Ask a male author about your male character traits or thoughts.

Amazon links to my stories: Autumn Breeze, A More Perfect Union, Double Happiness, The Wolves of Sherwood Forest, Neanderthals and the Garden of Eden can be found down the right side of the blog. Another site very useful in categorizing books in their proper order is:

Visit my website at:

Sunday, November 22, 2020

A Timeless Christmas

Last night my two teenaged grandsons watched A Timeless Christmas,  presented by Hallmark, with Del and I. I could tell they liked it because they didn't fall asleep. Well, our guest speaker of yesterday at the Romance Writers of America San Diego Chapter, be she Alexis Stanton, Eva Leigh, or Zoe Archer is a masterful writer and the movie she wrote was full of memorable scenes, very real dialogue, and managed to highlight the craft points she made yesterday in her 2 lectures without being obvious. Catch it. You'll love it.

Her workshop explored how to take beloved romance tropes to create compelling stories, and to keep your readers coming back for more. It suggested tweaking and sometimes mixing tropes to give your story unique and memorable twists and how to do this realistically in a way that would not disappoint a reader, who knows and loves the tropes.

Her presentation also examined techniques to create strong characters with depth and heart. She suggested investing in Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi’s books, all ending in Thesaurus. I have The Emotion Thesaurus which I use quite often and highly recommend. She suggested for the purpose of her subjects: The Positive Trait Thesaurus & The Negative Trait Thesaurus. The team has written others, all of which look helpful.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Stephen King is here today

Stephen B. King, that is, but IMO, just as good!

My thanks to Gini Rifkin for her blog post of Stephen B. King's wonderful books, which is reprinted her below. Also Gini's blog is at: Gini Rifkin's blog

 Two new offerings from the Glimpse Series by Stephen B. King

Glimpse, the Angel Shot 
 Glimpse, the Dinner Guest 
(a Friday the 13th short story.) 

Seven women have disappeared from bars only to be found murdered after asking for an Angel Shot. Detective Rick McCoy is handed the case after returning from leave following his wife's horrific ordeal at the hands of the serial killer, PPP. Criminal psychologist Patricia Holmes lost her husband to the same killer and when her current partner makes her life miserable she jumps at the chance to work with Rick again. When they determine a man currently jailed for the crimes could not have committed them the mystery deepens.

But that is the least of Rick's worries. An imaginary alter ego appears warning him his wife is suicidal. Will they be able to solve the riddle of the Angel Shot before another victim loses her life and save his wife from taking hers? 

Detective Sargent and clinical psychologist, Patricia Holmes, has been invited to a murder mystery dinner party at a small luxury hotel located in Western Australia. The dinner is a reunion party for the psychologists and psychiatrists who work at Perth’s largest mental hospital, which treats the criminally insane.

 But there is an uninvited guest--a former patient who is hungry for revenge. In fact, he is ravenous. He will stop at nothing until he murders the doctor who gave him painful, electroconvulsive therapy.

 Detective Sargent Holmes must stop a frenzied killer on a vicious spree—but can she save the other guests, or will she be the last one left alive?

Snippets for both books and some lowdown about the author, Stephen B. King, and his writing. 

