If You Could Write Like Anyone, Who Would It Be?

Many years ago, at an author event, someone in the audience asked me, “If you could write like anyone, who would it be?” At the time, I had finally clawed my way out of the unpublished writer’s corner and was still finding my own writer’s voice. The answer to the question was obvious: Like myself, of course. I wanted to write like the best darned Kate Flora that I could.

Two decades, and twenty-one books later, I know that there are many, many answers to Screen Shot 2019-09-22 at 4.14.28 PMthat question. The library is full of authors whose work has magical aspects I would like to have. Of course I would like to write like John Steinbeck, the only writer ever who, after I read Cannery Row, left me writing in his style for a week or two. I would love to write his characters and his hooptedoodle chapters and just generally be able to convey his evident deep fondness for his characters. In his ten rules for writers, Elmore Leonard says this about Steinbeck:

What Steinbeck did in ”Sweet Thursday” was title his chapters as an indication, though obscure, of what they cover. ”Whom the Gods Love They Drive Nuts” is one, ”Lousy Wednesday” another. The third chapter is titled ”Hooptedoodle 1” and the 38th chapter ”Hooptedoodle 2” as warnings to the reader, as if Steinbeck is saying: ”Here’s where you’ll see me taking flights of fancy with my writing, and it won’t get in the way of the story. Skip them if you want.”

 And speaking of Elmore Leonard, who wouldn’t like to write like him, with brilliant dialogue and ways of conveying characters almost entirely through their actions. When I teach, I always read my students Leonard’s Ten Rules for Writers, https://www.nytimes.com/2001/07/16/arts/writers-writing-easy-adverbs-exclamation-points-especially-hooptedoodle.html, and then tell them that they can break any of these rules if they

Screen Shot 2019-09-22 at 4.07.11 PMWriting well enough if, of course, the key. Most of us would love to be able to write like James Lee Burke, who can pull off a ghost story in the midst of a compelling contemporary mystery story in In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead. An opening like this can make you glad he disregarded the advice to never open a book with the weather:

The sky had gone black at sunset, and the storm had churned inland from the Gulf and drenched New Iberia and littered East Main with leaves and tree branches from the long canopy of oaks that covered the street from the old brick post office to the drawbridge over Bayou Teche at the end of town. The air was cool now, laced with light rain, heavy with the fecund smell of wet humus, night-blooming jasmine, roses, and new bamboo. I was about to stop my truck at Del’s and pick up three crawfish dinners to go when a lavender Cadillac fishtailed out of a side street, caromed off a curb, bounced a hubcap up on a sidewalk, and left long serpentine lines of tire prints through the glazed potholes of yellow light from the street lamps.

 Go ahead and match that!

This week, I am a prepping to write a short story, due way too soon, that must take a presidential election in a different direction from the way it went. Having decided that Huey Long will be my character, I am immersed in a reread of Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men. I do not want to start writing like Warren, but I am definitely caught up in his long, deep descriptions of almost everything. At this point in the book (early!) our narrator, Burden, is following an early Willie Stark campaign. He is lying on his bed, listening to Stark pace the follow in the room next door, described thus:

I’d be lying there in the hole in the middle of my bed where the springs had given down with the weight of wayfaring humanity, lying there on my back with my clothes on and looking up at the ceiling and watching the cigarette smoke flow up slow and splash against the ceiling like the upside-down slow-motion moving picture of the ghost of a waterfall or like the pale uncertain spirit rising up out of your mouth on the last exhalation, the way the Egyptians figured it, to leave the horizontal tenement of clay in its ill-fitting pants and vest.

 Whew! I’m impressed but boy is it slow going, and there are 600 pages in the book. As I read, I wonder what Elmore Leonard would have to say about the book. I’m also loving the slow, stately pace of the writing and wondering how a crime scene would feel if I imported some of Warren’s style.

So since I have to get back to my homework, I leave you with this question. Whose writing impresses you? Knocks your socks off? Makes you catch your breath? Makes you want to copy out paragraphs in a notebook to save for future reference?

Happy reading!


She Wrote a Book Once

Kate Flora: As many of you have read, if you’ve followed the Maine Crime Writers blog for a while, my late 5_4mother, A. Carman Clark, published her first mystery, The Maine Mulch Murderfeaturing 60-something freelance editor and gardener Amy Creighton, when she was 83. https://amzn.to/2KcJsSI She and I used to joke that unlike Mary Higgins Clark and her daughter, we published in the reverse order, with mom following in my footsteps.

