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Ted Clifton's   Updater   2019

Amazon Author Page

 
I’m an artist, really!
 
Writing books can be tedious, even difficult; but the end result brings a great sense of accomplishment.  And that is very enjoyable.  Why?  It’s the process of creating something that was not there before.  My dream, oh so long ago, was to be a painter.  My fourth grade teacher said I was the greatest artist she had ever had in her class.  I'm sure, she said that every year to some student; but I didn’t know about little-white-lies at that point, so I believed her.  She even used one of my drawings on the cover of the Thanksgiving play program—I was a pilgrim in the play; it was a huge honor; the cover, not me standing around in a strange hat as a pilgrim.

From that fortuitous beginning I decided my life’s work would be art.  Now, it should be noted I didn’t do much about that.  Not sure I remember painting much of anything after the fourth grade right through high school, but it was stuck in my head that I was an artist. 

When I began college I had no plan, other than to go to school.  No real goals except to not deal with life outside of the protective cocoon of “school.”  So when asked to name a major I naturally choose to self-identify as an artist.  I became an Art Major.  Lots of ups and downs in my college experience, mostly due to a complete lack of dedication towards reaching a goal of completing a degree.  Just going to school was fine with me, unless it interfered with some personal misadventure that would pop up now and then.

So here I was a gifted artist, as attested to by my fourth grade teacher, an Art Major in a school mostly known for educating teachers and accountants.  The classes on art history were great; the classes where you actually painted or mostly drew were at best challenging.  It became clear I was not much of an artist; or maybe my talent was hidden and would blossom at any moment.  In every class there was at least one and often several students who were obviously extremely talented.  They produced amazing works; I had no idea how they did it.  I could identify the good and occasionally great artists in these classes.  You might say I had the eye for art.  What these people did was amazing.  My own work was not really trash but not amazing.  I was mediocre; damn that lying fourth grade teacher.  After that realization sunk in I became an Accounting Major; at least I would be able to get a job, if I ever graduated.

Some years later after I was an accountant, employed and married with children, I started painting again.  It was not to impress a teacher or build a career; it was because I enjoyed it.  And low and behold some of the stuff was actually good; I knew that because I had the eye for good art.  I never self-identified as an artist again, but I painted hundreds of paintings; some good, some not so good.  But it was for me, so it didn’t matter if it was mediocre, it was private.

Being an independent author has a lot in common with my art experience.  It's a creative task.  Creating a whole story with made-up characters that turns into a book from only an idea; very much like creating a painting from a blank canvas.  However writing a book and keeping it secret seems somehow illogical.  Along with thousands, or maybe millions, of others I became an independent author paying to publish my books.

That means I hire editors, graphic designers, printers, production technicians and others; all of the support services it takes to produce a quality book.  Over the years I have learned more and more about the process of book publishing.  It is a group process with many people involved; unlike my private paintings, books take a committee to accomplish.  I might add it’s a small group; but still it’s a group.  A group of very talented people who have as much to do with the "Ted Clifton" books as I do.  I admire their talents.
 
The process of creating a book takes many months, unlike a painting I might do in one day; it really is a detailed time consuming process.  The end result is still the same as the painting; creating something that was not there before.  Our small group created something from nothing but our ideas; a book.  You might hate it or you might love it (I do read those reviews—lots of opinions in the open marketplace); but for me it's an accomplishment of love and caring.  I’m proud of the finished work. 

I hope you enjoy what we do.

⧫⧫⧫

What is that wonderful aroma?
The Vincent Malone series features a Santa Fe B&B, The Blue Door Inn.  This is where Vincent begins to trust people again and form new friendships.  Part of the attraction of the Inn is Mary the cook/baker.  Vincent is a great admirer of anyone who can cook; and Mary is the best, especially her muffins. 

In Blue Flower Red Thorns Vincent is often attracted to the kitchen due to the great aromas to see what Mary is preparing.  Food is one of the great attractions to Santa Fe and is often a feature in the Vincent Malone books. 

Now, I sure don't have Mary's skills in the kitchen but I do cook and bake.  Just like Mary in the books I also bake muffins.  The recipe below is one I've been using for some absolutely wonderful double chocolate delights.  I originally found this at prettysimplesweet.com.  Unless your on a diet, I highly recommend these delicious indulgences.