Glimpse, the Angel Shot:
 “You have been busy, haven’t you? Thanks for interceding on my behalf. The thing is, I’ve been thinking of giving everything up and going back to lecturing. Besides, I won’t work with Pepperdick again, and apparently, all the other sergeants think I’m a liability and won’t partner with me.”               She took another drink and looked back out of the window, blinking rapidly. “Pat, you know as well as I do most cops are a superstitious lot. All you need is one more good investigation, one where you don’t get shot or stabbed, and there would be a long line of guys who would want you as their partner. Do you think if you had another chance, you could get through a whole case and not get wounded or slap your boss?” 
 She had been swallowing and choked as she laughed at his humor.  “Depending who my boss would be, I could try,” she offered when she recovered, then turned her serious gaze on Rick’s. 
 “Yep. So, show me what you’ve got. Let’s say Brandon is not our killer. Have you got enough to profile who is?” 
 Pat made a pantomime of patting her pockets and looking around her, including under her chair. “What are you doing, Pat?” he asked, though he suspected what her answer would be. 
 “Oh, I was just looking for my magic wand; I thought I left it lying around here somewhere.” 
 They both laughed for a moment, and Rick’s heart swelled. They fitted together so perfectly. He shrugged, forcing the feelings down, which he had been doing with Pat for a long time. 
 “I don’t have much, Rick, but here are some thoughts.” She paused, composing her ideas. “People generally think rape is about having sex, yet we know often it’s not. That is the result, yes, but the cause is more about control, or even to some extent, sadism. Sometimes the rapist cannot achieve orgasm, which makes him more violent, so, we can postulate sex may not be a motivating factor; cruelty is. So, that’s the first point to consider. Second, not only was Ingrid Stapleton brutalized, but then strangled. Strangulation is a very hard, upfront, and personal way of murdering someone. Sometimes we see it in a case of domestic violence, where the killer is angry with someone else to the point of losing control. So, we can draw from that the man was angry with Ingrid, but why? On the face of it, Brandon O’Toole fits that description, he was rejected by her, and that could cause uncontrollable rage, rage enough to strangle, yes, but, in that case, not rape, do you see what I mean?” 
 Rick nodded slowly. “Yes, I think I do. If we are assuming O’Toole didn’t take Ingrid, then maybe the killer watched her in the bar, perhaps witnessed Ingrid’s altercation with O’Toole, and tried to rescue her. Possibly, he comforted Ingrid after O’Toole left and because he fancied her that could explain the Rohypnol and subsequent sexual assault. But why kill her by strangulation?” 
 Her brown-eyed gaze bored into his. “Rick, I think we are looking for someone in part with severe issues of anger and hatred toward women, yet in another way, he has a natural desire for them too. He couldn’t let her go because she would identify him. This man could have some sort of dissociative disorder, or dare I say even possible multiple disorder syndrome, and if that’s the case....” 
 “He’s killed before, or after. Jesus, Pat, you’re saying this could be a serial killer who got away with murder?” 

Glimpse, the Dinner Guest
 Pat knocked on the door of number ten and hoped she had caught Ruth before she went downstairs to the bar. From inside, she heard a muffled woman’s voice.                             “Can you get that, Tony,”               The next moment, the door was yanked open, and a tall distinguished looking man wearing a tuxedo performed a double take when he saw her.                                                 “Jesus Christ, are you all right?” he said with concern in his voice, and Pat realized the effect her slashed and bloody top had on him.                       Pat gave a small laugh, which, when she glanced again at his face, grew louder, and threatened to become hysterical. “I'm fine, thank you. Dress scary, the invite said, so I did. I've got to say; your tuxedo isn't scary at all. I'm Patricia Holmes and would like to have a few words with Ruth, if I can, before festivities get underway.”
 He grinned and stepped back, beckoning with his head for her to enter. “Yeah, we don't do fancy dress-ups, sorry. We're far too dull in our old age. Come in. Ruth is applying her make up with a trowel. I'm Tony. I don't think we've met?”
 “Thanks, Tony, please call me Pat, everyone does. I left Graylands quite a while ago now, and even when I was there, I was only part-time. I consulted to the criminally insane, the lifers, worst of the worst. By all means, call me morbid. These days, I’m with the police.”
 He pointed to the chair by the desk for her to sit then turned his head to the bathroom. “Hon, it's Patricia Holmes. She wants a word with you before we go downstairs. Do you want me to hang around, or can I go down and mingle?”
 Ruth Hawthorne stuck her head around the doorway with a lipstick clutched in her right hand. “Hello, Pat, bloody long time no see, how are you doing?” She turned her glance to her husband, “You can leave us girls. We can go down together. Is that all right, Pat? My God, I love your outfit.”
 “Thanks, Ruth. I thought I’d have a bit of fun. Going down together works for me. I need a private chat anyway...”
 “Sounds ominous. You get off, Tony. Pat joined the dark side and is with the police now, but I don't think she is here to arrest me.” 
Pat shook her head and smiled as Ruth disappeared back into the bathroom. Pat sat down on the seat to wait, and Tony acted like most people do around detectives; nervous and in a hurry to get away.
 “Righto, see you downstairs. Nice to meet you, Mrs. Holmes.” He scampered out the door quickly, eager to either get away from her, find a strong drink, or both.