Writing Maine Mulch resulted, in part, from her complaints to the librarian at the Vose Library in Union that the mysteries she found on the shelf were either too violent for her taste or the characters had lives too opulent or different for a rural Maine farm woman to relate to. The librarian is said to have replied, “If you don’t like what the Vose Library has to offer, why don’t you go home and write one.” And so my mother did.

Although the majority of her writing was articles and essays about country living, as a columnist and home and garden editor for the Camden Herald, she loved reading mysteries and enjoy writing one. Inspired by her publication, she started writing a second Amy Creighton mystery, The Corpse in the Compost. https://amzn.to/2K3lEBQ She used to say that she didn’t want her obituary to read: She wrote a book once. At the time of her death, she left a draft manuscript along with my notes, notes from good friend Marilyn Hornidge, and notes from a editor she’d hired to give her advice. The notebook with all that material sat on my shelf for years.

Kate Flora - Maine Mulch Murder- Cover1aTwo summer ago, in the space between my own books, and nudged by Ann and Paula at the Mainely Murders bookstore http://mainelymurders.com, who had created a following for Maine MulchI sat down with the manuscript and started editing. As I’ve blogged about before, there were a lot of questions I wanted to ask my mother. As she was unavailable, I had to wing it. I’ll never know whether I made the right choices. But we were close, and I could usually find her “voice” in making changes or amendments to the book.

Last summer, when I went to type the changes into her old file, I discovered I could no longer open it. The result was the slow process of retyping the entire book, and I am far from the world’s best typist. At last, the changes were done. I gave the book to some beta readers, made more changes, and decide that readers who like Amy Creighton’s gardens, cooking, and deep curiosity about people might enjoy some of mom’s old newspaper columns. I found a few that nicely matched the events–and food–in the story, and added them at the end of the book. I then hired a cover designer, the wonderful Dave Fymbo http://www.limelightbookcovers.com, and a formatter, the patient Jason Anderson https://www.polgarusstudio.com, for the ebook and physical book versions.

My target for publication was June, but that kept getting nudged aside by my own books, and by a lovely vacation barge trip on the Canal du Midi. Now, at the end of July, I am happy to say that this memorial act for a wonderful mother and writer is complete, and The Corpse in the Compost is available in print and as an ebook.



Meet Florida Man’s Massachusetts Rival-Malden Man

Some time back, seeking an escape from writing about writing, I indulged myself in a humorous post I’d always wanted to write. It involved the elusive “Malden Man” and his adventures, misadventures, and the many lives he’s led. So here is the original post, with some updates about what he’s been doing since last we explored his checkered career.

As you all well known, crime writers are constantly scanning the papers, looking for ideas, and this keeps popping up. I’ve always wanted to write this blog.

The Urban Dictionary describes Malden Man thusly:

Malden Man
A very handsome, well educated, erudite man. Usually of Middle Eastern and/ or Mediterranean descent. The Malden Man is very cosmopolitan, well read, articulate, smokes, speaks at least three languages fluently and will either have a Ph.D. from MIT or an MBA from Northeastern University. He is often married and faithful to his wife despite being a wicked flirt. If he is single take a ticket and queue up girls he will have more groupies than Mick Jagger ca. 1968 and Brad Pitt combined.

The facts, however, do not bear this out.

Malden Man Had A Hard Life:

Years ago, when I met my husband Ken, he remarked that one of the Harvard papers–he can’t recall whether it was The Crimson or The Lampoon–once observed that the Boston papers were so provincial that a local headline would read, “Malden Man Killed in New York Nuclear Holocaust.” Malden Man sounded like a neanderthal creature to me. He stuck in my mind, and I’ve been following his adventures ever since.

I used to have a whole file of Malden Man clippings, but I’ve changed desks and offices so Screen Shot 2019-04-22 at 5.34.55 PMmany times that my Malden Man collection has disappeared. Among those lost clippings were some that proved the point about Boston’s provincial papers, including “Malden Man Found Alive in Grand Canyon” and a charming story reporting that Malden Man had been injured by a falling chimney during a Los Angeles earthquake. Despite that missing file, I still have a sheet of paper on which I have recorded some of the poor fellow’s ups and downs. Malden Man, it seems, does not have a very good character. Over the years, he’s had a steady stream of run-ins with the law. The Boston Strangler, Albert De Salvo, was a Malden Man. While out hunting, Malden Man shot at what he thought was a turkey and accidentally hit a father and a son who were also hunting. He’s been convicted for illegally importing elephant ivory. And perhaps most dreadful of all, a Boston news source reports:

Malden man (not shown above) dressed as Santa Claus was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct after police said he repeatedly dropped his costume’s pants in front of shoppers at a busy mall in Salem, N.H.