Ingredients
  • 2 cups (280 g/10 oz) all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup (80 g/2.8 oz) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1¼ cups (250 g/8.8 oz) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup butter (55 g/2 oz), melted and cooled
  • ¼ cup canola oil (or vegetable, safflower)
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee, optional
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (170 g/6 oz) mix of chocolate chips and chunks
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 220C/425F degrees. Butter 12 muffin cups or line them with liner paper.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium bowl in the microwave, and let it cool a bit while you prepare the other ingredients.
  3. In a large bowl sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add sugar and mix. Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with the buttermilk, oil, melted butter, coffee granules and vanilla extract. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula just until combined. Do not over mix. The batter should be thick and lumpy. Add chocolate chips/chunks and stir.
  5. Divide the mixture between the muffin cups and fill them almost all the way to the top. Bake for 3 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 180C/350F. Continue to bake for an additional 12-17 minutes (15-20 minutes total), until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for about 10 minutes before removing from pan.
  6. Muffins are best the same day they are made, but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days, or, they can be frozen for up to 2 months.

Best Mystery Authors
 
Top ten best mystery authors of all time selected by Emily Martin for Bookriot.  This is of course one person’s opinion—I’ve included this list because she selected some authors I was not that familiar with.  We do get in a rut and often overlook some great books, might want to check some of these out.  I have not read many of these so this is someone else’s thoughts not mine.
 
Tana French
Natsuo Kirino
Dennis Lehane
Carlos Duiz Aafon
Walter Mosley
Parker Bilal
Arthur Conan Doyle
Agatha Christie
Dorothy L. Sayers
J.K Rowling


 

The author that caught my eye was Walter Mosley.  I was somewhat familiar with the Easy Rawlins character from a 1995 movie "Devil in a Blue Dress", but have not read any of the books.  I think I will.
 

Santa Fe Indian Market
 

Before we look at the Indian Market-- note the above view of the Santa Fe Plaza.  This would be what Vincent Malone would have seen from the balcony of the Plaza Cantina, enjoying the best damn margarita in Santa Fe, as described in Santa Fe Mojo.
 

The Santa Fe Indian Market is unrivaled in both size and prestige. More than 100,000 collectors, gallery owners and fans of Indian art flood Santa Fe, gushing over what Indian Market has to offer. Over 1,000 artists representing over 100 tribes: without a doubt you'll find a treasure of your very own.
 
 
Indian Market takes place the third weekend in August every summer
Dates are:
August 17-18, 2019

Find out more about Indian Market at the SWAIA website

Santa Fe Breakfast
My favorite meal when traveling is breakfast.  Vincent Malone and I share an infinity towards McDonald's--and yes I know that is pretty low-brow; but I love their breakfast menu, for the food and the price.  On the other hand a couple of places in Santa Fe are a must visit for a great southwest breakfast.  They are not the bargain of McDonald's but the food is amazing.
 

Cafe Pasqual's.  Just off of the Plaza is probably the most famous breakfast spot in Santa Fe.  Expect a crowd and a little wait but it is worth it.  They also serve lunch and dinner but I think of them as a breakfast place.  You wait outside for a table and there is a community feel associated with the whole experience. But it is the food that makes it all worthwhile.
 

LaPlazuela--La Fonda on the Plaza.  We have definitely gone to the other extreme from McDonald's.  Located inside the La Fonda this restaurant is worth visiting just for the atmosphere--this is a great room.  If you want to experience the Santa Fe culture with colors, music, furniture and everything else this is the place to be.  Plus, and its a big plus the food is wonderful.  This is the restaurant/bar that Ray and Sue visited several times including in up-coming Four Corners War. 
 
Ted Clifton (short) bio
Ted Clifton, award winning author, is currently writing in three mystery series—Pacheco & Chino Mystery series, the Muckraker Mystery series and the Vincent Malone series.  Clifton’s focus is on strong character development with unusual backdrops.  His books take place in Southwest settings with some of his stories happening in the 1960s, 1980s and current times.  The settings are places Clifton has lived and knows well, giving great authenticity to his narratives.  Clifton has received the IBPA Benjamin Franklin award and the CIPA EVVY award--twice.  Today Clifton and his wife reside in Denver, Colorado, with frequent visits to one of their favorite destinations, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Book Updates


Fiction No MorePreorder now available.
 
