Monday, April 14, 2014

The Creative Rationale by Author, Don Pendleton. A Unique Look at Writing the Novel

“The writer is always working from his own individual world view, whatever the subject, so an honest writer cannot conceal himself in the work no matter how hard he may try to do so.”–Don Pendleton (1927–1995)

Renowned author, the late Don Pendleton, recorded "The Creative Rationale" in 1986.  It became the opening to the book, The Metaphyics of the Novel. The Inner Workings of a Novel and a Novelist by Don Pendleton, with Linda Pendleton.  

Don's unique and inspirational look at the creative processes that move the modern novel and what creative forces move the novelist is not only for aspiring writers but for those who love books.  

Don Pendleton is known as the father of the Action/Adventure, a genre he created with his original The Executioner: Mack Bolan Series.  The first book was published in 1969, War Against the Mafia. After book 38 of the series, Don franchised his characters to Harlequin and they continue to publish The Executioner Series, now about 1,000 books.  In addition to Mack Bolan, Don wrote SciFi, mysteries, including the Joe Copp Private Eye Series; Ashton Ford Psychic Detective Series.   His books have been published in many languages world-wide.   So who better to turn to for an understanding of the creative rationale than a successful novelist, whose career spanned many years and many books.   

Author Jon Guenther had this to say:  "I can guarantee first hand that The Metaphysical of the Novel is invaluable for anyone with the genuine desire to write and publish their book."  

Author Stephen Mertz, who knew Don for many years, said this about the book, "A profound study of the spiritual aspects of the novelist's art.  If you're looking for a quick-fix list of agents and the like, look elsewhere.  Pendleton has deeper truths to share in a work that entertains as it enlightens, examining the creative rationale that is the source of good writing."  

I consider this book to be an important book for aspiring writers, just as Don did.  In listening to Don's unique approach to creativity, I believe you will understand why.

~Linda Pendleton


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Building Suspense in Fiction

This is an excellent video by three successful writers on building suspense in fiction writing.   I found their views on first person vs third person of particular interest.  I have written in both viewpoints.  My Catherine Winter Private Investigator Series is in first person.  My last novel, Sound of Silence is in third, and the current novel I am writing is again in third.  It's a toss up as to which I prefer, but I think third person is less restrictive and allow for more freedom in creativity.  

Outlines--I have never liked them, going back many years to my high school and college days.  So I do not use them.

I've written screenplays so I can identify somewhat with what both Paul and Lee have to say about screenwriting, which they have both done.


Monday, March 24, 2014

Johnny Cash, the Man in Black, Lives On

Johnny Cash was always a favorite of mine.  I had the opportunity to see him in concert numerous times over the years. 

I am happy to see the release of “Out Among the Stars,” a new album of songs we’ve never heard before.  Already I have two favorites from the album, the title song, “She Used to Love Me a Lot,” and “I Came To Believe.”  Both songs have been released for preview prior to the release of the full album. 

The album goes on sale March 25, 2014.  The 12 songs on the album, Out Among the Stars, were written in the early 1980s according to John Carter Cash, son of Johnny and June Carter Cash.  John Carter discovered the songs among his parents belongings, and had this to say about being able to release this album:  “It was like coming face-to-face with my dad. He’s in perfect voice.”

Also on the album is a duet by Johnny and June, “Baby Ride Easy,” which their son considers it to be a powerful song as good as their song “Jackson”

I look forward to hearing all of the album. 

The full album and Mp3 files is at

Friday, February 28, 2014

New Audiobook, Roulette, The Search for the Sunrise Killer, Don & Linda Pendleton, Narrated by Johnny Peppers

Just released:  The audiobook of  Roulette: The Search for the Sunrise Killer by Don and Linda Pendleton.  Narrated by Johnny Peppers. Johnny is a talented ACX producer/narrator, and has recorded books for the blind.  He is also an actor.  He did a great job with the narration of our book.  He is currently narrating another novel for me, Sound of Silence by Linda Pendleton, which will be available in audio in the not too-distant future.  You may listen to a sample of Roulette at  It is available through, and iTunes.  I hope you enjoy listening as much as I have enjoyed the narration of our crime story.    


