The Lost Indiana Jones Novel



Cover illustration by Christian Guldager
Every so often I get an e-mail from someone asking if I wrote a novel called Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings. As any avid Indy fan knows, that’s the name of the sixth version of the Indiana Jones computer game. There is no novel by that name. But there was supposed to be one. I know. I wrote it.

It rests on a shelf behind me in manuscript form. Had it been published, it would’ve been my eighth Indiana Jones novel.

The novel was written under contract, it was accepted for publication, and I was paid quite well for it. I was even flown out to LucasFilm in San Francisco to talk about the novel.

Everything seemed to be going quite well until the publisher literally forgot about it. The jargon phrases used for such a mistake go like this: ‘Someone dropped the ball.’ Or, ‘It fell through the crack in the floor.’ No, it wasn’t a ball, it wasn’t a crack. It was rigid thinking by the company execs, and an overworked editor.

You see, the publisher was fixated on the novel coming out the same time as the related computer game. The problem was that LucasFilm changed their game platform and that changed their schedule. No one told the publisher about it. Well, actually I did. A couple of avid Indy bloggers informed me of the changes, which I passed on to the editor. Unfortunately, the message never got through. The editor thought I had it wrong. Certainly, she would be informed on such matters, she implied.

Then the game came out just as the bloggers had said it would, but there was no book accompanying the release. The logical thing, it seemed to me, would be to rush the book into print. Nope. Somehow, the powers-that-be felt the book would not sell well unless it was released precisely at the time the game came out.

That’s what I call rigid thinking. Do people who buy and play computer games buy a related book? Maybe some do. But I think it’s a different audience. If you’re spending money on games, you’re probably not buying books.

So Del Rey lost money on the project, namely because no one ever had an opportunity to buy the book. An Indy fan wrote Howard Roffman, president of the Lucas Licensing, and asked what happened to the book. The response was forwarded to me. ‘Rob MacGregor missed the deadline.’

Oh, yeah? I wrote to Roffman and told him that Del Rey had the completed novel for more than a year before the game came out. He checked on it, wrote me back, and apologized.

From a writer’s point of view, it’s all part of the business. If you get a contract and get paid, what happens to the book is basically none of the writer’s business. It wasn’t the first time, I’d encountered a publisher who accepted my work, paid me, then failed to follow through. Years ago, Trish and I wrote for OMNI Magazine and they did the same thing. Repeatedly.

Of course, OMNI doesn’t exist any longer, and I’m thinking that many of the major publishers will fall through that ‘crack in the floor’ themselves…because someone ‘dropped the ball.’



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Thrillers & Chillers

For more about the writing life and the publishing world from the POV of two long-time authors–me and Trish–with dozens of books to their credit, go to:

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Review of Time Catcher

It’s not a romance, but this adventure tale – the sequel to Double Heart – picked up a very positive review from a romance review journal.

Long and Short Romance Reviews: Time Catcher by Rob MacGregor










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Timer Time

Moving from TIME CATCHER to TIMER…

We watched an odd movie called Timer recently. It had the feel of an extended soap opera or a made-for-TV movie. The concept was that, as a result of a new invention, people had an opportunity to find their true love – that perfect person – by having a timer-strip injected into your wrist. The strip is visible, about two inches long, half an inch wide. On it is a digital timer ticking down to the moment when you’ll meet your true love, who will show up with his or her own timer simultaneously ticking down to zero–the moment of truth and true love.

Although the story was intriguing in a humorous way and the characters surprisingly believable, the concept didn’t seem very well thought out. For instance, the main character’s timer was blank. No explanation was given and she didn’t seem interested in a refund. Finally, when she wanted it removed, it wasn’t because it didn’t work, but that she didn’t want to play the timer game any longer. The clinician who was going to remove it confessed he had never heard of anyone doing such a thing. So apparently no one had their timer removed after their true love was found. Why not?

We also wondered why so many people would want a timer to lead them to true love. Timers were wildly popular and you were a dork if you didn’t have one. In spite of the plot flaws and obvious questions raised by a digital implant guiding, if not directing,  your love life and future, we enjoyed the movie.

But as I watched it, I started thinking there was something somewhat familiar about the concept. Something from my past. At first I thought it might’ve been a story I’d read or maybe one I’d written long ago. Then I remembered.

