My Work

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

To Better Civilization ... Or Not

I’ve been neglecting you, oh dear readers, and I feel bad about that. I could say I’ve simply been too busy, but of course that would be nonsense. It’s simply that I’ve been writing my skinny little butt off and having a ball doing it. For several years, those just before and just after retiring from a real job, I wrote half a dozen or more novels, never looking to get any of them published.

Some of us are slow learners and it took several years before I finally said, why haven’t I seriously tried to get published? I have published many short stories, many poems, and of course, fifty years of journalism, many articles. Why not a novel? No good answer, so I got out my stack manuscripts and started the long process of polishing them up.

Two thousand and fifteen is my year, so far. I have published the western Jacob Chance, U.S. Marshal, which has received four five-star reviews and some favorable comments. I have published the fantasy The Quest, with one five-star review, so far. The book hasn’t been out very long at this writing. And I just finished the first edit on my western novel, Paradise Challenged, which could be available in time for Christmas giving.

I’m writing the second book in the Jacob Chance trilogy at this time and have two mystery/crime novels that I hope to have published in 2016, and this brings up the question of writing in more than one genre. I’ve had no problem with the concept, but I know other authors who either don’t feel comfortable writing in more than one genre, or feel it shouldn’t be done, for whatever reason.

My comfort level comes from my long background in print journalism and broadcasting. In my broadcasting career I was called on to write fuzzy-wuzzy commercial copy, hard news, cover murders, and ladies’ tea parties. And, I called many sports broadcasts, baseball, football, and elections. (Humor intended) In other words, I had to wear many different hats, write in many different forms, and all of it on the fly. The word ‘deadline’ still makes my heart race and my blood pressure increase.

So why couldn’t I have Jacob Chance clean up a mob of land scheming frauds in one novel, put Simon Sol Dorsey through the wringer clearing out drug dealing mobsters in another novel, and enjoy writing Tom Henry through a universe-wide conspiracy with romance in the wings? Well, actually, I have, and in the process allowed Pete Quimby to be compared to John Wayne.

Some introductions are in order here. You have met Jacob Chance, U.S. Marshal, and Tom Henry, interstellar traveler, I hope, and in a novel not yet completely ready to be looked at by a publisher, Simon Sol Dorsey is a private eye with high morals and few ethics. Yeah, a likable noir character who can get in lots of trouble. Pete Quimby is one of the leads in Paradise Challenged, and my editor said, ‘his character should be played by a John Wayne type.’

What I find most enjoyable about all of this is simply having lots of fun telling stories, letting make-believe people romp through all kinds of difficulties and circumstances, some living through it all, some not, and at the end, hopefully, many live happily ever after and the bad guys go down in flames. I try not to write with a heavy moral emphasis, strong on doing good, or characters that toe the line of ethical behavior, rather, I try to picture myself at a campfire surrounded by wonderful people listening to my stories.

Those teaching ‘creative literature’ are already cringing, but I like to write the same kinds of stories that I like to read. I love rompin’ stompin’ heroes fighting off the murderous hordes, men and women in silver space suits soaring through the vastness of our galaxy, or a rough and tumble PI with a forty five auto tucked in his pants whoop-assin’ on some tweaker.

No, my novels will not make social inroads toward bettering our civilization, but hopefully they will make more than one evening’s read a pleasant experience.

Until next time, read good books and stay regular.

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