A RARE WRITER

I became acquainted with Richard Schwindt a couple of years ago when I joined a band of novelists called the Underground Writers. We are all mystery writers and decided to meld together for marketing support. Most of the group hails from Texas while Richard, myself, and Cindy Davis work from different, far-flung locations. Richard is the international dude who lives in Ontario, Canada.

He is a learned, multi-faceted man who wears many hats. He has a Master’s in social work and still has a private practice in psychotherapy. He’s held clinical positions in Toronto, Sioux Lookout, and Kingston. He has a rare specialty in emotional recovery from workplace mobbing and has penned several books on the subject.

Author Richard Schwindt

Richard is that unique writer who can captivate in multi-genres. The first book I read by him was a hoot. Fifty-Seven Years and Fifty-Seven More was a humorous romp about a man who magically wakes up as a woman and his/her adventures discovering his female side. Somewhat au courant given the public’s taste for merging sexual identities. My review called it “kooky, crazy, offbeat, and just delightful.”

It was later when I read his more serious prose that my admiration for his literary excellence blossomed. Death In Sioux Lookout is a book rich in literary prose and the subtle undercurrents of human behavior. His background in psychology weaves a tapestry of flawed human behavior.

THE SHINE FROM THE GIRL IN THE LAKE is Richard’s latest fictional foray and the pages are filled with his colorful and intense writing. Here’s an example from page one.

“I knew what a Walker Coonhound could do, but my experience with Butch mostly
involved watching him roll over, and invite me to rub his belly on the days I wandered
next door to drink with Jack Rice.

This didn’t prepare me for the furious restraint of the animal now stalking beside me in
the hot brush, ten miles outside of Magnolia Bluff. His hackles rose stiff as knives, and his
mouth curled in a rictus of canine rage and anticipation.”

I’m hooked and I can’t wait to dig into the rest of the book. The Shine From The Girl In The Lake debuts on Amazon on September 20th. Special-priced for a limited time at $.99 starting September 20th at Amazon.com.

This didn’t prepare me for the furious restraint of the animal now stalking beside me in
the hot brush, ten miles outside of Magnolia Bluff. His hackles rose stiff as knives, and his
mouth curled in a rictus of canine rage and anticipation."

DYNAMIC DUO

Charles Breakfield and Roxanne Burkey have co-authored white papers and fiction for many years. As professionals in the Internet technology field, many might consider them to be straight-laced “nerds”. Nothing could be further from the truth. After a day of pounding out technical documents and putting out complex IT fires, the two slip out of their Clark Kent personas and step into the world of high-tech thrillers. They found their passion for fiction about ten years ago, and have amassed an impressive list of successful books including their well-known Enigma series. To date, they have written twelve Enigma Series novels and one prequel to the series called Out of Poland. They’ve penned a script and are shopping the screenplay to interested parties. Who knows? Breakfield and Burkey might become part of the Hollywood screenwriter’s set!

The two have a unique collaboration process. They call it Literary Badminton. Charles says, “Rox will write something then bat it over to me. I’ll chew on it, make changes and then return it. It works in both directions as we work through a story. This process allows us to smooth the characters and the story into a single voice. We typically trace out a few chapters at a time. We get together in person or via conference to discuss the progress of the project and our next steps. It works well for us.”

Their most recent project includes a novella called The Flower Enigma, book five of the Magnolia Bluff Crime Chronicles. This is a unique collaboration of nine authors from around the country and Canada writing about Magnolia Bluff, a small town in the picturesque Texas hill country. The town folk has to be frightened because murder and mayhem are exploding everywhere.

I just finished reading The Flower Enigma, Let me share my thoughts with you.

