BobLee Encounters Noted Author…. Sparks Fly!

    You Got Mail I
    BobLee
    December10/ 2016

    The past week started out with the dreaded computer issues. People don’t bother me… the stoopider the better because Life IS all about column fodder. Rather, I have anger issues with inanimate objects if indeed a computer is inanimate.

    If you are a Mac user you know about the spinning beach ball. I have had a severe case of spinning beach ball. But Greg The Super Tech put my laptop in a bowl of Thousand Island dressing then hit it with a sledge hammer and it’s all OK now.  ???

    …. In the midst of that maelstrom… today’s rather unusual column evolved. “Unusual” in that it has absolutely nothing to do with UNC or NCSU. Those of you with very limited interests might want to leave us now.

    You know I am an audiobook addict…. 2 / 3 per week… well over 100/year. I passed “voracious” several years ago. Every guy needs an addiction. I don’t golf, fish, hunt, go to strip clubs, or grill on the patio. I listen to audiobooks.

    So I stumbled on a crime/thriller about a female vigilante and the FBI agent tracking her down. A bit of a twist and an author I had never heard of.   An hour or so into it, for reasons still unexplained, I decided to google the author.   I don’t always do that, but I did….. WELL …..

    “Alex’s” (we’re on a first name basis now) website was your typical author site. Nothing unusual…. with links to her Twitter / Facebook pages. At that point Demonic possession took over. I clicked on “Alex’s” twitter page. OMG!! … OMG!!

    …. I found myself in a den of liberal lunacy so way far out it would give Ol’ Kennel a case of the heebie jeebies. I had missed the line in Alex’ resume about “attended Berkeley”. YEEEE HAA!  Alex and her waaay far out SoCal lib cronies were in the late stages of Terminally Manic Trump-Trauma. I was laughing so hard I was sure they would hear me.  But they were distracted…. I think they were beheading a homeless guy wearing a Donald mask.  It screamed COLUMN FODDER BONANZA!

    With the Hope that springs eternal… I sensed there might be a mustard seed of “a decent human being” amid all the usual angry liberal screeds and howling.  I set out to find that mustard seed ….

    As you can imagine, AgentPierce is quite jealous.  This one would be a belt-high fastball for him… but it’s MINE!

    So… I emailed my soon to be BFF Alex – Accomplished crime novelist and certified liberal nutjob – Bless her heart.

    WARNING: This is kinda lengthy. Alex and I are kinda wordy.

    #####

    Ms Crime Writer:  I am several hours into enjoying my first of your novels.  I average over 100 books/year thru Audible.com so maybe that qualifies as “voracious”.

    My genre of preference is crime/action fiction…. Connolly, Crais, Box, Child, Baldacci, Winslow, Battles, Coben etc etc etc….

    For whatever reason I decided to learn more about the author (you) via Google… to your website… and then to your Twitter page.  Your resume – “attended Berkeley” – probably should have alerted me to what would jump out at me.   YIKES!

    It is December 2016 and you are quite obviously of that ideological ilk that really really really don’t like “people like me”.   I get it.  I really really really don’t like “people like you”.  No biggie.  I’m sure we’ve both come to terms with that quite some time ago.

    I’m at the point in my life where I don’t have to “deal with” anyone I don’t care to.  I do not employ a litmus test for those I go to for goods and services but somehow that list decidedly leans to “the right of center”…. Not the radical right which, perhaps, you see all of us as.  It does make it easier to cull a list if one only thinks in extremes. …. I digress.

    So my dilemma is:  (1) Do I return thi to Audible.com for a refund rather than knowingly support a goggle-eyed, spittle-spewing, hair-on-fire liberal lunatic? 🙂 …. Or… (2) do I finish this book ignoring what I would have been better off not knowing.  Then make my usual assessment of whether to continue the series and your other stand alones?

    I am opting for the latter.  Not because I am an especially open-minded magnanimous person.  I am really not… no more so than you “appear” to be.  Rather I calculate that your royalties from the handful of your titles I might purchase will be minimal at best…. versus the pleasure I might derive from your storytelling.   Thus far nothing in this story that screams out your political passion… otherwise this all would be moot.

    The question is – in these discordant times we are living in – is it wise, when retail marketing to the general public to declare one’s ideological ilk; and risk alienating 50% of the market.   It seems to be en vogue with your LA show biz neighbors to do so.   Ya gotta do what you gotta do … I suppose.

