Tuesday, December 26, 2017

New Detective Book




A TALE OF TWO COVERS: Book two of the
Detective Series is out in paperback. The kindle and audio editions will be available to the public on November 24th.

Currently I am using the cover to the left, but I'm leaning toward switching to the cover on the right, which for me seems to be saying more by saying less.

Check out the book!


THE DETECTIVE SERIES


Murder, lust and gold made me to write this series. Buried treasure had a bit to do with it as well, truth be told. I vacationed on the remote Danish island of Bornholm, and found myself up to my eyeballs in the same fantastic story that Dan Brown used in The Da Vinci Code. Nicolas Cage was chasing the same treasure in the movie National Treasure. 



Yes, you guessed it. On that little jewel of a Danish island, I landed in the path of the Knights Templar. Centuries ago, they had discovered something beneath the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem, and for it the Pope had paid dearly. The Templar became fabulously wealthy, with castles and land all over Europe. But getting so rich had a price. Their wealth attracted the lust of the French King. And the king conspired with the pope to murder them and accuse them of Satan worship.

Friday the 13th, to this day, is considered unlucky. That belief began because Friday the 13th was the day the king sent his henchmen to slaughter the Templar knights. But much of the tremendous wealth had vanished with many of the Templar royalty. Nothing helps a legend survive like talk of treasure that vanished.

Gold discovered: In the 1960's gold coins were discovered on Bornholm and traced to the kings who began the Templar order. The Templar had also left five mysterious churches on the island, about which the BBC made a documentary.

A crooked pope, something mysterious discovered in Jerusalem, lust for wealth, a treasure that vanished, murder and torture, and a noble order of knights who created Chartres Cathedral, and went to tremendous lengths to hide a five-sided star in plain sight, as if they wanted to shout something to the world, what more is needed to make a great detective series?

I began the Detective Series by asking myself: What would happen if what the Templar discovered in Jerusalem, an artifact that could shake the world, turned up in LA, in the hands of grieving widow? That is where The Templar Map began.

*For more about the Templar, and how they relate to The Da Vinci Code, you might try reading this book: The Holy Place







Thursday, July 13, 2017

New Memoir, Action, Adventure, Romance


Want Free Books?
I wanted to share this image from my site because it sums up so many emotions involved in travel. And travel, the adventure, the romance, is the theme of my new book.

In the late nineteen-eighties I sold everything and moved into an abandoned house on the Caribbean. I spear fished for meat. I will let the book and the writing speak for itself. Here is the introduction:

From 1979 to 1987 I was a vagabond in Europe. I hitchhiked from Scandinavia to Spain several times and camped along the way. During that time I bailed hay, harvested apples, worked construction and taught English. My dream of becoming a writer pushed me to sell travel articles. At night I worked on a novel. I also married a European woman. However, in 1987, after a divorce, I returned to California.

The culture shock, compounded by the pain of divorce, was overwhelming. I sought professional help. The therapist I found changed my life by introducing me to meditation. While working with the therapist, I was startled when a radical idea popped into my head: I needed a time-out from the demands of daily life in the US. I needed to escape schedules, work, stress, traffic, sirens and noise.

Could I find a simple village where I could rebuild my life? Could I manage that for three months? As my escape plan formulated, and it seemed I might actually move to a foreign country, I found the most difficult part of the preparation was giving myself permission. I constantly had to
confront a nagging voice that was saying: What will the neighbors think? I counteracted that voice with: ‘This is a needed process. I am allowing myself to do this.'

My cover story to friends and relatives was: I'm going abroad to work on a novel. That didn't meet with quite so much mockery as, ‘I'm leaving the US to meditate for a few months.' But where would I go? I focused on Mexico because it was close and inexpensive. I began reading all I could find about that country.

If you begin inner work and ask for guidance, you have to stay open to direction from the universe. It may come in a way you never suspected. For example, if your normal route to work is shut down, don't think: Nothing goes my way. No, relax and stay open. Maybe your detour will take you past a billboard that sparks a new idea, or supplies the direction you need.

My own guidance came about in a similar fashion. I got the idea that it would be great to go for a walk along the beach. I don't usually walk on the beach, but I followed the prompt. While walking, I was intrigued by a dive shop window that displayed snorkeling equipment. Inside the shop I met a Mexican man. We chatted for over an hour. When I mentioned a coming trip to Mexico he told me about a village on the Caribbean where he lived. His description made me curious and I made plans to visit. The rest is history.

***

The village was two sandy streets between the Caribbean and the swamp. Morning and evening, when the sun was kind, Mayan women in flower-embroidered dresses, walked to the tin roof market. Children dropped bicycles at the broken curb, shooed away the town dogs, and disappeared inside. Moments later they returned, clutching plastic bags filled with cola, and shouted to friends playing basketball on the square.

