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Michael Thompkins
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Officer Reed and JAG, Palms Springs Police Explosive-Detection Partners

by Michael 1/29/2008 10:37:00 AM

Officer Harvey Reed and JAG on duty at the Palm Springs Airport

"We secured the tell-tale tapes, left police headquarters ... walked across El Cielo to the fountain. The spray from the fountain was caught by a westerly breeze and covered the walkway. We tracked wet shoes across ... the lot and walked into the main terminal of the airport…the overhead speakers reminded us not to leave our baggage unattended." - Doctor Tom Reynolds, Gun Play.

In Gun Play, the Palm Springs Airport fountain provides a meeting spot for Doc Reynolds and his team as they search for Bocca, a sociopathic hitman, and attempt to bring him to justice. In the real city, the fountain serves as resting and cooling off spot for my favorite black Labrador retriever in town, a police dog named JAG. His handler, Officer Harvey Reed, brings JAG there for a well earned break from their full-time job protecting the passengers that fly into or out of Palm Springs Airport.

In their daily schedule, Harvey and JAG, are responsible for hundreds of confidential tasks all designed to insure your travel safety. Some of these tasks involve explosive-detection. This summer this author was privileged to watch Harvey and JAG run through a detection exercise at the airport and ride-along on a reconnaissance tour of the airport. I can assure you that I sleep better and fly with less anxiety knowing that this dedicated team and others like it are doing their jobs.

Dog lovers might wonder if JAG, with all his serious police responsibilities, is any less a contented canine. Labs happen to be my favorite dogs and I can attest that JAG is good-natured and happy and SMART!


Finding Irish Roots Part One

by Michael 1/23/2008 2:43:00 PM

When I first concieved the Shooting Shrink Series, I named my protagonist Dr. Tom Reynolds after my grandmother and my grandfather on my mother sides. My Mom's maiden name was Helen Reynolds; her parents were Michael Reynolds and Anne Conway, both of whom immigrated from Ireland at the beginning of the last century. Just last month I returned from Lisheenavalla, county Galway, Ireland where after days of research in Dublin and follow-up research in Galway City, I discovered Anne Conway's birth house in Lisheenavalla.

It will be my duty and delight to expand my scope as a writer and begin a non-fiction story of my discovery of my Irish roots and, simultaneously to apply for Irish citizenship. On our last night in Dublin, my wife and I met a group of Americans in a pub who had spent the last ten years looking for their roots unsucessfully. WHen they asked me, I shared that from first idea to find my "Irish writer" roots to success was less than a year. They shared my joy over pints of Guiness. I was already daydreaming of the large number of book awards in Ireland.  More later.




 Michael, Judith, Lisheenavalla Village historian Julia and granddaughter





 Julia Conway             Michael                     Padriach Conway

Both second cousins o.r.



 My grandmother Anne Conway's birthplace

The Shooting Shrink’s Palm Springs v.3 - VillageFest

by Michael 1/1/2008 4:59:00 PM

VillageFest: Palms Springs Open Air Market, something for everybody

“Thursday night Street Fair was the weekly central social event of the ‘the historic village of Palm Springs.’ There were fancier, more exclusive events in the city, but they weren’t weekly and they weren’t egalitarian — the heralded and the homeless were both welcome at Street Fair.”     Doctor Tom Reynolds, Gun Play.

“It was just after sunset. The sun, had given up until tomorrow, and we creatures who hang out in deserts, humans and others, had made it through another day. Cause to celebrate. The Street Fair was the human equivalent of all the desert creatures waking up from their afternoon stupor of hiding from the heat, and scurrying about in the cooler evening air looking for food, water, and even entertainment.” Doctor Tom Reynolds, Gun Play. 

Michael hands out Gun Play tee shirts at Village Fest

This writer owes a debt to Village Fest, one demonstrated in the above picture of me handing out Gun Play logo tee shirts in February of 2007. As a local author, initial sales of Gun Play, before the Shooting Shrink Series went national, were driven by my appearances at Village Fest. Even before I wrote Gun Play, I was in love with Village Fest and I viewed it, along with the Tramway, as the premier signature locations of Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley.

Jasmine Wait, Village Fest Coordinator, and her staff do a fantastic job each and every Thursday evening to provide residents, visitors to the Coachella Valley, and vendors a premier experience. In my opinion, the Village Fest experience is equal to the small open air markets of Europe. 

Village Fest appeared several times in the Gun Play plot, once as the location of a shooting incident. As I continue to evolve the Shooting Shrink Series, it will be hard to resist the temptation to return to Village Fest.

Now, when I appear at Village Fest to promote the series, I no longer have my own booth. You’ll find me at Peppertree Books. However, I will always remember my several experiences as a vendor. On those occasions, when I was signing books or logo tee shirts, I always ended my evening with a walk through the entire event. If you run into me signing at Peppertree Books or simply walking through the vendors stalls, be sure to come up and say hi! If there’s anything I like more than writing, it’s talking.

-Michael Thompkins


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