretty cool…even a local yokel like myself can send off an email to the LoC with a question and…ta da…a couple days later, you get an answer. Just like the city library down on the corner, but better. Is this a great country or what?

  21. avatar
    LW August 6, 2012 at 10:40 am #

    ‘”Verifiable” being the key, since so many birthers love to say, “Hey, Ronald Reagan showed his birth certificate — it’s hanging in his presidential library, even!”

    It’s fun to then point out when that particular BC is dated, and ask how they’d feel if the only BC Obama could produce was created when he was in his 30s, based on a couple of people saying at that time, “Yeah, we promise we were there when he was born upstairs from a bar.”

  22. avatar
    Dr Kenneth Noisewater August 6, 2012 at 11:06 am #

    Scientist: I have seen FDR’s at Hyde Park. He was born around when they first came into use, so he might be the first. His Harvard report is there also. Gentleman’s Cs all around. Certainly he never showed any of that when he was running or in office. IMO opinion, the birthers can damn well wait and see what Obama puts in his library after he leaves office, just like happened with all the rest.

    What time of year is his libary open? I think it’s seasonal

  23. avatar
    Potter, J. August 6, 2012 at 11:08 am #

    The Magic M: someone *on* Flight 93 – was the target and everything else was just one giant smokescreen to cover that up.

    Intriguing Magic M! But that was one heck of a smokescreen. Must have been quite a target. Was the rest of 9/11 to be seen as pure, psychotic theater, or a “bonus”, a two-for-1 .. or even better, a means of tormenting the real target, softening them up by convincing them all tehy held dear was falling apart?

  24. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy August 6, 2012 at 11:42 am #

    Perhaps we differ on what constitutes a “birth certificate” is. Since births in the Americas have been recorded since 1639, one may reasonably conclude that at some point the clerk of court issued a signed statement related to that record. That is a birth certificate. A “birth certificate” is nothing more than a certified copy of a the registration. The security paper and the form of the certification is irrelevant and to me whether or not the copy exists is also irrelevant. The most correct thing to say is that if a birth is registered by a jurisdiction, then the subject has a birth certificate, whether they have asked for a copy or not. Certainly my “birth certificate” existed before I got my first copy of it as an adult.

    And of course there was that whole flap about Eisenhower getting a delayed certificate.

    Don Rosebrock: According to the Library of Congress it’s Jimmy Carter. Other births may have been recorded but the issuance of a birth certificate as a legal document is a fairly recent development.

  25. avatar
    Scientist August 6, 2012 at 11:43 am #

    Dr Kenneth Noisewater: What time of year is his libary open? I think it’s seasonal

    No, they are open every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, though they are renovating, so the normal exhibits are closed until next June. It’s a lovely spot overlooking the Hudson and the Culinary Institute of America is just up the road if you get hungry (they have several restaurants staffed by students).

    I could swear I saw FDR’s birth certificate there, and it looked like an official state document. New York began issuing official birth certificates starting in 1881 http://www.health.ny.gov/vital_records/genealogy.htm and FDR was born in 1882. Certainly, most Presidents did not have one.

  26. avatar
    Rickey August 6, 2012 at 12:24 pm #

    I just ordered my first Kindle. Amazon has a 40% off special running. I believe that you need to have the Amazon Rewards credit card to take advantage of it, but maybe not. If anyone wants to try with a different card, the reward code is KINDLE40.

  27. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy August 6, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

    I read Kindle books on the PC, or iPhone. I got Ms.Conspiracy a Kindle Fire and she likes it a lot. I’m impressed too, especially considering the price.

    Rickey: I just ordered my first Kindle

  28. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy August 6, 2012 at 3:10 pm #

    The problem with the Library of Congress is that they can only answer questions about what is in their collection. I’ve used them myself.

    Don Rosebrock: And, yes, I queried the Library of Congress on that point. It’s pretty cool…even a local yokel like myself can send off an email to the LoC with a question and…ta da…a couple days later, you get an answer. Just like the city library down on the corner, but better. Is this a great country or what?

  29. avatar
    Dr Kenneth Noisewater August 6, 2012 at 3:16 pm #

    Scientist: No, they are open every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, though they are renovating, so the normal exhibits are closed until next June. It’s a lovely spot overlooking the Hudson and the Culinary Institute of America is just up the road if you get hungry (they have several restaurants staffed by students).I could swear I saw FDR’s birth certificate there, and it looked like an official state document. New York began issuing official birth certificates starting in 1881 http://www.health.ny.gov/vital_records/genealogy.htm and FDR was born in 1882. Certainly, most Presidents did not have one.