He has not been a lucky man, either. Over the years, according to The Boston Globe, Malden Man (who has more lives than a cat) has fallen 45 feet to his death, had a stiletto plunged into him, has been shot thrice in a fight, been bitten by a dog, been nabbed for liquor cargo and had his car seized by the border patrol. He was arrested in the West after eloping, claims that his bride left him after five minutes, has entered the priesthood, and reported his wife kidnapped in Northern Maine. He’s also bested a robber in a scuffle, picked a lock and escaped in Portland, Maine, and needed the assistance of Boston’s Mayor Curley to get him released from jail in Cork.He has been injured at work, fallen from a car and lost an arm before being killed by a train in Nova Scotia, dying after a hold-up, and drowning after swimming in a Medford pond.

But Malden Man is not all bad. He reportedly adopted 17,000 Armenian waifs. Was put in charge of a Greenland expedition, made a notable sea trip, was given local honors, and acted as interpreter after a plane hijacking. The generous soul once bought a house as a surprise for his parents, only to have them refuse to move into it, and donated part of his liver to save his son. It is reported that he, himself, lived in a tent.

He’s a courageous fellow, too. Over the years he has bested a robber in a scuffle, beaten off four assailants, survived an unprovoked attack in which he was stabbed in the back by an elderly woman. And he escaped with his life, and without serious injury, after spending the night alone on a rugged New Hampshire mountain.

Perhaps most notable, for those of us who write mysteries, is his “brush with evil.”

Screen Shot 2019-04-22 at 5.38.20 PM

This may not be the actual painting

According to the Boston Herald, it seems that: “Malden Man’s guilty pleasure in investing in murderabilia has come back to haunt him thanks to a ‘cursed’ clown painting by serial killer John Wayne Gacy, which the collector claims turned his life into a three-ring circus.” According to Malden musician Nikki Stone, since he plunked down $3,000 in 2001 to buy the framed oil from national murderabilia merchant Arthur Rosenblatt, Stone said his beloved dog has died and his mother found out she had cancer. When a friend offered to store the painting at his house, the friend’s neighbor was killed in a car crash. A second friend who kept the painting for Stone attempted suicide, Stone said.

Malden Man no longer has the painting.

Since this posting, Malden Man has died in an accident, and, evidently resurrected, nearly been killed by a lightning strike. More recently, like the cat that has nine lives, he survived a night in the woods after an ATV accident by crawling for hours to find help. He recently won a million dollars in the Massachusetts lottery.

Despite the many times he’s died and been revived, his life of crime continues unabated. He’s been charged with fraud for claiming to mentor behaviorally challenged youth, writing details reports of taking them trick or treating and Christmas shopping while not actually meeting with them at all. Maybe he was too busy fighting a gun charge, being charged with cocaine distribution, and committing securities fraud. He’s also been charged with sexual assault.

Perhaps, though, one thing that has kept Malden Man busy is stealing boats. Recently, he was charged with stealing a 68 foot ferry boat and sailing it out into Boston Harbor. When he was arrested, he explained to the police that he was acting at the behest of his girlfriend, singer Stevie Nicks, who had ordered him to steal the boat.

Sometimes the report is simply that the police are searching for Malden Man. Not surprising. Since we last checked in on him, he’s been busted with $1.5M worth of cocaine. Arrested in Boston for a robbery. Arrested for another robbery. Arrested in connection with stolen artifacts. Assaulted a bus driver. Gone missing, prompting another police search. Been accused of selling drugs out of a pizza shop. And faked a hate crime against himself. Worse yet, he exposed himself to a rider on the Orange Line train (in Boston) because he assumed his victim was a Hillary Clinton supporter.

And not only can he not stay away from his life of crime, he seems to be drawn to boats. This time, he didn’t steal it. He simply went for a ride. And then?

Malden Man encounters sunfish and the result is a very funny video: http://www.masslive.com/news/boston/index.ssf/2015/09/malden_man_encounters_sunfish.html

It’s not just writers who have active imaginations, it seems, but also the criminals we write about. Without them, we’d have far less material. Because, as we all know, truth really is stranger than fiction.