Thursday, February 20, 2014

And Along Came

I want to tell you why is valuable to me, and why I respect Jeff Bezos, and consider him to be a visionary.  I’m an author, my late husband was an author. I’m a senior, and I’m an amputee.  You may wonder what being an amputee has to do with Amazon.  It has plenty to do with it for me.  Six years ago I had to have a below-the-knee amputation of my left leg.  I was very lucky to have great medical care and rehabilitation and most people have no idea that I’m an amputee and wear a prosthetic.  But I do, during all my waking hours.  The one drawback is that I’m unable to walk long distances without suffering some pain.  So I do not go to places like shopping malls,  Walmart, Costco, Home Depot, or any large stores where walking could be a problem.

I admire Jeff Bezos for his desire in 1994 to have the largest bookstore in the world.  And since, he has given authors incredible opportunity to publish through Amazon’s Createspace for print books, KDP for Kindle ebooks, and audio books at Amazon’s ACX.  It has allowed me to publish new books, and put out of print books back into print and ebooks.  That includes not only having control over the works, but receiving decent royalties and payment schedules.  But Jeff Bezos’ business vision expanded beyond books to a store for just about anything a consumer would be looking for. 
And a store especially for a consumer who is unable, for whatever reason, to go out shopping in his or her  community.  I can order just about all things I need or desire, whether it be books, electronics, supplies, or even something as simple as light bulbs.  And I am a Prime member so I have additional perks: fast shipping, video streaming, Kindle lending library.  I’ve not been in a brick and mortar bookstore for nearly a decade, except for two books signings at a local independent bookstore. 

Now, as a self-published author I do not miss NY traditional publishing.  I no longer have the headaches that often go along with that.  I have freedom, control, and decent royalties, and I love it!

I do not apologize at all for loving and supporting the Amazon company, and I often speak out when I encounter the ongoing attacks from some in the publishing world. And I left my membership in the Authors Guild last year after 22 years because of those attacks by the Guild.  Change is here, and it is too bad some were not willing to get into the game from the beginning.  I don’t mean authors, I mean publishers who have refused to consider decent royalties on ebooks.  I wrote about the resistance to ebooks and self-publishing twelve years ago, and it seems the attitude coming from traditionalists has not changed. 

And along came Amazon!  For many of us who made a business decision to self-publish, it has definitely been the right decision. 


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

New Audio Book, "Shattered Lens, Catherine Winter Private Investigator" by Linda Pendleton, Narration by Beth Richmond

My first book in the Catherine Winter Private Investigator Series, Shattered Lens,  is not only available in print and Kindle, it is now in Audio.  I was delighted to have Beth Richmond narrate my book via ACX. She did an excellent job!  A well experienced professional narrator, Beth Richmond has recorded more than 100 audio books, and has been an actress for more than 25 years, on stage, film and commercials.  She brought all that experience and expertise into the recording of my book. 

I do hope you consider listening to Shattered Lens.  It is available at, and iTunes, where you can listen to a sample reading of the book by Beth. 

Here are a few reviews of my print edition book:

“Linda Pendleton's first private-eye novel, Shattered Lens, is a brilliant debut.”
~Richard S. Prather,  author of the Shell Scott Mystery Series.

“The hardcore mystery makes a come-back! Too many mysteries these days are little more than watered-down thrillers. At last, a whodunit in the spirit of a Sherlock Holmes mystery has returned. Linda Pendleton busts out of the gate with her first novel of licensed private investigator Catherine Winter. Winter picks up a young girl for a client--a young girl wrapped up in the glitz, drugs, and porn of Hollywood life--who shortly thereafter winds up dead. And the list of suspects is neither short nor usual.  What makes the book so pleasurable to read outside of the brisk pace is that nothing comes easy for Winter. She has to "earn" it in the same way that Linda has earned her right to sit at the top with today's other crime writers. The inside look at Hollywood and surrounding areas rings with authenticity. As a writer, I've often been disappointed in a lot of mysteries on the shelf but I knocked this one out in no time at all. Yeah, it was just that easy. Part police procedural, part hardboiled, and all entertaining, this one's a keeper.” An Author

