Tuesday, December 22, 2009

'cause it's the season by Shane Gericke

National bestselling thriller writer Shane Gericke (pronounced YER-key) spent 25 years as a journalist, most prominently as a senior financial editor at the Chicago Sun-Times, before plunging into crime thrillers. Torn Apart, his new cops-vs.-psychos novel, will launch worldwide on July 6, 2010, from Pinnacle Fiction. It joins Blown Away—winner of the prestigious “Debut Mystery of the Year” from RT Book Reviews magazine—and Cut to the Bone in gathering accolades from such New York Times bestsellers as Jeffrey Deaver, Lee Child, Tess Gerritsen, Douglas Preston, Erica Spindler, John J. Nance, Gayle Lynds, Alex Kava and John Lutz, with one critic enthusiastically reporting, “Cross James Patterson with Joseph Wambaugh, and you get Shane Gericke.” Shane, whose books have been translated into German, Chinese, Slovakian and Turkish, lives in the Chicago suburb of Naperville, IL, where the series is set. He’s chairman of ThrillerFest in New York City, a founding member of International Thriller Writers, and a member of Mystery Writers of America. Visit him at www.shanegericke.com

'cause it's the season By Shane Gericke





Needle boy.

Jon and Kate unmate.

Tis the season.

But the news isn’t all bad for the holidays. There’s plenty of hope and heroics. You just have to look in the back pages of the newspaper, not the front.

So in honor of Musings and Meanderings and its ever-cheerful proprietor, Kaye Barley, I’d like to share a few of the happy stories with you. Cause it’s the season for that, too.

NEVER OFF-DUTY: Chicago firefighter Jason Durbin was finishing his hot dog at The Weiner’s Circle when he noticed smoke pouring from the top of a nearly skyscraper. He wasn’t working that day, so could have called 911 and left the mess to his fellow fire-dogs. But real firefighters run toward the flames, not away, and that’s what Durbin did. He ran up the stairs to the 28th floor, only to be hit by a thick wall of smoke. Someone passing him said a woman was in trouble down the hall. He felt his way to her—remember, the hall was choked with inky smoke—and bumped into the curled-up woman. He dragged her to the stairwell, then carried her down the 28 flights of stairs. She wound up in serious condition with smoke inhalation and burns—but survived. If you don’t adore firefighters, you absolutely have no soul.

WE’RE CONNECTED: It wasn’t so long ago we stayed in touch only by letters or phone. Now we have the Internet and e-mail (developed in the 1970s, popularized in the ’90s), MySpace (2003), Facebook (2005), Twitter (2006) and hundreds of other social-connection media. That couldn’t have happened without broadband Internet, which really took off in the mid-2000s. The first iPod was introduced in 2001 (a music odyssey), followed by YouTube (2005). With all that at our fingertips, we now communicate in all sorts of fashion. Except for sitting down face to face, of course. Who has time for that?

JUST DUES: The University of California at Davis authorized special college degrees to all students who attended the school during World War II but were forced to leave when Americans of Japanese descent were forced into concentration camps for the duration of the war. It was a shameful episode in our history, I believe, and some may quibble with my calling them “concentration” camps, not the more officially pleasant “detainment.” But what would you call it if you were imprisoned in a camp ringed with barbed wire and armed guards, in barracks so shabby that cold winds howled through the walls, and toilets with no privacy? And not in, say, Palm Springs or San Francisco, but in the God-forsaken wildernesses of Utah and Wyoming? It was monstrous decision, throwing our own citizens into prison without benefit of a trial, but at least institutions like UC-Davis are trying to make it right.

LIFE GOES ON: Anne Marie Schlekeway of Chicago is dying of ALS, more popularly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. But she’s determined to show the world she’s fighting it, one day after the next, and so has started a blog, www.KissMyALS.com. She talks frankly about the disease and her life, touching upon such sensitive topics as toileting—“To speed the process while on the pot, lift both arms over your head”—to sex: “Trouble breathing in the missionary position … what I thought was me getting fat was really weakened muscles in the diaphragm.” In my view, people like Schlekeway, who bare their souls that others might not suffer alone, are worth ten millions Tigers Wood.

HOUSTON, WE HAVE NO PROBLEM: Voters in Bible Belt Houston, Texas, elected their first openly gay mayor. She is Annise Parker, and she won by focusing on the brick-and-mortar realities of running the country’s fourth-largest city. Like ever other successful politician, she connected with voters with her willingness to roll up her sleeves, and those voters didn’t hold her sexual preference against her. It’s good to see us overcome our gay-hating culture, even if it’s one person at a time.

