Okay, I Think We’re Done… For Now!


Thought you’d like to know that my novel The Maidstone Conspiracy has just been posted on Amazon.com for pre-order. It goes on sale Nov. 6  in ebook and paperback.


Yes, that will make three books published this year. Yes, I’m more than a wee bit overwhelmed. And yes, I think we’re done… well, for now anyway.

The Maidstone Conspiracy was a fun book to write. It’s a murder mystery and its a love story… and I hope all who read it will be thoroughly entertained.

Cover Design-Maidstone ConspiracyThe blurb on the back of the book says: Woven into the twists and turns of this action-packed adventure are generous portions of betrayal and international intrigue… leading to a surprising climax. (Good gracious… you’d think some PR guy wrote that! 😊)

My goal with this novel was to provide an engaging ‘read’ that combines suspense and the unexpected… in a plot offering lots of exciting action. Now, doesn’t that sound like fun? Chuckle! I trust you’ll find it as much fun to read as it was to write. Here’s the link if you’re inclined to preorder: http://amzn.com/B016OUM81S

Took A While

The two novels have been in the works for many years. In fact, more than six years of research and writing went into The Ultimate Threat. There’s a bit of irony here. The Maidstone Conspiracy was finished last, yet it was the first one started… almost eight years ago.

Amid the researching and rewriting during those years came dozens and dozens of rejections from countless literary agents. And then, in this amazing year 2015, first one publisher and then a second accepted manuscripts.

There’s a rather different history behind Encounters With Life — Tales of Living, Loving and Laughter.  (http://amzn.com/B0153RUE28) The inspirations for the 34 stories it includes cover many decades, from the distant past to events just a few months ago. Version 2

Full credit for Encounters With Life happening at all goes to my terrific wife, Sharolie, who kept encouraging me to put together a collection and try getting it published.

Writers know that most publishers exhibit a congenital predisposition against collections. Not so with my entrepreneurial publisher, Melissa Miller, CEO of Solstice Publishing Inc. in Farmington, MO. Much to my delight Melissa and KateMarie Collins, her sidekick who’s also an international bestselling author, welcomed the stories. They made Encounters With Life literally come to life. All of that was met with one of those “I-knew-it-all-along” looks from Sharolie. And rightly so; she ‘knows’ these things. Scary!

I’m especially grateful to Melissa and Kate for the dynamite cover design they were good enough to approve. It was inspired by the lead-off story in the collection, another love story … a very personal one. “Dragonflies and The Great Blue Heron” has won an international award and is by far the most popular short story I’ve written.


A confession: Writing short stories is recreation. Really! They’re fun, and while writing the novels, they provided a welcome break from researching plot-lines and redrafts, although I must admit doing research does nourish my insatiable curiosity.

A friend asked a while back what prompted turning to writing at my mature stage in life. The answer was, I have absolutely no idea. However, much of the attraction with both novels came from the challenge and the fun of working fictional characters into imaginary plots. Hey, that’s a full 180-degree shift for a former journalist (but perhaps not so much for a former PR guy)!

My friend seemed surprised when I said The Maidstone Conspiracy almost wrote itself. He probably felt he was being teased when told all I did was let the characters lead me through the story. Often it was best to get out of their way so the characters could build action and substance into the plots, and sometimes I had to hustle just to keep up. Weird? Perhaps. But most folks who’ve ever written fiction will ‘get it’. And if that makes us weird, well so be it. 😊

Tale of Two Novels

The reason The Maidstone Conspiracy was begun first and finished last is that at one point The Ultimate Threat took charge. The more I researched the people, places and events in the war zones for episodes described fictionally in The Ultimate Threat, the more information surfaced THE ULTIMATE THREAT-2that seemed important to share. I will admit the novel morphed into a mission. It became essential to somehow raise alarms about those murderous savages, who for now may be “somewhere else” but have left no doubt about their determination to impose their perverted views upon an expanding sphere of influence. So far, they’ve been succeeding, but The Ultimate Threat does offer some solutions (http://amzn.com/1514283948).

All of this drew the interest of Endeavour Press Ltd. in London, UK, and thanks to Publisher Amy Durant, Editor Richard Simpson and their team the publishing drought was over!

A couple of last thoughts: We seem to have become complascent… numbed by the steady bombardment of news coverage about the horrendous autrocities of ISIS and other psychopathic killers like them. Could it be this numbness is leaving us vulnerable? Is our complacency just what ISIS is hoping to achieve?

We know those lunatics are the primary cause of the massive refugee crisis in the Middle East, Africa and Europe, what the UN calls the largest human disaster since the Second World War. And they are also responsible for the waves of undeserved prejudice against Muslims. Make no mistake–these savages are brilliant, and that makes them even more of a threat.

For the record: the research I did convinced me that groups like ISIS can no more proclaim to be Muslims or pretend to be inspired by the Muslim holy book, the Quran, than they can pretend to be Christians inspired by the Holy Bible. They are nowhere even close to being Muslims. They are giving Islam a bad rap and we’re letting them get away with it. ISIS and their like must surely applaud us for blaming people other than them for their barbaric atrocities.

A Happier Note

On a happier note, I must tell you the three books above are ‘it’ for the writing of books… for a while at least. Yes, there are sequels on the drawing boards, and yes, there are enough short stories for at least a Volume II of Encounters… if the publisher feels there’s a market. But for now, it’s back to more short stories from time to time. At last count, 108 have been written, some posted here.

My immediate challenges are to spread the word about these three books, and make up for lost time with Sharolie. Those who write will know only too well that our’s is a solitary pursuit, but we must be mindful it is at times that also for those closest to writers. Their patience and encouragement are why writers can write.

Finally, I am deeply grateful for and am humbled by all of the support you, the awesome followers of this blog, have continued to send this way with such generousity. It means more than I could possibly describe. Thank you!

Oh…about that cute little baby. That photo conveys my feelings right now… and besides, who could possibly resist a smile like that!


Image credits: Happy Baby–Google Images (and thanks to author Carl Brush for helping track it down); Book cover designs–The Ultimate Threat, Endeavour Press Ltd., London, UK; The Maidstone Conspiracy and Encounters With Life–Tales of Living, Loving and Laughter, Michelle Crocker for Solstice Publishing Inc., Farmington, MO 

5 thoughts on “Okay, I Think We’re Done… For Now!

  1. You’re a glutton for punishment, but I can’t talk. I just finished my sixth novel, Gone, Like a Candle in the Wind. No Agent yet – two offers but I turned them down. Too much work for too little. Congratulations on The Maidstone Conspiracy.

    William Pipes


  2. We are impressed and send you our congratulations and very best wishes for lots of sales and good reviews. Right after I’ve sent this off, I’m going to order some books!
    Hi to Sharalie and from Ian


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