Why did you write a Glimpse 4, wasn’t it meant to be a trilogy?
Well, yes, originally this was to be THREE deadly glimpses. I wanted to tell a story of inappropriate workplace desires and the effect on four people during three murder investigations of three different serial killers. I think in the same way good actors like a mini-series to be able to really portray a character, I wanted three books to tell the story with all the nuances two married people would feel who were attracted to each other. I believe I did tell that tale to the best of my ability, but after book 3, Glimpse, The Tender Killer was published, a groundswell of public and reader opinion made itself known by way of emails…..It seemed my readers, including my narrator, and editor wanted to know what happened to my characters next. Quite frankly, I was stunned by the response
 I was genuinely flattered, but as a writer, I had ‘moved on’ and had other projects I was working on such as Winter at the Light, and a full re-write of Domin8, yet the calls for more continued. I truthfully never expected that, and was deeply moved that my characters struck such a chord with readers. But, still the ethos of the Glimpse series was to take the reader inside the minds of three separate serial killers and show why they were the they were, so to create a fourth instalment would require another killer, and that wasn’t so easy to do. 
 I am deeply fascinated by all things psychology, and in particular, what circumstances create the triggers which cause some people’s minds to fracture and create a serial killer. In Glimpse, The Angel Shot I use 3 quotes from one of America’s worst serial murderers, Ted Bundy, to give an indication how these types of people think:
"Murder is not about lust, and it's not about violence. 
It's about possession."
"We serial killers are your sons; we are your husbands, we are everywhere. And there will be more 
of your children dead tomorrow."
"What's one less person on the face of the earth, anyway?"

  For me, this is not only some of the most chilling words I have ever read, but deeply, and yes morbidly, interesting. So, for me to create another serial murderer for Patricia Holmes to profile, wasn’t easy, and it took some time to come up with the answer. My wife inadvertently came to my rescue when we were out one night at a social function and she said to me when she returned to the table, “You’ll never guess what is written on the back of the lady’s toilet door.” I looked up and joked, “Jeez, I hope it’s not my phone number advertising for a good time.”
 Obviously, she is used to my warped sense of humor, and gave me a withering stare, until I asked her, “No, darling, what is on the back of the door?”
  Her answer was like a bolt of lightning hitting me, and my two all-time favorite words came to mind: “What if…”
  My loving wife gave me all I needed to create a man so troubled by his dysfunctional marriage he wants to rape and murder vulnerable women when they asked for help to be rescued from a troublesome date. 
One thing about me readers may find interesting:
I am fascinated by how the human mind can fracture and have a tremendous respect for psychologists, and psychiatrists who try to help patients put the pieces back together. A good friend, and his wife are both prominent psychologists, and my daughter has degrees in criminal psychology and justice. I often wish I had studied the subject myself, but at that age I was far more interested in rock music, free love, illegal substances, and telling stories. The Glimpse series is named that because in each book I try to offer the reader a look into the killer’s mind set, and offer an answer to the question most people want answering; why.
One thing about Glimpse 4 I think readers will find interesting:
A character named Jolly appears in Glimpse, the Tender Killer as the evil alter-ego of the schizophrenic serial killer, Bobby Cornhill, whom the media nickname, The Biblical Killer, because of the religious quotes written in blood on the victim’s walls. I received a lot of emails from readers demanding not only to bring him back, but asking the question, was Jolly a real entity or just a figment of Cornhill’s very troubled mind. While I loved creating this character, I was stunned that readers wanted more, and in Glimpse, the Angel Shot, Jolly features a lot more. This time one of the main protagonists, Rick McCoy sees, and talks to Jollly. The question again is: Is Jolly real, or is Rick slowly going insane?
Who is Jolly?
I am genuinely staggered by the number of readers who wanted to know more about my character, Jolly. I wanted the reader to wonder, is Jolly real, or just a figment of a very troubled mind? And boy, did they.
I loved Jolly, and felt I was crossing the border into the supernatural, as if I was writing like my more famous namesake. I put a lot of effort into making Jolly feel real to not only the murderer, but make the reader ask that question, is he somehow real and chooses who he appears to? 
I had so many requests, when I sat down to write Book 4, The Angel Shot, I knew I had to bring Jolly back, and, I did with a vengeance. The hairs on the back of my neck still tingle when I read about Jolly, and I know what happens next! I hope those readers who wanted to see him again are satisfied, and they can finally decide if he is just imaginary, or somehow, a sentient character who chooses who he will appear to, and influence. How could he appear to Bobby and make him murder liars in an internet chat room, yet confront Rick McCoy and offer a lifeline to save Juliet, his wife? And, then, when Jolly appears to Juliet and offers a way to find solace, and help to keep her sanity, is he helping, or hindering her recovery?
Suffice to say, my beta readers, my editor and narrator, enjoy the juxtaposition that Jolly creates. While Rick worries, he is losing his mind, supposedly, all Jolly wants to do is save his wife’s sanity, and life. 
Could such a thing actually happen? As Pat says to Rick when he finally admits to her he is seeing Jolly "We all need help at different times in our lives, sometimes more than others. Often, speaking about what is inside us helps our fears and anxieties dissipate by bringing them into the open and letting you examine them in the cold light of day. I can see Jolly seems real to you, which of course, he would, wouldn't he? If it weren't so real, you'd shrug it off and laugh. A psychosis, no matter how severe, is always real to the person experiencing it. It should never be shrugged off, laughed at, or ignored for that matter. You've been under more stress than anyone should have to bear, I'd be amazed if you didn't come through it without some, shall we say, quirks. It doesn't mean you're mad or need locking up or can't function as you are. But I think the first step for you is to understand why this is happening. Guilt is one of the most powerful motivators there is, and I think once you accept that, work with it instead of trying to fight it, you will see Jolly less and less.
Will Jolly appear in a future story?
Hmm, I am honestly not sure. From my perspective, he is a wonderful, rich character to write for. Intelligent, deep, and he keeps quoting the bible to suit any given situation. So, maybe he will. I’m not saying Jolly is appearing to me, but I sometimes, in the still of the night, hear him whispering to: “Stephen, bring me back…”

