Some thoughts on Amateur Hour and how in 2009 it predicted the Boston bombing of 2013 are at the bottom of this page.

Amateur Hour

    Gary listened as the HRT member continued, but watched a group of men climbing up the fire escape ladder.  It was the same guys who had landed the helicopter, only now one was carrying the other over his shoulder.  Gary could see blood smeared on the limp, unconscious guy, and the small man who was carrying him. 

    The FBI ninja guy discontinued his lecture, and the General said, “Bobby” through clenched teeth.  The old man looked like he wanted to punch someone.  Gary heard the helicopter start up.  They were taking the unconscious guy somewhere, and didn’t feel like waiting for an ambulance.  He must have gotten shot while trying to get the three terrorists who had planted the containers of radioactive stuff all over the station.  The helicopter lifted off the roof.

    I hope you make it. 

    He no longer heard the helicopter.

-excerpt from AMATEUR HOUR

11,000 word fictional novel 

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The basic premise & plot of Amateur Hour have been swirling around inside my head for years.  Years of working with radioactive drugs used to scan and treat cancer patients got me thinking about the security risks involved if an employee went rogue.

The truth of the matter is that these radioactive materials are safe to use when handled in their intended fashion, but what if somebody who doesn’t like us decides to use them maliciously?

    When I started writing this story, I didn’t know that there are people in the government who sit around thinking about these things, and come up with ways to keep them from happening.  Research labs, hospitals, and factories that have isotopes that we don’t want stolen are examined vigorously in surprise inspections, and God help them if the inspectors aren’t happy with their security measures.  While there is heavy involvement of law enforcement from the federal to the local level, the thing I worry about is the human factor.  What if the local cop who gets the phone call forgot to check the batteries in his radio, or there is a miscommunication? Fortunately, the bad guys aren’t as clever as they think they are, either, so between the ham-fisted cops on one side, and bungling terrorists on the other, I sleep well at night. Hence the title Amateur Hour.

When I started writing Amateur Hour, I followed the writers’ creed of “Write what you know.”  Most authors’ first novels are self-indulgent, fictional autobiographies, and I’m just as guilty as the next guy.  Obviously, there would be a heroic nuclear med tech who uses his knowledge of physics and biology to save the world-or at least, Los Angeles.

And what's the deal with all of the birdwatching-or birding-in the story?  Who cares about birds?   There can't be that many birders out there.  Certainly not enough to support a novel with a birder as the protagonist.

Actually, there are more birders out there than you'd think.  Millions of Americans will 'bird' some time during the next year (leave it to Americans to change a noun into a verb).  A not-very-small percentage of them will spend millions of dollars on plane tickets, car rentals, motels, and restaurants while they pursue target birds that they seek to add to their life lists.

The problem was that I couldn’t have a birdwatching nuclear medicine technologist who is also a crime-fighting action hero.  Enter Pug Ironhorse.

I invented Pug out of thin air.  Sort of.  His Navajo Indian grandfather, George "Brick" Ironhorse Junior, is based on a tough-as-nails sergeant-major with a heart of gold, that I knew in the 1980s.  The real George Ironhorse Jr. (not his real name) was an unimposing Green Beret who served in the U.S. Army from the age of 17, when he fought the Japanese in hand-to-hand combat on an island in the Pacific, survived the Korean War, observed the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu, then spent the 1960s deep in the jungles of Southeast Asia, sneaking around Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.

So why did I, an Army veteran, give a real-life Green Beret a fake grandson who is a U.S. Navy SEAL?

Why not?

Amateur Hour and the BOSTON BOMBING of 2013 

The only difference between Walid Shakir, the antagonist in Amateur Hour and the real-life Tsarnaev brothers was that in Amateur Hour Walid is a lone, disaffected college student who is unhappy with what he perceives to be degenerate American culture, while the Tsarnaev brothers acted together.  Of course, in Amateur Hour, Walid finds two fellow travelers, Hussein, and Osman, each of whom conspire with him for their own, disparate reasons.
The real mind-blower is that this was the second real-life plot in 6 months inside the U.S., involving muslim students plotting a terrorist attack. The first plot was an even bigger mind-blower: it took place in Pomona, 3 miles from where the fictitious Amateur Hour takes place.  Eery.  Both times, after those students were arrested, and after the Boston bombing, I reached out to national and local news organizations, to no avail. Neither the conservative radio stations like KFI and KABC were interested, nor was KPCC, the local NPR affiliate.  The L.A. Times?  No response.  A friend who is a reporter at the L.A. Times doesn't understand why they didn't pick up on the fact that I predicted these plots, or how I made these accurate predictions. 
The reason that this is unfortunate is not that I have been unable to obtain nation-wide expposure for this novel; the reason is that we as a nation are not doing anything to address the root causes of these plots.  Here is my prediction on July 1st, 2013: it is going to happen, again.
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