Through Thom Tinted Lenses

December 10, 2011

Thom Interviews Author Claire Applewhite


Thom’s Happening – Announcements, Specials, etc.

Thom Interviews Author Claire Applewhite


Thom’s Happening – Announcements, Specials, etc.

Before we jump into our feature interview with author Claire Applewhite, I’ll take a moment to bring you up to speed on some happenings. DEAD MAN’S FIRE, the first in my Marc Huntington adventure series was released this fall. It follows recovery specialists Marc and Dana Huntington as the track a missing scientist through the Amazon. Lots of action and twists.

I’m nearly done writing the second in the series, CHASING KELVIN, and this should be out spring of 2012.

My next novel, THE EMPTY, is due out within the month. I’m very excited about this one. Here’s the back cover synopsis:

The reyaqc, a people who have no inherent characteristics of their own, but survive by infusing genetic information from humans and animals alike, often leaving the donors hollow, vacant shells. They’ve been with us for centuries. Many live in isolated communities on the fringes of society. Others walk the cities of the world, unable to reveal their true natures for risk of discovery. Donald Baker is a reyaqc and he fears for his people. For with the rising human population and technological advances, the reyaqc can no longer live undetected. His life-long desire is to bring his race into the mainstream of society. But now a lone rogue terrorizing the city of Las Vegas threatens to expose the reyaqc prematurely. As the death toll rises, Donald must battle not only the rogue, but his own savage nature.

And, for the holiday season, the eBook versions of my books, THE DEMON BAQASH, DEAD MAN’S FIRE, and 13 BODIES: SEVEN TALES OF MURDER AND MADNESS are on sale for only $4.99.

For autographed copies of the print version, contact me a for ordering and pricing information.


And now, an  Interview with author Claire Applewhite

Claire Applewhite, the author of The Wrong Side of Memphis, Moonlight Becomes You So (2009), Crazy For You (2010), St. Louis Hustle, Candy Cadillac (2011) is a graduate of St. Louis University, (AB, Communications, MBA), Mercantile Leadership Program for Women. A participant in the Writers Institute at Washington University, and freelance writer—Healthy Cells magazine, House of Style magazine : Www.HouseOfStyleSTL.coM, reporter for For more on Claire, visit her website:

Other distinctions include:

Immediate Past President,MissouriWriters Guild

Board member of Midwest Chapter, Mystery Writers of America. Member andSt. LouisMetropolitan Press Club

Active member of St. Louis Writers Guild, Sisters in Crime, Ozark Writers League and Active Status member, Mystery Writers of America.

Claire, thank you for taking the time for this interview. Why don’t you start by telling us about your most recent release? Candy Cadillac is the third in the ‘nam Noir series, featuringVietnam vets Elvin Suggs and Di Redding. Set insouth St. Louis, it presents an intriguing time in the late 1980’s when car bombings and organized crime were active concerns.

What is your writing routine? I generally write in the early morning, the earlier the better, and go for around four or five hours. Sometimes, it’s 4:30 am, and sometimes it’s as late as six o’clock a.m., but the point is, I get it done first, before anything else has a chance to insinuate itself into the time designated for writing.  Then, I stop, preferably in the middle of a chapter or scene, so that when I return, I will readily recognize the conflict and carry on from the stopping point. I don’t look at it again that day, because I believe a writer has to allow some time to pass to better judge the quality of the writing and to recharge psychologically after spending emotional energy on characters.

Do you begin with plot or characters? I begin with plot because I believe the plot will tell you what kind of characters live in the story. For example, the story of Cinderella dictates the cast of characters, and even the setting.                                                                                                           

Tell us about the characters in Candy Cadillac. The characters in Candy Cadillac are the series characters from the ‘nam Noir series. Elvin Suggs and Di Redding, along with Cobra, the sniper, areVietnam vets turned St. Louis PI. Their creepy next door neighbors, the omnipresent black limo, the physician without a license to practice atCityHospital, Barbara Lacey, a mysterious blonde, and three women who assume her identity after her death, complete the cast.

What are you currently writing? The fourth in the series, Tennessee Plates, and a stand alone novel about a real life case that occurred at St. LouisCityHospital.

What tips do you have for other aspiring writers? Consider that writing is a lifetime vocation. It’s not about money, or fame, or even bestseller lists. If you’re not growing and changing on some level with each book/screenplay/piece you write, or if you’re expecting a lot of money in a very short time period, writing may disappointment you.   As soon as you have polished a piece of your writing, start to send it out for consideration. Even if it is rejected, read the critiques. And then, rewrite and resend. Don’t let anything that isn’t your absolute best leave your desk. Ever.