Tripping Down Memory Lane

For the past month, since I finished a draft of my sixth Joe Burgess mystery, A Child cover-1Shall Lead ThemI’ve been finished a project I started last summer–retyping, and editing, the mystery my late mother, A. Carman Clark, was working on when she died. The Corpse in the Compost sat in the corner of my office, guilt-tripping me, for years, but I never had time to settle in and work on it. Last summer, I decided the time had come. For two months, when I could, I reread the work, the comments I’d given her years ago, and comments from her close friends. I began to edit, scribbling, as one does on hard copy, all over the pages, along the margins and on the back.

Working on the book was an interesting experience, both because of the memories it brought back of my mother’s voice and world view, but also because I found myself yelling at her, in absentia, when she didn’t tie up a loose end or leave me with her research to fill out some details. It was nice to get to spend the summer with my mother.

In the fall, finding my computer couldn’t read her old files, I started retyping the whole book and putting in my changes. But I am the world’s worst typist, and had to abandon the project for the final touches on a nonfiction work and to finish the ninth book in my Thea Kozak series, Schooled in Death.


The Burgess and Thea taken care of, I was able to come back to my mother’s project late this summer, and finished retyping it last week. Now the book is on my brother’s desk, awaiting his input and corrections.

Flora, Kate - Thea Kozak Series Covers - Book 9 - Death Warmed Over - FI...I don’t have a story idea for a new Thea, although a new Burgess is beginning to percolate. My editor suggested I might consider starting a new series, so I began looking in the filing cabinet, wondering if one of the many “books in the drawer” might become a new series. I knew that I’d written one book in my architect series, and started another, but no matter where I looked, Bones are Bad for Business was nowhere to be found. I searched the cupboards. I looked in the basement. I looked in old filing boxes. Finally, on my hands and knees, I moved some stacks of books on my office floor and there, tucked under a bookcase, was the manuscript.

Gad! I wrote it back in 1996, I discover as I take it out of the folder. Will it stand up or will it feel hopelessly dated. That’s what I will discover in the week ahead, as I dig in and read about Lavinia Malcolm, her struggles to develop the family land in a way that will be respectful of her grandparents’ love for it, while fighting off her ex-husband’s plans for a cookie-cutter subdivision. And then human bones are found in a test pit. It should be an interesting journey down another memory lane.

The Surprising Collaboration Between Writers and Readers

Maine Crime Writers

Kate Flora: Thirty-five years ago, when my second son was born, I decided to quit my IMG_0134job and stay home for a few years with my boys. I immediately had the terrified thought, But I’ve always worked. Now what will I do? Then I thought, I’ve always wanted to write. Maybe it is something I can do while the boys nap. Naive thought. My boys were not nappers. It was hard to find those spaces where it was quiet enough to write. But I started a novel, and it sent me on the course I am still on today.

For nearly ten of those first writing years, I toiled quietly at my desk, all of the storytelling happening between me and my characters on the page. That changed when my first Thea Kozak mystery, Chosen for Death, was published. As readers began to discover Thea, and her family, and…

View original post 722 more words

Forging New Traditions

This is a piece I wrote ten years ago, remembering family Thanksgivings past, and looking forward to forging new traditions as our parents leave us and our children become adults with families of their own. It still has resonance, so I resurrect it here.

New Traditions

There can be no writing about food on Thanksgiving night. No recipes, no cute ideas IMG_0536about yummy things to make the holiday brighter or suggestions for clever décor that sets off a stunning table for an afternoon and for which storage space must be found the other 364 days of the year. Now that the last platter is washed and put away, the wine glasses are back in their boxes and I’ve made refrigerator space for the tattered remnants of a twenty pound turkey, I’m thinking beyond my overfull stomach and my uncomfortably tight pants to the new challenge of making holidays pleasing and memorable as the cast of characters around the table changes.

As darkness falls, carloads of stuffing-stuffed relatives depart, and the boys head out to spend time with their friends, I’m thinking about the way life goes on as we children of the 1940’s find ourselves on the front line, forced to forge new traditions as we face holidays with empty places and new faces around the table.