SHAVE AND A HAIRCUT, TWO BITS: Even better, free. Cristiano Cora runs a chi-chi hair-styling salon in New York’s Greenwich Village. He charges $300 for a haircut, and that doesn’t include color or highlights. His work is in demand, and he’s heavily booked. But … once a week he gives free cuts to the unemployed, as a way to lift their spirits. Just make an appointment and bring in something that proves you’re unemployed—pink slip, pay stub, whatever—and the cut is gratis. He says he’ll do it as long as the recession lasts. May he become a billionaire, one head at a time.

KINGLY GENEROSITY: The high priest of high scares, Stephen King, and his wife, Tabitha, donated $12,999 to an organization so 150 soldiers of the Army National Guard in Maine could travel from an Army training camp in Indiana to spend the holidays at home. Someone approached King about donating $13,000 to cover the travel expense. King, being King, said he’d love to, but make it $12,999—the number 13 is unlucky. Julie Eugley, one of King’s assistants, chipped in the extra buck, and the soldiers were on their way. King should be a bestseller for this alone. Fortunately, his momentous writing has already gotten him there.

AND FINALLY: Authorities have arrested the coal-souled bastard who shoved dozens of sewing needles into his own son’s body. Robert Magalhaes of Brazil confessed to pushing more than forty needles into his young son in order to spite his ex-wife, the boy’s mother. (Magalhaes did it on orders from his new wife, cops say he also said.) Emergency surgery to remove the needles closest to killing the boy was successful, and the boy is recovering. My holiday wish is that the father is quickly convicted, shoved into a Brazilian prison, and turned loose into a general population armed with sewing needles. Can you say, Pincushion?

Hey, I never said “happy” meant “Pollyanna.”

And to all, a shiny happy holiday, however you celebrate it.


Unknown said...

Great to see you here, Shane! Enjoyed your post, particularly the story of firefighter, Jason Durbin. Amazingly courageous young man... posted that to my FB wall the other day. Best wishes for a lovely holiday to you & yours (and, of course, to the wonderful, Kaye B.) Cheers, Annie

cathy said...

Good grief... I thought I already had a google account, but after trying for over half an hour, made a new one. LOL.

ANYWAY, I was saying I really enjoyed reading your post, Shane, and that it was good to "see" you. Haven't chatted in awhile.
Take care.
Cathy (Lee) Carper

Ken Lewis said...

Hi Shane!

Thanks for the great Christmas gift. What a joy it was to read some REAL news for once instead of all this garbage about Health Scare, and Crap and Wade.

Merry Christmas!

Shane Gericke said...

Annie, Cathy and Chief Ken ... hey, great to see you here. Hope your holidays are very merry! I just finished my long slog to the next book, Torn Apart, which is due out July, and am finally coming up for air in terms of getting back in touch with folks. Thanks for making it easier by being here!

Yes, Annie, wasn't that firefighter story COOL? I love tales like that ... helps remind me why I like being alive.

Agree completely, Ken. With all the crap going on in the world, we gotta take a breather now and then and remind ourselves of all the good people in the world.

And Cathy, we MUST catch up now that I'm out of my manuscript fog. Hope you're well and happy.

Thanks, Kaye, for bringing us all here today.

Earl Staggs said...

Hey, Shane! Haven't had time to keep up with people and things lately for the same reason you haven't (finishing a book)but couldn't resist treating myself to some M&M. Enjoyed your thoughts and the reminder that there IS some good news out there. Holiday greetings to you, Kaye (of course) and everyone else on the planet.

Vicki Lane said...

Great stories, Shane! Thanks for rounding them up for our reading pleasure!

Shane Gericke said...

Hi, Earl and Vicki! Great to see you here with Kaye, Annie, Cathy and The Chief. Hope your holidays are very merry and all is going well in the World o'Writing. Kaye was good enough to give me this forum, so why not share some good news, right? Plenty of crummy news as it is.

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Hi Guys!! Thanks to Shane and everyone else for dropping by. GREAT post, Shane (NO surprise there!). Sorry I'm so late getting here but we've been without power for a few days.
Hope you're all well and happy and enjoying the holiday season!!!!

N. J. Lindquist said...

really enjoyed your comments, Shane. Yeah, I like this kind of news too. :) Happy writing in 2010.