What type of story do you most like to write? Why? I like to write a story in which a major transformation has occurred in the life or lives of the main characters. This could be a major disillusionment, a discovery of the truth, or a love that saves.  I write fiction because anything is possible. For me it is about creating a world where things may happen in a haphazard way, BUT in the end, order and justice prevail.

What do you read? I like to read a story in which I learn something I didn’t know (it could be anything), and where the writer does something extraordinary with ordinary characters or circumstances.

How did you get your start in writing? I’ve always written, from the time I was seven. But, it wasn’t until 1999 that I decided to get serious about getting published. My first book was published in 2009.

How did you land your first book contract? Actually, I submitted a short story to an anthology at the request of a friend, and after it was accepted, I decided to send a novel that I had been writing and revising for almost seven years. I had not sent it to anyone for fear of rejection. That initial success gave me the courage to submit the novel that became The Wrong Side of Memphis.                                                                                                                  

With the rise in eBook popularity, the publishing industry is in a state of change. What do you see as positives and negatives in this reformation? I have heard that the advantage of ebooks is that they do not have a shelf life, compared to print books. In other words, an ebook might enter the market later in the book’s sales cycle, but it never leaves the shelf, virtually speaking. After six months, physical books are removed from shelves and returned. An ebook can be downloaded in thirty seconds. That said, there is something about holding an actual book in your hands, or buying a book that is personally signed by the author and/or given as a gift on a special occasion. Also, books can be handed down from generation to generation. As with most things, there are tradeoffs.

Thom Reese is the author of DEAD MAN’S FIRE, THE DEMON BAQASH and 13 BODIES: SEVEN TALES OF MURDER AND MADNESS. Upcoming releases include the novels, CHASING KELVIN, and THE EMPTY. Thom was the sole writer and co-producer of the weekly audio drama radio program, 21ST CENTURY AUDIO THEATER. Fourteen of these dramas have since been published in four collections. A native of the Chicago area, Thom currently makes his home in Las Vegas.

CONTACT ME AT for autographed copies or to get on my emailing list to receive notifications on new releases, special pricing, appearances, etc.




Copyright 2011 Thom Reese All Rights Reserved.


September 22, 2011


Alcohol abuse: Self induced flu symptoms. Because for some people there’s just never enough vomit.

Alternate reality:  a phenomenon experienced by any male forced by the female of the species to visit a shopping mall. Also see purgatory.

Ambiguous: something which is more or less, kind of , in a way, sort of, rather not quite entirely clear in any comprehensible fashion… sort of. See also politician

Autobiography: It’s all about MEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!

Cardiac arrest: a common condition often experienced upon learning the nature of an offspring’s  unsupervised activities. See also Gun Laws

Civilized: A culture which settles disputes by slaying opponents with sophisticated weaponry such as missiles and bombs as opposed to more barbaric tools like spears and swords.

College: A costly institution where hundreds of adolescents who have previously lived under the direct guidance of their parents are brought together with minimal supervision and expected to conduct themselves as mature individuals. See also Alcohol poisoning.

Depression: a mental state which often follows unrealistic expectations and/or the realization that, “Wow, this really sucks.”

Domesticated:  a creature which, contrary to its natural instincts, has been tamed and/or trained in order to exist in a civilized environment. See also husband

Fiction: That special place where truth may be expressed freely, in most cases without fear of reprisal.

Fiscal responsibility: a mythological state in which those charged with the distribution of funds have a workable plan and maybe even a clue.

Foreign Aid: Stealing money from hardworking Americans and depositing it in the coffers of unscrupulous foreign leaders.

Funeral: An event in which one’s enemies proclaim a person’s attributes as one’s family squabbles over his/her possessions.

Good old days: A time period idealized despite its many flaws, injustices, and insufficiencies. See also selective memory and/or delusion

Justice: Just as much as the cost of a good lawyer.

Man: A person inherently incapable of fathoming the desires, motivations, or actions of women.

Opponent: Someone put in one’s life as a growth opportunity. See also, spouse

Tampon: an embarrassing purchase made by a male in an effort to prove undying love for a spouse. Often accompanied by a cashier’s sentiment, “Oh, man, I’m sorry.”

