Getting Out of Dodge

November 18, 2013

Tags: Dennis McDougal, Bob Dylan, The Candlestickmaker, Dodge City, Long Brach Saloon, Gunsmoke, Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson

I stopped in Dodge City on the way back from my recent California sojourn. It’s changed some since Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson took off their thirsty boots and stayed for awhile. The main drag is a hodge-podge of cheap motels, fast food drive-thrus and convenience stores. (more…)

Dog Park

November 17, 2013

Tags: Dennis McDougal, Bob Dylan, The Candlestickmaker, dog park, dogs, dog people, cats, cat people, Jesus, Moses, Mohammed, relgion, Christianity, Islam, Judaism

To begin with, there are no cats and, thus, precious few cat people at a dog park. Dog parks are for canines and their companions – no pussies allowed. (more…)

Loneliest Highway in America

November 6, 2013

Tags: America, Highway 50, Eisenhower, Woody Guthrie, "This Land Is Your Land", Dennis McDougal, The Candlestickmaker, Bob Dylan

The gas gauge flashed its warning for miles before lapsing below empty and still no service station in sight. Panic, prayers and magical thinking took over. (more…)

A Candle in Topeka

November 6, 2013

Tags: Dennis McDougal, The Candlestickmaker, Bob Dylan, Topeka, Marilyn Monroe, Jayhawk Theater


There’s a used book store on Sixth Avenue in Topeka where the proprietor tells a story about Marilyn Monroe and the nearby Jayhawk Theater. It seems there was a blank spot in the platinum icon’s much-documented career, shortly after her divorce from Joe DiMaggio. (more…)

You Don't Know Jack

November 4, 2013

Tags: Jack Daniel, sour mash, whiskey, Andrew Jackson, Tennessee, Moore County, America, The Candlestickmaker, Bob Dylan

Headed to Lynchburg a few weeks back for a day course in what makes Tennessee so profoundly American. (more…)

Remembering Ray

November 3, 2013

Tags: Ray Bradbury, Dennis McDougal, The Candlestickmaker, Fahrenheit 451, Los Angeles, Bob Dylan

Ray Bradbury was my first writing hero. We met in the short stories of The Illustrated Man and The October Country long before I ever learned there were Martian Chronicles or that paper ignited at Fahrenheit 451. (more…)


November 2, 2013

Tags: Dennis McDougal, The Candlestickmaker, Bob Dylan, Daniel McNaughton, mental illness, insane asylums, ptsd, Robert Peel, Edward Drummond, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Ronald Reagan, mainstreaming

My daughter Jennifer works with lunatics. She didn’t set out to do so. She began her professional life as a licensed clinical social worker, the plan being some sort of genteel career as a marriage, family and child counselor. Instead, she went to prison. (more…)

Charles in Charge

November 1, 2013

Tags: Charles Brownlow, Charles Everett Brownlow, Dennis McDougal, mass shooting, mainstreaming, Bob Dylan, The Candlestickmaker, mental illness, ptsd, Ronald Reagan

I was driving through east Texas recently when the following headline sparked at the top of the hour over one of the crackling FM country stations somewhere between Dallas and Texarkana.

“Charles Everett Brownlow, Jr. arrested for arson, 5 slain…” (more…)

The Candlestickmaker Prologue

September 24, 2013

Tags: The Candlestickmaker, Vietnam, Navy, LSD, acid

I'm currently putting together an audiobook of my novel The Candlestickmaker.

A free sample is available right on the front page of my website.

High Anxiety: LSD in the Cold War

February 15, 2013

Tags: New Yorker, LSD, Raffi Khatchadourian, Edgewood Arsenal, Operation Delirium, US Army, Acid Chronicles, The Candlestickmaker


In a great read by Raffi Khatchadourian in The New Yorker, you come to see that The Candlestickmaker is more than just a work of fiction... (more…)

Selected Works
"Part biography, part dysfunctional family chronicle, and part institutional and urban history, with generous dollops of scandal and gossip." --
The New Yorker
"McDougal makes Nicholson’s everyday life just as fascinating as his films in Five Easy Decades"
--Publishers Weekly
--New York Times
“A bombshell!”
--New York Daily News
“Tough and adversarial”
--Los Angeles Times
The true Hollywood nightmare and tragic love story of Robert Blake and Bonny Lee Bakley.