Bare Bones Biography:
Born in St. Joseph Hospital, Kansas City, Missouri. Raised until the age of 8 (along with his four siblings and parents) in a two-room house with one sink and an outhouse in the back. At 16, lived with his grandfather in an uninsulated two-story house on the top of a ridge with a single propane heater in the living room, no running water, an ice box, and an outhouse.
BA from Rockhurst College, full tuition scholarship
MA from Southern Illinois University
Fulbright scholarship to the University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia, for one year
Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University
25 years of teaching at the college level, rising to position of Associate Professor
5 years of being part of a four-person team of writers for television daytime drama
Two nominations for Daytime Emmy award for outstanding drama series writing team
7 years of working for Contra Costa County with the Seriously and Persistently Mentally Ill, ending as a Mental Health Professional II
Witness to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, September, 2005
A Disordered Life: A Memoir
The Stigma of Mental Illness and Its Effect on Three Generations
A family secret closely guarded for over 50 years. The entanglement of omissions and lies about Teresa Miller's sudden death at the age of 38. The effects of the trauma on the then 14-year-old Mary Miller, effects unwittingly passed on to her own children. The author's own traumatic experience when, at the age of 16, he was suddenly told his grandfather had "heart problems," and he had to "keep an eye on him" and phone his parents if he saw anything unusual. That he had to live with his grandfather in a house with an ice-box, no running water, an outhouse and a single propane heater in the living room, with no idea how long this would last.
A lifetime of distancing himself as far from the Kansas City, Missouri, truck garden where he had grown up, culminating at the top of Mt. Wellington in Hobart, Tasmania, 1100 miles from the South Pole.
The revelation, after the deaths of his mother and father, that his grandmother had not died at home of pneumonia, but had in fact been committed to a state mental asylum in St. Joseph, MO, where she died shortly after admittance.
The Author's mental health crisis when moving his own family from their Victorian home of 22 years in New Orleans, LA, to the cookie cutter suburbs of San Ramon, CA. The effects of the move on his 16-year-old son and 19-year-old daughter.
Brother, Murderer: A Harley Broder Mystery
New Orleans, August, 1990. Harley Broder is brought out of a deep sleep by a phone call from his Vietnam Vet brother, who has been out-of-touch for over a decade and has now been arrested for the murder of his former platoon sergeant. At Orleans Parish Prison, Jeff, promises to tell his brother "everything."
Jeff's narrative is interwoven with Harley's efforts to uncover what really happened, ranging from Uptown New Orleans to the inner reaches of the Atchafalaya Basin swamps. Jeff swears that, even in his hallucinatory aftermath, he is sure someone else was at the late-night meeting and that this person was the actual murderer.
The situation becomes ever more involved and dangerous, with Harley's journalist friend's investigation into Louisiana political corruption and the murdered Sergeant's involvement with mercenary activities in Apartheid era South Africa and illegal dogfighting compounding the situation. Even Harley's six-month-old tricolor beagle comes under threat of retaliation for Harley's persistent digging.
The madness of the Vietnam entanglement suffuses the ensuing actions of the characters, veterans and nonveterans alike, culminating in a violent confrontation at the construction site where Jeff supposedly murdered Etienne Dubroc.
Murder Most Academic: The 2nd Harley Broder Mystery
On January 17, 1991, Simon Kramer, Professor of English at the prestigious Claiborne University in New Orleans, is discovered by the Department secretary hanging from a beam in his office. He is naked, wearing panty hose and very dead. The police note the knocked over stool nearby and conclude death by autoerotic asphyxiation, sanitized to "death by misadventure." Kramer's decades younger wife, Mignon, believes her husband was not a pervert and was murdered. She hires Harley Broder, former academic now private investigator, to look into the sordid underpinnings of the Claiborne University English department, chaired by her husband, to sort out the truth. He's given the cover of "cleaning out her husband's office" so he can delve into who might have wanted Simon Kramer dead.
It doesn't take long for Harley to find that virtually everyone in the department had an excellent reason to want the chairman dead. On top of vicious departmental infighting and complicated sexual liaisons, a colorful group of misfits comprising the "Palm Leaf Poetry Reading Society," which meets regularly at the Oak Street bar The Palm Leaf, seems to have been intertwined with Simon during the last six months of his life. The group is led by Greg Muldive, a rail thin, alcoholic former academic nursing glasses of Scotch and grudges against the whole of Academe, his inamorata, Gloria Prejean, and hanger-on John Canizarro.
Harley, who lives with his beloved beagle Raindrop in a rented Uptown shotgun house, finds himself shunted all over Uptown New Orleans and involved in a later murder investigation, preempted into a bizarre funeral extravaganza featuring the Olympia Brass Band, a streetcar ride to the Gondola tower left over from the 1984 World's Fair, a harrowing cable gondola ride 360 feet above the mile-wide Mississippi, and various other misadventures. His friend Millie Jefferson, first Black woman detective in the NOPD, maintains a wary relationship with Broder.
When most of the strings have been untangled and Broder has a fairly clear idea of whether Simon's dead was planned and who might be responsible, events come to a climactic denouement. Rich in odd characters and bizarre behaviors, this mystery should be one that academics and non-academics can enjoy.
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