Venture Galleries http://venturegalleries.com Connecting Readers, Writers, and Books Thu, 28 Jul 2016 11:04:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Are you guilty of writing dialogue out loud in public? http://venturegalleries.com/blog/are-you-guilty-of-talking-to-yourself-in-public/ http://venturegalleries.com/blog/are-you-guilty-of-talking-to-yourself-in-public/#comments Thu, 28 Jul 2016 07:40:52 +0000 http://venturegalleries.com/?p=77723 Here I was, sitting in an airport, talking to myself, and writing dialogue out loud for Secrets of the Dead. THEY LOOKED at me strangely. I ignored them. They exchanged troubled glances. I smiled. “He’s not quite right,” I... Read more

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Here I was, sitting in an airport, talking to myself, and writing dialogue out loud for Secrets of the Dead.

Here I was, sitting in an airport, talking to myself, and writing dialogue out loud for Secrets of the Dead.

THEY LOOKED at me strangely.

I ignored them.

They exchanged troubled glances.

I smiled.

“He’s not quite right,” I heard one of them say.

“He may be crazy.”

“Maybe we should do something,” the man in the business suit said.

“What?”

“Report him to authorities.”

The man jeans and sweater laughed.

It was a nervous laugh.

“It’s not against the law to talk to yourself,” he said.

***

I was sitting at an almost deserted gate in an Atlanta airport.

The hour was late.

I had been traveling most of the day.

I was tired.

And he was right.

I was talking to myself.

“Are you alone?” I asked myself.

“I am.”

I tried to speak as quietly as I could.

I’m not loud.

But my voice carries.

“Where is Leopold?” I asked myself.

“He was impatient.”

“Has he already gone into the clinic?”

“He has.”

“Alone?”

“He carried one of your officers and a soldier with him.”

“Colonel Fleischer?”

“It was.”

“Fleischer likes the glory of it all. He always has. He gets the pictures, and, he figures, he gets the medal.”

I glanced out the window. Here is where the colonel will laugh caustically, I thought.

I shuddered.

I have to cut the adverb, I thought.

“He won’t be getting the medal,” I told myself. In my mind, I saw the beautiful Liese talking. I even heard the lilt of her voice. She was all business.

“Why not?”

I watched a cynical smile cross the German Captain’s face.

“He and Leopold walked into the clinic eighty-seven minutes ago. They have not come out.”

“Gunshots?”

“Four of them.”

In the back of my brain, I recognized a hint of sadness as it touched the Captain’s eyes.

“Fleischer was a hothead, He was also my friend.”

In my mind, I waited for Liese to respond, but I determined she still had her eyes on the clinic.

“Have you detected any movement inside?” I said to myself. It sounded a lot like the voice of the Captain.

“No.”

“They may all be dead.”

“There were five men inside the clinic and four shots. The sniper thinks he took out one, but it was one shot though a narrow opening. He tried to thread a needle. He does not know for certain. As of yet, no one has left the clinic. Leopold and the colonel would have walked out by now. If anyone is alive, it’s the American, and he can wait ‘til dark.”

“I won’t wait that long.”

***

The lady sitting across from me stood and moved to another row of seats.

“What’s he talking about now?” asked the man in the business suit.

“He’s talking about killing somebody.”

“Here?”

“Don’t know where,” answered the lady. “But I heard him mention the word sniper.”

“He looks dangerous.”

“He’s an old man.”

“Those are the ones you can’t trust.”

They kept staring at me.

And they made sure they were nowhere near me when we boarded the plane.

Writing dialogue for your next novel is a good way to while away the time when you’re traveling and bored.

But be careful.

A few wrong words here or there might get you in trouble.

 

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So young, so beautiful, and twice a widow. http://venturegalleries.com/blog/so-young-so-beautiful-and-twice-a-widow/ http://venturegalleries.com/blog/so-young-so-beautiful-and-twice-a-widow/#comments Thu, 28 Jul 2016 07:00:10 +0000 http://venturegalleries.com/?p=77709 Billie Jean between two famous husbands, Johnny Horton, left, and Hank Williams. Part Two of my story about Billie Jean Horton. Read Part One HERE. BILLIE JEAN SAID her husband, Hank Williams, often told her how much he liked Johnny... Read more

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Billie Jean between two famous husbands, Johnny Horton, left, and Hank Williams.

Billie Jean between two famous husbands, Johnny Horton, left, and Hank Williams.

Part Two of my story about Billie Jean Horton.

Read Part One HERE.

BILLIE JEAN SAID her husband, Hank Williams, often told her how much he liked Johnny Horton’s music and predicted that one day Johnny would become a great country music star.

And Hank’s prediction came true as Johnny became famous for his recordings of “North to Alaska,” “The Battle of New Orleans,” “Sink the Bismarck” and a host of others.

When I interviewed her, Billie Jean said that unlike Hank, Johnny was quite mystical. “He had this friend Bernard down at the post office who was a real spooky guy. Johnny would invite him out to the house, and they would have séances. I kicked them out of the house and Johnny built a one-room building in the back yard where they did all that stuff.”

Bill Keith

Bill Keith

She also said that Johnny had a premonition he was going to die. And, on Nov.5, 1960, he was killed in a car wreck near Milano, Texas, after a performance at the Skyline Club in Austin, Texas. While crossing a bridge, a drunk driver in a large truck crashed in to his Cadillac. Tillman Franks, his manager, suffered head injuries but survived.

Tillman’s brother Billie Franks, a Shreveport pastor, preached the funeral and Johnny Cash flew in from Nashville for the service and read a passage of Scripture.

Now Billie Jean was a widow again and only twenty-eight years old.

She really loved Horton and recalled they often “hunted and fished together.”

They also had two daughters – Melody and Yanina – and said Johnny was quite proud of them and loved them dearly.

I wrote the story on Billie Jean, the merry widow, for the Shreveport Times Sunday edition. The Associated Press picked it up, put it on their A-wire, and sent it all across America. Billie Jean called me on Monday and said he had heard from friends in thirteen states who had read and enjoyed the story.

A couple of years later, I was sound asleep in our home in Mooringsport, Louisiana, when the phone rang at three o’clock in the morning. It Billie Jean in Hawaii. “Bill, somebody stole all my jewelry, cost me $350,000.”

“Billie Jean, why did you take your jewelry to Hawaii?” I asked.

“Just wanted to have it with me.”

She later explained a thief rifled her suitcase on the way from the airport to the hotel. But the jewelry was insured, and she recovered all her money.