Tobacco: A substance unique in that it is a legal product which, according to the CDC, is responsible for over 1 in 5 deaths in the U.S. each year. See also Soulless Washington lobbyists.


DEAD MAN’S FIRE, the first novel in my Marc Huntington series HAS BEEN RELEASED in both print and eBook formats. Check it out!

Here’s the back cover blurb:

The Amazon Rainforest.

A paleontological expedition, every scientist murdered or missing.

A vast cavern peopled with comatose bodies from all over the world.

A human skull, fossilized, with ancient writing carved on its interior.

A young scientist, missing, and at the heart of it all.

Recovery specialists Marc and Dana Huntington make their living recovering missing persons, stolen items, and rare treasures.  Now they are thrust into chaos and intrigue as they search for a missing paleontologist, the son of Marc’s former Delta Force commander. Arriving at the expedition site deep within the Amazon Rainforest they find the jungle ablaze and dozens of bodies littering the area. Soon they learn that a fossilized skull is at the heart of the deadly mystery. Multiple factions seek the skull. Local superstition surrounds the relic, Deadly attacks, explosions, cave ins, a chamber filled with peculiar, unnaturally preserved bodies: every discovery leads to another mystery and the Huntingtons must locate the missing scientist and uncover the secret of the Amazon skull or dozens more will die.

CONTACT ME AT for autographed copies or to get on my emailing list to receive notifications on new releases, special pricing, appearances, etc.


Thom Reese is the author of DEAD MAN’S FIRE, THE DEMON BAQASH and 13 BODIES: SEVEN TALES OF MURDER AND MADNESS. Upcoming releases include the novels, CHASING KELVIN, and THE EMPTY. Thom was the sole writer and co-producer of the weekly audio drama radio program, 21ST CENTURY AUDIO THEATER. Fourteen of these dramas have since been published in four collections. A native of the Chicago area, Thom currently makes his home in Las Vegas.



Copyright 2011 Thom Reese All Rights Reserved.

January 17, 2010


Filed under: culture,holidays,society,Uncategorized — Thom Reese @ 5:55 am

Why is it that most crimes of poverty are punishable by fines?

Ah, what does he mean by crimes of poverty, you ask?

The New Century Thom Dictionary of Quasi-Superficial Definitions defines crimes of poverty as, “Acts stemming from a lack of funds necessary to pay obligations such as car insurance, license plates, income taxes, and that sort of silliness.”

The way I see it, people break these laws for three reasons: 1) because said person is thick in the head 2) because he/she doesn’t have the cash to get it done, or 3) the person’s some fanatic nut-job that thinks all government is conspiratorial and ordained by invading forces from the planet Gurglesnoop. (Number three, of course, is mostly just a slightly-nonsensical variation of number one.)

But the grassy-knoll crowd aside, most people desire to stay current with these minor – and often unnecessarily pricy – regulations. To do otherwise is just not worth the hassle. But, what happens if someone gets caught breaking the code?

They get fined.


Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but if limited wealth is the problem to begin with, isn’t it rather absurd to think that adding additional financial burden to the dilemma will correct the situation?

Allow me to illustrate with a story from my life:

When I was a young adult, I, like many people of that age, was not quite wealthy. I drove a beater of a car that featured a hole in the floorboard. This meant that every time I passed through a puddle, water would splash up into my face.

Yeah, it was great.

So, surprise of all surprises, when it came time for my annual emissions test, the car failed in a haze of rust and duct taped splendor. Well, this was a problem. You see, my one-of-a-kind vehicle needed to pass this test in order to acquire new license plates. Ah, but the mechanic quoted me seven hundred dollars to get my car up to snuff. But, I was living check-to-check; I had hungry little mouths to feed. I didn’t have seven hundred dollars lying around like great Aunt Betsy in her grand old straw mattress. My savings program consisted mostly of the loose change I dug out of the couch on a bi-weekly basis.

But, what to do? There was no public transportation system in my little Midwestern town. I needed to get to work. I really planned on keeping my job. So – shame on me – I kept on driving.

Well, no surprise, I got pulled over for driving on expired plates. Now I had to pay for a ticket, plus plates, plus a repair bill.

Then I got pulled over again.

Add another seventy-five dollars to my tab.

Another week, another ticket. Same cop! He actually told me he’d been waiting for me to pull out of my apartment complex.

Then the fun began.