Two years ago, we celebrated Thanksgiving at the family farm in Maine. My family—my husband, my two sons, and one girlfriend. My brother John and his wife, their two girls and one boyfriend. All gathered around the old oak table. It was a weird and sad day. My mother, who treasured her hilltop farm and the special treat of having her grandchildren around her, was ten miles away in a rehab facility, too heartbroken to come to the farm for dinner if she had to leave it again at the end of the meal. After dinner, we piled into cars and drove to Camden to see her.

It had been rainy and gray as we went through the ritual of cooking together in Mom’s kitchen in a house without her, but as we loaded our cars for the drive to “The Home” the storm broke. Incredible blue sky sparkled through breathtaking patches of bright and boiling Maxfield Parrish clouds. It was the kind of weather and sky that Mom, who wrote for decades about nature and the seasons and country living, would have described eloquently.

We visited with Mom, who rallied to enjoy her grandchildren’s company, and fed her a piece of pumpkin pie. Then, as the pinks and golds and apricots of the clouds faded into the gloom of a late November afternoon, John’s family headed north and we drove down the wet black road from Maine to Massachusetts.

Two days later, she died. And last Thanksgiving, for the first time in decades, my brother’s family and mine didn’t have dinner together. Too sad to face the absence at the table, he went to his in-laws’ house; I gathered together a table full of orphans—other good friends who didn’t have family for the holiday. Our guests were wonderful, we ate too much good food, and the day was pleasant, but it didn’t quite feel like Thanksgiving.

fullsizeoutput_16a8This year we did a family dinner again, a wonderful event that let me see the family being reconfigured as the children become adults with interesting lives. My niece who is in her first year of teaching talked for hours about the challenges of a difficult third grade and her strategies for managing. She described her fondness for her students, even the ones who can’t sit still and never stop talking. She talked about her exhaustion and the huge amount of prep. Unspoken behind the story was how much she wished her grandmother, who had been a genuinely great teacher, was there to listen and to offer unconditional love and advice.

My other niece spoke of her excitement with a demanding new job that called on computer and design skills not used much since college. She and her fiancé described the new addition on their house and how they’re learning to balance desire with reality as they learn how much it will cost. One son shared his adventures learning to drive a car  with a standard transmission on the hills of San Francisco, the other about the process of editing ninety-six hours of film into a two hour movie.

Children no more, these four young adults drifted in and out of the kitchen, making coffee, tasting vegetables, laying out hors d’oeuvres, and sharing their own food preferences, adventures, and stories as Uncle John carved the turkey and they helped get the food to the table. I loved watching them take ownership of the holiday as full-fledged citizens of the adult world. Lisa briskly ties on an apron over her fashionable white blouse and goes to work. A woman confident of her place in the kitchen. Sara Beth photographs me and my brother, tears streaming down our faces and our noses glowing red, as we peel the onions for the creamed onion dish our father insisted was an essential party of any Thanksgiving feast. One niece already has a signature pie. Son Max had made his signature cranberry-apple-orange relish.

Beneath it all, we are all missing my mom, their grandmother, the one who would sit around the table after dinner drawing dragons with her grandchildren. Her emphatic comment about her drawing skills will echo in our minds whenever we try to draw. “I try and I try to draw dragons and every time, they come out looking like fat goats.”

Mom is gone. And my father. And my little sister Sara. But the holiday goes on.

In a few years, we may need a kid’s table. The menu may change to suit the needs of the vegetarians among us. It may lighten as buttery mashed potatoes and gravy and creamy orange squash give way to healthier fare. But I hope we will still be around one table, catching up on news, adding the special people who have joined our children’s lives to the family circle. My stomach is too full tonight but my heart is just full enough.IMG_7953

Revisiting Find Amy

I was on Amazon recently, looking at the launch page for my latest co-written project with Joe Loughlin, Shots Fired: The Misunderstandings, Misconceptions, and Myths about police shootings. While I was there, I decided to take a look at our last co-written project, Finding Amy: A True Story of Murder in Maine. When a book is coming out, life is full of events, emails, and efforts to schedule readings, guest blogs, and interviews. It was interesting to go back and look at reader’s reviews of the book, and perhaps most surprising was finding all of the great media reviews. Probably I have some of these tucked away in a drawer somewhere, but they felt all fresh and new.

(Author’s note: most of the time I avoid reviews because I am so sensitive that a single negative word can send me cowering into the corner for hours.)