    I’ll have to go take a look and see sometime soon. I went to Kennedy’s library earlier in the year and it was nice

  30. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy August 6, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

    The question is who is Ed Schottroffe and what is a copy of his birth certificate doing in the Nixon Presidential library?

    Scientist: I could swear I saw FDR’s birth certificate there, and it looked like an official state document.

  31. avatar
    Dr Kenneth Noisewater August 6, 2012 at 3:19 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: I read Kindle books on the PC, or iPhone. I got Ms.Conspiracy a Kindle Fire and she likes it a lot. I’m impressed too, especially considering the price.

    I just had to replace my wife’s kindle fire. For some reason the screen got a greenish tint

  32. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy August 6, 2012 at 3:20 pm #

    This article has been updated with my review.

  33. avatar
    Don Rosebrock August 6, 2012 at 3:48 pm #

    Dr. C: Thanks for the review. You raised some good points.

  34. avatar
    Squeeky Fromm, Girl Reporter August 6, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

    Don Rosebrock:
    Dr. C: Thanks for the review. You raised some good points.

    Hi Don Rosebrock!!!

    You know, I have an idea for your next book. You can call it “Voting Block” or something like that. Here is the storyline. There is a group of 60 Democratic senior citizens at a Florida nursing home who get taken by bus to the polls for “Early Voting.” On the way back, the bus runs off a cliff into a swamp, and there are hungry alligators and so everybody dies.

    A week later, the Presidential election occurs and Florida goes for the Democratic winner by 40 votes, and Florida is the state which decides the whole election in the electoral college.

    An enterprising young, and very smart and beautiful, Girl Reporter discovers there is a way to decide how these now dead seniors voted, and it was 100% Democratic. Sooo, now it is a matter of Dead Voters having decided the Presidency. The country erupts in chaos!!! The Republicans challenge the election and claim that early voting was a convenience, and since the votes were not counted until Election day, the Dead Votes should not count.

    The Democrats respond that the Dead Votes were legally cast, and subsequent death is not relevant. Then, the fight begins!!!

    You can have this idea if you want it, just maybe somewhere in the book say “Thanks to Squeeky Fromm, Girl Reporter!!!” or something.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  35. avatar
    Don Rosebrock August 6, 2012 at 4:58 pm #

    SFGR:
    Thanks for the idea.

    I’ve had a number of people ask about another book (or two) and I’ve kicked around some ideas, using the characters from the first one.

    Dunno if I’ll do it or not. If the current book had gotten a little more traction I would consider it. I work seasonally now as an interpretive specialist in an archaeological/historical park, April through October, which leaves me the winter months to pursue another book if I so decide.

    But, it’s like I tell people who look at me and ask, ‘You wrote a book? YOU?’: Any idiot can write a book…and lot of us do.

  36. avatar
    Dave B. August 6, 2012 at 5:48 pm #

    Don Rosebrock:
    Thanks to all for the warm welcome and kind comments. For those of you who actually buy and read the book, I’m interested in your comments and opinions–really!

    Well, Don, you seem like a good sort, so I bought your book, zombies or no zombies.

  37. avatar
    G August 6, 2012 at 6:16 pm #

    I have to say, Squeeky, that premise would definitely make an interesting book or even movie…

    Kudos for creativity!

    Squeeky Fromm, Girl Reporter: Hi Don Rosebrock!!!You know, I have an idea for your next book. You can call it “Voting Block” or something like that. Here is the storyline. There is a group of 60 Democratic senior citizens at a Florida nursing home who get taken by bus to the polls for “Early Voting.” On the way back, the bus runs off a cliff into a swamp, and there are hungry alligators and so everybody dies. A week later, the Presidential election occurs and Florida goes for the Democratic winner by 40 votes, and Florida is the state which decides the whole election in the electoral college.An enterprising young, and very smart and beautiful, Girl Reporter discovers there is a way to decide how these now dead seniors voted, and it was 100% Democratic. Sooo, now it is a matter of Dead Voters having decided the Presidency. The country erupts in chaos!!! The Republicans challenge the election and claim that early voting was a convenience, and since the votes were not counted until Election day, the Dead Votes should not count. The Democrats respond that the Dead Votes were legally cast, and subsequent death is not relevant. Then, the fight begins!!!You can have this idea if you want it, just maybe somewhere in the book say “Thanks to Squeeky Fromm, Girl Reporter!!!” or something.Squeeky FrommGirl Reporter

  38. avatar
    Potter, J. August 6, 2012 at 6:19 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: This article has been updated with my review.