The next time I was pulled over – was there ever any question that there’d be a next time? – I was informed that my driver’s license had been suspended due to my multiple infractions. Why had I not been notified of this? Glitch in the mail. Anyway, driving on a suspended license is apparently a rather big deal. They put me in handcuffs – breaking my classy ten-dollar Wally World watch in the process – and threw me in the back of the squad car to haul me off to jail.

“One hundred dollars bail,” said the young officer when asked what it would take to spring me from this heinous offence. Well, it just so happened that I’d been on my way to the bank to cash a paycheck. I asked the officer politely if we could stop at said bank so I could cash the check and thus pay the bail.


I begged a little.

Still no.

I pleaded like a little girl who’d just lost her first and only lollypop. (Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. But, I did become quite annoying.)

And, yes. We rolled into the bank.

So, here I am, standing in line at the bank – in handcuffs – flanked on either side by a stern-faced lawman.

Yeah. People stared.

All-in-all everything totaled up to nearly two-thousand dollars before I and my car were legal to drive together again.

All of this because I didn’t have money to get the car fixed.

A couple of things:

No, I shouldn’t have driven – and kept driving – on expired plates. Bad, Thom. Bad.

But, isn’t a system that puts a normally-law-abiding citizen in such a position flawed? Wouldn’t justice be better served by giving such a person a rather-generous extension on the plates, or maybe offering community service as an alternative to paying multiple fines? Shouldn’t the system be geared toward correcting the problem instead of erecting Alcatraz-style barriers to solutions and creating a creeping mess that grows like some hideous monster from a “B” horror flick?

Just a thought.

Thom Reese is a Las Vegas based writer whose weekly radio show, 21st Century Audio Theatre, previously aired on the 50,000 watt KDWN. Fourteen of Thom’s audio dramas will be released by Speaking Volumes Quality Audio Books throughout 2010. Thom studied comedy writing at The Second City and works in market research for CBS Broadcasting.

Copyright 2010 Thom Reese All Rights Reserved.

Through Thom Tinted Lenses is posted weekly. If you enjoy these blogs, please subscribe using the button to the right and share the link with your friends. Comments are welcome.

December 27, 2009


Filed under: culture,entertainment,holidays,humor,Uncategorized — Thom Reese @ 5:24 am

Being as I’m such an astute observer of societal trends, it suddenly dawned on me that we are approaching the end of not just another year, but of an entire decade. Yes, ten years of change and wonder, of social upheaval and trivial drivel. Was it really ten years ago that everyone raced about like Chicken Little screaming, “Y2K is coming! Gimmie a quarter pounder with cheese before your computerized register implodes and the earth descends into chaos as every stop light, jet liner, and digitally-enhanced pogo stick turns on us like poorly animated robots from a 1950’s era B-horror movie?”

Was it just ten years ago that I had a slimmer waist and a fuller head of hair?

Was it just ten years ago that cordless phones were the size of cinder blocks?

Yes, it seems like just nine years, eleven months ago to me as well.

Being as we are completing the first decade of a brand-spankin’-new century, I set about pondering just what social markers defined these ten years. Could one be that we elected and then dutifully reelected a president only to then collectively determine that he was the biggest dunderhead ever to sit within the oval walls? Could it be that Ellen got her own talk show, or that the Chinese could throw a really spiffy Olympics? How about the return of bell bottom pants or the rise of excessive tattoos and piercings?

Of course, we could look at major world issues such as terror attacks, earthquakes, or health care. But, I’m thinking more in terms of trends and societal shifts here.

Electronic media is, of course, a biggie. I-phones, I-pods, illegal downloads have all changed our daily lives. The internet itself was but a fledgling pup ten years past. In fact, if I had said to you, a decade ago, that I’m a blogger, you might well have warned me never to go near your daughter. Through social centers like Facebook and Myspace it’s possible to “connect” with hundreds of people on a daily basis – many of whom who have been hiding from me for years. (I wonder if those restraining orders are still valid.) We can have extensive lists of “friends” that we’ve never even met. And yes, some of these can develop into true relationships… or into rather frightful stalker/stalkee situations, but, hey, progress, right?

We can also “tweet” one another, or TEXT! There’s a biggie. No longer do we require direct human interaction. I’ve actually seen people in the same room text one another. I’m waiting for the first “text” wedding. Think of the savings. No dress, no reception, just, “Will you be my BFF until I get sick of you?” A few simple taps to reply, “I do.” And it’s a done deal. No fuss. No expense. Back to World of Warcraft.