Why a short story in the Glimpse series?
I am reminded of the adage, less is more, and for writers, that means the less you say, the more impact it can have. So, the challenge for me was only writing 13000 words featuring a character I love writing for, when sometimes I could just write, and write and write… Then, before I know it, I’m approaching 100,000 novel limit. When I read through The Dinner Guest, as I have so many times now, I realize just how much I was able to say, with so few words, and I am thrilled with the result. I am tempted to perhaps write a few more short stories, or novellas for Pat, and Rick, in their own anthology. We shall see how Book 5 is received, and if there is a demand from my loyal reader. 
Well, as I said earlier, never say never.
Thank you so much for having me on your blog, and the chance to chat about my Glimpse world.
                      So nice having you here today!
In case you missed them, here are the first three thrillers in 
                               the Glimpse series


Bravo, Stephen not only on the great covers, but the contents compel page turning. Bob

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Shirley Goldberg is here today

I was intrigued when I read one of my favorite author's blog and asked Shirley if I she'd like to post her thoughts on a romance subject very important today. I felt her blog post would inspire romance writers to consider Covid romances as well as distance dating:

Get closer through distance dating

Bees do it. My friends do it.  

Distance Dating is a Thing, but Don’t Forget to Crank up Your Profile


My character in my novel Middle Ageish dates a lot. Easy because her story is romantic women’s fiction where there’s no Covid. At least not in my fiction world.

It’s a little more difficult in the real world where some enterprising souls haven’t given up. I know because several of my friends are distance dating––and being nosy––I’ve interviewed them.

One friend met her honey right before the pandemic started spreading and they isolated together. All is well. They just bought a house.  

Another friend relies on Zoom to get things moving. After a few Zoom sessions, he invites dates on picnics and walks, although this is much more difficult now with the cold weather. He’s considering taking up racquetball and inviting dates to his gym. Masks would be required.

If you talked or “met” on a dating site before Covid, but didn’t get together, now could be the time. In spite of the pandemic, dating––at a distance––is a thing.

Here’s an idea for distance dating. Wine tasting outdoors in a public park. Be discrete. Decant. If alcoholic beverages aren't allowed, or you're uncomfortable, switch to a variety of juices. The thing about wine tasting is there are those little crackers (found in any wine store)  and you get to banter.

Plus it takes time to do all that testing. Oh, here's a helpful hint. Wine tasting doesn't have to be elaborate. You can go with a single bottle of your favorite zinfandel and it still counts. "Wine tasting" is the secret password to "Let's get together safely.”

Of course, if the wind chill is a factor, you might have to limit yourselves to a meet in the parking lot and waving to each other from your cars.

And toasting with juice. At least you’re getting out. Keep that distance and enjoy.

Even if you limit your dates to Zoom, you still need to get folks to notice you on the dating site. Keep in mind, if your profile reads like spinach, bland and boring, you won’t get any takers, even for a Zoom meet.

Add a little metaphorical balsamic vinegar, oil and Dijon mustard to the recipe. Your dating profile and your photo are meant to make lookers stop trolling and read.