    Thanks again Doc … and Bush v. Gore was in 2000. Time flies.

    (can’t comment other than that, as I haven’t read the book!)

    ((Wait, did Rosebrock rewrite history, having a Bush/Gore rematch that also went to SCOTUS??? Now, that’s a plot!)

  39. avatar
    Squeeky Fromm, Girl Reporter August 6, 2012 at 6:33 pm #

    G:

    Thank You!!! I am glad you liked it. I am working on a TV Birther episode right now, sooo I am kind of in Creative Overdrive.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  40. avatar
    LW August 6, 2012 at 6:39 pm #

    Having recently read Swamplandia!, I can definitely see Karen Russell taking a whack at this… . Or maybe Carl Hiaasen, or Dave Barry. Or a HiaaRussFrommRoseBarry mash-up!

  41. avatar
    Paper August 6, 2012 at 8:12 pm #

    Cocoon III: H3ll No, We Won’t Go

    Despite knowing their future fate in the swamp if they stay on Earth, forty senior citizens choose to stay to vote, aware they are giving up a long long life on Anterea. “I’ll be d&mned if I give Frank the satisfaction after all these years of him telling me that if I don’t like *his* America I can leave,” declared Misha, in a decisive quip that rallied the forty. “Besides,” added Fabia, the group’s informal confidant, acknowledging what they all knew to be true about the Democratic candidate’s heritage as one of the extremely long-lived, marooned Antereans, “I’ve always wanted to vote for someone who was actually a citizen when the constitution was adopted, and a *real* alien to boot!”

    Squeeky Fromm, Girl Reporter: Hi Don Rosebrock!!!

    You know, I have an idea for your next book. You can call it “Voting Block” or something like that. Here is the storyline. There is a group of 60 Democratic senior citizens at a Florida nursing home who get taken by bus to the polls for “Early Voting.” On the way back, the bus runs off a cliff into a swamp, and there are hungry alligators and so everybody dies.

    A week later, the Presidential election occurs and Florida goes for the Democratic winner by40 votes, and Florida is the state which decides the whole election in the electoral college.

    An enterprising young, and very smart and beautiful, Girl Reporter discovers there is a way to decide how these now dead seniors voted, and it was 100% Democratic. Sooo, now it is a matter of Dead Voters having decided the Presidency. The country erupts in chaos!!! The Republicans challenge the election and claim that early voting was a convenience, and since the votes were not counted until Election day, the Dead Votes should not count.

    The Democrats respond that the Dead Votes were legally cast, and subsequent death is not relevant. Then, the fight begins!!!

    You can have this idea if you want it, just maybe somewhere in the book say “Thanks to Squeeky Fromm, Girl Reporter!!!” or something.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  42. avatar
    Paper August 6, 2012 at 8:14 pm #

    Having trouble using iPad to edit the tenses in that last post…knowing the future can have that result, though, so…

  43. avatar
    Squeeky Fromm, Girl Reporter August 6, 2012 at 8:29 pm #

    LW and Paper:

    LOL! But maybe since we are talking about aliens (both kinds) I should have added some invasive species to the alligators. Some big pythons where all you see is a big bulge and pair of orthopedic shoes sticking out of the mouth. And some big carps jumping up out of the water whacking senior citizens left and right. And one where the Skunk Ape is carrying off an old granny into the undergrowth.

    Sort of an intense legal thriller with some good horror side effects???

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  44. avatar
    LW August 6, 2012 at 9:04 pm #

    Possible alternate title and franchise tie-in:

    The Hanging C.H.U.D.

  45. avatar
    G August 6, 2012 at 11:13 pm #

    Of course! It wouldn’t be FL without the Skunk Ape!

    Say, Birther Ed Hale claims to have killed a Bigfoot or two… so you even could write a character based on him into the story…

    Squeeky Fromm, Girl Reporter: And one where the Skunk Ape is carrying off an old granny into the undergrowth.

  46. avatar
    Keith August 7, 2012 at 12:24 am #

    Squeeky Fromm, Girl Reporter: You can call it “Voting Block” or something like that.

    “60 Shades of Gray Hair” maybe?

    And don’t forget to have Pogo float by and quip that “We have met the enemy… and he is us”.

