Ted Clifton's   Newsletter   2018

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Tommy Jacks "My View" Newspaper columns

The Muckraker series is about Tommy Jacks, a newly minted journalist, who falls into the middle of a newspaper war in the heartland of America.  Jacks has a unique background based on his father once being the chairman of the Democratic party in this Bible belt state; Oklahoma.  This history and the need for a “hook” to attract readers to the newspaper, Tommy Jacks becomes a political columnist.   In the books these columns are published at the end of most chapters and convey both a story line related to the books plot but also a point-of-view about various subjects.  This is the first of a series of excerpts from those columns as written by Tommy Jacks in his “My View” columns for the OK Journal.

OK Journal Daily Newspaper
"My View"
Tommy Jacks

It’s clear, now: this is all my fault. Since my first day, or even further back than that, I’ve labored under a grand misapprehension that murder is a serious crime. That’s my fault, I’ll admit. People just get killed all the time, and probably a hundred times a day on TV. It’s a natural thing, so what’s the big deal?

Just ask Air Force Lt. Jeff Davis, the affable and photogenic Information Officer at Tinker Air Force Base. I’ll quote what he said after reporters summoned the gumption to show up and ask him about a tip they’d received concerning a death on the base that might be a murder: “At any given time, we may have as many as 8,000 soldiers and airmen on this base, and on occasion, someone will die.”

Well, shoot. Who’d have thought? And besides, Davis continued, whatever happens on the base, even if it might be murder, is the base’s business, and not that of local police, local press, or anyone or anything else local. It’s kind of like the Air Force’s own little country there, south of town. Which is odd when you remember that they’re here to protect our country. Or so we’re told every time it seems convenient for someone to say so.
Murder So Strange, page 56

There are three books in the Muckraker series, Murder So Wrong, Murder So Strange and the soon to be released third book Murder So Final.



Free download of this short story is available on the web site

My books take place in and around New Mexico and Oklahoma.  That may seem like an odd combination but that is where I have lived.  I now live in Denver, but found my years in New Mexico inspirational for both my writing and artwork.  I have featured information about New Mexico, mostly Santa Fe, in the newsletter before on a hit and miss basis.  This is the first of what will now be an ongoing part of the newsletter; news/stories/information about New Mexico.

In 1598 Juan de Oñate led 129 soldiers and 10 Franciscan Catholic priests plus a large number of women, children, servants, slaves, and livestock into the Rio Grande valley of New Mexico. There were at the time approximately 40,000 Pueblo Indians inhabiting the region. Oñate put down a revolt at Acoma Pueblo by killing and enslaving hundreds of the Indians and sentencing all men 25 or older to have their foot cut off. The Acoma Massacre would instill fear of the Spanish in the region for years to come, though Franciscan missionaries were assigned to several of the Pueblo towns to Christianize the natives.

The above incredible fact that Indians had their left foot cut off as retaliation from the Spanish invaders is an element of the next Vincent Malone book; Fiction No More.  The present day Pueblo Indians still have stories passed down through the ages related to their mistreatment at the hands of so many invaders.  That resentment was a factor in the murder of an innocent man just doing his job.


Cactus Cactus Digital Art --Ted Clifton
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 where 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.

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Book Updates
Fiction No More, the third Vincent Malone book, has been written, yippee!  Now the hard work of editing and getting the book ready for publication.  Much of this is done by some great people who really know what they are doing.  Still targeting February release date. Below is a mock cover, real cover ready soon.

Murder So Final, the final book in the Muckraker series, should be released in December.

Tommy Jacks, experiencing success as a newspaper columnist, finds new love and old threats while covering the most brutal, ugly U.S. Senate race ever.  The 1972 campaign in Oklahoma is between a ruthless oil baron, an idealist college professor and a reverend running under the God Party, set against the backdrop of a massive oil tank-farm inferno that threatens a major city.  As Tommy puts it, “Electing lousy politicians is an American right—not one spelled out in the Bill of Rights, but a right, nonetheless. You just hope that the bad ones don’t outnumber the good ones, and the damage isn’t drastic.” But politics as usual suddenly turns deadly.  The winner may be the last man standing.
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