Globe-trotting lovers JJ and Jo find themselves in the sleepy, southern town of Magnolia Bluff, Texas. The two just want to be left alone to explore each other and enjoy a respite from their busy, glamorous work lives. Well, that was the plan anyway. But when a group of women in the small town is stymied from doing a podcast about a pressing local issue, the couple is drawn into their drama. Someone with malicious intentions is sabotaging the podcast and threatening the ladies. But it’s not just the podcast. Under the surface lurks a darker, more evil secret. The Flower Enigma is engaging, charming and a terrific read. If you’d like a copy, here’s where to find it.

https://www.amazon.com/Flower-Enigma-Charles-Breakfield-ebook/dp/B0B6QK4FGK

THE MASTER

Like many successful people, author Caleb Pirtle III has earned his stripes with hard work and years of pounding the keyboard, writing about the fragility and complexity of human behavior. His characters are unique and unforgettable. One woman easily comes to mind. Eudora Durant from Caleb’s Moon series. We are introduced to her in Backside of a Blue Moon. Here’s what I wrote about Caleb’s character: “Eudora Durant is dying too—not from disease, but from the slow drip, drip of a miserable marriage to a cheating, no-good, alcoholic S.O.B. named Washburn Durant. Her days are filled with back-breaking physical labor and her nights are full of Washburn’s drunken abuse. One night, Washburn hits her one time too many, and he finds himself facing the business end of his own shotgun. He runs, but Eudora and the shotgun are faster.” See what I mean. She’s relatable and morphs from weak and victimized to a powerful woman who decides to take matters into her own hands.

Fast Forward to 2022. In Caleb’s new book, Eulogy in Black and White, we meet another one of Caleb’s unusual and memorable characters. Graham Huston is a veteran of the wars in the Mid-East sandbox. After eight post-injury surgeries, Huston promptly returns the Purple Heart he earned and becomes a vagabond traveling down lonesome highways in America until he lights in Magnolia Bluff, a small town in the hill country of Central Texas. Every day, Huston walks miles to the local cemetery carrying a fistful of flowers, sits down, and has a conversation with PFC Freddy Millstone who died in a sweltering jungle in Vietnam. Huston didn’t know Freddy, but he thinks someone should remember the soldier’s ultimate sacrifice.

Magnolia Bluff town folk are having one massive, hysterical anxiety attack. Every year for the past eight years, someone has been murdered on May 23rd. As the day approaches, some even scedaddle out of town to avoid their own murder. Who will be next? My lips are sealed. You’ll have to buy the book to find out. It’s one of Caleb Pirtle’s finest and here’s how to get your copy.https://www.amazon.com/Eulogy-Black-White-Magnolia-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B09Z9VPJYH

THE UNDERGROUND AUTHORS PRESENT

We couldn’t be more excited! For the last year, eight authors from around the United States and Canada have been planning for this moment–the premier of our first book in The Magnolia Bluff Crime Chronicles. It’s a joint venture; we all write about a small town in Texas where the growing body count is enough to choke a horse. (No pun intended)

We are publishing a mystery a month beginning April 21st. Out of the gate charges CW Hawes with

DEATH WEARS A CRIMSON HAT

Harry Thurgood is an enigma. Polished, cultured, and relatively new to Magnolia Bluff, Texas, he’s a man with a past, and he keeps his secrets close to his chest. Not only is Harry hiding his sins, but so is a good portion of Magnolia Bluff. The Crimson Hat Society is a group of women in the town who do many charitable works for their community, but beneath the group’s surface bubbles a malignancy of lies and deceit that leads to death. CW Hawes’ characters are colorful and unforgettable—like the Reverend Ember Cole, preacher at the local Methodist Church. She moves around Magnolia Bluff dressed in ministerial black with a Saturno religious hat perched on her head. Despite her dour dress, Ember’s face is as angelic as her personality, and Harry is willing to go to hell and back to win her love. Someone in the town wants to make sure Harry and Ember never consummate their romance.

CW Hawes is an amazingly prolific writer who dances between genres with ease. He writes horror, cozy mysteries, and yes, murder mysteries as well. Here’s his website CWHAWES.COM and a link to our premier book in the Magnolia Bluff Crime Chronicles. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09XGSSKCW

STORIES FROM THE UNDERGROUND

Writing is a solitary profession. I write usually early in the morning when the dew still wets the lawn and the birds are bursting with song. It’s a creative time for me and I can pound out at least a thousand words before the business of the day pulls me away. Being solitary is just fine on the creative side, but when it comes to the business part of publishing, being solitary is a huge deficit. Getting the word out about a book is overwhelming and challenging. Over a million books are published every year. Trying to get noticed amidst the crowd is daunting. I have been fortunate recently to align myself with a group known as the Underground Authors.

