Monday, March 28, 2016

The New Blog

A new post on writing appears at the new blog site.  I hope you'll stop by and check it out.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Who wants a Free Book?

In the process of transitioning to the new blog site, I've decided to give away a free E Book.  Stop by and check it out.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Sounds like Me?

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to be interviewed on The Author's Show, an internet radio program, and talk about my efforts writing and "Why 319?"  my mystery about a serial killer on the loose in Metro Detroit.  So when it aired, I spread the word and heard back from a number of people that it went well.

Many years ago, I did a stint as a volunteer in the Detroit area, working at a radio station that was geared toward the visually impaired. We would read sections of the daily newspaper certain magazines, depending on the time of day.  While on the air, we had to wear these big headphones which seem to have returned to popularity.  I was surprised at how my voice sounded whenever I was on the air.

Now I have a face that's perfect for radio, but somehow hearing my voice still seems odd to me. I guess the image in my head is a bit different from reality.  Considering that I do a lot of talking in my regular job and when I'm teaching, I should be used to this. Still, it was odd to hear my voice when I played back the interview.  And it makes me wonder if we all sound different when we hear our voices recorded.

So if you're curious about what I sound like or just want to learn more about the book, you can stop by the Author's Show and check it out at the link below.  Just click on the archived section and find my listing.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Fleeing Beauty

Someone asked me the other day which one of my books is my favorite.  That's a difficult question. My first reaction was to say 'the next one', because I always strive to make each story better, more engaging, with a few twists and turns that the reader won't be expecting.  But I didn't jump at that bait. The response I gave him wasn't what he expected.

"My books are like my children. Each one is special. Each has their own character, their own strengths and weaknesses that make them unique. I've been blessed with two sons.  I don't play favorites. They are different. I love them both. They're my sons."

Same thing goes with my books.  These are my fictional children, stories that I've labored over for weeks and months, shaping the story line, rounding out the characters, following their leads and seeing where the story goes. There are parts of each one that sing to me, that give me the sense of 'damn, that was good' or words to that effect.  But it's impossible for me to pick a favorite.

Having said that, I must admit that "Fleeing Beauty" the third book in the Jamie Richmond series, really came together well.   The main plot is the discovery of a number of priceless sculptures Jamie's father created more than twenty years ago, which leads to a robbery. There are several subplots, including the rekindling of an old romantic relationship and a budding teenage romance.  The main characters continue to evolve and the introduction of several new players worked out smoothly.

The book went through some recent editing, shaping and polishing a few rough edges. And then there's the cover.   The talented people at Shades of Rose Media have truly captured the image of Jamie that's been dancing around inside my skull for years.  I almost expect her to step off the cover, give me a hug and let loose with a wisecrack.  That's my girl.

And at long last, she's here.  "Fleeing Beauty" will be available on Monday, February 29. That's the release day.  So take the leap and see for yourself what Jamie is up to this time.

Friday, February 19, 2016

For Thought

Earlier this week, I was preparing for a writer's workshop.  This group is serious about the time we share and they're all hard at work on their individual stories.  Often they look to me for suggestions on areas in general that they can direct their efforts at.  Sometimes we talk about dialog. Or it could be about characters, or conflicts, or settings. So for this week, I thought working on an ending would be different.  Usually I'll give them a prompt, maybe a few paragraphs or a page to help get them started and see where they go.

But this time I struggled with that concept. Every attempt I made didn't make any sense.  So as happens occasionally, I just started writing, anticipating inspiration would kick in.  What I ended up with was a far cry from what I expected, but when I shared it with the crew, it was well received. So I wanted to pass it along.

For Thought:

 “You’re telling me you knew about the scam?” Cookie asked. “After everything we went through, you knew it all along!”
Baker shrugged. “I had a hunch. I was following my gut.”
“You set this up, didn’t you?”
He shrugged again. “Set up is a bit elaborate. I may have put the wheels in motion. Graham isn’t all he’s cracked up to be. He’d sell his mother and her little hot dog for a decent bottle of Bordeaux. Or maybe a bottle of Boone’s Farm.”
“What about Clementine? You let her run off with him!”
“She’s hot for the guy. They could end up making something sweet.”
Cookie shook her head in frustration. “Let me get this straight. You knew Ambrosia and Monterey Jack staged the robbery. They hired Chuck and T-Bone to dress up as Frito Banditos and steal the deposit bags right after closing time.”
“Yes, but neither of those guys is seasoned. They have the IQ of a turnip. Jack and Ambrosia switched the bags, giving them a few hundred bucks along with some cabbage. Alfredo was waiting outside with the getaway car.”
“But that doesn’t explain what happened to Julienne? Was she in on it?”
Baker nodded slowly. “Of course she was. But she couldn’t make the cut. I don’t think Jack wanted to mix with her. He knew where they’d park the car, so he greased Julienne and stashed her in the truck before the robbery. She was such a little butterball. She never had a chance. Meanwhile Basil and Reuben were just hanging out, waiting their turn.”
“She was a sweet little Twinkie. What happened next?”
Baker slid an arm across her shoulders and drew her close. Her hair smelled of honey and jasmine. “Once the gang got away, they were going to divide the dough. But they never got that far.”
“Why not?”
“It was over easy. Alfredo was driving. Reuben was in that jumbo truck. They creamed him at the stop light, sandwiching him into that parked car. The trunk lid popped open and you could see Julienne’s dead lady fingers dangling there. Basil grabbed the bags and they took off. The car was totaled. Alfredo and the others couldn’t tell anyone they’d been robbed, since they’d stolen the money in the first place.  And they couldn’t explain away Julienne’s body.”
“So those two cops, Newton and Bartlett, just happened to be cruising the area,” Cookie said. With a sigh of frustration, she brushed back her thick blonde hair from her forehead. “They had no reservations?”
“Cops ignore reservations. These crumbs just tumbled into their laps like donuts at the drive-thru.”
 “I’m still confused,” Cookie said. “So the cops scooped up Alfredo, Chuck and T-Bone with Julienne’s body. Basil and Reuben got the fake bags of cash and split. But what happened to Monterey Jack and Ambrosia?”
“Monty Jack booked passage on the dinner train. He had the real bags of cash, plus the jewels in an old steamer trunk. Everyone expected them to leave in a hurry. He chose a slow route, waiting for the attention to simmer down.”
A look of understanding crossed Cookie’s face. “Monty and Ambrosia double-crossed Chuck and T-Bone?”
“Don’t forget Julienne. She was the one who brought them into it. But the original plan was Graham’s.  He thought he was such a Cracker Jack when it came to crime.”
“And Alfredo spilled the beans to Reuben and Basil?”
          “Exactly. They wanted their own piece of the pie.”
“So Monterey Jack and Ambrosia get to walk away with the whole enchilada,” Cookie said. “That just doesn’t seem fair.”
“Hey, it takes a lot of bread to put together a caper like that.”
“But if you know all this, why are we just sitting here, sailing across Tapioca Bay?  Shouldn’t we be doing something?”
Baker gave her a slow smile. “We are doing something.”
“You seem pretty calm, letting the others get away.”
“Well, Graham and Clementine left before the crime, so they’re nothing more than vapor. The cops picked up T-Bone, Chuck and Alfredo, so they’re toast.  Basil and Reuben will end up with egg on their faces when they realize they got little for their troubles.”
“Don’t forget Ambrosia and Monty Jack,” Cookie said.
“Oh, I won’t. You see, while they were busy switching goodie bags on Chuck and T-Bone, I was switching bags with them. Everyone gets their just desserts.” Baker nudged the red vinyl case used to keep pizza warm. “Which leaves just one question?”
Cookie’s eyes grew wide. “What?”
“Do you like diamonds with your pepperoni?”

Moral of the story:

Never write when you’re hungry.

Monday, February 15, 2016

The Interview

On Tuesday, February 16, I'm being interviewed on The Author's Show.  This is my first experience being on the receiving end of the questions so I'm definitely looking forward to hearing the final cut.

Linda, who hosted the session, hit me with some surprising questions.  Originally the conversation focused on  "Why 319?" my mystery about the serial killer at large in Metro Detroit and the squad of cops involved in this major case investigation.  But somewhere along the line, we took a little detour. While discussing research methods, I mentioned doing a 'ride-along' with a State Police Trooper years ago.  The events that were witnessed that night found their way into "Devious" the first book in the Jamie Richmond mystery series. 

A lot of credit for the interview goes to Linda, who put me at ease before we started recording. Turns out we share a love of professional football and we were in the thick of the playoffs at the time.  We had a few laughs about the games before getting down to business.

So click on the link below and give it a listen. I welcome any comments and feedback you'd like to share.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

A True Best Friend

Most of us have had a true best friend, someone who will always be there for you, through thick and thin, the good times and bad.  Someone who knows the punchline to all of your favorite jokes and still laughs as if hearing it for the first time. Someone who may be as different from you as night is to day. But when it counts the most, you know they will always be in your corner, cheering you on.

When I wrote the first Jamie Richmond book "Devious"  I was pleased with the responses I got.  One person told me bluntly, 'if you haven't already started it, you'd better be writing another book. These characters are too good for just one story.'

I really liked Jamie and her interactions with Malone. But when I started thinking about a second book, I realized what was missing. Jamie needed a best friend, another woman who would know her moods, her stubbornness, and all the quirks that make my redhead heroine real.  That's where Linda comes into the picture: her true best friend.

One of the challenges for any writer is to create authentic characters. Capturing the essence of any woman is difficult enough for a guy, but to have two dramatically different characters like Jamie and Linda took a lot of revisions, a lot of shaping to get it right. And to have the friendship so strong that Jamie would put her life on the line for Linda was critical.  Fortunately, it all worked out.

Which brings me to Linda. The second book in the series has been officially released. It's out there on Amazon, B&N and Kobobooks.  This story takes place in the middle of a Michigan winter, which is appropriate timing.  So if you're ready to curl up with a good book and while away the winter, be sure to check it out.