Through the years, I lost contact with Billie Jean and often wondered what had become of her. Then I learned she and her daughters Melody and Yanina were into martial arts and that she won most all of her lawsuits for the rights to her two husbands’ music and became a very wealthy woman.

I tried to contact her for an update for this article but was unable to locate her. Today she is eighty years old and living in semi-seclusion in her beloved Shreveport with her bitter-sweet memories of her two famous husbands – Hank Williams and Johnny Horton.

Bill Keith is the author of The Commissioner.

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Advice that only a new grandfather dare give http://venturegalleries.com/blog/advice-that-only-a-new-grandfather-dare-give/ http://venturegalleries.com/blog/advice-that-only-a-new-grandfather-dare-give/#comments Thu, 28 Jul 2016 06:55:25 +0000 http://venturegalleries.com/?p=77713 Stephen Land has nuggets of advice but wonders if his grandson is listening. “The idea that no one is perfect is a view most commonly held by people with no grandchildren.” – Doug Larson             “Grandparents are there to... Read more

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Stephen Land has nuggets of advice but wonders if his grandson is listening.

Stephen Land has nuggets of advice but wonders if his grandson is listening.

“The idea that no one is perfect is a view most commonly held by people with no grandchildren.” – Doug Larson

            “Grandparents are there to help the child get into mischief they haven’t thought of yet.” – Gene Perret

            Shortly after returning from a four thousand-mile round trip, a phone call prompted a jaunt a thousand times shorter, but infinitely more rewarding.

“Hey, Gramps,” son-in-law Misha said, “Get over here (to the hospital) and see your new grandson!”

Michael Stephen Vogel, all 10 pounds, 3 ounces and 22 inches of him, arrived Saturday evening, July 16. Like his grandfather once did, he has a knack of sleeping through all forms of noise and commotion during the day and keeping his parents anxiously awake at night. Alexis and Misha are confident he will grow out of this habit far earlier than I did, as in 20-some days/weeks, as opposed to twenty-some years for me.

Michael Stephen was born on Fresh Spinach Day, just between Cow Appreciation Day and Yellow Pig Day, and when Alexis hears of the latter two observances, I have no doubt she will more fully appreciate the day of her son’s arrival.

Among other historic events on July 16, Mozart’s opera “Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail” was first performed in 1782; the world’s first parking meter was installed (1935) in Oklahoma City; Joe DiMaggio hit safely in a 56th straight game (1941); the first nuclear weapon detonated near Alamogordo, NM (1945); six years later, J. D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye” was published (anticipated sequels, “The Pitcher in the Rye,” “First Baseman in the Rye” and “The Outfielders in the Rye” never materialized); Apollo 11 was launched (1969); Alex Butterfield told the U.S. Senate (1973) that President Nixon secretly recorded Potentially Incriminating Conversations (since that name was too long to fit on a 45 vinyl record, the band’s name changed to “Unbelievable Stuff,” and the public agreed, so the tour closed in what was later known as a “New York minute,” but the Nixon tapes live on).

Michael shares his birthday with explorer/pilot Roald Amundsen, actress/dancer Ginger Rogers, author Kathleen Norris, first United Nations secretary general Trygve Lie, popcorn man Orville Redenbacher, actress Barbara Stanwyck, former Miss America/politician Bess Myerson (who did not say “I want to set up discos in poor neighborhoods and help people”), not to mention Dag Solstad, Margaret Court, Frank Field, Denise LaSalle and Jyrki Lumme, among others.

Since Michael is less than a week old at this writing, my “Great Expectations” remain a book title. My children have amounted to something, occasionally aided by and often despite their father’s influence/best intentions. One of the most important things I have learned about parenting over nearly thirty-six years is to know when to stand aside, make room for progress and choose a good vantage point to watch the results.

Over more than four decades, I have consulted numerous sources to dispense wisdom to a son, daughter and granddaughter, all far too young at the time to absorb it. Therefore, Michael, I shall spare myself the research and note observations that have stayed in my head or have been posted on my office door.

  • Wipe your feet before you go in the house. (Rule #1 of the 11 rules of farming)
  • “Maturity is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists.” – Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
  • “Before the beginning of great brilliance, there must be chaos. Before a brilliant person begins something great, he must look foolish in the crowd.” – I Ching
  • “The real measure of your wealth is how much you would be worth if you lost all your money.” – Unknown
  • John 3:16.
  • “An ounce of pretension is worth a pound of manure.” – from “Steel Magnolias”
  • “If you love someone, set them free. If they come back, it means nobody else liked them, either, so set them free again.” – Unknown
  • If you and a companion are out hiking and chased by a bear, don’t worry about outrunning the bear; just outrun your companion.
  • Don’t whiz on an electric fence or stick your tongue on a frozen door or pump handle.
  • Take your job/responsibilities seriously, but not yourself.
  • Luke 6:31.
  • Laughter is great medicine, but aspirin can help a hangover.
  • “True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.” – Vonnegut
  • Micah 6:8.
  • Believe in God, believe in yourself and whenever possible, believe you’ll go fishing (or some other recreational pursuit).
  • “Illegitimi non carborundum.”
  • Wipe your feet before you go in the house. (Rule #11 of the 11 rules of farming)

Steve Lang also advises Michael Stephen Vogel to laugh often, especially at his grandpa.

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ETWG First Chapter Book Awards: Love Is the Bridge by Denise Weeks http://venturegalleries.com/blog/etwg-first-chapter-book-awards-love-is-the-bridge-by-denise-weeks/ http://venturegalleries.com/blog/etwg-first-chapter-book-awards-love-is-the-bridge-by-denise-weeks/#comments Thu, 28 Jul 2016 06:40:58 +0000 http://venturegalleries.com/?p=77716 Is the Bridge by Denise Weeks is a Finalist in the Romance Category of Published Books for the East Texas Writers Guild First Chapter Book Awards. "There is a land of the living and a land of the dead, and the bridge is love."--Thornton... Read more

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Is the Bridge by Denise Weeks is a Finalist in the Romance Category of Published Books for the East Texas Writers Guild First Chapter Book Awards.

“There is a land of the living and a land of the dead, and the bridge is love.”–Thornton Wilder

Anyone who uses a computer is vulnerable to cyber-attack through a cell phone, Facebook page, e-mail account, or even files that might be accessed by a remote system while connected to the Internet. But who thinks it will happen to them?