“I enjoyed Shattered Lens very much.  Catherine Winter is a good private investigator.  I look forward to more stories.”  ~R. A., Southern California

“Great!  Another page turner I couldn’t put down.  I really enjoyed the main character, Catherine Winter, Private Investigator.  Interesting, no nonsense, but fun, well rounded older gal.  She is just as interesting and sexy as the younger ones.  She’s also a great detective.  Meets up with some interesting characters to solve this crime of murder.  Of course things are never as easy or clear as they seem.  You will definitely enjoy this one.”  ~Anne L Boss

Read the First Chapter Here 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

North Dakota Food Critic Marilyn Hagerty at age 87.

Marilyn Hagerty, newspaper food critic from Grand Forks, North Dakota is still at it at the age of 87, writing five weekly newspaper columns--factual, and with a nice sense of humor.  A popular reporter for the Grand Forks Herald for thirty years, her review of the local Olive Garden went viral in 2012. That led to national TV interviews and appearances, and a book published with an Introduction by chef, Anthony Bourdain.    

To learn more from Marilyn, listen to NPR interview

Her book:  Grand Forks

 Grand Forks

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Writing Tip: Character Sketches

Character Sketches 

The creative process of characterization is vital to your book.  A tool that you may want to employ is writing biographical sketches of your characters.  Even though your main character might be a forty-five-year-old man and the story you are presenting will not incorporate a single thing about his childhood, you, as the creator of this man, must know every nuance of his early life.  Did he come from a stable, loving family or was his father a drunk who would fly into rages and physically abuse the boy’s mother?  Was he a good student or did he struggle through his lessons, barely passing from one grade to another?  Was he constantly teased by other children because he was shy or clumsy?  Or was he the school-ground bully who often challenged others to a fist-fight.  Would you find him to be a boy who often rescued stray animals?   As a teen, was he adventurous?–or rebellious, forever finding himself in hot water, or even in legal difficulties? 
Know your characters well. By establishing his early character-traits within your own mind, it will enable you to know exactly how he might react to a situation you place him in as the adult.  Let’s say his father was an abusive alcoholic and wife beater.  What effect did that have on your character?  Had he followed in his father’s footsteps?  Had he resolved the issues he once had with his father?  Was he now a crusader against spousal abuse?  Was he a compassionate man as a result of living with the tension of an alcoholic parent in the home?  He can be anything you want him to be but you have to understand what motivates him because if you do not, your reader will not.  Everything your character does must be the logical expression of character traits that have been clearly shown to the reader before the characteristic action takes place.  If the action takes place in the very beginning of a story, the action itself would be designed to establish character traits.  Your characters must act as the result of a motive.  Behind every human action is a reason.  Those reasons may be conscious or unconscious but they have an effect on how one reacts to any given situation.  They may be impacted by environment, culture, social standing, religious upbringing, and various other factors.  You, as a writer, must give your characters strong, logical, and significant motives.  These motives may be bad or good, depending on the character’s place in the story.  Motivation gives your character vitality, purpose, strength, and will be a character in which your reader can take an interest.
People generally act in character.  If you have conceived a character as a timid and unadventurous man, you cannot abruptly, for no visible reason, turn him into an audacious daredevil.  It is important that your characters stay consistent throughout your story.  If they do not, the reader will certainly know and reject the story.
Reasons for particular actions are believable when they are what the majority of people would do under those same circumstances.  Of course, your characters may change throughout the story and the important thing is that the change must come from well-motivated reasons.  Keep your characters in character and they will always be believable.
 Become familiar with the basic human drives that make us act as we do–love, hate, fear, jealousy, greed, power, security–and know how your characters would react when challenged by these basic drives.

You can read more about writing in The Metaphysics of the Novel, The Inner Workings of a Novel and a Novelist by best-selling author, Don Pendleton, available in Kindle and print at Amazon.


Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Frustrations of Traditional Publishing

The Frustrations of Traditional Publishing—

Today I was again reminded how nice it is to self-publish via Amazon Kindle and Createspace print, and how great it is to have control of my work, the works of Don Pendleton, and our work.  I was going through files from the 1980-90s of correspondence with our agents in regards to the business of publishing.  What I discovered (but hardly have forgotten) was the constant battle to receive royalties when due from the publishers (or agents), both domestic and foreign; the matter of huge reserves by the publishers; accurate print records; the constant and ongoing correspondence of issues not always dealt with in a timely manner; offers for movie or TV options with no money exchange; disagreements over changes to manuscripts; letters of frustrations to agents who were not following through on business dealings; and contract or legal issues.  I do not miss all that one damn bit!  I love the freedom of self-publishing!   I didn’t shred the documents, decided to keep them for future reference and to look at any time I wonder if I should consider traditional publishing. :-)   


Friday, November 15, 2013

Book Trailers

Authors often like to have videos for their books that can be posted to websites, blogs and youtube.  I have several.   

Here is my latest book trailer for Roulette: the Search for the Sunrise Killer. I want to thank Tim at for doing this one.  

If you need a book trailer, check him out. 


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Jeff Bezos and Amazon's Authors

Here is an example of how well Jeff Bezos runs his company, and why I enjoy doing business with Amazon, as an author and as a consumer of various goods. I sent Jeff  an email direct on Saturday in regards to the Search Inside Feature of a blue triangular icon now being used on several of my print books and those of my late husband, Don Pendleton.  The icon interferes with my cover design and with title text.  I received a phone call this morning from Createspace telling me that Jeff had suggested they call me about my concerns, of which they will take into consideration in making changes to the Search Inside feature currently in a “trying out” period.  I was assured that I was not the only one who has complained about the feature they are redesigning.  I personally believe their “Arrow icon” was fine and mentioned to Jeff in my email, and again to the man who called that I really would prefer they keep the arrow.     

Another time when I had a publishing problem, I sent a letter to Jeff, and within two days after he should have received it in Washington state, I had action on the issue from an assistant of his.

So in my opinion people who rant and rave against Amazon may not know what they are talking about.  (or missing).  I am so pleased to have my books published by Amazon, and to do business with them.  I know of other authors who are pleased with working with Amazon.  For a few of those authors, their self publishing at Amazon has led them to now publishing with Thomas & Mercer, an Amazon imprint.  Andrew E. Kaufman is one of those authors.  His new book will be out in a few days.   

I consider Jeff Bezos to be a visionary and what he has offered authors--opportunity, excellent royalties, and control of our works, has been wonderful.  But even though he said years ago he  wanted to have the largest bookstore in the world, he also offers so much more beyond books.  If there are household things I need, I first look at Amazon—and two days later I have it at my door.    

According to a book review in the Washington Post (the Post is now owned by Jeff Bezos)  of the new book, The Everything Store, by journalist Brad Stone, it is stated: “at 3, Bezos took his crib apart with a screwdriver because he insisted on sleeping in a bed.”

Definitely a kid with a mind of his own, and brilliant.  This "kid" also founded a company for space exploration, Blue Origin in 2000.  See what I mean when I say he's visionary? 

I wouldn’t be surprised if one of his next steps might be to offer foreign language translations of our books.  Even though our books are on sale in several foreign countries now, translation may be next.  I would image there would be a fee charged if that is ever done.  But maybe it would be worth it. Time will tell.  :-)

And who knows, maybe someday in the future he will offer publication on the Moon or Mars.  We laugh about that idea but the late New York publisher, Donald I. Fine had a clause in his contracts that he would have publishing rights on the Moon.  And that is a fact.  Don Pendleton had six contracts with Fine and that was included.  But I never expected Fine would accomplish that, but now, Jeff Bezos could just make it possible!   



Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Interview with Author, Deborah Doucette

I’m pleased to be doing this interview with author, Deborah Doucette.  Her contemporary novel, Bad Girls, is set in a small, New England town and is the story of three women and choices they make as they embark on a journey of discovery, both shared and distinctly their own.  The novel is now available at Amazon Kindle and in print.  