    Maybe I simply delved too deeply into Who Is She by going to your Twitter page?  Forgetful of an old adage about “sausage factories”.

    BobLee in a Red State
    a/k/a “a crazy right-wing reader”

    #####

    24 hours later…. Alex: Alex Sokoloff

    Hello BobLee – thanks for writing! Wow, you must really like the book if you are gripped by such a dilemma that you would be moved to write me about it, so I’ll take that as a compliment. I’m also very honored to be listed among so many authors and friends whose work I admire – almost all (with the exception of possibly one?) of whom, you must realize, have passionate political convictions that are much, MUCH more in line with mine than with yours. If you’re going to start boycotting liberal authors, you’re not going to be left with much to read.

    But you’re perfectly welcome to return the book and the audiobook if you like – I’m making a fine living from my books and my livelihood won’t be affected in the least. In fact, I’m attaching a code for a free audiobook of Huntress Moon so that you can return the copy you bought and continue to enjoy the book guilt-free.

    As for the “is it wise to declare one’s ideological ilk” question, I’ve been able to trace a direct correlation to my political postings and my book sales. That is, the more I speak my mind, the better the books sell. Readers of mystery and crime tend to be intellectually curious, open-minded, empathetic, socially and politically cognizant people – which often, though of course not always, corresponds with politics more like mine and those of your other favorite authors than with yours.

    Which might be something for you to think about, sometime. Or not. In any case, I’m glad to hear you are responding to the book.

    Yours in spittle and hairfire –
    Alex

    ######

    I volleyed back…..

    New BFF Alex:  Thanks for the free coupon BUT I’ve finished #1 and already downloaded #2.  If you are so inclined to send coupons for #3 and/or #4 I would certainly be appreciative.  …. IF you are so inclined.  🙂

    Us “deplorable bitter clingers” do love a good vigilante yarn.  We of the baby boomer era grew up with Charles Bronson’s “Paul Kersey” / Death Wish series.  #2 and #3 never matched the impact of #1.

    R.C. Bray is in my Top Five Fav narrators.  Ray Porter is my #1.Lee Child

    As to the “politics” of successful crime fiction authors… no better example than Lee Child and his iconic “Reacher”.  From what I know of Child he is every bit as “far left” as you appear to be.  I would be curious which “side of the aisle” buys more Reacher books.  Ask Lee next time your paths cross.  And there’s crusty old windbag Stuart Wood !! He makes you seem moderate.  

    I left off John Sandford from that earlier list.  I do love me some “Lucas” and “Virgil”.   …. Oh, and I am, of course, a fan of Brad Thor and the late Vince Flynn – “from our side”.

    The “politics” of a writer is, IMO, no more an issue than the “politics” of a surgeon or a dry cleaner or the kid who delivers my pizza.  So long as they don’t “get up in my face” with it.  And YOU DID NOT.  Had I never gone to your Twitter page, we would never have become email buddies.  So the lesson for me is be careful when touring a sausage factory.

    Absolutely nothing in this book hinted to your misguided politics.  🙂 …. I’m going to assume that is consistent thru your body of work.  Checking out an author is not something I do as a matter of course.  Not sure why I did with you ??

    The increasing popularity of audiobooks is a big help to us mouth-breathing cretins.  With most of us being in-breds and home-schooled sometimes “big words on paper” confuse us.  I’ve even mastered bluetooth headphones but I’m probably an anomaly.  🙂

    Well… I do “have a life” and you need to knock out another 2,000 words or whatever your daily writer regimen calls for. So….

    Alex’s deplorable bitter-clinger buddy,
    BobLee

    PS:  I don’t have any advice for your apparently severe case of post-election reality-slap.  Alls I can say is “been there… had that” myself over the past few decades.  Deep cleansing breaths and hot yoga might help.

    If you want to have “BobLee” as some demented pervert in an upcoming yarn, I would be honored.  🙂

    ***

    That’s where it stands as of Saturday noon. I’m sure there will be at least one more volley with/without the free coupon. FWIW: Blondie says I was “way too nice” to Alex.    My goal is to become Alex’s token deplorable pal.

    NOTE:  I DID hear again from Alex at 2:40 AM Monday.    …. more on that later.

    Here IT is ….. PART TWO of “You’ve Got Mail w/ BobLee & Alex.