We are a diverse group. Some of us write mysteries, others pen horror or fantasy, while another author writes fiction with a spiritual bent. Despite our writing differences, we have banded together to support each other through cross-promotion. Whenever any of us publishes a new book, each of us in the group will read it, review it, and share the book with our friends and readers. We are also geographically diverse. Most of our group are boot-scootin’ Texans, but one of us lives in Canada, another in Florida, and I’m near Seattle, WA. We come from all walks of life. I work for the Federal Government, one member is a psychologist who counsels victims of work place violence, and several are retired. Recently on a ZOOM call, we decided, hey, we’re all talented authors, why don’t we write a book together? And so began the saga of our anthology BEYOND THE SEA, Stories From The Underground.

These twelve short stories run the gamut from murder mystery (I’ll bet you can guess who wrote that one) to inspirational to apocalyptic. My contribution is Moonlight Swim. There are other fine stories like Hemingway’s Boat, The Diving Bits, Stranded, I’d Rather Drown, Regi Vitam, The Perfect Future, The Boat, The Girl In The Turquoise Bikini, Making Waves, Roses for Grant, and the Encounter.

If any of these stories sound intriguing to you, I’ll give away a free paperback copy of Beyond The Sea to the first person who emails me at KellyMarshall@KellyMarshallBooks.com and requests a copy. I will contact you for your snail-mail address. We had tons of fun writing these stories and hope you will read and enjoy our book.

Here’s the Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Sea-Underground-Charles-Breakfield-ebook/dp/B093DRG1ZK

Divine Intervention

Successful mystery writer James Callan decided early on that writing was not going to feed his family. I think most writers ultimately come to that conclusion sooner or later. Personally, I am still juggling a full-time job with the government and writing murder mysteries when I can wedge time in my busy schedule. After getting a degree in English, Callan went back to graduate school and got a degree in mathematics and taught math and computer science for thirty years. Perhaps, it was divine intervention when someone put a book by mistake in Callan’s car. His interest piqued, Jim dove into the book and didn’t put it down until he finished it at two am. That unique event and the fact that his children were now grown and well-established on their own helped Callan make the decision to shake off academia and return to his first love-writing.

To date, James Callan has written seven novels, and four non-fiction books. He admits that he felt like a novice as a fictional writer after years of technical writing in the math and science arena. But James  Callan has succeeded wonderfully in his new career with several awards including the one he is most proud of, the Reader's Favorite Award. He spends considerable time thinking about a book before he sits down to write. Jim writes daily, but admits life sometimes intrudes and he has to adjust his schedule. A recent illness stalled his writing momentum. He spent months in the hospital and further recovery required bedrest for yet another month after three surgeries. Now fully recovered he's back on track. For more information, check out Jim's website:
https://www.jamesrcallan.com/

Callan’s most recent mystery venture has been the Father Frank Mystery series. His stories are very unique to the genre because the chief protagonist is a priest. Father Frank is a cleric at Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Pine Tree, Texas. His astute understanding of human behavior and common sense has been able to help local law enforcement catch the bad guy. But in A Plot For Murder, the case takes a personal turn when Father Frank’s sister Maggie becomes the prime suspect in the murder of a well-known author who was the chief speaker at the Pine Woods Writers Conference. Determined to keep his innocent sister out of jail, Father Frank works with the Texas Rangers to find the real villain. https://www.amazon.com/Plot-Murder-Father-Frank-Mystery-ebook/dp/B08T8QVXV8

I must give considerable credit to fellow author and blogger Rox Burkey who gave me unlimited access to her interview with James Callan. If you'd like to see the whole interview, it's available here. https://roxburkey.com/my-chance-to-speak-to-james-callan/


A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS

CW Hawes is a man of varied tastes and abilities. The eclectic author has penned over twenty books from a variety of genres including apocalyptic, mystery, alternative, history, and horror. His most recent book is Nine Deadly Dolls.