Linda:  Deborah, one of the first questions I like to ask authors is when did you first want to write?  

Deborah: I’ve always enjoyed writing, as far back as adolescence.  But I made a decision to write professionally after my last child was born in 1986 - a surprise baby.  I had been a real estate broker for years, but at the age of thirty-eight with a two-year-old and two teenagers, I decided I needed a change and I knew that what I really wanted was to write. 
Linda:  Who has influenced you the most in your life?

Deborah: My grandmother and my Italian heritage, both have afforded me many treasured memories and many blessings.

Linda:   What books have most influenced your life and/or your world view?

Deborah:  I started reading “grown up” books very early.  At ten or eleven, I read Gone With The Wind, Wuthering Heights and The Wake of the Red Witch.  They were books of my mother’s that were stored in an attic that I would retreat to for quiet and privacy.  I was always sort of old beyond my years, and those stories resonated with me even at a young age.

Linda:  Do you have a favorite author?   What books have influenced your own writing?  

Deborah:  The first book that spoke to me as a writer was Margaret Atwood’s Cats Eye and the author who has had the strongest, ongoing influence on my writing is Alice Hoffman.  Turtle Moon was the first book of hers that I read, and I’ve read most of her subsequent works.  I turn to Alice Hoffman’s works for inspiration still.

Linda:   Many writers feel their inspiration comes from beyond them at times as they are working with their characters.  Do you experience that in your writing?  Do you “walk” in your character’s shoes?  (I must say I had to smile in asking that question after seeing the opening paragraph to your book.)  

Deborah:  Yes, that is funny, Linda…”Bad girl shoes, hard and beaten, black as licorice. Twisted.”  I’ll answer your question by telling you that the book I intended to write was one about the Italian-American immigrant experience.  But, some family stories and local lore led me in another direction entirely. Once I began, the characters took over, leading me in directions I never intended to go. When I develop characters, I do walk in their shoes, they are people I come to know intimately and care about deeply.  I respect where they want to go, and follow them there.

Linda:  Tell us more about your new book, Bad Girls, and what led you to write the story and create your main character, Rebecca?

Deborah: I wanted a protagonist that was conflicted.  Someone I could relate to.  Someone who had hidden and/or buried strengths.  All I can say is Rebecca was born out of those desires. Once she came to life, Rebecca lead me to explore some of the broader issues that are woven through the story: what it means to be true to yourself, why women make the wrong choices - particularly in men, how society defines who is a “bad” girl and who is a “good” girl.  I also wanted to write about the way in which our past creates blueprints for our future.

Linda:  Are you working on another novel at this time?

Deborah:  A new novel has been percolating in my mind for quite some time.  It will be told in flash back, flipping back and forth between the past and present, whose protagonist has undergone a battle with cancer and come through a totally changed person.  A before and after story.  With a touch of romance and a lot of magic.

Linda:  What is your favorite quote, Deborah?

Deborah:  That’s a good question and the only one that pops into mind at the moment is one that I heard just recently.  I don’t know which author said it but in a discussion about writing they said the goal was to have the reader “sink into the dream of the story.”  I love that!

Linda:  I understand you have a new edition of your nonfiction book, Raising our Children’s Children: Room in the Heart, coming out in the spring of 2014.  Tell us about that.

Deborah: In the early nineties, I adopted my biological granddaughter and became involved in the issue of grandparents raising their grandchildren.  I worked with my state’s Elder Affairs Division to develop a manual, spoke at conferences, and ran support groups. I listened to many stories from grandparents in that situation.  I learned quickly what an enormous issue it was, and still is; millions of grandparents are raising millions of grandchildren, many under dire circumstances  The book “Raising Our Children’s Children,” was written to help grandparents and the grandchildren they were raising, as well as to raise awareness in the general public. These issues still exist today and now, more than ever, grandparents need help.  I recently updated the book and it will be released as a second edition in 2014 with new information, a new cover and a somewhat new title, “Raising Our Children’s Children: Room In The Heart.”  