    Alex’s books are really quite good if you are a fan of grisly crime thrillers.   If you order one use the Promo Code “BobLee” and $1.00 of the purchase price will go the Sarah Palin Museum & Tanning Salon in Wasila.

    This must be my week for “courting danger”. Bre’r Kennel has invited me to be his guest “in new/old Reynolds” for today’s State BB game. He’ll spout/spew his usual goofy Kennelisms and I’ll roll my eyes and suppress giggles.

    ###

    Tags:
    BobLee
    • Down East Heel Reply
      3 years ago

      Writers are lefties???!!! Yikes!!! Just don’t ruin it and tell me C J Box filed an absentee ballot for Cooper.

      • BobLee Reply
        3 years ago

        CJ is likely a right-wing tree-hugger guy.

    • PTH Reply
      3 years ago

      Is that not Rielle Hunter?

      • BobLee Reply
        3 years ago

        Are you correcting my spelling or thinking Alex is “her”? I have spelled Johnny’s trollop all sorts of ways. I once asked N&O’s Rob Christensen how to spell it and he said “Rielle Who?” LoLoLoLo.

    • Bill Brockman Reply
      3 years ago

      Can’t wait to read her reply.

      In the meantime, please answer me this: did you take your nom de plume from the Shooter movie? I just happened to stay up late one night recently and watched it for the first time. Had never even heard of it but was intrigued by the fact that the hero’s name is Bob Lee Swagger.

      If you’ve already addressed this question in earlier columns, please excuse me. I’ve read most of them for quite a few years, but not from the beginning, I don’t think. And I may have skipped one or two during the years that I have been enjoying them.

      Pretty darn good movie, BTW.

      Thanks,

      Bill

      • BobLee Reply
        3 years ago

        Have you considered that author Stephen Hunter and movie producer Mark Wahlberg took the name from ME? Oh yeah of little faith! I was originally BobLee Swagger until the movie Shooter came out 8-9 years ago. Then I dropped “Swagger” to avoid confusion. Stephen Hunter (my wife’s 2nd cousin on her mother’s side) has a 10-12 book series about BobLee Swagger (a/k/a “Bob The Nailer”) and his father Earl Swagger. GREAT SERIES! Now there is a USA Network series about the same book (Point of Impact) covered in the Wahlberg movie. Both only involve that one book in Hunter’s series. The key word is “firing pin” !!
        .
        Not to be outdone…. Keifer Sutherland stole AgentPierce’s name for a character in “24”. A secret service agent assigned to the quite evil “President Logan”. That Agent Pierce, of course, ends up saving Jack Bauer’s life in the 23rd hour. 🙂

        • Bill Brockman Reply
          3 years ago

          Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa! Now that you mention it, I do remember that you dropped “Swagger” a while back. Guess I’ve been following you longer than I thought. Is the series worth watching?

          • BobLee Reply
            3 years ago

            Yes but it is about half-way done. The series is much more detailed than the 1 1/2 hour movie. BLS is on-the-run from the crooked Secret Service agent (the Danny Glover character in the movie). Ryan Philippe plays BLS and not badly. Agent Memphis is an AfAm girl in the series. It might be hard to figure out but what the heck… give it a shot. SPOILER ALERT” BLS kicks bad guy butt big time in the end. 🙂

        • ultraviolet Reply
          3 years ago

          I always wondered about the movie and your name change, etc. My favorite line from ‘Shooter’ was Levon Helm’s line about the Kennedy assassination and his “still got the shovel” line to the FBI sidekick. Makes me laugh every time.

          • BobLee Reply
            3 years ago

            Stephen Hunter who created the BobLee Swagger character / series is – like Jack Reacher’s creator Lee Child – of the decidedly left-leaning persuasion. Ergo I take issue with my Angry BFF Alex that “us crazy right-wingers” don’t read books.

    • Edward Chewning Reply
      3 years ago

      It is all about the money . Besides ,a left wing moon bat does not know how to kick butt.

      • BobLee Reply
        3 years ago

        Oh I think Alex could be quite lethal.

    • ArtyS Reply
      3 years ago

      Interesting that after you were so cordial she went straight to the Sarah Palin gambit. You want the American example of moonbat tolerance, write a novel based on the ongoing assault on that woman. (And I use the term “woman” as a mouth-breather, since for the Berkeley crowd I’m sure one of the 57 genders must be reserved for excommunicated conservative erstwhile females.)