What drives this charming mystery is the unique characters and the interplay of their personalities. Justinia Wright is a private eye with lots of connections to powerful government spy agencies around the world. The six-foot-plus, incessant cigar-smoking private eye shares a home with her brother Harry and his wife Bea, and a few furry friends.

Justinia who is known simply as Tina to family and friends gets a befuddling new case. Bobby Joseph Frieden is a nephew greatly grieved when he discovers his uncle has died. He is quite convinced dear Uncle did not commit suicide but was in fact murdered by a dangerous Haitian terrorist organization. Uncle bequeathed his belongings to Bobby who becomes the target of Men Nwa Nan Lanmo known in English as the Black Hand of Death. He hires Tina to discover the truth. She jumps in with seven-league boots and is off traveling to exotic places to solve the mystery. I found myself entranced with this light-hearted mystery.

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CW is a lover of fine food, tea, and music that runs the gamut from classical to fifties and sixties pop. He also digs philosophy, mythology, art, architecture, books, history, nature, airships, and steam-powered technology. Whew! Yes, of course he’s retired. That’s the only way he could feed his curiosity for all the above.

CW shares his life with his wife Raihana Dewji. A one time-graphic artist who now paints, draws fine art and lucky for CW, she also creates book covers. You can find CW here: https://www.facebook.com/CWHawes1, https://twitter.com/cw_hawes or https://www.cwhawes.com/

WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW

I have always adhered to that adage: write what you know. As a former radio announcer, I wrote about broadcasting in one of my earlier books, The Radio Murders. I was recently introduced to a writer I had never read before. Richard Schwindt. After reading his wonderful book, I was not surprised to discover, he too, was writing from a wealth of experience in the mental health field. He is a therapist and has been a social worker in Kingston, Ontario for a number of years. His current work involves providing counseling for people targeted by workplace mobs. Serious work considering today’s violent social atmosphere.

Before I go further, let me share with you about Richard’s book. It is one of the strangest, yet most engaging books I’ve read in a long time. In my Amazon review, I described it like this: kooky, crazy, off-beat, and just delightful.  It’s disjointed and hops from year to year and location to location.  I found myself hopeless engrossed in the movement of the story.

The book has an unusual storyline. Richard Sutton is summoned to an attorney’s office and told he is the benefactor of over a million dollars and is being transported back in time to live for fifty-seven years. In his new life, he will live free of the heart disease that has plagued him and will not be permitted to contact his wife, children or grandchildren. What follows is a funny and poignant adventure. I don’t want to ruin the story, suffice to say I was able to relate personally to the flow of the book. If you grew up in the sixties and seventies, maybe the book doesn’t seem strange to you at all.

Author Richard Schwindt

Like his book, Richard Schwindt has a biography that is unique and rich. We know he is a therapist who deals with a very serious subject, but oddly, he describes his work as ” funny, provocative, and meant to entertain, or provide practical help when you need it.” He has written an award-winning book titled Emotional Recovery from Congenital Heart Disease. On the lighter side, he co-hosts on Sunset Country Radio in Sioux Lookout. He also finished as a runner-up in the Comedian Idol of Kingston Contest. He has been married for 40 years and has been blessed with two kids and two grandchildren.

Richard Schwindt is as distinctive and complex as his most recent book. I hope you will give it a try. Here’s the link: https://www.amazon.com/Richard-Schwindt/e/B00RDF3NX6

THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT

When I was a child, I loved horror. I was the only one in the family that stayed up late at night to watch Bella Lugosi suck the blood from the neck of a compliant woman. It scared the “yell”out of me. In later years, I transitioned to Stephen King to get my horror fix. “Salem’s Lot” and “Pet Semetary” are all-time favorites. I must admit while reading Pet Semetary, I put the book down at the point in the book when Louis Creed began digging up his dead son. I was just too creeped out to finish it for awhile. It was a

transformational moment, because up until then, I wanted to be scared to death. In later years. in a moment of nostalgia, I volunteered to be part of a Halloween haunted house for two months. I loved returning to my childhood passion, but horror has not been a part of my diet until recently.

