Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Somebody wiser than me once said: "Timing is everything!"   And as Pappy Cantrell has been known to mutter, "Sometimes you're good and sometimes you're lucky. And sometimes, it's a little bit of both."  Now, I'm not the kind of person who is very lucky. I don't think I've ever won a lottery ticket.  I gave up buying those years ago. But maybe you're luckier than me

If that's the case, you have two opportunities to win a prize. Recently, I mentioned a review on the Knightmist blog for my mystery novel "Why 319?".  It turns out that Shawn is doing a giveaway of digital versions of several books, including mine.  All you need to do is check out the link below and follow the instructions.  As Gallagher, that old produce smashing comedian, was fond of saying, "It's just that easy!"


But wait, there's more!  If you'd rather have a print copy of this intriguing mystery, you can sign up with Goodreads and have a shot at winning one of two autographed copies. That drawing will take place near the end of March.  Follow that link here. So, what are you waiting for?


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Good intentions: Bad results

There are times when I have to step back and shake my head in dismay. Thinking I've covered all of the contingencies, I'll move forward with a plan and put it into action. And then I'm rudely reminded of the old adage: "Man plans and God laughs!"  l want to attribute this to the comic genius Mel Brooks, because I'm sure he could see the humor in my efforts.


Here's the deal.  Last year, we were crippled with what was called the Polar Vortex, or as many locals referred to it: Snow-mageddon.  When the snow and the wind combined to create drifts over five feet tall, I broke down and bought a larger snow blower to battle the elements. It worked well. But I still ran into a snag.  Whenever the city came through to plow the streets, not only was the base of my driveway buried, but my street side mailbox became unreachable. No amount of shoveling would free it up. I managed to get the local post office to hold my mail for a couple of weeks. The clerks were getting surly because so many others were doing the same thing.  My darling wife even went so far as to create a mail box extension our of some tubing and strapped it to the box. It worked, but there was no way to keep the snow from blowing into it.\

So this year, knowing we had travel plans and the weather folks were predicting another arctic blast, I decided to bite the bullet and rent a PO box for the winter.  Should be easy, right?  The carrier would get a note, saying pass the mail to the box and we'd be done. Yeah, right!

Turns out all the mail gets rerouted to the gigantic clearing house in Detroit. There it sits for a few days and collects dust before someone slaps a label on it and sends it right back to the local PO. Then, probably the same guy who handled it a week ago puts it in the little box. Efficiency at its finest!

I could live with that. It's only for a couple more months.  So when I ordered print copies of "Fleeing Beauty" I thought it was a done deal. Ship the goodies and let UPS drop them at my door. No sweat. 


What I didn't know is the agreement UPS and FEDEX have with the post office.  Apparently those two carriers will bring small packages to the PO for residential delivery of "The Last Mile".  (Hey, that might be a title for a book!)

The books shipped on 2/9, got dropped to the PO on 2/11 and proceeded to go visit Motown for over a week before finally appearing back at the PO on 2/21.  And to rub salt into the wound, I got hit with postage due!

Yes, man plan and God laughs.  Thanks for that reminder. But bottom line, I finally got the print copies in hand.  And that's a feeling every author cherishes.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Review and Interview: Why 319?

I received word today that a new review on the Jefferson Chene mystery, "Why 319?" has been posted.   You can check it out at the link below.  I  was also interviewed by Shawn at Knighmist and talked a bit about the creative process, the background behind some of the names and locations. 

It's my understanding that Shawn may be giving away a copy of the book, so you want to make sure to stop by and see what's going on.  Here's a shot of Motown taken from across the river in Windsor, Canada.  Did you know Detroit is actually north of Canada?



Valentine's Day Giveaway

Happy Valentine's Day!

What could be more appropriate on this day than reading a few words from a guy named Love?
Actually, the local library had asked me to be part of a panel discussion with several other writers to talk about romance and mystery and writing, but due to a nasty blizzard that's making it's presence felt, they opted to cancel.

So instead of speaking to a group about romance and mystery, I decided to change things around. There are three books in the Jamie Richmond mystery series.  "Devious" was first, then came "Vanishing Act" and more recently "Fleeing Beauty".   I was a little surprised the other day when someone pointed out that as far as 'heat' goes on the romance side, they are rated one-two-three respectively.  This was not something that happened deliberately. It may have been the result of suggestions from a few readers and from my buddy, Joanna, who has volunteered to read early drafts of each book.

That being said, I've decided to give away an e-Book copy of each one today.  Just tell me about the most romantic or memorable Valentine's Day you've ever had.  I'll pick the winners on Sunday morning. 


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Still a Dinosaur

I am the first to admit that my abilities with technology are limited.  When I started writing, I had an electric typewriter that seemed to fit the bill. I would crank out my efforts  and could see some immediate gratification as one page rolled off the machine and I had to feed in another.  That was fine for short stories, but when I turned my attention to longer work, I discovered the error of my ways.

Ninety pages into a novel, I was suddenly struck by inspiration where I could revamp the main character, his name, his actions, his attitudes and his life in general. I sat there staring at the pile of pages neatly tucked into a box in front of me.  After grumbling a number of foul words, I went and bought a computer.  Cut and paste is so much easier now. And it's not nearly so messy.  I've been stumbling my way forward ever since.

So the other day I looked at the blog. It's barren. There are no pictures here, no copies of the various book covers, no links, no gadgets, nothing.  Just the ramblings I put on here periodically. Author M S Spencer gave me a nudge. ' Fix it up'.  Taking a look at her blog, I could see the difference.


I rarely looked at the control panel.  So after a little fiddling around, I learned how to post such things.

It looks better. Hopefully it's more inviting.  But truth be told, I'm still a dinosaur. There are probably other improvements that can be made, but let's not rush things! Let me know what you think of the changes.


Sunday, February 1, 2015

A Matter of Sequence

Recently I was at a writer's workshop and one of the group was fidgeting.  When asked what was troubling her, she admitted that she thought writing was too hard and she was going to give it up. Now this is a mixed group with a lot of different interests and talents. Several of us were surprised by her comment. I asked her to elaborate.

"I want to write a memoirs, because I've lived in so many different places, met so many interesting people and have had some great experiences. But I can't write it in order. It's just too crazy."

With a little prodding, she admitted that she was trying to write it as things occurred, telling the story as it happened. She got a little disgusted with me when I shook my head and laughed.

"You have to figure out what method works for you. Some writers use an outline or a series of notes and plot out each chapter, each scene, before they begin writing. I can't do that.  I write the scenes that capture my attention, then go back and put them into some semblance of order later."

She admitted to having some scenes that were very memorable, very powerful, that she couldn't wait to write, But those happened later in life. She didn't think it was proper to write those before she worked up to them.

"It's a matter of sequence. Write the scenes that you can't wait to get down. You can always go back later and rearrange them. The important thing is to keep writing," I said.

People use whatever method works for them. I do the majority of my writing on a computer. Sometimes if I'm not near it and inspiration strikes, I'll jot down the idea on a sheet a paper or the back of an envelope.  I've heard tell more than once that Elmore Leonard, the brilliant crime novelist, would spend all day with a legal pad, getting a scene just right, before he would sit down at his typewriter, yes, typewriter and finish it.  You've got to find what works for you.  But the main thing is, you've got to keep writing.