  47. avatar
    mercadeo August 7, 2012 at 3:33 pm #

    We must then ask ourselves why Congress and the media have not pressed Obama for the necessary and relevant birth information for at least the sake of the integrity of the Presidential election process and the safety of our nation? Moreover, Obama cannot be an Article II “natural born Citizen” because under the British Nationality Act of 1948 when Obama was born in 1961 his father was a British subject/citizen and Obama himself was born a British subject/citizen. See Obama, the Putative President of the U.S., Is Currently Also a British Citizen , located at http://puzo1.blogspot.com/2009/07/obama-president-of-us-is-currently-also_29.html . Like a naturalized citizen who is not eligible to be President, Obama was born with an allegiance to a foreign power and is therefore not eligible to be President and more so not eligible to be the leader of our military men and women. To allow Obama to hide his birth information and to not challenge him for not being an Article II “natural born Citizen” is nothing more than at best, politicians and those in their coterie allowing corrupt party politics, self-interest, and/or cowardice to blind their constitutional duty to protect and defend our country and Constitution, at worst, part of someone’s plot to attack and destroy the United States from within, or both. Given that any attack on the United States will most likely come from within, these latter two scenarios must be given serious consideration and ruled out only after sufficient evidence exists to so rule them out. Hence, the deliberate or reckless failing by those who are supposed to protect and defend our country and Constitution is tantamount to treason.

  48. avatar
    Dave B. August 8, 2012 at 11:38 am #

    mercadeo:
    Moreover, Obama cannot be an Article II “natural born Citizen” because under the British Nationality Act of 1948 when Obama was born in 1961 his father was a British subject/citizen and Obama himself was born a British subject/citizen.

    You may have missed some things that have happened in the last few centuries. In 1776, the United States declared its independence from Britain, and subsequently established its own independent system of laws. The United States doesn’t give a hoot about the British Nationality Act of 1948. Nationality of the United States is governed by United States nationality law.
    And citing Marius Apuzzius here will only receive the derision it so thoroughly merits.

  49. avatar
    Scientist August 8, 2012 at 11:58 am #

    mercadeo: Like a naturalized citizen who is not eligible to be President, Obama was born with an allegiance to a foreign power and is therefore not eligible to be President

    So, you will be voting for Mexican citizen Mitt Romney, then? Yes, his father was born in Mexico and that makes Mitt a dual US/Mexican citizen, with allegiance to Mexico. If he was born in Canada, just a few miles from his parent’s home in Detroit (which can’t be ruled out based on his VOID phony birth document) then he would be a triple US/Canadian/Mexican citizen. All of NAFTA in one package.

  50. avatar
    Majority Will August 8, 2012 at 12:04 pm #

    mercadeo: To allow Obama to hide his birth information

    For the terminally slow:

    http://hawaii.gov/health/vital-records/obama.html

    You’re welcome.

    And citing the Putz might be a sign of mental illness.

  51. avatar
    Thomas Brown August 8, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

    mercadeo: We must then ask ourselves why Congress and the media have not pressed Obama for the necessary and relevant birth information for at least the sake of the integrity of the Presidential election process and the safety of our nation?

    Actually, we already know the answer: because they, unlike you, are smart and sane. They know BHO is an eligible natural born citizen who loves his country, and even though they may disagree with his policies, they know he is no threat to America.

    Unlike you and those who think like you, who are damaging America and don’t give a rat’s ass.

    You must be so proud.

  52. avatar
    sfjeff August 8, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

    mercadeo: We must then ask ourselves why Congress and the media have not pressed Obama for the necessary and relevant birth information

    No we really musn’t. Congress- like the American people- has a relatively firm grasp on reality and therefore is not responding to the jabbering of wingnuts.

  53. avatar
    Paper August 8, 2012 at 1:03 pm #

    Is that true? I knew I should have payed attention in class. Well, isn’t that a kick in the pants.

    So, do you think the British government will refund the taxes I’ve been paying to them all these years by mistake?

    Dave B.: In 1776, the United States declared its independence from Britain, and subsequently established its own independent system of laws.

  54. avatar
    Dave B. August 8, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

    Paper:

    So, do you think the British government will refund the taxes I’ve been paying to them all these years by mistake?

    If you’ve got receipts, I think they’ll send you a coupon for some spotted dick, but that’s about it.

  55. avatar
    Rickey August 8, 2012 at 2:39 pm #

    mercadeo:
    Given that any attack on the United States will most likely come from within, these latter two scenarios must be given serious consideration and ruled out only after sufficient evidence exists to so rule them out. Hence, the deliberate or reckless failing by those who are supposed to protect and defend our country and Constitution is tantamount to treason.

