Two books out together creates extra labor but worth it.

A COLD KILL with Detective John Bowers is out. Number 7 in the series, and as usual it has the familiar recipe of murder, bloody scenery, realistic forensics, sex, drama, humor here and there (mostly here) along with John's ongoing quest to figure out female tactics. He's not nearly there yet.

Give it a read and catch up with what John, his partner Minnie Ray and the DA's office step over as the dead bodies fall. Check out the video as well. Guaranteed to be ad free.

OLD WIVES' TALES, Bedtime Stories Grandma Never Told You

It's here. Check out the video and excerpts. I love a video that needs a pre-screen warning "not appropriate for some viewers". If you ever wondered, or why the hell haven't you wondered, what lollies used to get up to when you weren't even a flicker in Grandpa's eye, these older gals will enlighten you. Bawdy bedroom stories, hookers, strippers, winners and losers in love, romance, sex and OMG did Granny do that?!!

Of all the vices in the world, why sex that's just for fun, profit, hobby pursuits, titillation or commercial sales is hush hush is a mystery. Sex is the most basic, universal occupation of all us creatures on this orbiting dirt ball. Any ubiquitous habit can be criminalized, I guess. Ask the tiger that tried to eat Roy. Normal activities true to the species can turn violent and criminal, but just ordinary sex, perversion like foot fetishes and rape don't belong in the same No No Mustn't category the Puritans dreamed up. I mean, really. With no TV, no Texting, no pole dancers or hi-test juice, what did those folks do at night? Study the Good Book? Really? In the dark? Of course, they did just what every human on the planet does with long, dark nights and no neighborhood video porn shop.

I can never understand why the younger generations seem to think their old grannies and grandpas never had any fun with their drawers down. Seems a bit unseemly to think of it. But how do they think they got here? Nothing new has been added to the Sex for Dummies handbook since Adam and Eve were dating.

Enjoy a trip through interviews with older gals who did it all in their youth, or even a bit more. If you have the guts and a willing Granny, you might even want to have a sit down and pull the curtains aside. Bet she'll have a thing or two to teach you about what she fantasizes about at night. And bets are she'll love telling you all the raunchy details since you'll probably be the first person to give a hoot.