Linda:  How did it come about for you to write a Blog at the Huffington Post?  

Deborah: It was rather out-of-the-blue!  I had been reading the Huffington Post, came across an article about grandparents raising grandchildren, and posted a comment there. Many weeks later, I received an email from an editor at Huff Post asking if I’d like to Blog for their Huff Post 50 section - for the over fifty crowd - and that I could blog about whatever I wanted.  I said yes immediately and then asked my daughter, “What the heck is a blog!”  After an explanation, I started submitting blogs on a variety of topics and I average about one a month now on topics ranging from grandparenting to the Marathon bombings.
Linda:  What other comments would you like to leave us with?  Thoughts to ponder? Thoughts on writing?

Deborah:  One of my Huff Post blogs is on the writing process.  My favorite quote about “the process” is from Tom Clancy, who said, “Just write the damn story!”  And that’s the way I write - I don’t create outlines, or have goals to write a certain amount of words a day, or get up at five am and tear my hair out over a blank page.  When I am in the middle of writing a novel, or anything else really, I think about it all the time.  When I finally sit down to write, the words come out.  I believe in a good story.  But at the same time it has to mean something.  A lot of what is being called “Women’s Fiction” are just stories, but with no real meaning or relevance.  For me, a novel has to leave the reader with something beyond a sitcom episode, something lasting and true, to be called literature.  I hope that lots of people read Bad Girls.  And I hope that as readers they want a multi-layered story that reveals something important and gives them food for thought.  And, finally, I hope they “sink into the dream of the story.”

Linda:  Thank you so much for this wonderful interview, Deborah.  I know how important it is for a writer to inspire and touch people deeply with our words, whether it be in a novel or a nonfiction book.  That’s what writing is all about.  I’m sure you’re doing that with your words.  Good luck on finding a large audience for Bad Girls and continuing to raise awareness on the grandparenting issues.  

Read more about Bad Girls at Amazon


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

J.D. Salinger Documentary Film

J.D. Salinger new documentary, Salinger,  written, directed, and produced by Shane Salerno, coming this week to theaters, along with the new book. "Salinger" by Salerno and David Shields. Had good response at Telluride Film Festival this weekend. Sounds fascinating and dramatic as some of mystery of the reclusive author of "The Catcher in the Rye" is revealed.

PBS will also be showing the Salerno film in January, 2014 as their 200th episode of American Masters.   

Here is the movie trailer:

Interview video with writer, director and producer, Shane Salerno from Huffington Post, September 4, 2013

See my previous blog on Screenwriter Shane Salerno and J.D. Salinger


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Elmore Leonard Died Today

If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it." --Elmore Leonard's 10 Rules of Writing

Elmore Leonard died today at his home in Bloomfield Township, Mich. He was 87  He had suffered a stroke recently.  In my opinion, Leonard was one of the best writers of dialogue. His dialogue is so real, street-smart, down and dirty. He’s very talented. His writing over the years has covered various genres: westerns, crime novels, thrillers, mysteries, short stories and screenplays.

He was recipient of the 2008 F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Award; and the American chapter of PEN honored Leonard with a lifetime achievement award in 2009, and stated that his books “are not only classics of the crime genre, but some of the best writing of the last half-century.”

 In 2012, Leonard published his 45th novel, “Raylan,” with the television series in mind.  Leonard was working on his 46th novel, “Blue Dreams,” at the time he was stricken in early August.  “He was pretty excited about it,” his son,  Peter Leonard said. “He came over three times for dinner the week before the stroke, he was telling me about the story: how he had changed it, how he was going to bring the character Raylan Givens (from the Leonard-derived TV series “Justified”) into it. We would tell each other what we’d worked on that day. I will miss that, and him.”

Several movies have been based on Elmore Leonard’s books, including “Hombre” (starring Paul Newman), “Get Shorty,” “Out of Sight” and “Jackie Brown,” based on “Rum Punch.”

wrote a blog in June 2009 about my meeting him several years ago.  I found him to be very nice, modest, and friendly.  I also posted video of an interview by Michael Brown. 