In that forgotten village I felt the weight of big city life drop from my shoulders. I knew it was home. Within days I found an abandoned house, shoveled out the sand, strung up a hammock, built a table of driftwood, barnacles here and there.

There I began a routine of meditation, affirmations, and writing. It was my way transitioning from married life to living as a single man, preparing myself for a new future, imagining what my life would be without my mate. When I wasn't doing my inner work or writing, I was spearfishing in the warm Caribbean. Fish of every color swarmed around the coral as I floated past. Words did not exist in that under water jungle. My mind was free to process the inner work. Day by day the waves, the sea water, dissolved the memories. The arguments washed away.

My time beside the Caribbean came about because I had been open to the idea of going for a walk. Because I acted on that idea the universe delivered what I needed. I took the time to listen and the answers came. I hope your way is equally fulfilling. I hope you enjoy these stories.

I will soon be releasing Bigger Bowl soon. If you would like a free copy for joining my review group, or Free copies of my other books, visit Want Free Books?

Thursday, May 4, 2017

My mistress--Writing!

 ANYONE CAN BE A WRITER....

A writer with solid book idea
I wrote in Sudan
I recently had that conversation with a man. I think he needed to
convince himself of that. I think Kindle has convinced us all of that.

I thought about my own journey to be a writer.

From the time I was seven or eight I used to wake up and write down stories. In class I wrote frantically with a pencil to finish writing assignments. I wrote several novels that have mercifully been burned.

Joy reading for children
How many lovers have gotten jealous due to time I spent with my writing? At some point in my life, after untold women had left me, I realized that no matter how sweet the loving was, no matter how deeply I stared into their eyes, not the hottest of sex could replace the joy I experienced when creating worlds, creating a novel. Maybe that was why they left. They sensed they were second on my list.

Oh, I should mention the untold number of conferences I've attended, the offered seductions from NY
Writing in Yucatan
agents in exchange for a reading, the thousands of short story and novel and article rejections. Should I mention how a newspaper in Florida sat on one of my articles for six months so they could send their own writer to the location of my article? No, I probably shouldn't mention that. I did, however, send that travel editor a letter, saying they had won my a-hole editor of the year award!

Wrote for newspapers
There have been years of struggle, untold classes concerning point of view, structure, voice, query letters, marketing, and on and on. There have been decades of rewrites and crap first drafts, promises from huge literary agencies, personal calls from London, editors raving about how wonderful the manuscript was, only to be followed by harsh rejections.

Zero sales, but two books stolen!
I've written in closets, garages, abandoned houses in Yucatan (photo), on the back of trucks in Africa, living rooms, libraries, and Starbucks. I wrote through the rejections. I continued to write as the women in my life shouted and screamed about my work not producing money, and how I was crazy to continue doing it. But, they didn't know how sweet the mental copulation is with my mistress!

Now I write with Dude, a rescue surf cat
Yes, hell, anyone can write a book. It is a formula taught
everywhere. But, I ask, do you have something to say? Is there art, joy, revelation, insight in your
words? Or, do you throw out a dead body in the beginning and follow the formula? Are you an illustrator of scenes, or a painter of them, an artist? Are your books quickly tossed aside, or placed on a shelf and touched lovingly each time the owner passes?

Oh hell yes, anyone can be a writer.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

A New Christmas--At Home Depot

A New Christmas
Kevin R. Hill

   It was the day before Christmas and I was stuck with an eight hour shift at Home Depot, or Home Cheapo, as the laborers in the parking lot called it. I hate it. Why I was still working there.

   My Little Hitler boss, a bean pole of a lesbian, with tatts across her neck, met me and right away assigned an aisle for me to straighten. I mean I wasn’t even on the floor yet, and she found me. She must have been waiting for me.

   Man, I wanted to tell her what I thought of her. But I just nodded as she dished out my chore.

   That’s what a job is, right? They pay us to pretend we care about the work.

   I was on my knees in the tool corral, surrounded by power tools, wondering if the tweeker up the aisle was going to run out with Milwaukee combo kit, and add some excitement to my day.

   Then the man spoke behind me. “Excuse me sir, can I barrow a hammer and some nails?”

   I laughed and climbed to my feet. “I’m sorry, buddy, but we don’t—

   It was his smile that silenced me. He stood about six foot four, with wide shoulders and jailhouse tatts on his hands.

   “The guys in the Christmas tree lot gave us these pieces of wood to make a stand for our tree.” He held up two pieces of wood.