How? Talk about your quirks. Yes, your quirks. Tell a story, even if it's a few lines. Let your real self out. Be specific. Keep it light. 

Write as if you're talking to a friend. 

What are one or two of your small pleasures in life?  Love sci-fi romances? Do you get a kick out of collecting crazy masks? Order pizza with mashed potato topping? Love texting and talking while watching a movie? That's another idea for a distance date, by the way. 

Gentlemen, here's the place to talk about test-driving that Mustang and keeping it overnight. (Don't say how you wangled that one. Not yet.)

Also, update your profile and your photo from time to time. Call it a work-in-progress. Talk about how you’re coping in these difficult times. A couple positive comments is all you need if you keep it light.

And avoid these negative profile bloopers:

    Adjective-overload: Honest, Hardworking, Affectionate, Humorous, Attractive, Fun-loving.

    Trying to be sexy: “I love high heels.”

    Being stuck in the past: “They don’t make ‘em (movies, cars, furnaces) like they used to.”

    Trying to warm her up with: “I love to cuddle in front of the fireplace.”

    Using this old cliche: “I love my life. But it would be better with the right man.”

    Refusing to put in the work: “Write a profile? It’s hard to talk about myself.”

    Being overly demanding: “You must be tall, financially stable, and have your own hair.”

    Going on and on about your kids or your grandkids. Save that for Facebook. Or a real date.

    Posting an unclear, unflattering photo. Make sure it’s your best shot.

You’ve got a dating profile for one reason only. So people will contact you. Check out 10 Original Dating Ideas During Covid for a few more meet-cutes. 

About Middle Ageish

Sunny Chanel's marriage is circling the drain when her husband marks his colonoscopy on the calendar and ignores their anniversary. With divorce papers instead of roses on the horizon, she says "au revoir" Paris and croissants, and "hello" cheap New Haven apartment and ramen noodles.   

Encouraged by her friends, Sunny jumps into online dating, twenty-three years and twenty pounds after her last date. To her surprise she discovers dating might require a helmet, and occasionally armor to protect her heart, but after years of being ignored, her adventurous side craves fun and conversation. She's middle-aged not dead. Then suddenly, on the way to reinventing herself, life takes a left turn when the one man she can't forget calls with an unexpected request.

Excerpt from Middle Ageish

I hadn’t seen Noah since our kissy-face first meet. He’d taken on extra shifts, and I’d been busy packing and meeting guys whose names I didn’t remember. I checked my email. A text blew in from Noah.

––To: Sunny

From: Noah

Subject: Kiss my face

Dear Sunny,

I’m a programmer and an analyst and I figure our date was really three hundred dates in one (1) and so the next will be #301. Here are the stats:

Canalathon:               6.0 hrs.

Eating:                       2.5

Spot decisions:           0.3

Communication:        3.4

Navigation ie you:     2.5

Good night peck:       0.1, 0.1,  0.1,  0.1…                       

Final peck                  9.0

I had a very pleasant time on our date to see if we should date.

May I accompany you to the theater Friday night?

Yes, dear.

Our seats are side by side

Sweet sleeps



To: Noah

From: Sunny

Mr. Noah: The theater? Such a delight. Thank you, yes.

 I logged off and sat looking at my half-eaten sandwich. Noah made me laugh. I was having fun for the first time in a very long time. There was an upside to getting closer to Noah, concentrating on Noah, letting it go wherever it would take me, whether it finished in a dead-end or a long-term relationship.

   The sandwich was tuna with mayo on rye bread. I took a bite. A tad dry because I didn’t have lettuce or sprouts in the house.

No sprouts in the house.    

The phrase tinkled in my head. Noah would like that.

Even though I’d known him a short time, I knew he’d like that.

About the Author

 Shirley Goldberg is a writer, novelist, and former ESL and French teacher who’s lived in Paris, Crete, and Casablanca. She writes about men and women of a certain age starting over. Her website offers a humorous look into dating in mid life, and her friends like to guess which stories are true.  Middle Ageish is her first book in the series Starting Over. Her character believes you should never leave home without your sense of humor and Shirley agrees.


My Socials

Where to grab Middle Ageish



Nook/Barnes and Noble:



Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Debby Grahl is here today

Today is election day. I recommend electing Debby Grahl for great novelist. Please check out her new release and go vote:

Mountain Blaze  blurb

Disillusioned by his wife’s betrayal, rodeo star Dillon McCoy comes home to the mountains of North Carolina. When he agrees to take over the family ranch, the Lazy M, he’s unaware danger awaits.