Paige Campbell had never considered that she had anything to worry about until she got the first crank call. By the time her Facebook page is hacked and one of her files changed so that she is suspended from college and accused of plagiarism, she’s beginning to believe that someone–or something–is out to get her. Not a person or corporation, though, because it seems able to do things that are possible only for a magician . . . or a ghost. Can there actually be a “ghost in the machine”?

Alan McConnell doesn’t believe in ghosts and thinks it’s outlandish to claim that his prototypical AI test system (for writing advertising jingles) has become the portal by which a ghost (or at least a paranormal entity, perhaps a demon, which he also doesn’t believe in) has entered our material plane. But after his system does several strange things and can’t be turned off, he concludes that there is something behind this “haunting” complained about by his client Paige Campbell. Although he can’t see how it’s the spirit of someone spurned by Jenny Lind (the Swedish Nightingale of the P. T. Barnum era) who insists Paige is actually Jenny and who has come back for her to “remove the curse,” he determines to help her.

They run headlong into the murk of a paranormal entity (a ghost, even though he’s not a believer) that has mistaken Paige for someone else but is determined to haunt her until she “undoes” the curse it believes she has set on it and declares her love. Paige and Alan’s mutual attraction proves to be an inconvenience they can’t ignore. But before they can do anything else, they must break the hold that the entity has gained over them without resorting to doing something evil themselves-­-thereby becoming as wicked as the entity.

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Award-Winning First Chapter

Paige Campbell slammed the cash register drawer and grabbed for the store’s incessantly ringing phone.

She’d been expecting Uncle Hans to check up on her, because even after three months he still didn’t trust her to close the store alone. Amused, she lifted the receiver and recited the prescribed greeting. “Hans’ Music Haus, this is Paige, how can I help you?”

A steel-cranked synthesized voice rasped, “Stop asking questions or you’re dead.”

“What?” Paige blinked. “Excuse me? You’ve got the wrong number. Hello?”

Silence echoed on the line.

Denise Weeks

Denise Weeks

Only a stupid prank call. Still, it had shaken her. She tossed her hair back as if to tell herself she was being silly and settled the handset back in place. When the bells on the shop door jingled to signal a customer, she jumped.

“Boo!” said her best friend Anndréa, who’d apparently headed over the moment her shift ended at Joanie’s Scraps next door. “Scaredy-cat. What’s wrong with you? Customers don’t bite outside of Twilight.” Then she looked closer and cocked her head, sending her short black-cherry hair swinging. “Wait, there is something wrong. You’re as pale as a ghost floating in skim milk.”

Paige managed a weak smile. “Crank caller shook me up. I guess that’s a milestone–my first.”

“How romantic.” Andi clasped her hands. “Better make a scrapbook page. We have embellishments on sale.” She checked her watch. “Ready to roll?”

“Just about.” It was three minutes past official closing time. She circled around behind Andi, threw the double front deadbolts, and flipped the sign in the front window to CLOSED. “I can’t stay long, though. I’ve got a gig. Paying.”

“All right!” Andi shot her a high-five. “What kind of gig?”

“Just a jingle.” Returning behind the counter, Paige zipped the blue vinyl cash pouch closed and secured the register. “For a radio commercial.”

“Wow. Your first pro spot.”

“Don’t get excited.” Paige checked the security system keypad and verified all sensors were green-lighted. “Just picking up extra money for next semester’s books and fees–you know, what my fellowship doesn’t cover. This was a random referral from the dean’s office, when this studio called the conservatory to ask for a mezzo-soprano.”

“But still. You should play some of your own songs. I’ll bet they’d offer you a recording contract.”

“They’re not that kind of studio.” She tied her hair back in a ponytail and checked her makeup in the magnetic locker mirror she’d stuck on the side of one of her uncle’s file cabinets. “Let’s see how this goes. They probably have a stable of regulars.”

“And you’re going to be one of them.” Andi sounded so confident. It was sweet, although Paige knew Andi was just naïve about the music business. “Your voice is so amazing, better than GaGa or Britney or any of the pop-tarts. It’s as good as Celine Dion’s or even . . . La Streisand’s.”

“Flattery will get you everywhere.” Paige doused the main lights. “But you know I don’t want to get sucked into advertising and commercials. This is a one-time deal.” Keying in the code to arm the security system, she headed for the back door, clutching the cash pouch close to her chest. “Hurry, we only have ninety seconds.”

Andi rushed to catch up. “Everything that isn’t opera is not a sellout.”

“I’m not exclusively opera. I sing folk and jazz. Ballads.”

“And jingles.”

“And jingles. For now, anyway.”

As they scooted out the door, the phone started ringing.

Before Anndréa could say anything, Paige shook her head. “If that’s Uncle Hans, he’ll try my cell next. Otherwise, let them call tomorrow to ask whether we have the sheet music for some new hip-hop song. I’m off the clock at five.”

A valid excuse, but not the only reason she didn’t want to answer the call.

  • § §

Paige tore her headset off before the sound check ended. That throbbing hip-hop beat and the rhythmic chanting of the background singers hurt her ears. She could still hear the instrumental track through the glass walls of the recording studio booth. The sponsor’s commercial probably showed a parade of Volkswagen bugs putt-putting around a circus ring of dorky clowns.

The booth reeked of caramel popcorn. She inhaled the scented air greedily as her stomach growled, reminding her she hadn’t eaten. A full stomach took up too much room so that she couldn’t take deep singing breaths.

Plugging her ears against the run-through, she silently rephrased the lyrics two different ways, hoping the producer would give her a clue about his preferred rendition.

“You’re in trim with Goldy’s Gym. Keeping slim at Goldy’s Gym.”

The second way sounded good. And she had to admit it was catchy.

Alan McConnell, the guy who’d hired her, swatched the glass door open and poked his head into the booth. “We’re ready for the take.”

Startled, she twitched. For a moment she couldn’t process the content of his words, because his speaking voice was a beautiful baritone: a wondrous thing of light and shade and color expressed in terms of sound. Mostly a deep purple.

Why hadn’t he spoken through the headphones?

He gestured at the abandoned headset, then pantomimed covering his ears. “It’s a lot easier to hear me when you have those on, you know.”

She felt her cheeks coloring. “Sorry.”

His gaze roved up and down her dispassionately, as it had when she’d first walked into the studio. Paige wondered again exactly what it was that he disliked about her figure. Or her outfit. Or . . . what?

But the important element here was her voice, and he must like it, or he wouldn’t have approved her to do the spot. They’d run through a couple of “American Idol”-style snippets earlier, and then he’d handed her the sheet music that she’d been studying now for twenty minutes.