    Have you written to your representatives in Congress to demand a thorough investigation of Mitt Romney’s citizenship? He may have been born in Canada, and I heard a rumor that he became a citizen of France while he was a Mormon missionary. there. I’m not saying it’s true, but apparently he wanted a fallback position in case he wasn’t able to stretch out his draft exemptions until the end of the Vietnam War.

    http://dailyracingrag.com/romney/romney_in_paris.jpg

  56. avatar
    Thrifty August 8, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

    Why would they? The information you seek was voluntarily released by President Obama without any prodding by Congress. Either of the birth certificates would work as evidence of the fact that he was born in the United States. Just because you don’t accept it doesn’t mean jack squat. The law is what it is, not what you wish it were.

    mercadeo: We must then ask ourselves why Congress and the media have not pressed Obama for the necessary and relevant birth information for at least the sake of the integrity of the Presidential election process and the safety of our nation?

  57. avatar
    donna August 8, 2012 at 4:19 pm #

    mercadeo: We must then ask ourselves why Congress and the media have not pressed Obama for the necessary and relevant birth information

    3TV reached out to both Senators John McCain (R) Arizona and Jon Kyl (R) Arizona, as well as at least six U.S. Representatives from Arizona, but none of them wanted to comment on the MCSO “birther” findings.

    “The joke’s really on the taxpayers and the people who keep putting this guy into office,” said Grant Woods, a former REPUBLICAN Arizona Attorney General. “But once again this is an embarrassment to this country coming out of Arizona.”

    On Tuesday, REPUBLICAN Secretary of State Ken Bennett’s spokesman, Matt Roberts, declined 3TV’s request for a statement and said only that Bennett was “out of town, unavailable and does not have any plans to take action.”

    and HE’S a MORMON & ROMNEY’S AZ CO-CHAIR

    As for Governor Jan Brewer, in 2011 she told CNN the “birther” issue is “just something I believe is leading our country down a path of destruction and it just is not serving any good.”

    Her spokesman, Matt Benson, said her position on the issue has not changed.

    so much for arpaio waiting for CONGRESS!!!!!

  58. avatar
    Northland10 August 8, 2012 at 7:44 pm #

    mercadeo: We must then ask ourselves why Congress and the media have not pressed Obama for the necessary and relevant birth information for at least the sake of the integrity of the Presidential election process and the safety of our nation?

    You must ask yourself, if politicians, who are not a group known for their high ethical standards, will not stoop so low as to touch this, what does that say of your issue?

  59. avatar
    Paper August 16, 2012 at 10:25 am #

    Just finished this book late last night. I concur with much of Dr. C’s review. The story indeed gets going around the 34% mark, and once I passed that point, I didn’t stop. Fell asleep near the end despite myself, well past midnight, but woke back up and finished it.

    The beginning is extremely slow going, and the lack of conflict Dr. C. mentions is a result of spending all that time laying out the backstory of how the characters got to this moment and the personal life story of the new President. I found it very hard going.

    The story would have been better served to start in media res, and then backfill various of these historical/character elements, perhaps in a more potent, tight, resonant form.

    In this regard, I also had varying degrees of concern about the exposition throughout. I was interested in the exposition about the legal process, but often felt that exposition was achieved at the expense of Madam President’s stature as a character. A lot of her role here involves prompting exposition from her lawyer or others. The story’s strings become fairly obvious here and I think make her weaker as a presidential character. Not that President’s don’t get things explained to them. Just she came across less as a leader. I kept feeling she was not coming across as the alpha, missing especially the subtle elements of the dominanting personality of a leader, particularly in the exchanges with her lawyer. And I mean within the constraints of her character. I don’t mean she had to be LBJ. I just think she became a tool in service of the exposition, and her character then loses all those marks and details of who such a person would be, which is at the very least not a tool of exposition.

    We do get told about her asserting authority with the FBI and the NSA, but told. “Telling,” thus, is probably the weakness of the story, as the long start to the story demonstrates.

    As the day gets going now, I find myself remembering the daughter more vividly than the President (despite being given so much of the President’s backstory). I also am left with an odd sense of the President as victim, or bystander in her own drama, despite the clear intention that she, like her daughter, does not play the victim.