   I’ll tell you. I help a lot of people during a shift. But this guy stopped me in my tracks. His eyes had the look of a soldier after a horrible battle. This guy had nothing left, but was asking, so softly, for help.

   Beside him stood a Somoan woman and three boys. One of them carried a three foot tall tree that was dropping needles on the floor. The branches on one side were bare, but that boy held it like it was life raft.

   Something touched me. I don’t care what you say. As I looked at that family I knew that tree was what made them gather. It was something they shared. It wasn’t something to be controlled with Home Depot’s stupid rules.

   I took the wood strips from the man. “That’s a nice tree. Let’s lay it down right here and I’ll see about making a stand for it.”

   The boy looked at his father. “In the aisle?”

   The father smiled and nodded.
  
   Several customers stood about waiting for help, but I rushed away and grabbed a framing hammer off the shelf, along with a box of nails. Home Depot could afford it.

   Most of the kids I see with family are busy laughing and playing and running around the aisles. But these three boys stood silently and watched as I crossed the planks into an X, and hammered.

   When I finished, the smallest boy, about five years old, picked up the tree and let it stand. A little smile came to his lips as he touched it.

   “We want to thank you, Sir,” said the man.

   I raised my hand to shake his.  But the man caught my forearm in a firm grip. “Thank you,” he whispered.

   The boys walked away with the tree. Behind them walked the man and woman. But they stopped before leaving the tool corral, and the woman hugged him and buried her head in his chest.


   That was why I was here, working at the Depot. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Precious Village



I want to have my new book, Yucatan Timeout, published in time for Christmas. That means writing at a tremendous pace. I've never done that, but am curious as to whether by writing so fast I will be taking the intellect out of the equation, and allowing myself to write from the heart.

That would be wonderful, because it was a magical village I found, so full of love, where the telephone wires crackled in the rain, and families, holding toddlers, strolled the sandy square in the evening.


There are so many precious stories I witnessed: The new Pizzeria, where the pizza always tasted of mold, and the friends who, rushing into Cancun to sell time-share, paused for the morning ritual of cracking an egg into their car radiator to plug leaks. I remember how their wise old parrot would call to anyone who knocked on their door, and greet them in the woman's voice. "Come on in," it would say, with a Texas drawl. 

I should add a note to parrot owners: A parrot is a recording device. Knowing that, it is best to not have sex where the bird can hear, or you may be surprised by what it repeats at dinner parties!

Beyond the simple everyday life, I am trying to tell a story about how I put my life back together after a divorce. If I can show the way, with love and truth, of how I used meditation and forgiveness to rebuild, show how walking those simple streets, with the Caribbean on one side, the jungle on the other, allowed me to journey inward, without city distractions, then I will truly be a writer.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Great Adventure!





For a decade I hitch hiked across Europe. In Switzerland I picked apples at the foot of the breathtaking Alps. In Germany I lived in a tent beside the Rhine, and taught English at the Berlitz School.

Cause for deportation?
But that wasn't enough. My back pack took me to a kibbutz in Israel, where I ran a bar, and was ultimately told to leave the country after I cut down a tree for Christmas. How could I have known it was a diplomatic gift from Australia, and one of only three in the country?

After Israel, that back pack carried me to Africa, where I hitch hiked, and paid to ride atop supply trucks. Through Egypt, Sudan, and into Kenya I went, searching.

In Kenya I was offered a position writing for a newspaper. This article convinced me that African journalism wasn't for me.
Granted, it was a slow news day in Kenya. I understand there was a deadline for copy, but this article should not have made a high school newspaper, let alone a national magazine.

I had been given a sign.

At certain times situations arose that allowed me to see how I had changed. I remember arriving in Kenya after weeks of travel atop trucks in Sudan, eating around campfires, squatting in the dirt with the driver and truck boys, eating with my hands from a pot. In Kenya, at the first restaurant I saw, I ordered breakfast. The waitress set my food on the table and hurried away to bring cutlery. In a moment she returned with a knife and fork, but I was eating with my hands. I froze because of the woman's shocked expression.

I remember refusing to enter a hospital because a man was sweeping blood out the front door.

How powerful and strange it felt to be in desolate Sudan one day, filling a water bottle in the White Nile, looking out for crocodiles, and then to be in Scandinavia the following day. The contrast, the difference in culture, language, terrain, climate, people, mentality, was almost too much to bear. Culture shock struck me hard.

I had lived wild and free for months, always moving, traveling, surviving on rock hard dates and water that smelled of purification tablets, for weeks, clinging to ropes as I slept, the truck bouncing and shaking. In the span of one day, I was standing on hill in Denmark, snow falling, the entire world silent, as flakes melted on my face.