He looked into her eyes intently for a moment, making her nervous; had he changed his mind about using her? “Okay, Ms. . . .” He glanced down at the paperwork he held. “Campbell. I think we’re ready.”

Another staffer came up behind him wearing a denim jacket with the studio logo. Alan leaned over, and the man murmured something into his ear. He frowned.

The stranger held up her cell phone, which she’d been asked to leave in a bin at the front desk, turned off so that ringtones couldn’t inadvertently ruin a take. “Um, your phone keeps ringing.   We tried to turn it off, but there’s some problem. I thought the call might be important.”

“Oh, I’m so sorry.” She held out her hand for the phone. “It’s an older model, and it can be wonky.” Her cheeks burned as she flipped the phone open. Out of habit, she read the notification screen: 3 MISSED CALLS/3 VOICEMAIL MESSAGES.

That many? Could something be wrong? With her parents? The shop? Aunt Lil, whose illness had taken a lot out of Uncle Hans over the past three years? Her heart thudded.

All three calls were listed as PRIVATE NAME. Also, a text message. But it didn’t make any sense: I HAVE CROSSED BACK OVER TO SEE YOU. And the sender’s ID was nonsense–CASPER1850.

“Could we hurry this a bit? We’re ready for the take.” Alan sounded just a tad irritable.

The phone rang.

Another number she didn’t recognize. This definitely wasn’t good. She hadn’t meant to fool with the phone this long. Quickly she held down the power key, and when that didn’t result in a powerdown, she popped the battery free and handed both pieces to the stranger. “I’m so sorry,” she said again.

“No problem,” Alan said in an unreadably cheery tone.

Like many young moguls–he was probably twenty-five at the most, three years older than Paige, by her estimate–Alan seemed awfully self-assured. But he wasn’t conventionally gorgeous like so many in the entertainment field. Tall, maybe six-two, without being gawky; dark hair and eyes. A couple of crooked teeth on the bottom. An awfully high forehead with a widower’s peak. And she wasn’t sure what she thought of shoulder-length hair and earrings on guys. Wasn’t that out of style?

But on him, it seemed right. Of course, this was all theoretical. She wasn’t in the market.

A can of Joltin’ Cola waved near the doorway, as if to get her attention. “Miss Campbell?” Alan looked at her questioningly from behind his Buddy Holly glasses.

“I’m sorry,” she said yet again, and winced. She couldn’t stand women who were always apologizing, like some eighth-grade airhead.

A smile played around the corners of his full lips. “Just a few suggestions. They’d like you to emphasize the client’s name. If you can manage it without ruining the flow of the lyric. Watch your sibilants.”

Oops, she must’ve hissed in her audition.

“Any problems, hit the talkback button.”

She nodded solemnly. Slipping the headset on, she took a deep breath and waited for her cue.

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Are readers buying the same old story over and over again? http://venturegalleries.com/blog/do-readers-want-the-same-old-story-over-and-over-again/ http://venturegalleries.com/blog/do-readers-want-the-same-old-story-over-and-over-again/#comments Wed, 27 Jul 2016 07:40:46 +0000 http://venturegalleries.com/?p=77700 FOR SO LONG, I confess, I have believed that authors should write what their heart wants them to write. Forget the genre. Don’t even worry about mixing and matching genres. Your novel may be a sizzling romance. The plot and... Read more

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FOR SO LONG, I confess, I have believed that authors should write what their heart wants them to write.

Forget the genre.

Don’t even worry about mixing and matching genres.

Your novel may be a sizzling romance.

The plot and subplots may all be triggered by an intriguing mystery.

The story may take place in outer space.

Yesterday.

Today.

Tomorrow.

It doesn’t matter.

It’s all about the story.

I still believe that.

But I fear that we as authors, in a frantic attempt to place more and more books on Amazon and other eRetailers, have become complacent.

We have developed a simple formula.

It fits the genre we like.

It’s a comfortable place to write.

But, without our realizing it, we find ourselves writing the same old novel with the same old characters wallowing in the same old plot over and over again.

But why should we worry?

Readers loved our work once.

They’ll love us again.

Well, we better start worrying.

Readers, I’ve discovered, don’t want the same old novel with the same old characters wallowing in the same old plot over and over again.

That train of thought struck me when I listened to judges for the First Chapter Contest sponsored by the East Texas Writers Guild.

I read the entries when they came in.

I had a lot of friends submitting them.

I was prejudiced.

I didn’t have a damn thing to do with the contest or the results.

I’m just a used word salesman, but the contest judges were a different breed.

They were educators.

They were librarians.

They were bookstore owners.

More than anything, they were serious, no-holds-barred, I go through three books a week readers.

I have no quarrel with the decisions the judge made. The winning entries were all well written, well edited, and deserved to be at the top of any contest.

What surprised me, however, were the entries that didn’t win.

Many were written by some of the best authors working today. Many possessed brilliant writing. So why didn’t the judges choose them?

Here is what I heard the judges say.

I’ve read that story before.

I’ve read those kinds of characters before.

Different novels.

Same characters.

The writing was great, but the plot has been around for a while.

I’m tired of reading about serial killers.

Two people kissing doesn’t make a romance.

“What do you want to read?” I asked one of the judges.

“I don’t care if it’s romance, mystery, thriller, science fiction, fantasy, or historical fiction,” she said. “I want to read a story I’ve never read before. Our final decision was based on whether or not we would buy the book and read it.”

In essence, those judges were refusing to wade through the same old novel with the same old characters wallowing in the same old plot over and over again.

Readers, they said, are looking for something fresh.

Readers like to involve themselves with characters and plots that are original.

Readers want stories that are different.

Readers are intrigued with stories that take you someplace you did not expect to go.

It’s easy for writers to come up with a new story, but that may not work so well when dealing with today’s readers, young and old.

It’s time we think about breaking the mold, fighting our way out of our comfort zone, taking the hard road and not the easy one, and developing a totally new story that has a totally new twist.

We don’t necessarily have to walk away from our genre of choice, but it might be advantageous if we take a chance on a concept we’ve never considered before, a story we’ve never told before.

Look at recent blockbusters.

Harry Potter.

Twilight.

Fifty Shades of Grey.

The Girls.

The Girl on a Train.

The DaVinci Code

The Devil in White City

Water for the Elephants

When published, there was nothing like those novels anywhere in the marketplace.

So sit down tonight and invent an innovative concept that pushes and stretches your imagination beyond its limits.

Look hard at story idea you’ve created.

Ever read anything like that before?

No?