    Indeed, contrast the portrayal of the President to the portrayal of her exceptional daughter who comes across very well in deft strokes in very dramatic moments. I would have liked to see more of the way the daughter exerted her own dominance in her mother’s characterization. If her daughter can do that in those circumstances, the President needed to be seen exerting similar personal dominance, which is hampered most I suspect by using her as a sounding board for exposition. Even within that narrative constraint, I think all that exposition could be conveyed with a more dominating character (not necessarily aggressively so).

    That said, I was engaged by the legal maneuvers as well as the action developments. I think those two elements work together very well, technically in how they are interwoven, as well as thematically in how they convey a real dynamic playing out in different worlds.

    I liked the characters. I might even vote for this Elena Aguilar de Leon.

  60. avatar
    Paper August 16, 2012 at 10:32 am #

    On the topic of the first judge, Quinn, and then the Supreme Court, I agree with Dr. C. But I do get a fleeting sense of that judge Quinn as someone who could perhaps be paralleled in life by someone by the name of Kreep?

  61. avatar
    G August 16, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

    Thanks for taking the time to give your review and criticism in such well explained detail. I hope the author is still checking this site and gets to see your feedback. He seems like a good guy who is willing to listen, so he can always improve and further hone his craft.

    As both you and Doc C have noted – you got to a certain point and couldn’t put the book down from there – that is a sign of a good story! Your review also reveals that you were able to be taken in by the actions of certain characters and essentially, ended up “rooting for them”. That too is a goal that any good author wants to convey.

    The criticisms you gave were good ones and deal with the difficult challenge and balancing act that every writer faces in delivering a story – providing backstory, developing relatable and believable characters, keeping the pace and flow going, keeping the reader hooked and most difficult of all, having the reactions and dialogue of the characters seem “natural” and not just a forced device to move part of the plot towards a specific pre-determined outcome.

    Those things are quite a challenge and work towards some of those parts can often conflcit with successfully delivering others. It really is easier said than done, but good critical outside feedback can always help pull the writer out of being too close to the story to see where there are areas for improvement.

    Trust me, I know. I’ve been working on my own fiction writings for years off and on. But these very types of challenges keep me from being satisfied that the work as-is is finished, so I keep setting it down for awhile, to come back to it fresh and re-tweak again. So, I come at this with an appreciation of how difficult it can be to get the balance and mix just right on all of those critical components to a good story…and with how important good, detailed feedback, like yours, is to helping an author continue to grow in his craft.

    Paper: Just finished this book late last night. I concur with much of Dr. C’s review. The story indeed gets going around the 34% mark, and once I passed that point, I didn’t stop. Fell asleep near the end despite myself, well past midnight, but woke back up and finished it.

  62. avatar
    Paper August 16, 2012 at 5:25 pm #

    Glad you appreciated it, G.

    Thinking a little more about it, I specifically would recommend The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln for its handling of this very aspect of dealing with exposition while retaining a presidential upper hand in the characterization. In some ways, this story shares a lot with that one, though this Natural Born story is not as elaborate as post-Civil War alternate history. I think the Abraham Lincoln novel supplies a model of how to deal with the aspects I found problematic here, while also highlighting in relief what are similar strengths in this natural born legal thriller.

    I also recommend the Impeachment story in its own right.

    G:
    Thanks for taking the time to give your review and criticism in such well explained detail…

  63. avatar
    Don Rosebrock August 18, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

    First, a couple ‘thank yous’: To Paper for the review, your comments are appreciated. And, to Dr. C for reopening this thread for comments so I can post a few thoughts.

    First, regarding the story’s format, the straight chronological narrative vs. opening the yarn with an action sequence from mid-story and then using the backfill/backstory device. Yes, a couple of readers suggested this; one suggested the scene from the Seattle wine bar and then filling in backstory from there.

    I decided to go with the straight chronological narrative for one basic reason. I hate the mid-story action opening and backfill device. I hate being jerked around time-wise by an author. I consider it manipulative and see it as the author not having respect for the reader. So, feeling that away about the device I knew that I would not be happy writing a book that way and consequently would execute it badly. The result is what I consider a tight, chronological sequence where the story moves not just by the day but by the time of day.