On a friend’s recommendation I read Van Dyne’s Zuvembies: A Pierce Mostyn Paranormal Investigation by CW Hawes. Hawes writes in many genres and is an award winning poet. He is the author of over 20 post-apocalyptic, mystery, alternative history, and horror novels and stories.

I delved into the world of Zuvembies. To become a Zuvembie, you must be a woman who drinks the black brew. And I’m not talking Starbucks here. No. The black brew has roots in the West African Snake Religions. Once turned, the Zuvembie no longer eats human food and lives in a house or a cave like a bat. Oh, yes, like vampires, it lives forever. Zuvembies no longer speak but summon their unwitting victims with a hypnotic, haunting, wordless spell that draws the poor unfortunate to their untimely death. The only pleasure for the creature is to slaughter human beings. Pierce Mostyn and his fellow employees of the OUP (Office of Unidentified Phenomena) are called to solve a series of horrific murders by women who slaughter their own families. The investigation is fast-paced and full of more creatures than Monsters, Inc. CW Hawes has created a captivating blood-curdling tale that will keep you reading all night with the lights turned on. Sleep tight.

Here’s the link for the book: https://www.amazon.com/Van-Dynes-Zuvembies-Investigation-Investigations-ebook/dp/B08CY78YGD

CW Hawes Website: https://www.cwhawes.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CWHawes1

Twitter: https://twitter.com/cw_hawes

A CREATOR OF EXCELLENCE

I’ve never met the man, but I feel like I know him just by reading his books. Caleb Pirtle III and I have been housed with two different publishing companies through the years and have become friends and supportive authors. I am now a member of a marketing support group for authors that Caleb and his wife Linda initiated and manage. I am thrilled to be working with both of them. They have years of expertise and knowledge that they readily share.

Add to Caleb’s resume three teleplays: Gambler V: Playing for Keeps, a mini-series for CBS television starring Kenny Rogers, Loni Anderson, Dixie Carter, and Mariska Hargitay, Wildcat: The Story of Sarah Delaney and the Doodlebug Man, a CBS made-for-television movie, and The Texas Rangers, for John Milius and TNT television.

While I am working with Caleb on a professional basis, I am also a rabid fan of his books. I’d like to share some of them with you. Caleb is a prolific writer that can whip out an excellent novel in a matter of month and to date has written in the neighborhood of ninety novels. He does it with such ease and speed that it boggles my mind. It takes me a year and then some to get a novel to market. He loves suspense with an eye on history, including four noir thrillers in the Ambrose Lincoln series: Secrets of the DeadConspiracy of Lies, and Night Side of Dark, and Place of Skulls. 

Ambrose Lincoln is a trained assassin who the government uses to eliminate those who pose a threat to them. They erase his memory after every assignment using mind control and shock treatments. He becomes a man with no memory, no family, no feeling. He is the walking dead.

Caleb’s new writing project is called the Boom Town Saga Series. Eudora Durant is a formidable woman who just might have ensured her status as a widow with the help of a 22-caliber coon rife. She’d had enough of the drunken reprobate known as Washburn Durant. He disappeared and there were whispers that she shot him. She kept the secret close to her heart, and only Doc knew the truth. Doc Bannister had been a con most of his life, selling things he called doodlebugs to unsuspecting farmers. When the farmers discovered the doodlebugs were useless hunks of junk, Doc was already on the road planning his next con. His path crossed Eudora’s in the small wasted town of Ashland Texas. He smooth-talked her into drilling for oil on her land. Oil sprouted into the hot Texas sky, making Eudora one wealthy woman. He’s still a con but she loves him and forgives his occasional disappearances when a hot poker game calls his name.

The third book in the series is called Lost Side of an Orphan’s Moon, Eudora is waiting for Doc at the Ashland train station when a pale, green-eyed boy steps off the train with a tattered piece of paper pinned to his coat. My name is Ollie Porter. My daddy is Oliver Porter. He works in the oilfields. Does anyone know where he is? Dad is nowhere in sight. Eudora tucks the boy under her wing and the stage is set for another spell-binder from Caleb Pirtle III. Here’s the Amazon link to Lost Side of an Orphan’s Moon. https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Side-Orphans-Moon-Boom-ebook/dp/B088KV1VFK/