Why not?

It’s unconventional.

It’s compelling.

It’s extraordinary.

Well, it might be the story you’ve been waiting all your life to write and just didn’t know it.

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A Quiet Walk in Her Garden http://venturegalleries.com/blog/a-quiet-walk-in-her-garden/ http://venturegalleries.com/blog/a-quiet-walk-in-her-garden/#comments Wed, 27 Jul 2016 07:10:41 +0000 http://venturegalleries.com/?p=77689   I COME HERE To walk And sit in the garden Her garden The one we called Dee-Dee’s Garden And found a little sign Declaring it so The garden she looked after Even in her Weakened, declining state So... Read more

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I COME HERE

To walk

And sit in the garden

Her garden

The one we called

Dee-Dee’s Garden

And found a little sign

Declaring it so

The garden she looked after

Even in her

Weakened, declining state

So hard to get going

And keep going

Despite the fierce

Challenging

Discouraging heat

Yet she fought back

Digging and planting

Sometimes replacing

Those roses

The elements claimed

And pruning

And watering and feeding

And protecting

Her roses

Her pink roses

The ones she

Would get up early

Even stay up late

To look after

And pick off the bugs

The ones to which

She would sternly order

To get off my roses

My sweet roses

My sweet pink roses

And stay off my roses

You nasty bugs

And take cuttings from

And take roses

Pink roses

Inside our home

To put into

Her little vases

And place in this room

And that room

To brighten

This nook

And that cranny

And make our day

And hers

And now and then

Take to a neighbor

Thus cheering them

And so I come here

To this place

This garden of hers

Which she left

Exactly

Two lonely years ago

This day

This garden she shared

With us

And o’ so many others

This garden

From which she

Really never really left

To which she still comes

Though she is gone

This garden

Which is an

Expression of her ways

Her gentle

Yet courageous

And encouraging ways

Her smile

Her love

Her comforting laugh

Her humor

Her tenderness

Her commitment

Her humanity

Her compassion

Her helper supporter attitude

Her joy

And so

To her garden

Her garden of pink roses

The one

She graciously allowed me

To here and there

Plant a rose not pink

But the color of my choosing

My very own choosing

A yellow one here

A white one there

A red one in between

And now I come

In moments like these

Sad, sad yet tender

Consoling moments

Of reflection

And remembrance

Come in profound sadness

Yes

Moments of

What’s that wetness

On my cheek

And yet

In this reflective moment

In her garden

Her pink rose garden

To smile

And rejoin her

And know the essence of her

The spirit of her

The abundant joy of her

And somehow go on.

 

(Roger Summers is a journalist, essayist and author.)

 

 

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The Journey of a Novel from Beginning to End http://venturegalleries.com/blog/the-journey-of-a-novel-from-beginning-to-end/ http://venturegalleries.com/blog/the-journey-of-a-novel-from-beginning-to-end/#comments Wed, 27 Jul 2016 07:00:20 +0000 http://venturegalleries.com/?p=77681 I WROTE A BOOK, something I’d yearned to do since childhood. I naively thought I’d start at page one and proceed in a logical fashion to “The End.” Instead the story came together in fits and starts with a whole lot of organizing,... Read more

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I WROTE A BOOK, something I’d yearned to do since childhood. I naively thought I’d start at page one and proceed in a logical fashion to “The End.” Instead the story came together in fits and starts with a whole lot of organizing, reorganizing, writing and rewriting—much of it done at night when I suffered from insomnia. Scribbles on yellow sticky notes, written in the dark, barely decipherable in the morning, eventually came together as a novel.

In all of my childhood dreaming, I had never considered the roller coaster of emotions that would come with the author role.

Initially, I told no one about my writing, rather embarrassed to presume to have the ability to put myself somewhere among the ranks of my favorite authors. But I couldn’t just leave my baby, er, I mean my novel, sitting on my computer so I joined the provincial writing guild and became a member of a critiquing group.

517Z8F4crTLWe were strangers on a mission, all new to the business of being an author, but determined to succeed and intent on helping each other reach our goals. Meeting once a month, nervousness morphed into confidence—not only of our own work, but also of the members’ genuine desire to help, not insult or hurt.

From the critiquing group I progressed to working with a writing partner sending work back and forth, brainstorming ideas, and making corrections. With a completed manuscript it was time to search out agents. I trotted off to the post office and, hands trembling a little, handed my letters over to the clerk.

I waited, impatiently for the post man. Replies did come—eventually. My heart beat faster, my hopes rose. I tore open the envelopes. Rejection. Rejection. Rejection. Hopes dashed, I glared at my computer, gave it a figurative kick and left it standing alone and lonely on my desk. This period of gloom lasted anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours after the receipt of one of those letters.

Refusing to give up, I started to write a second novel while preparing more queries for the first. Eventually a fat envelop arrived. My heart leapt. This had to be good, right? All the others were skinny with little “Dear Author” notes inside. A fat letter had to be a positive response. Not! Rejection and pages of agent advertising urging me to spend a bundle of dollars on various services they just happened to be able to offer. Angry and frustrated, I debated quitting. Any sane person would give up. Not me. I persisted. I kept writing.

It was at the Willamette Writers Conference (not the first conference or workshop I’d attended, by any means) that I first heard about self-publishing. My writing partner and I pitched to an agent. She was positive, asked to see our work. Elated, we drove home plotting our future. A couple of weeks later we received identically worded rejections from this agent for two very different genres and writing styles. Angry at first, frustrated beyond belief, then overcome with laughter, our determination solidified. That was it! No more agonizing. Future defined. We’d self-publish.

Persistence paid off. I now have six books published (a four novel science-fiction series, one collection of short bits, and a contemporary novel) available in all formats. Ideas are swirling in my head for book seven. Now to get them to settle down into a logical order so that I can write it.

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ETWG First Chapter Book Awards: For the Children’s Sake by N. M. Cedeno http://venturegalleries.com/blog/etwg-first-chapter-book-awards-for-the-childrens-sake-by-n-m-cedeno/ http://venturegalleries.com/blog/etwg-first-chapter-book-awards-for-the-childrens-sake-by-n-m-cedeno/#comments Wed, 27 Jul 2016 06:40:57 +0000 http://venturegalleries.com/?p=77685 For the Children’s Sake by N. M. Cedeno is a Finalist in the Mystery/Thriller Category of Published Books for the East Texas Writers Guild First Chapter Book Awards. The children are quarantined. Their touch is deadly. Their advocate is dead,... Read more

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For the Children’s Sake by N. M. Cedeno is a Finalist in the Mystery/Thriller Category of Published Books for the East Texas Writers Guild First Chapter Book Awards.