You can also read more about him in today's New York Times .

Friday, August 16, 2013


Elvis Presley, 1935-1977

Do you recall what you were doing when you heard that Elvis had died on this day, August 16, 36 years ago?  

One of my favorite Elvis songs.  


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

My Cat, Max and His Toys

I wish the pet toy manufacturers would make cat toys that not only will a cat like, but ones that will not be eaten right away.  Today I gave my cat Max a toy:  a stuffed blue bird with feathers and fuzz.  Well, this evening he brought the blue bird to me and dropped it at my feet, now minus the feathers and fuzz, which he ate.  Many times his mice have ended up tailless.  The best toy for him is the small soft rubber balls.  He loves playing with them and we often have a game of kickball.  And one rolling around the bathtub is fun.  He used to fetch and bring them back to me in his mouth but doesn’t do that very often now that he is older.  I look at all the cat toys and none inspire me to buy.  Can’t the toy makers have more imagination??  Or is my cat just too intelligent and easily becomes bored.  Someone suggested the laser light and he just looks at me holding it like I’m nuts!  He doesn’t find it entertaining at all. He has more fun knocking my wireless mouse onto the carpet when he wants me to stop working! 

Does your cat have a favorite toy?

Max is a Seal Point, Mitted, Rag Doll 


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Where Do Our Characters in Our Novels Come From?

“O inspiration, from where do you come?
Tell me your secret, why so mum?
Did I write these words upon the page?
Or was it with help from a wise old sage?”
–Linda Pendleton, author

I’m often asked how I get my ideas for my characters in my novels.  I suppose I could say, “I have no idea, they just show up.”  And they do, sometimes out of the blue, or in a dream.  Also they could often be a conglomerate of specific, numerous, and complex personality traits we have observed in others, some good, some not so good.  After all, no one is perfect, even the good guys.

I recall writing a manuscript years back, my first or second one, when I was about four or five chapters into it.  I awakened one night with a new male character in my head.  I got out of bed and went to find my pen and legal pad.  In those days I wrote longhand, and then used a manual typewriter.    (Eh gads, white-out and carbon, and many retypes!)    

I wrote a description of a young man in his mid-twenties.  He was dark, Italian, and good looking.  But he had a thin scar across the side of his face.  I had no idea why a scar would be marring his good looks, but I did not question it.  I gave him the scar on the side of his face, which went from the outer edge of his eyebrow and down across his cheek to his jaw line. 

As I continued writing the novel I was to discover, several chapters later, why he had the scar on his face.  While a young teenager in Sicily, he had been abused and lashed by an older man who was a blacksmith and farrier.  The man had snapped a horse whip resulting in the searing cut to his face.   And the blacksmith was again in his life in those later chapters.  

I was surprised when the reason for the scar came about, as I had no conscious idea of why I “saw” him with the scar when he first came into my mind that night.  But that is the fun of writing.  Many times our characters write our stories if we step back and stay out of the way.    
The question a lot of people ask me is if I put people I know in my books.  The answer would be no.  The character or characters I create within my own mind and who find their way onto the pages of my books may be nothing more than a spark of creation from my own view of life, or from pieces of others who may have come in and out of my life, whether it be in a passing glance, a momentary speck of passion, an irritation, a voice, a song, a smile, a frown, or even a single word.

Life itself presents challenges, drama, pain, joy, grief, wonder, and more, and a successful novelist is called upon to examine and develop deeper insights into the moving forces that power creativity. Writing is an art, and it is up to the artist to produce a living image of reality.  The author is in charge of his or her own fictional world, and that fictional world needs to be understandable, coherent, and credible.

Although writing can be a lonely process, the writer and the characters he or she creates, are right there, alive and growing through the pages of the novel.  And it is the author’s hope that readers will get to know the characters and enjoy their roles within the story.


Monday, May 6, 2013

"How Many Times ....???"

"How many times can a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn't see?" ...