Back when Trish and I first met, I took a course in hypnosis and started leading people – mainly friends and family – into past life regressions. I seemed to have a knack for it. Trish was my favorite subject because she was susceptible and imaginative. She had great past life stories, went very deep, and usually remembered none of it. I guess it was the latter fact, combined with the time the sessions took, that eventually led to her to decide that she didn’t want do it  any longer. Essentially, we both stopped at the same time and moved onto other things – mainly our writing careers.

Somewhere in my closet I still have a notebook filled with notes from those regression sessions. One of them, interestingly, involved a true love timer! In that regression, Trish moved into an alternate reality. She had just met me – an alternate Rob – and speeding ahead we were making love for the first time when alarms attached to Rob’s bed went off, ringing loudly, filling the room with sound. Rob bolted up, and shouted: “You’re the one!”

Apparently, he had invented a gizmo that allowed him to monitor his compatibility with women that he bedded. The alarm had a variety of tones that allowed him to judge the level of compatibility. Apparently, nothing had ever happened even vaguely close to the alarming reaction set off by Trish’s appearance in his bedroom.

I mentioned that regression to Trish while we were still watching the movie, but she had absolutely no recollection of it.  I’ll have to dig out those notes someday.

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Wolf Medicine

Here’s a synchronicity – a meaningful coincidence – related to my latest novel, TIME CATCHER, a sequel to DOUBLE HEART. Notice that both covers feature wolf images. Yet, wolves play a minor role in either story and the books were brought out by different publishers using different artists. Also, when consulting the artists, I asked for a kachina dancer with Double Heart and a blue star and kachina with Time Catcher. In each case, I got part of what I was asking for – plus wolves.

TIME CATCHER is a departure from the previous three novels in that the saga jumps ahead in time. Rather than a high-school aged student, Will Lansa is now an adult, an anthropology professor at Rocky Mountain College. About to embark on a vacation between semesters, he’s  called back the Hopi Reservation by his grandmother to pursue a metaphysical mystery related to the Hopi prophecies and Pahana, a legendary figure from Hopi mythology.

The wolf in TIME CATCHER is a seriously over-sized creature that enters the world through an inter-dimensional portal in Canyon de Chelly. In Double Heart, the wolf is a shape-shifter.

The dueling wolf covers made me wonder about wolf medicine. Here’s what I found when I made a quick on-line perusal. As a totem, Wolf is the pathfinder, the forerunner of new ideas who returns to the clan to teach and share medicine. Wolf is a wild spirit.

The senses of Wolf are very keen, and the moon is its power ally. The moon is the symbol for psychic energy, or the unconscious that holds the secrets of knowledge and wisdom. Baying at the moon may be an indication of Wolf’s desire to connect with new ideas which are just below the surface of consciousness.

I think Wolf is my new power animal!


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Welcome to my blog

Hi, that’s my novel, Double Heart, published in September, 2011 by Seven Realms. It’s the third in the Will Lansa mystery series. Will is an unusual character in that he comes not only from a mixed race family, but from a very diverse economic background. Will’s parents divorced when Will was three and he was uprooted from the Hopi Reservation for a life in Aspen, Colorado, where his mother is heir to a wealthy silver mining family.

As Will grew into his teens, he started spending more time on the reservation with his father, who is chief of police on the reservation. Prophecy Rock, the first in the series, takes place during the summer after Will’s sophomore year when he gets involved in a murder investigation that occurred at Prophecy Rock, where the Hopi prophecies are etched in stone.

That novel won the Edgar Allan Poe award and Hawk Moon, which followed a year later, was a finalist for the award. The latter story takes place in Aspen and reveals the other side of Will’s multi-cultural life. Will finds himself tangled up in a drug and murder case, and for awhile is considered the main suspect in the death of his girlfriend.

After that troubling year, Will opts to spend his senior year living with his father and attending Hopi High School. But it’s not long before Will finds himself in more hot water when he decides to write his senior thesis on Hopi witchcraft. At first, he can’t find any witches and wonders if Double Heart, the infamous leader of a coven, is just a story to scare children. But soon Double Heart finds Will and he comes to realize that he picked a dangerous subject to explore.

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