The children are quarantined. Their touch is deadly. Their advocate is dead, and they want out . . .

Father Ingall Bryan is already dead, murdered outside his home, when his brother Nate finds his body. The priest had been the single-minded champion of the voiceless Allergen Children, whose inexplicable genetic mutation causes their touch to be deadly. Now that Father Ingall has been murdered, who will speak up for them?

The priest’s enemies were too numerous to count—from the families of those accidentally harmed by the children, to those fearful that the children may wipe out humanity at will. Are they ruthless killing machines, or innocent victims?

It soon becomes clear that Nate will have to find his brother’s killer on his own. Nate’s investigation raises questions that somebody doesn’t want answered. Traps lie around every corner as the killer tries to stop him and any research that could help the Allergen Children.

As the body count increases and the attacks on the researchers escalate, the situation for the quarantined children becomes explosive. Can Nate solve his brother’s murder in time to save the researchers’ lives, defuse a political time bomb, and prevent further injustice? He must, for his brother, and for the children’s sake.

 1-Finalist-Mystery-page-001

Award-Winning First Chapter

 

“The message says, ‘Don’t come. You can’t help. I don’t want you blamed if something happens to me.’ That’s the last I heard from him.” Nate handed his phone to the detective, who took it in a gloved hand and dropped it in an evidence bag.

“You ignored the message and came anyway?” said the detective with a raised eyebrow.

“Not immediately, I got the message at eleven p.m. I was waiting to hear from him, but he didn’t respond to any of my calls or texts. As time passed, I started to worry that something was seriously wrong. Then, at 1:26 a.m., I knew he was in trouble. I had to come.”

N. M. Cedeno

N. M. Cedeno

“You left at one-thirty a.m. on a Monday morning and drove from San Marcos to Houston because of a feeling that your brother was in trouble.”

“Yes,” said Nate, hoping the detective believed him.

“Then, you found him dead on the ground outside his residence,” said the detective, not hiding his skepticism.

“We’ve been over this. Ingall was dead when I found him. I pounded on the door until someone inside the building answered. I called 911. That’s it.”

The detective sighed. “No one else was around when you found your brother?”

“No one.”

Detective Janwari stared at Nate, waiting for more information, maybe expecting Nate to tell him who had killed his brother.

An uncomfortable silence filled the space between them and chilled Nate, forcing him to speak again. “Look, I don’t know what happened. I don’t know why Ingall thought something might happen. He didn’t tell me what was going on. Look at my phone. I tried to call, but he didn’t answer. I sent messages, but he didn’t respond. Check his phone. You’ll see.”

The detective stared, his face unmoving, disbelief in his dark, cold eyes. “Did your brother have any enemies?”

Nate stared back and gave a wry grimace, astounded that the detective had bothered asking that question. “Are you asking me if Father Ingall Bryan, voice of the Allergen Children’s Rights Movement, had any enemies? Are you kidding me?”

A red flush filled the detective’s face. “Did he have any personal enemies?”

“He didn’t have time for anything personal. Ingall devoted all of his time to the children. He spent all his waking hours working for them. What you saw on television was Ingall’s life. He was calm, patient, reasonable, and driven to fight for the sake of the children.”

A sneer formed on Detective Janwari’s lips, the gap between his upper front teeth making his mouth look like a lopsided jack-o’-lantern. “Those kids could wipe out eighty percent of the population with a touch, or simply by leaving skin oil on doors or, worse, in the water system. They’re born killers.”

“That’s your opinion. That kind of reasoning fed the fear of HIV-infected people in the 1980s and led to the quarantining of people with leprosy for centuries. You might want to join the rest of us in the twenty-first century.” Nate’s retort dripped with contempt that he knew he should rein in, but the detective’s response was the knee-jerk nonsense spewed by the mainstream media when they wanted to create paranoia and build suspense in order to gain the right number of eyeballs to sell premium advertisements.

Red-hot anger filled the detective’s cheeks, and his hands clenched on the table. “Look, you bastard, I know what those kids can do. They killed my cousin.”

Nate took a deep breath, but his anger bubbled up, and his words came faster and louder the more he spoke. “They killed both of my parents, too. Accidentally! No one could predict this mutation. No one went around trying to kill anyone. The kids’ parents didn’t know that their children’s skin oils would cause other people to have allergic reactions. I’m not going to argue this with you. The courts have already decided that you can’t charge an infant with murder, and you can’t charge the parents with negligence or anything else. The problem was unforeseeable! If you want to find my brother’s killer, look for people like you!”

The detective lunged forward across the interrogation table. Another officer standing to the side of the room leaped forward and grabbed Detective Janwari by the shoulders. Nate slid his chair back from the table, putting a few more inches between himself and the heaving, furious man. The second officer, a muscle-bound, dark-skinned man, shoved the shorter, leaner detective out of the interrogation room. Before the door slammed, Nate heard the detective say, “Whoever it was did the world a favor. I’d rather shake his hand than arrest him.” Nate was left alone at the table to regain his composure.

Nate propped his elbows on the table and rubbed his eyes with the heels of his palms. It was past ten a.m., and he hadn’t slept. He was exhausted, in need of a shower, and almost numb from the overwhelming wave of grief that threatened to eviscerate him. Ingall’s absence left him mutilated in a way he never knew was possible. The ache was beyond anything he’d experienced in his thirty-five years of life. Even his parents’ deaths hadn’t hurt this badly. The image of Ingall lying on the ground, his eyes open, and small, bloody spots on his chest floated before his eyes.

An hour and a half later, as Nate was dozing at the table, Detective Janwari returned. “Mr. Bryan, you’re free to go. Your cell phone GPS places you near your home in San Marcos until one-thirty a.m. Cell tower data and toll records show your car speeding through various checkpoints between two and three this morning. We know you weren’t present at the time of the murder. However, you need to remain available for questioning.”

The detective’s rigidly controlled speech and mask of a face clearly indicated that he would rather arrest Nate than release him. Nate began to rise from his seat, but stopped as the detective spoke again.

“Your brother was trying to help evil people that barely qualify as human. If you ask me, he got what he deserved. Whoever killed him should be rewarded for protecting the rest of humanity. If you withhold information regarding this investigation, I will have you charged with interfering in the investigation, or even as an accessory to murder! All you crazies should be jailed for helping those monsters. I have two other active cases right now. Your brother’s case will get all the attention I think it deserves! Public figure or not, he can wait his turn like everyone else!” The detective slammed Nate’s phone down on the table in front of him.