Diana Thompson is having doubts about her engagement to Trent Sawyer. She agrees to leave Chapel Hill and spend Thanksgiving with her friend Jenn at the Lazy M. When Diana and Dillon meet, neither can deny their attraction, but both must resolve past relationships while fighting their growing desire.

After Dillon turns down an anonymous offer to purchase the ranch, attempts are made on his life. When a body is found, Dillon sets out to discover who wants the McCoy land enough to commit murder.

Buy link:

Amazon Author Page --


Monday, November 2, 2020

Karla Kratovil is here today

I'd like to introduce a terrific author. Yesterday I talked about her a little and today Karla Kratovil will write about epilogues:

In Defense of the Epilogue:

Like many authors, I enjoyed creative writing as a child, writing stories born from my overactive imagination. But for me, the path to writing my first book was born out of a big birthday (the big 4-0) and my mini mid-life crisis. As my birthday approached, I contemplated my life's bucket list and decided it was time to tackle, Write a Book. I wrote for many months without telling a soul what I was doing, but as the story poured out, I watched the word count grow and grow. I gained confidence that I could reach that happy ending for the two lovers.

But what happens after the happy ending?

Epilogues are about closure. I use the epilogue as a way to show the payoff that my main character received in return for their choice to shed their old misconceptions and accept love. As a writer, I would probably write an epilogue for my main characters even if it never made the published novel's final cut. Crafting that glimpse of the characters' life after they say I love you is deeply satisfying. I believe this is why the series is king (or rather queen) in romance. As readers, don’t we all want to see what that happy ever after looks like for the characters we have come to love?

I write steamy historical romance set in the late Georgian/early Regency period. My current series, The Hearts of Stoneleigh Manor, revolves around the three Langdon siblings. The Langdons are a tight-knit family, so in each book, the reader will get to see what's happening with their favorite characters from the last book. Captain of My Heart and Thief of My Heart are available now, and book three will be out in 2021!

If you would like to know more about my books swing by my website, or my Amazon author page:



Here is a blurb for my newest release Thief of My Heart

The Duke of Gilchrest spends his days restoring his inheritance, raising his two young sons, and forging a path past his guilt over his wife's death. Then one night, he catches a thief breaking into his bedroom, and his well-ordered world is turned upside down.

Emma Whittingham is leading a double life. Her father's suicide leaves her to care for her five younger siblings alone. Her estranged uncle is in no financial position to be their guardian, but he does teach her the only skill he knows, how to be a jewel thief.

The trouble is she can't seem to stay away from the sexy duke. Each time she visits him under cover of darkness is another chance he will figure out her real identity. Then one job goes terribly wrong, and she must ask for help from the only man powerful enough to protect her and her family from ruin.

Buy link:


Sunday, November 1, 2020

Why a politician is like a writer

Writing a genre novel is a bit like running for office. In my example I’m going to choose an ethical, honest politician. I know they’re out there, right?

The person elected is often the person more people feel comfortable with. They identify with the person’s ethics, morality, and expertise with the legal system. A New York Times best seller is read and enjoyed by more people than the average book. One reason an NYT pick is a winner (like the politician) is that the author doesn’t sugar coat his charac6ters, making them unbelievable. The reader/voter identifies with the book/politician. They fell like the story speaks to them, just as a platform speaks to peoples’ needs.

When you an uncommon man/woman you have empathy for your reader/constituent. Your characters struggle in a world full of pitfalls garnering empathy along the way. They can and should change into someone better than when they stared the book’s journey. The empathetic politician’s goal is to make things better For his/hers constituents. If they don’t the people will soon figure it out and boot them out of office.

I excluded the literary novel because it can and does sometimes show things falling apart. But here too, a different lesson can be learned. Instead of the theme of growth in a genre novel, the whole literary story becomes a cautionary tale if the reader sees it that way. There are nihilist authors who believe the world is absurd, and they’re going to tell you about it.

As always choose your candidate book that suits you. Write the story that suits you and be honest, the voter/reader can tell.


Once I saw this cover I could not resist crowing about it and the author.

I'd like to introduce an author friend of mine also with my publisher The Wild Rose Press: Karla Kratovil. Karla writes on Amazon: The Duke of Gilchrest spends his days restoring his inheritance, raising his two young sons, and forging a path past his guilt over his wife's death. Then one night he catches a thief breaking into his bedroom, and his well-ordered world is turned upside down.

