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Poor Writers' Blog

KISS OF THE COBRA, Number eight in the Detective John Bowers procedurals is on its way end of month February. It's another day, another Mickey Mouse IT session for cops capped by a Home Coming call—somebody's down, bloody and dead. This time around, for John and his partner Minola Raye, it's a young woman on her own for the first time, following all the rules her mother taught her about staying safe in a dangerous world. It only takes one innocent mistake for the Devil to breach the barricades. And her killer isn't finished as more victims fill the Precinct whiteboard.

John and Minnie have reached a plateau in their relationship, a tamer more comfortable one with both married and Minnie the mother of twin girls. The wrinkle to be ironed out is that one of her twin girls is the biological child of her partner, not her husband. As per usual, the lowest rating on John's resume is his ability to read women. Not a talent easily acquired.

This was a returning joy for me. John Bowers tinkers with my mind as time flies by, and he scratches to get out of my brain. That's the real miracle of fiction writing. It doesn't send you to the online library tomes for research, it opens doors in your brain and lets the story roll. Wannabes ask me most often how I figure out an ending to the plot. I gotta simple answer: "I don't." Whatever's in there just cranks open the water-tight door and flows out like open bar booze at an Elks' Convention. I had a buddy who wanted to write a book. A bucket list thing. So he started out okay: Chapter One. He'd already told me he was writing about a Presidential kidnapping. Sounded great! Murder, mystery, romance, backstreet politics. Then I got the late night visit with Mr. Droopy Eye.

"It's a mess. not right at all. I quit writing cuz it just kept turning out all wrong, not what I was writing about."

Sounded like good news to me. "What are you writing about instead of your original plot?"

He shook his head like my golden retriever climbing out of the lake. "Not close, no way. I started out okay, and then the Presidential candidate started an affair with his aide, and then I found out he's been embezzling money, and he falls in love with his shrink to save his career, and then everything just got upside down, and I started writing about psychoanalysis and . . . oh, shit."

"So what's your new title?"

By this time, his head was in his hands. "I woke up one morning, and it just sorta popped into my head. "Mind Games".

I reassured him that the book was there all the time, lying in wait for him to open the door. He wasn't convinced, and I think he missed out on an opportunity to be a real, live author. A scribbler of note perhaps. So disappointing. For real—he became an AMWAY guy. A truly tragic end.

See what John and Minnie are up to this time around, Feet up, fave bev on the arm of your recliner and take a trip with Portland's favorite detectives. Any questions or requests. wait a bit for Number Nine Rainy Day Rules.

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