Speaking of WOW:

Another –and possibly related – trend is the rise of nerdism. Yes, it has somehow become cool to be a nerd. Need proof? Think about it. Comic book and graphic novel adaptations have dominated the box office. Throw in the epic “Lord of the Rings” trilogy and you know geeks and nerds everywhere are stoked. (Yes, that would be me.) “World of Warcraft” is a video game sensation. Comic-Con draws thousands of people every year, some of whom even read comic books. “The Big Bang Theory” is a proper sitcom hit. “Dr. Who” has enormous ratings in the United Kingdom and a not-too-shabby following in the USA. The hit show, “Heroes,” is comic book inspired. “Battlestar Galactica” is hailed as one of the best television shows ever. J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek” movie is a monster smash. And all the while, sports heroes keep falling into scandal and embarrassment.

Now the connection to technology:

Today’s overly-gadgety phones and computer applications allow us to be social without actually being… well, social. One of the overriding traits of nerdism has always been a certain social awkwardness. That gap has now been breached. The guy who sits in a corner all day – perhaps writing a blog – is just as socially astute as the star quarterback or the hot young actor. I.e., there is hope for me.

I’m looking forward to the next decade where Peter Parker and Bruce Wayne might just possibly run against one another for president, where cell phones are inserted as implants at the temple, and where verbal communication becomes a lost art form akin to hieroglyphics. Now, where’s my new gadget phone-camera-video-internet-tricorder thingy? Does anyone know how to work this thing? What’s this button do? Ow! I didn’t know it could do THAT! Does this thing make lattes?

Copyright 2009 Thom Reese All Rights Reserved.

“Through Thom Tinted Lenses” is posted weekly. If you enjoy these blogs, please check back frequently and share the link with your friends. Comments are welcome.

December 6, 2009


Merry Christmas, er, Happy Hanukah, um, joyful Kwanza? How about, have a Jolly winter solstice; enjoy a marvelous pre New Year’s celebration. Or maybe, Brrr, its cold outside, wanna heat up some cocoa, sit by the fireplace, and burn down the house by putting near-antique decorative lights of dubious quality on a dead and dried-out tree?

Yep. It’s that most increasingly confusing time of year. Used to be everyone tossed about Christmas greetings willy-nilly like they were hurling Tootsie Rolls in a Thanksgiving Day parade. But, admittedly, we live in an ever more diverse community. People of various traditions roam our streets celebrating, feasting, and greeting in numerous and previously little-known fashions.

So, whatever you do, please, PLEASE don’t say Merry Christmas! Someone might be offended. In fact, best to stay clear of any and all religious references despite the history and tradition of our fair land. Remember, it’s entirely ludicrous to think that someone greeted with the wrong salutation might take no offense simply because none was intended. That’s just not how it works. This is America, people.

Whether you’re a person of deep conviction or more of an anything-goes-just-let-me-get-on-with-my-life type, we all must realize that the guy standing next to you at Redbox – taking three days to select just one movie! – quite possibly does not share your holiday sensibilities.

So, what can we say? In what manner can we most delicately share our seasonal cheer? Obviously, it’s no longer proper etiquette to utilize age-old salutations. It seems “Happy Holidays” is the safest, most non-offensive route.

But “Happy Holidays” has no pizzazz, no flare, no zeal. Perhaps we should institute a new nonspecific holiday that is safe, non-threatening, non-committal, and requires no beliefs, dedication or fervor from any adherents. Maybe, “Happy Winter’s Day.” Or, “Merry Paid-Day-Off-of-Work Day.” We could all get behind that one. “Great-Excuse-to-Break-My-Diet Day” comes to mind. We could just cut to the chase and call it, “Just-Hurry-Up-and-Give-Me-My-Gifts Day.”

Nope. Don’t think we’re quite there yet. What about people who don’t have kids? What about the unemployed? To them, even these outwardly-benign greetings might seem as audacious as tossing out a “Merry Christmas” to a complete stranger.

No. We need something far more nebulous, something more brown paper bag. Maybe, “Have a Fantastic Pseudo-Generic holiday.” No. Some people get freaked out by holidays altogether. “Have an increasingly adequate existence?” Close. But not quite there yet.

Ah, got it! The perfect non-offencive-nearly-guaranteed-not-to-get-you-dragged-into-an-alley-and-beaten greeting for the holiday season.

“Have a nice day.”

Copyright 2009 Thom Reese All Rights Reserved.

“Through Thom Tinted Lenses” is posted weekly. If you enjoy these blogs, please check back frequently and share the link with your friends.

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