Emma Whittingham is leading a double life. Her father's suicide leaves her to care for her five younger siblings alone. Her estranged uncle is in no financial position to be their guardian, but he does teach her his only skill, how to be a jewel thief.

The trouble is, she can't seem to stay away from the sexy duke. Each time she visits him under cover of darkness is another chance he will figure out her real identity. Then one job goes terribly wrong, and she must ask for help from the only man powerful enough to protect her and her family from ruin.

This story is an excellent example of how writing true, garners more readers.
The buy link is:

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Mike Torreano is here today


Today I have the good fortune to be visited by an author whose understanding of the western genre is much deeper than anything I have read. Please welcome, Mike Torreano:

Mike Torreano has a military background and is a student of history and the American West. He fell in love with Zane Grey’s descriptions of the Painted Desert in the fifth grade, when his teacher made her students read a book and write a report every week.

Mike recently had a short story set during the Yukon gold rush days published in an anthology, and he’s written for magazines and small newspapers. An experienced editor, he’s taught University English and Journalism. He’s a member of Colorado Springs Fiction Writers, Pikes Peak Writers, The Historical Novel Society, and Western Writers of America. He brings his readers back in time with him as he recreates western life in the late 19th century. 


A Score to Settle

My latest western, A Score to Settle, was just released by The Wild Rose Press. The story takes place in 1870 on the Goodnight-Loving cattle trail in the New Mexico Territory. I’ve heard some people say the traditional American western is dead, and it’s true the golden age of westerns was some time back. But more recently, several big box office western movies have been released.

Are they coming back? I hope so. If they are, perhaps it’s because the Old West embodies timeless values, outcomes where right triumphs over wrong. Not always, but you get the idea. The American West in the nineteenth century was a land of clear-cut rules—there were things you were supposed to do and things you weren’t. And if you did wrong, there were consequences, usually immediate, many times violent.

There was a Code of the West¾simple rules for simpler times. Unwritten, but adhered to, nonetheless. The Code drew its strength from the underlying character of western men and women. Life back then was hard, but simple. Things that needed to get done got done. Whining wasn’t tolerated. Complainers were ignored. You weren’t offended, you just played the hand you were dealt. If you’re getting the idea I like that kind of culture, you’re right.

The world we live in today sometimes baffles me. Everything seems to be different shades of gray. Honor and fidelity don’t seem to be in fashion. Our culture is filled with victims.

While the Code of the West was unwritten, there were certain common elements that everyone—from the hard-working sodbuster, to the law-abiding citizen, and even the hardened criminal—typically abided by. Granted, there were exceptions, but generally that held true. The Code gave westerners a guide to live by that they broke at their own peril. But even today, I’d wager we still have values that are non-negotiable. After all, values don’t really change, only times, circumstances, and people do.

I don’t believe the Code’s values have vanished, but sometimes it seems they’ve been driven from our national narrative entirely. Popular culture tends to dismiss old-time values, or should I say timeless values. We’re an instant gratification society focusing on the here and now, dismissive of lessons of the past. Imagine a world where you sat with your family at night talking with each other. Imagine a world where a man or woman’s word was their bond. Where handshakes took the place of long-winded contracts.

In his poem, ‘Out Where The West Begins’, Arthur Chapman says,

Where there’s more of singing and less of sighing,
Where there’s more of giving and less of buying,
And folks make friends without half trying—

What inspired this particular story?

 A Score to Settle is set on the Goodnight-Loving cattle trail in 1870 New Mexico Territory. I was drawn to this locale by the iconic western series, Lonesome Dove. Author Larry McMurtry used an incident in Lonesome Dove that paralleled something that actually happened on Goodnight-Loving. On an 1866 cattle drive, Oliver Loving was shot by Comanches near Fort Sumner, NMT. After he died, his partner, Charles Goodnight, carried out Loving’s last wish by wagoning him back home to Texas. To me, this is one of the Old West’s most famous legends and I decided to weave a story around it. Hence, A Score to Settle, which also features a strong romantic element throughout.

Mike Torreano’s latest western, A Score to Settle, has just been released by The Wild Rose press. Find it, and his first two western mysteries, The Reckoning, and The Renewal, using the links below.

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A Score to Settle

The Reckoning

The Renewal