Anyway, here’s what reviewers had to say about the book:

“This one is a triumph and a joy — no showy-made for TV-ness — just the reality of the way crimes and those who do them should be taken to account. This one is the real thing.”–Courier Gazette, Rockland, Maine

“The tale is brimming with insights about police procedure, jurisdictional disputes, and politics. Over and over again, real life trumps fiction. For instance, after a five-hour standoff, the suspect surrenders one of his guns for a soda, the other for a cigarette. Put that in a novel and no one would believe it . . . The reader is never allowed to lose sight of the humanity of the victim, a young girl who accepted a ride from the wrong guy, then had the temerity to say no and mean it.”–Boston Globe

“Few true crime books get behind the scenes and explain how homicide detectives do their jobs the way Finding Amy does.”–Bangor Daily News

“This is one of the best true crime stories to be published in recent years…This book should reaffirm the public’s faith in the police, prosecutors, and Maine’s judicial system.”–Brunswick Times Record

“Loughlin’s recorded entries about the case — his thoughts, emotions and reactions to the investigation — amplify Flora’s straightforward but potent narrative as detectives search for the grave, find it (about halfway through the book) and build a case against a leading suspect. This is a feast for proceduralists, giving countless small details of the work-a-day slogging involved, an effort that leads the department to make good on the mystery, catching Amy’s murderer, and making the case stick.”–Publishers Weekly

“Readers of true crime will find this chronological tale of the search for Amy and her killer especially compelling because of the personal account of Loughlin, who was lieutenant of the Criminal Investigation Department when Amy disappeared. Loughlin’s journal, woven into Flora’s painstaking recreation of the work of the detectives, highlights the intense discussions that took place among the key players and gives readers a look at the slow, steady progress of real detectives on a real case. There are no ‘CSI solutions’ that wrap up the case in a conveniently short time. There are no magic findings of DNA. What takes place in this true story is the passionate belief that they will find Amy, bring her killer to justice, and give closure to her family and to the people of Maine.” –Foreword

Thank you, reviewers! Even a decade later, these lift my heart.

But Will They Like It?

We’ve put in our years crafting the story–more than three since the day when Roger Guay sent that first e-mail asking if we could talk. That talk led to more talks. To long days driving around in Roger’s green truck, talking about the stories that every twist and turn in the road seemed to make him recall. Roger drove. Roger told stories. Kate tried to hold a small tape recorder so that Roger’s voice could be heard over the roar of the engine and the crunch of tires on dirt roads around Greenville.

On our first day out, Roger’s wife Jolene rode with us, editing, amplifying, and correcting. We drove to Jackman, where Roger grew up. Out to Holeb. Past family camps and the scenes of Roger’s happily misspent youth. I was introduced to a form of maple sap collection I’d never seen before–thin pipes to carry the sap winding their way through the forest to the sugar house.

We passed a strange-looking man at the side of the road, and after a brief conversation, Roger climbed back into the truck and remarked: Stoned out of his mind. At a second stop, Jolene got out with her gun and shot a grouse.

There were more rides in the truck. And a meeting in the Hartland Library. And the Curtis Library in Brunswick. Meetings in the lobby of a hotel in North Andover, Massachusetts. And in a seaside cottage in Harpswell. Meetings as we made our way through the story: Talking, translating, writing, clarifying, amplifying, rewriting. A long time later, dozens of hours of interviews had been turned into a book.

Then came the next hard part: It is not enough to write a book. We had to convince a publisher that it was worthy of publication. For that, because Kate will always admit that she HATES writing book proposals and would rather have a root canal without anesthesia, we called on a wonderful woman located through Elance who lives in Atlanta. She took our rough material, gave it a marketing spin, and voila…we had something to show to an editor.

Then the editor at Skyhorse put us all through it again. Check. Clarify. Rearrange. Explain.

Then there are those final moments. Are the names spelled right? How is the geography? Are there some stories where the suspects shouldn’t be identified? But at long last, so long the writers have become old friends, not new friends, the book appears.

As the process of getting the word out slowly evolves, one thing that authors always hold their breaths about is the matter of reviews.

This week, we got our first one–from John Holyoke at the Bangor Daily News. And after a few anxious moments, we began to breathe again. He liked it. He thinks YOU should read it. http://outthere.bangordailynews.com/2016/04/21/books/not-your-average-retired-warden-book-a-good-man-with-a-dog-worth-a-read/

New site coming soon!

Much more doggie lore, writing lore, and other musings to come, but for today, I wanted to share a couple of very special photos with you.