  
Four Corners War.  Preorder should be up and running June 1st.
Durango Two Step.  Vincent Malone #4 has been shoved back a few months.  
AudioBook-- Santa Fe Mojo.  No update available; but work is continuing. 
Box Sets.  Series starter box set which would include Dog Gone Lies, Murder So Wrong and Santa Fe Mojo at a very attractive price should be available for Preorder May 15th.
Doctor Hightower.  Currently writing.  Making good progress.
Odds and Ends
Influences

Googled “J.R.R. Tolkien influences” the other day for no particular reason and received an amazing list of detailed analysis of what might have influenced Tolkien’s writing.  I had read that he was impacted by his experiences in WWI and WWII, along with his religious background in the Catholic church; but here were pages and pages of other influences.  In summary it could be said everything he ever saw, did, read, heard and thought influenced him.  We are formed by our experiences and thus become a reflection of those circumstances.  I think that is fairly easy to accept.

Putting aside this obvious aspect of how we become who we are, I would guess most writers are more directly influenced by someone or something more specific than just the general all experiences statement.  This made me think about my writing.
 
 

The Bootlegger’s Legacy.  This was my first book and fits more into the category of general literature than my later books.  It is not easily pegged into a genre hole.  The greatest influence for this book was, of course, my own experiences since much of the story is based loosely on what happened to me and what I heard from people I knew during a period of financial crisis due to the oil industry collapse.  There were many people looking at oddball ways to make some money--some a little less than legal.  I don’t believe the style (whatever that is) of the book was influenced by any other writer.  It was a story that literally came together as I wrote it.  I don’t recall any movies or television that had any influence in this writing—in many ways this is probably the most original story line of any of my books.  But as strange as it may seem if I had to pick an influence it would be The Lord of the Rings.  One of my attractions to Tolkien’s books was the camaraderie of friends embarking on a life-changing adventure.  Joe and Mike are sure the hell not hobbits but they also embarked on a life-changing adventure that was influenced by much larger events in the past that they had not been involved in.  Okay, maybe it’s a stretch but I think my feelings when reading The Lord of the Rings the first time influenced the writing of this book more than anything else.
 

Pacheco & Chino.  These books are about Ray Pacheco and Tyee Chino.  The relationship and banter between these two dramatically different people is what drives each story.  There are probably a lot of influences that I could name for this type of structure but the first would be Robert B. Parker’s Spenser and Hawk books.  There were times I would read the latest book in this series and think how bad it was, but how much I enjoyed it.  The why was always because of the exchanges between Spenser and Hawk.  It was like a strange dance or something that you just had to watch—it was familiar and comfortable.  I did not consciously try to make Pacheco and Chino the same but as an influence Parker’s books would be at the top of the list. 
 

Vincent Malone.  This is easy it’s 1940’s black and white detective movies.  All of them.  And of course the writers Mickey Spillane, Raymond Chandler, Erle Stanley Gardner, Rex Stout, Dashiell Hammett, Agatha Christie and many others.  I read the books and watched the movies.  The lone private detective battling evil is a cliché and of course I hope Malone is similar and maybe a little different--- that is the influence for this series.  I still watch those old movies today—it is somehow comforting to watch something so familiar and yet mysterious.  The why; pretty sure because it’s fun.
 

Muckraker Series.  The Tommy Jack books were mostly influenced by personal experience.  When I first brought up the idea of the books to my co-author Stanley Nelson it was in the context of my experiences with the real life Albright character in the books.  He was a political columnist for one of the papers competing in a very ugly newspaper war in Oklahoma City in the 1960s.  Much, but not all, of this story is based on events that actually happened.  My original plan was to tell the story from the point of view of this columnist but for various reasons a new character, the young recent journalism grad, became the focal point and the Albright character was his mentor.  Stories about newspapers and reporters, both movies and books, always fascinated me so I’m sure there was some influence there that contributed to Tommy Jacks and his entourage. 

I’m currently writing the first book in the Doctor Hightower series and not real sure what the influences would be—but there might be some science fiction influence at work here.  For great swaths of my life my favorite genre of fiction was Sci-Fi—it had to rear its ugly head sooner or later.  Hightower isn't Sci-Fi but the influence is there.  Part of the jumble of influences that effects everything we do; good and bad.
 
Thanks everyone for being a reader!


 
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