Africa changed me. Part of me is still there, captured in sweaty little police station where I was forced to watch a fat policeman beat an eight-year-old boy.

It captured another part of me on a dusty road in Sudan. The truck I was riding on slowed. Through the dust I could see something ahead. Another truck, carrying passengers atop, had driven off the road and tipped over. Injured people lay strewn about. Some were trapped, half crushed. Victims moaned and cried for help as we passed.

Part of me remained there, screaming for my driver to stop until my voice broke.

I tried to stay in Scandinavia. But I was different. When I spoke to friends and described Africa, or Israel, my tales met a look of disbelief. The pain that look brought, always accompanied my silence.

For months I could hear the faint calling of my pack, like the voice of a sexy, tempting ex lover, sitting at the end of the bar, her presence arousing sweet fantasies.


This time my pack, my longing, my searching, carried me to Yucatan, the land of the Maya. There, in a forgotten fishing village, I found an abandoned house, shoveled out the sand of hurricanes past, strung up a hammock, and moved in.

I found the shell of a spear gun buried in the sand. Using metal found in the street--a car antenna--and parts bought in Cancun, I rebuilt the gun. Soon I was swimming to the reef, shooting lobster and the best snapper in the world.

Travel articles appeared. On a portable, manual typewriter, I pounded out a novel.

Writing opened a new chapter of my life. It became my therapy, my drug. When taken daily I no longer needed to roam. I was creating adventures on paper.










Friday, October 14, 2016

The treasure in Mom's home repair.




Mom's sprinklers stopped working. The California sun quickly turned the green lawn into parched dirt.

Now my eighty-three-year-old mother has to fight with the hose and risk a fall, just to water her dirt.

I soon got a call about fixing the sprinklers.

The thought of repairing the sprinklers, and specifically, of returning to the house where I grew up, depressed me. That house was full of ghosts, memories of a wild, smothering childhood. Sometimes I got ill when I visited.

But, to the sun-baked, stucco tract house, I went.

The first day I spent tearing out the old control box for the sprinklers. It was wired into the same 1956
electrical receptacle as the refrigerator, the coffee maker, the radio, the toaster and the blender.

While I stood in the flower bed and twisted wires together, memories of my sisters and I ran about, shouting and waiting for the ice cream man, rushing to swim in a neighbor's pool. And a memory of me sat across the way, parked on the dark street with my first date. 'Working on the night moves....'

Night moves? Well, that's what I like to believe. But actually, I was too nervous to move.

When I finished the control box, I reached into the hole where the sprinkler shut off valve is located. When I turned the valve I felt it break. It would not turn off.

An easy replacement of an anti siphon valve, just turned into 'Mega job.'

I would not be able to quickly escape the memories and mistakes that house represented. I thought about a neighbor boy and I hiding in the garage, terrorizing the house across the street by shooting bb's at their screen door. We were great snipers!

How we laughed, hiding and covering our mouths, each time the bb struck and the woman rushed to the door to see who was bothering her.

I went inside and found my mom sitting at the kitchen table, leaning over a book, a clothes pin holding the pages open. A stack of books stood on the table beside her.

The options were few, and I explained each. She decided to replace thee broken valve with a quality brass valve.

Yep, "we'd replace the valve." That meant me digging up the dirt with a pick axe, and her reading, all cozy with warm tea and toast spread with jam.

I did moan and gripe a bit. But as I have aged I've managed to put things into perspective. I thought about my mom, and how she devoted her life to her family, and worked in a male-dominated field every day, then came home and studied, earning eventually, a masters degree and far better pay for her family. She took my sisters and I from the projects to a safe, clean home, with a yard.

That was why I was repairing her sprinklers.

For years I fought against the house and the memories. I imagined them being terrible. And for years I traveled the world. In new places there is only possibility. I was not shoved into the box of what people remember about me.

As I sat in the dirt, my hands muddy, spreading pvc glue on white pipe, I realized that at some point over the years I shifted the way I thought about the house.

I even laughed as I wiped my hands on a rag, because I wondered if that was what it meant to truly grow up. My beliefs about this house were formed when I was a child. My adult, however, reevaluated and allowed me laugh about the whole thing. Mostly.

After about ten trips to the hardware store, I finished the sprinklers and shoveled dirt back into the holes, removed the top from each pop up sprinkler head and cleaned it.

Mom stood in the sun, her bare feet on the walkway, and shaded her eyes as I demonstrated the watering system, spraying water over her dead lawn, which would soon be growing back to its former glory.

She clapped and laughed.

Inside the house she presented me with a bag of books to return to the library. Together we drove there, and I held her hand as we walked up the walkway. I was free.