    Second, there have been some remarks about Judge Quinn, the federal court judge, and him being unrealistic. Quinn is modeled on Judge Willis Ritter, who ruled the federal district court in Salt Lake City for over 30 years. Ritter was eccentric, alcoholic, petty, alcoholic, volatile, and, did I mention an alcoholic? He’s legendary. At least one book has been written about him and I believe another is in the works. Ritter was the sole federal judge in the Utah district for 10 or 20 years until he got so bad the state’s congressional delegation was able to get a second judge appointed despite the fact the caseload didn’t merit it under normal circumstances. Ritter realized what was happening and after the second judge was added exercised his senior judge privileges and refused, for about a year, to allow any cases to be assigned to the man he saw as his rival. Eventually he relented as the caseload grew but saw to it that he got the important ones. Lawyers used every procedure they could to get cases assigned to the second judge or, failing that, to get their cases on the docket in the morning when they knew Ritter would only be hung over and not drunk again. He used to walk across the street every day and have lunch at Lamb’s Cafe in downtown SLC (still there) and sat at the same table. Someone once had the audacity to sit at ‘his’ table and Ritter threatened to find him in contempt of court and toss him in the clink!

    So, that’s my model for Quinn.

    There was also some comment on the courtroom hearing under Quinn and the unliklihood something like that would actually happen. The hearing is modeled on one a friend of mine participated in and related to me. He is a retired attorney but was a vice president and chief legal counsel for a major international computer chip manufacturer. As such he spent a considerable time arguing cases in various federal courts around the country. The proceeding in Quinn’s courtroom closely matches one in which he was involved. Fortunately for him, he was the one the judge favored. He said he almost — emphasis on the almost — felt bad for the opposing lawyer.

    So there are a couple comments on aspects of the book that have been raised.

    Also, an apology to Dr C and to Paper: Sorry you got so caught up you stayed up half the night to finish the book. I didn’t mean to interrupt your sleep cycle.

  64. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy August 18, 2012 at 3:15 pm #

    Interesting story. I guess I have been spoiled by the uniformly high quality and professionalism of the judges in these Obama eligibility cases.

    Don Rosebrock: So, that’s my model for Quinn.

  65. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy August 18, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

    I can sympathize with your view and I find time jerking to be annoying as well, Not being personally able to write a book of any note, I’m the last one to tell anyone else how to write. I just share my personally feeling as I read the first 1/3 of the book: this dialog is here for the sole purpose of explaining something to the reader and that character is just filling in the blank for a stereotypical point of view. It left me wondering whether I was reading a completed template or a story.

    The question I would ask, and I’d have to read the book again to answer it for myself, is whether the President’s history had any relevance on how she acted in the novel? Come to think of it, the President really doesn’t act, so maybe the President shouldn’t have even appeared in the novel outside of maybe a TV spot or a news conference.

    Of course, the back story/character issue worked its way out as the characters became real through their actions.

    Don Rosebrock: I decided to go with the straight chronological narrative for one basic reason. I hate the mid-story action opening and backfill device. I hate being jerked around time-wise by an author.

  66. avatar
    G August 18, 2012 at 4:56 pm #

    Don, thank you for coming back and posting here. It really is appreciated.

    I totally understand your arguments about having to make a decision on chronological devices, used for not only telling the main story, but also in filling in backstory. It is a difficult decision and dilemma, for any writer. A story takes place over a certain slice of time; yet both the characters and the “plot environment” have to have some level of backstory to get them to where both the story would start and also to impact their decision making and logical course direction of the story, througout. Quite a challenge, indeed.

    I understand the preference for a straight, chronological narrative. But that doesn’t mean that some out-of-chronology devices can’t still be implemented in short bursts. Brief memory flashbacks that fit within paragraphs instead of whole chapters, in order to further flesh out a particular motive for a current decision being faced. Not all exposition has to be placed upfront, as that can often bog down pacing. So yes, you simply have to chose what you feel works best for your particular story and how you wish to tell the tale. Best wishes to you!

    Don Rosebrock: First, regarding the story’s format, the straight chronological narrative vs. opening the yarn with an action sequence from mid-story and then using the backfill/backstory device. Yes, a couple of readers suggested this; one suggested the scene from the Seattle wine bar and then filling in backstory from there.
    I decided to go with the straight chronological narrative for one basic reason. I hate the mid-story action opening and backfill device. I hate being jerked around time-wise by an author. I consider it manipulative and see it as the author not having respect for the reader. So, feeling that away about the device I knew that I would not be happy writing a book that way and consequently would execute it badly. The result is what I consider a tight, chronological sequence where the story moves not just by the day but by the time of day.

  67. avatar
    G August 18, 2012 at 5:01 pm #

    I really appreciate you sharing these aspects of real-world examples which served as a template for your characters and story!

