Category James L’Etoile

Have They Lost Their Minds?

I usually don’t get off on a political rant, and I’m not sure this is really political, or if I’m just sensitive to stupid. No, this has nothing to do with North Korea, missing deleted e-mails, a Russian conspiracy, or where Puxataney Phil spends his time when he’s not forecasting the weather. This episode of […]

Pot Crimes

My home state of California recently adopted a new state herb–Marijuana. Reactions to the new pot legalization laws were mixed, from joyous, bud-loving hippies to fearful, the end-of-days are upon us, evangelicals. Me–for the most part, I don’t care. The medicinal marijuana crowd touts the benefits of the stuff as a cure all for whatever […]

Professional Envy–You have to be happy for the other guy, even if it’s your dog

Jealousy–the green monster–envy–Thou Shall not covet The warnings against envy and jealousy go back centuries and biblical scholars of every stripe include envy in the list of Seven Deadly Sins deep within all the holy texts. In more modern times, the movie Seven didn’t end too well for Gywenneth Paltrow’s character…(psst, her head’s in that […]

Ignore The Man On The Roof

If you happened to be cruising through my neck ‘o the woods recently, you might have caught a glimpse of a guy yelling while standing on his roof. (Confessional note: this guy may have been me) I’ve been working up the mojo to cut the cord with my satellite provider and stick it to The […]

Bedrock – The Violence Control Unit

From the outside, the goings on in prison are invisible. If you live close enough to one, you might catch a glimpse of concrete walls and high mast yard lighting. If the wind is just right, you could hear the shrill buzz of an alarm in the distance. For most people, that’s the only thought–a […]

Cover Reveal – The Leaked Edition

Everyone likes a good leak, right? No, not that kind of leak–I’m talking about the information kind. They must be a popular thing, because I can’t turn on a television news broadcast without someone blathering on about leaks. It doesn’t seem to matter what the leak is about–it turns into a hot, salacious topic and […]

Travel RouletteĀ 

With a few open days on the calendar before the upcoming book launch, I took my son up on an offer for a quick trip to Las Vegas. You can’t beat the people watching in this town.  The spectacle begins when you step off the airplane into 115 degree heat. That ant under the magnifying […]

Getting Your Hands Dirty–Prison Reform

You hear the expression all the time–“Getting your hands dirty.” A yuppie call to get in the trenches and act like you’re doing the work, just like the common folk. It’s a trite little phrase used frequently by the likes of Martha Stewart, political figures, and CEO’s who haven’t looked at an assembly line since […]

Story Surgery

There are times in my writing process I feel like a hired gun with a scalpel. A slice here, a nip and tuck there–gut the beast. Readers, editors, agents and publishers all shout (okay maybe not really shout–but it seem that way at times) for me to make a change in a POV, or my […]

The Corner Office

I’ve been pretty fortunate over the years to not only maintain gainful employment, but also to do that work in some pretty glamorous settings. As I sit at my desk and figure out which project is going to get my attention today, I think back to other desks, and other times, where I did have […]