      Sarah Palin is running for no office. And after having written in opposition to Trump’s Indiana “full employment via public flogging” plan, she is presumably under no consideration for an appointed position. Yet the Berkeleyites, the tolerant, empathetic, inquisitive, celebratory Berkeleyites, cannot let it go. And as for the wonderful Mrs. Palin, whom I will forever admire and appreciate, if she showed up there in that geographically beautiful hell-hole unaccompanied, I suspect the treatment would at least achieve half the degree of abuse she would receive in Kabul.

      BobLee, this author needs help. You looked up that Twitter account for a reason – there was a cry in the wilderness for you that rang in your brain… Go forthwith and help this poor creature!

      • BobLee Reply
        3 years ago

        I’m working on her. Alex HAS responded to my response. I will make the next round available soon. 🙂

    • BobLee Reply
      3 years ago

      SURPRISE…. I DID hear again from Alex at 2:40 AM Monday. At this point we’re not sure who is stalking who …..
      .
      Bless her heart, she went “Prius Bumpersticker” on me in her latest whatever these are we are doing.

      • Doug Reply
        3 years ago

        Dang, and you didn’t even go Dodge Ram pick-up truck on her.

        • BobLee Reply
          3 years ago

          Moi ??!! ?

    • Jack.B.H Reply
      3 years ago

      I totally agree that when I am reading a fiction novel whether its crime, adventure, sci-fi or whatever I don’t want to be blindsided by the author’s politics whichever side it comes from. The blurb that draws me to buy a book should indicate if it is “agenda-driven” and then its caveat emptor. Granted these days EVERYTHING is somehow “political”.
      .
      You say her stories do NOT scream her politics which is how IMO it should be. Same with Lee Child and the others you and her mention. Not knowing an author’s politics is probably best…..

      • BobLee Reply
        3 years ago

        And Alex’s books definitely do NOT indicate her politics. If anything, a reader might think she is “a crazy right-winger”. Her theory that left-wing lunatics read more crime fiction is specious at best, but much of the babble “those people” babble is specious. Bless her heart.

    • Hamrick69 Reply
      3 years ago

      If you see Brer Kennel, give him “regards from his UNC pal at Kennel’s Beach”. I’m sure it will make his day!

      • BobLee Reply
        3 years ago

        Bre’r will likely see this for himself. He is quite excited about Trea Turner’s situation with the Nats.

    • Doug Reply
      3 years ago

      ‘Tis the season. It’s doubtful that a little goodwill toward others will hurt anyone? ?

    • NCSU68Grad Reply
      3 years ago

      BL,
      Either Blondie spiked your afternoon tea with a voracious amount of Crown Royal (Black) or perhaps some illicit recreational chemical that rhymes with NEED…..or you might want to seek medical condition for this “condition” as it is way past the “4 Hour Limit”.

      As one who has exchanged a few emails with you, the amount of bandwidth in these is frightening….

      I have never seen you write such prose in a personal communication. These make both Kennels and mine pale in comparison. I have no magic formula, such as Love Potion # 9, to sooth the soul and relieve you of the symptoms. I think (that will be 5 cents please) that you will just have to let this one pass. It reminds me of a brief forray that I had with John Fennebresque…and THAT was absolutely futile as he has a limited attention span…

      God Speed, as our Hero, John Glenn said…

      • BobLee Reply
        3 years ago

        I wonder if Alex would like Trainwreck Fennebresque ??

    • Ray Rogers Reply
      3 years ago

      BL:

      I enjoy your other side as we share many authors in common . Keep up the good work and don’t let the far side wear you down!

      Ray

      • BobLee Reply
        3 years ago

        Sharing favorite authors is a special bond. 🙂

    • Melanie.N Reply
      3 years ago

      You really do have these fantastic adventures, don’t you?

      • BobLee Reply
        3 years ago

        Yes Melanie. I really do. It’s a gift I never take for granted. 🙂

    • JDanWuff Reply
      3 years ago

      LOL! We (the right minded types) have to be ready to wage war on all fronts. It doesn’t matter where or when the opportunity arises, gotta be prepared to engage.
      Bookstore, classroom, street corner, Sunday school class, wherever.
      Take the fight to them and let them know we are here. We are majority. We are no longer content to sit back and watch them act a fool.
      “Be polite. Be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet.”
      Love it.

      • BobLee Reply
        3 years ago

        Stay vigilant … ?

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