From Bill Moyers:

In February, David and Francine Wheeler, the parents of a child killed in the Sandy Hook tragedy, joined notable musicians including Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary and the folk singer Dar Williams to perform a concert for the community. The Wheelers and Yarrow joined Bill on Moyers & Company to discuss the path forward for gun control advocates and the power of music to bring about both healing and social change.
Yarrow said the concert was about “restoring the heart and soul of a caring community....

Read more here:

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Decline of Newspapers

Yesterday, I received a daily newspaper from a good size city, one I used to subscribe to 6-8 years ago   The first thing I noticed was the smaller thickness.  So I read it.  Or I should say, read some.  I felt like the paper was dirty...not the content but the actual feel of the paper.  I’m used to handling good quality paper in my office, such as smooth Hammermill Laser 24 lb.  (nice and smooth).  But the content of the newspaper seemed to be a lot of advertisement, and much of the actual news was news I had already read on the Internet, even the local area news.  I was surprised to see obits taking up two pages with photos.  I skipped the comics as I always have. So it soon went into my trash can.  I see why cancelling that subscription years back was a good idea. Times have changed, and I realize it may not be good for everyone, especially for those in the newspaper industry, but it is moving forward with new technology.    


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Limb Loss Awareness Month, Show Your Mettle...

Limb Loss Awareness Month...
Every day, 500 people loss a limb.  On December 7, 2007, I was one of those people.  Due to an infection in my foot and having peripheral artery disease, of which I was unaware, I had an amputation below my left knee after undergoing leg bypass surgery two weeks before in hopes of saving my leg.  I knew going into the bypass surgery there was only a 20 percent chance of saving my leg, according to my wonderful surgeon.  I spent 99 days in a skilled nursing hospital.  Well worth it. (well worth it except for the food there)  :-)

While I was there, I kidded with the therapists that I was going to write a murder mystery about who killed the chef.  The bad guy had to be one of the patients, no doubt.  :-)  

Here is a photo of my leg.  April is Limb Loss Awareness Month, and today, April 27, is Show Your Mettle Day.  And the Boston Marathon Bombings have brought amputations suffered by 14 of the victims into the news.  In my photo of my leg, my titanium post is covered by the sock but my “Mettle” is there as is the carbon foot.   

Just this week, I received a new foot, an award-winning Echelon prosthetic foot with biomimetic design which simulates natural ankle motion.  It gives hydraulic ankle control on ramps and stairs. It has an instant impact on postural symmetry, easing abnormal pressures at interface and other joints and promotes stability and confidence on rough and sloping surfaces and gives excellent energy response at all times.  This is the first time I have had a movable ankle in any of my prosthetic legs. 

I’ve had this foot since Wednesday of this week, and although it weighs a little more than my previous feet,  I believe I’m really going to like it.  Because I wear my prosthetic leg for 16 hours a day, my muscles and gait will need to adjust some, but already I have worked out twice without any discomfort, and I’m finding that it feels so much like a real ankle.   One thing that many do not realize, that using a prosthetic for a below the knee amputation, takes a third more energy to walk.  And of course full leg amputations use even more energy.   

So for anyone having to go through an amputation, I suggest getting all the physical therapy you can, even way beyond what most insurance companies will cover.  I had 14 months of physical therapy and gait training and it so happened my insurance covered it all.  It is important to have a excellent relationship with your prosthetist and insist on a good fit!  I’ve lost count of the test sockets and final sockets I’ve had over the past five years.  But what I do know, bad fits can cause lots of problems, including skin problems. 

Phantom pain at times can be difficult.  I well remember the nights that the phantom pain would wake me from a sound sleep.  Thankfully it never lasted more than 5 minutes or so.  I still have it occasionally but not to any extreme.  Cellular memory is fascinating--My foot and toes are still there. :-)

I see, in watching the Boston amputees, that they will get through this before long, and return to a normal life  with little restriction.  They have courage, and determination, and that is what it takes to heal.  As Joseph Campbell wrote:  “We must be willing to get rid of the life we planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”

If anyone would like to help the Boston amputees you can donate individually via