    You’ve reminded me of an old addage that turns out to be quite the truism here: Real life is often stranger than fiction. So many real-world people turn out to say and do such crazy things, that their own real-life tales would be hard to believe, if someone else tried to come up with predicting and writing it first…

    …That really says a lot about just how diverse and crazy the real world we live in, actually is! LOL!!!

    Don Rosebrock: Second, there have been some remarks about Judge Quinn, the federal court judge, and him being unrealistic. Quinn is modeled on Judge Willis Ritter, who ruled the federal district court in Salt Lake City for over 30 years. Ritter was eccentric, alcoholic, petty, alcoholic, volatile, and, did I mention an alcoholic? He’s legendary. At least one book has been written about him and I believe another is in the works. Ritter was the sole federal judge in the Utah district for 10 or 20 years until he got so bad the state’s congressional delegation was able to get a second judge appointed despite the fact the caseload didn’t merit it under normal circumstances. Ritter realized what was happening and after the second judge was added exercised his senior judge privileges and refused, for about a year, to allow any cases to be assigned to the man he saw as his rival. Eventually he relented as the caseload grew but saw to it that he got the important ones. Lawyers used every procedure they could to get cases assigned to the second judge or, failing that, to get their cases on the docket in the morning when they knew Ritter would only be hung over and not drunk again. He used to walk across the street every day and have lunch at Lamb’s Cafe in downtown SLC (still there) and sat at the same table. Someone once had the audacity to sit at ‘his’ table and Ritter threatened to find him in contempt of court and toss him in the clink!
    So, that’s my model for Quinn.
    There was also some comment on the courtroom hearing under Quinn and the unliklihood something like that would actually happen. The hearing is modeled on one a friend of mine participated in and related to me. He is a retired attorney but was a vice president and chief legal counsel for a major international computer chip manufacturer. As such he spent a considerable time arguing cases in various federal courts around the country. The proceeding in Quinn’s courtroom closely matches one in which he was involved. Fortunately for him, he was the one the judge favored. He said he almost — emphasis on the almost — felt bad for the opposing lawyer.

  68. avatar
    Paper August 18, 2012 at 11:29 pm #

    Not sure I have time to get into details tonight (long day today and early morning tomorrow), but at least a quick note to “accept” your apology:

    Oh please! Liar! ;-} That’s the mark of your achievement!

    Whatever critique I offer is in that light. When I have a moment, I’ll follow up.

    In the meantime, thanks for the story!

    Don Rosebrock:

    Also, an apology to Dr C and to Paper: Sorry you got so caught up you stayed up half the night to finish the book. I didn’t mean to interrupt your sleep cycle.

  69. avatar
    Paper August 19, 2012 at 12:32 am #

    I will note that it might have been worth just dropping all of the President’s backstory. A hard thing to say, I understand. I appreciate your intention not to jump around in time. And I’m on the outside regarding what details you consider important to the story. I think perhaps you could have used the reporter more to convey past information without actually flashing back to the past. Or use present day conversation to drop in history. Or otherwise convey the key aspects important to the character.

    But for me that is neither here nor there. My issue wasn’t so much the sequencing, as the expository nature of that past, as well as my sense of the President becoming an expository pawn in the present.

    Again, I think of your portrayal of the daughter. We learn some importantly relevant information about her past behavior without time jumps, and while she is extraordinary, you also convey her character deftly, simply, directly. There already are strong parallels between both of their circumstances, and the potency of your tale is such that I want to care about the President as much as I do the daughter.

    So the chronology is tight, but for me I want the characterization to be tight(er).

    Well, I don’t want to go on much more, I think. Just clarifying my perspective. And I must finish by highlighting the strengths of the story. It has good bones. I also liked very much how you resolved the daughter’s situation.

    And most importantly, I would look forward to any book you wrote next. The way you think is fresh.

    Don Rosebrock:

    First, regarding the story’s format, the straight chronological narrative vs. opening the yarn with an action sequence from mid-story and then using the backfill/backstory device. Yes, a couple of readers suggested this; one suggested the scene from the Seattle wine bar and then filling in backstory from there.

    I decided to go with the straight chronological narrative for one basic reason. I hate the mid-story action opening and backfill device. I hate being jerked around time-wise by an author. I consider it manipulative and see it as the author not having respect for the reader. So, feeling that away about the device I knew that I would not be happy writing a book that way and consequently would execute it badly. The result is what I consider a tight, chronological sequence where the story moves not just by the day but by the time of day.