“You aren’t even going to look for his killer, are you?” said Nate as he glanced at his phone, surprised the screen hadn’t cracked.

“I will investigate this case like any other, because it’s my job. I investigate the deaths of drug dealers and gang bangers, too. Don’t you dare suggest I won’t do what is required. I’ll follow protocol with all due diligence. But, I don’t have to care for your brother’s sorry ass any more than I’d care for a murdered serial killer.

Nate slid his phone into his pocket and refrained from responding, knowing the man was trying to provoke him into attacking, looking for a reason to jail him. He left the room and the police station as quickly as possible.

If the detective hated Ingall’s work, and hated Nate for defending Ingall, Nate doubted that the detective would try very hard to find Ingall’s killer. People had despised Ingall for championing the rights of children whom they saw as a threat to civilization. Nate realized that if he wanted justice, he would have to find out who had killed Ingall by himself. The knots left Nate’s stomach. The bleak sense of emptiness evaporated, replaced by an ember of purpose. Nate was furious at the detective, enraged at the killer, and angry at the unfairness of having lost his brother so soon. He wanted to hit something, anything, more than he’d ever wanted to in his entire life. He’d fought to learn to control his temper, more or less taming himself as an adolescent. Controlled or not, the internal flame had never died out. His parents hadn’t wrongly named him when they had called him Ignatius.

His parents had chosen the names Ingall and Ignatius for the twins before their birth. They had intended for the first born to be Ingall, which meant “messenger of God,” and the second Ignatius, “meaning fiery,” but they had changed their minds when Nate had come first, with a tuft of fiery red hair on his head and a demanding, irate cry. Ingall had been born less than a minute later, with brown hair and a calm, undemanding personality.

Ingall had certainly been the messenger, even when people had not wanted to hear the message. He’d earned more than his share of enemies. One of them had killed him.

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How do people talk in stories these days? http://venturegalleries.com/blog/how-do-people-talk-in-stories-these-days/ http://venturegalleries.com/blog/how-do-people-talk-in-stories-these-days/#comments Tue, 26 Jul 2016 07:40:11 +0000 http://venturegalleries.com/?p=77673 SO THEY'RE TOGETHER, the high school football and the older woman, the femme fatale. He just lost the most important game of his life, and she’s waiting for him in the end zone on a field hidden by darkness and the veil of a heavy rain. So... Read more

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SO THEY’RE TOGETHER, the high school football and the older woman, the femme fatale. He just lost the most important game of his life, and she’s waiting for him in the end zone on a field hidden by darkness and the veil of a heavy rain.

So what happens next?

Well, here comes the dialogue.

So what do they say to each other?

That’s easy.

How do they say it?

That’s the question.

I’ve always been old school, comfortable with using the traditional speech tags of he said and she said.

That’s all.

The said is invisible. Nobody ever reads it.

You know who’s talking.

Let the story move along.

In my upcoming novel, Friday Nights Don’t Last Forever, this is the way I would have written it.

***

She kissed him softly and gently, running her tongue lightly across the stitches that were holding his swollen lip together.

Casey felt his hands beginning to tremble. He wanted to run. He knew it was time to run, but it was too late. Casey felt her fingers fumbling with the top button of his wet shirt, and she was peeling the soaked fabric away from his chest.

“What’d you do that for?” he asked.

“Because I’m a woman,” she said.. “And sometimes I act like a woman.”

“Jesus.”

“Was that a prayer?” she asked.

“No.”

“That’s good,” Karen said with a whisper.

He watched, barely breathing as she moistened her lips. Her umbrella fell out of her hand and dropped shamelessly to the ground.

“I get tired of being with a man who would rather pray than make love to me,” she said.

“But you’re a preacher’s wife.”

“He doesn’t treat me much like a wife sometimes. He’s too busy stroking that damn pulpit of his.”

“Brother Proctor would kill us if he caught us together out here,” Casey said.

“I’m worth the risk,” she said.

***

It works for me.

The story never slows down.

But maybe I’ve been wrong.

A new trend has come along.

Forget the speech tags, it says.

Describe the action of the speaker.

Not only do you hear what’s being said.

You can see what’s going on.

So in my novel, I wrote it this way:

Anne Bancroft as Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate is my idea of an older woman femme fatale.

Anne Bancroft as Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate is my idea of an older woman femme fatale.

She kissed him softly and gently, running her tongue lightly across the stitches that were holding his swollen lip together.

Casey felt his hands beginning to tremble. He wanted to run. He knew it was time to run, but it was too late. Casey felt her fingers fumbling with the top button of his wet shirt, and she was peeling the soaked fabric away from his chest.

“What’d you do that for?” His face was hot in the cold rain.

“Because I’m a woman.” The look of curiosity in her eyes had turned to one of amusement. “And sometimes I act like a woman.”

“Jesus.”

“Was that a prayer?” Now she was mocking him.

“No.” Casey could barely choke the word out.

“That’s good.” It was a whisper.

He watched, barely breathing as she moistened her lips. Her umbrella fell out of her hand and dropped shamelessly to the ground. “I get tired of being with a man who would rather pray than make love to me.”

“But you’re a preacher’s wife.”

“He doesn’t treat me much like a wife sometimes. He’s too busy stroking that damn pulpit of his.”

Casey backed away, nervously wiping the rain off his face. “Brother Proctor would kill us if he caught us together out here.” His voice was strained. His stammer was one of protest.

Karen threw her head back and laughed again. “I’m worth the risk.” Her eyes were dancing in the rain.

***

Does the story work better that way?

I hope it does.

An occasional he said and she said is all right, I’m told.

But for the most part, I’m packing said away until the trend changes.

The reason is simple.

You should write the way people want to read, or you shouldn’t write at all.