Back on the Beat with A COLD KILL, Number 7 in the Series

It's a homicide case with more questions than answers for Detective Sergeant John Bowers. His partner Sergeant Minnie Rae is birthing twins so John is working with Max Bando, the carrot-top detective who has to carry a napkin in his back pocket instead of a handkerchief. Lots of folks don't like lawyers. But when one is shredded like coleslaw in his uptown office, it turns out maybe there's a cold case in the background.. And in the middle of it all, John's number two ex, Doris, is back. And natch, John hasn't a clue where the landmines are. It's another case of catch up for the homicide detectives from Barbies to Bandidos. One interesting thing about writing a series is watching your characters grow and develop into virtual acquaintances. We all know the story of the author who got so wrapped up in his virtual world, he wandered off the grid. A little quirky maybe, but many of us scribblers can identity with the dilemma. It's hard when we become so attached, maybe even a little in love with our protagonists that we feel betrayed when they veer off the course we've set for them. But that is really the miracle of creating them in the first place. After all, they are all peopled from our intimate experiences with real people who are anything but set in cement. At my first John Bowers book signing for Blue Butterfly, the first Bowers book, I was gobsmacked by all the takes on my characters. I thought I was just channeling the fuzz balls in my brain, but, as it turned out from listening to my readers, they had drawn all sorts of side plots, motives and perspectives on their own. Where I thought I had created a sympathetic, windmill tilter, many saw him as a Rocky Balboa. Where'd that come from? And my hero who sacrificed a lot to arrive at the basic Golden Rule morphed into a steely-hearted s.o.b. who sold out after struggling with his soul. What? The upside was that they all loved the guy and swore they knew him. Fact was, a lot of folks were certain he was drawn from real life. "So you worked with this guy, right?" "Is he still with the Portland PD and what does he think of the book?" "Did John retire and actually write this under your name or what?" I was finally forced to explain the definition of fiction to more than a few. Who cared if they drew different virtual people from what I'd scripted? They all liked the big guy for different reasons. The experience taught me a valuable lesson for a newbie. It's impossible, and if somehow it becomes possible to write characters who are seen in only one view and heard in only one voice, they will never become fleshed-out folks, warts and all. Consistent formulaic stories with cut-out figures guarantee that only those rare readers who never consider coloring outside the lines will fall in love with your heroes and heroines. I figured out that fictional characters have to come in many-faceted shapes to reach a broad spectrum of folks who like to set themselves inside the virtual world you've created. The bonus from the book signing was that several of my readers enlightened me as to the depth I'd sort of taken for granted or rather just underestimated. The more tightly you draw a character, the more restrictive the readers' imagination to build their own sand castles. Real people who exhibit these constraints are branded as anal, rigid bastards you pray will never be your seatmate on a long flight. So despite the many takes that John Bowers and his cast at Central Precinct come up with, he always plays to folks of different stripes. He's sexy to some (an eighty something gal reading Babylon Blues in the Atlanta Airport clued me in) and a big teddy bear to ladies who swear he's as easy to see through as cellophane, and to street cops and Semper Fi guys, he's just the kind of heavy they can look up to. Just like the rest of us, he's whatever he needs to be to deal with the situation at hand. He's normal and has as many sides as a pretzel, Probably why when I get to my keyboard to let loose another episode of the series, I just relax and let him take the reins. I trust him to lead the way. And that's why I think I'm in love with the dude.

Diary: Number 7 in the Detective John Bowers police procedural series is coming out in March. A COLD KILL.


One of the hurdles beginning authors need to jump over is the task of defining their book. This is a multi-step process which begins at composing the query and synopsis. What is my book about? Who would want to read this book? If I were in Barnes and Noble, where would I expect this book to be shelved? Seems pretty simple, but once you're saddled up, it looks a lot like herding cats.

Cross-over books, like cross-over SUVS can mean a lot of things. Lots of traits and options like a lot of other books but some distinctive ones that define the genre. Books are not so complicated as cars because the option list is a helluva lot shorter for books than Nissan Rogues. It's usually a piece of marshmallow fudge for a writer to label their book Fiction or Nonfiction. Easy A on that one. But if it isn't a perfect fit in the sub category, Western, Adult, Young Adult, Childrens', Erotica, Historical Fiction, Humor, Gay/Lesbian Fiction, et cetera, then it's a bit trickier. The brain twister is understanding that like the books you write, your readers are cross-overs as well. So how do you label and promote your books to reach those readers?

Spoiler Alert: a lot of literary agents stumble badly on this one. In my earlier days of frustration and despair, a whole herd of agents passed on my books with "Gee, I love your writing, but I don't know if it's humorous fiction, a thriller or literary. So I can't begin to think how I could market it. Humor, murder mystery and literary voices in the same book? No clue." Oh, and of course there's the "We'll have to pass and have a wonderful day!" It seemed like not a single literary agency could imagine humor and mayhem page by page. Nobody ever watch Columbo or read Hiaasen?

Don't be discourage fellow scribblers. We can create categories all by ourselves. A frustrated author invented the legal thriller after all and look what happened? Think shepherd when you run into a genre barricade. Sometimes sheepish agents need to be lead. Gore and chuckles together? Sure. Why not? List it whichever way your readers would flock. For me, it turned out to be that when my name is on the cover, readers expect to go home, curl up with a glass of their fave beverage and enjoy a smile and a hearty chuckle before the last chapter. Even the Police Procedural genre with the John Bowers books mixes a little humor and sexy drama with the homicide and gore. So hang in there and define your books to appeal to the readers who share your penchant for an eclectic ride through the literary universe.