 

 

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You’re in the Army now if you want action and adventure. http://venturegalleries.com/blog/youre-in-the-army-now-if-you-want-action-and-adventure/ http://venturegalleries.com/blog/youre-in-the-army-now-if-you-want-action-and-adventure/#comments Tue, 26 Jul 2016 07:00:30 +0000 http://venturegalleries.com/?p=77661 THIS IS WAR, MAGGOTS! You screw up, you better die because the men around you are gonna die because of you. If you wanna get home and get your girlfriends outta the beds of all the four-Fs left behind, then you better pray you fight better than... Read more

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THIS IS WAR, MAGGOTS! You screw up, you better die because the men around you are gonna die because of you. If you wanna get home and get your girlfriends outta the beds of all the four-Fs left behind, then you better pray you fight better than you…

Er…Sorry…I got carried away again…You’ll have to use your imagination to finish off the above sentence, which you should hear in your head in the voice of George C. Scott…Okay, then…It appears we are back this week with another look at the best of the war-centric men’s action/adventure series from the ‘70s and 80’s…

Billed as All Man, All American, Always In The Thick Of The Action, special agent and demolition expert Captain Mac Wingate needed eleven books to win the war single-handedly, but he did it…Published by Jove between 1981 and 1982 under the house name Bryan Swift, the Wingate novels are low level Guns of Navarone/Where Eagles Dare style WWII adventures. Casablanca, Albania, Crete, Corsica, Warsaw, Norway, Salerno, the Russian front, Anzio and anywhere Nazis threaten freedom, Mac turns up and blows stuff up.

W1Arthur Wise wrote the first and seventh books in the series with the nine books split between western writer Bill C. Knott and Ric Meyers—master of martial arts thrillers and many of the Dirty Harry books inspired by the movies.

I was able to ask Ric about his time with the series:

I had total freedom in plotting and creating my entries and truly enjoyed hinging the plot on actual WWII events—especially ones where something anonymous, unexplained, or mysterious happened, which I could then attributed to Mac.

 I also will always remember it was on this series where I had the first instance of a character talking back to me. I was certain I was going to let one character live until she entered my mind and said, you know I have to die, don’t you? Sure enough she did.

 I also loved creating a character who had seen so many war movies he refused to make any hopeful statement such as, nothing can stop us now! Invariably, in the movies, that character is immediately killed by an enemy soldier who’s not quite dead yet. I sorta regret having my character, in a moment of uncontrollable emotion, make the stupid statement he has tried so hard not to say and then gets killed. I shoulda let him live.

THE MAC WINGATE SERIES

Mission Code: Symbol (1981—Arthur Wise)

Mission Code: King’s Pawn (1981—Bill C. Knott)

Mission Code: Minotaur (1981—Bill C. Knott)

Mission Code: Granite Island (1981—Ric Meyers)

Mission Code: Springboard (1981—Bill C. Knott)

Mission Code: Snow Queen (1982—Ric Meyers)

Mission Code: Acropolis (1982—Arthur Wise)

Mission Code: Volcano (1982—Ric Meyers)

Mission Code: Track And Destroy (1982—Bill C. Knott)

Mission Code: Survival (1982—Ric Meyers)

Mission Code: Scorpion (1982—Ric Meyers)

HUNTER 1From the European theatre of WWII, we now fast forward to the fallout from the Vietnam War. The M.I.A. Hunter series led the charge for many similar themed books and movies starring either Sylvester Stallone or Chuck Norris. Conceived and edited by wordslinger extraordinaire Stephen Mertz—and written by some of the top names in the paperback original trenches under the house pseudonym Jack Buchanan—M.I.A. Hunter deals honorably with the genuine ‘80s concern there were living American M.I.A./POWs left behind after the end of the Vietnam War. Anecdotal evidence was rife unfortunately (or fortunately) solid proof never materialized. The sentiment, however, funs strong and you can still see the black M.I.A./POW flags flying today.

The M.I.A. Hunter is Green Beret and former POW Mark Stone. Along with giant red-headed Texan Hog Wiley and British demolition expert Terrence Lloughlin, Stone follows every clue to scour Vietnam for soldiers listed as Missing In Action. In later books, Stone and company expand into other countries and even take on work to help the CIA locate missing agents.

Over at his GLORIOUS TRASH blog, Joe Kennedy describes the series as an ’80s action movie on paper. It’s as if it was co-published by Canon Films or something.

I asked Steve Mertz about the genesis for the series:

My Mack Bolan novel, Return to Vietnam, pretty much knocked people out when it first appeared. The book was a tremendous success and made several trade bestseller lists. An editor at Jove saw the potential and asked me to sketch the M.I.A. concept as the basis for a series. Jove liked the characters of Mark Stone, Terrance Loughlin and Hog Wiley, and The M.I.A. Hunter was born. Interestingly, the books ended up resonating with a broad audience of readers beyond the general men’s series readership.

Mertz has taken advantage of the e-book format to not only make all the M.I.A. Hunter books available, but to also—after twenty years—add new titles. As for the time gap, Mertz says, Stone will remain at the age when he’s in his physical prime, in the time honored tradition of Mack Bolan, Mike Shayne, and many others.

M.I.A. HUNTER: HOSTAGE TOWN

When an M.I.A. mission goes terribly wrong, Mark Stone and his team are thrust into a showdown with terrorists who have seized control of an isolated Texas border town. But the invaders have not counted on the fury of Mark Stone, Terrance Loughlin and Hog Wiley. It’s a deadly race against time to rescue a church full of innocent hostages when world terrorism strikes the American heartland.

In his review of Hostage Town, James Reasoner (an amazingly prolific wordslinger himself) states, nobody does this sort of book better than Mertz. Compelling characters, fast action, a real sense of urgency and suspense. He’s one of the best adventure writers of our time, plain and simple. Highly recommended.

MARK STONE: M.I.A. HUNTER SERIES

M.I.A. Hunter (1985—Michael Newton)

Cambodian Hellhole (1985—Michael Newton)

Hanoi Deathgrip (1985—Joe R. Lansdale)

Mountain Massacre (1985—Joe R. Lansdale)

Exodus From Hell (1986—Chet Cunningham)

Blood Storm (1986—William Fieldhouse)

Stone: M.I.A. Hunter (1987—Chet Cunningham)

Saigon Slaughter (1987—Joe R. Lansdale)

Escape from Nicaragua (1987—Arthur Moore)

Invasion U.S.S.R. (1988— Arthur Moore)

Miami War Zone (1988—Bill Crider)

Crossfire Kill (1988— Arthur Moore)

Desert Death Raid (1989—Bill Crider)

L.A. Gang War (1990—Stephen Mertz)

Back to ‘Nam (1990—Bill Crider)

Heavy Fire (1991—Stephen Mertz)

China Strike (1991—Stephen Mertz)

Hostage Town (2016—Stephen Mertz)

FOR MORE ON THE M.I.A. HUNTER BOOKS CLICK HERE

FOR A GREAT INTERVIEW WITH STEVE MERTZ, THE CREATOR OF M.I.A. HUNTER, CLICK HERE

Paul Bishop is the bestselling author of Lie Catchers.

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