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:
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
It’s a valid question. I’m a writer and I want people to read my books. Writing is hard. There are so many steps between an idea in my brain to holding the finished book in my hands. It’s a long, tedious, exacting process that can be exhausting and expensive.
But if I am to be completely honest with you, when I’m lying in bed at night, Kindle in my hands, I will peruse through the many books I have downloaded, and quite often, I will opt for a video instead. What? A writer choosing a video over a book! I feel like a traitor to my fans and fellow writers. When I analyze myself honestly, I chalk it up to laziness. When I’m tired and just want to be entertained, I choose a movie. My brain isn’t necessarily engaged. I am just passively watching the story unfold in front of me. When I read, I want to be totally engrossed, transforming the words I am reading into images in my head. It’s a different process where I am more present, more committed.
There is a certain amount of shame in my confession, but I don’t think I am alone in the process. Netflix, Hulu, Prime Movies. Roku TV, VUDU, tubi are all doing quite well. It used to be after a long hard day at work, after dinner, after the dishes were done, it was common for me to pull out a J.A. Jance mystery and read until bedtime. I’ve been a life-long reader, but not anymore. Instead, I’m mad for Starz and the latest Outlander episode. I frankly, can’t get enough of that Jamie. God bless author Diana Gabaldon for writing such an endearing character. I recently read her book, I Give You My Body (How I Write Sex Scenes.) I learned a lot from that book! Continue reading →
I owe you an apology. I committed the cardinal sin of being inconsistent with my blog. I promised monthly conversations, but that didn’t happen. I admit last year, I was floundering with the direction of my writing career.
Part of me had always wanted a publisher. There was something credible about having a publisher’s logo on the spine of my books. I’ve had two publishers, one was successful, the other, well not so much. A few years ago, California Times Publishing, an Internet publishing website, contacted me and requested to represent me. I admit to being flattered. I had not sought their support; Jeff Napolitano of California Times Publishing had found me. It was like being invited to the prom. I said yes. Continue reading →
One of the biggest highlights for an author is when she can write THE END at the bottom of the last page. Friday night, I did just that. It’s like having a baby only your friends don’t give you showers.
A charismatic and popular priest, Father Michael Dunne is brutally stabbed to death in the confessional. The Seattle Catholic Community is stunned and in mourning for a cleric who served not only the people in his parish but many in the Northwest’s burgeoning homeless and drug-addicted communities. Continue reading →
I have numerous friends who love to write. They’re not on the New York Times Best Seller list yet, but they’re working on it. I’d like to share the story of one of my good friends who plows through an impossibly busy life to find time to follow her passion to write.
Kathy MacKenzie is truly a renaissance woman. She is a real estate broker and owner of Mackenzie Realty in California and Texas. She is a social media marketing specialist, a publicist, a web designer, and was recently elected to the Board of Directors of the Valley Center California Parks and Recreation Department. She is also a member of the Valley Center Planning Group, and the Chamber of Commerce.
Whew! On top of that she gives piano lessons once a week, and participates in a Kiwanis program called Rolling Readers that assists young children at their elementary school who need help with reading. Oh, yeah, she also plays tennis twice a week. In addition to this crazy, busy schedule, she has written two award-winning novels under the pen name of Bonny Brookes: Linked Lives and Darkest Dawn.
The 2014 winner of the Beverly Hills International Book Award in the relationships category, LINKED LIVES details the story of two women who cement a bond early in their childhood and develop a life-long support system for each other through poverty, unemployment, family struggles, betrayals in love, illness and death. Their linked lives created a rock solid friendship and love that spanned decades.
In Darkest Dawn Kathy writes about a woman named Linda who is unemployed, alone and facing an unplanned pregnancy. Abortion or adoption? The woman wonders if she can raise the child by herself after the father abandons her. In addition to this heart-wrenching decision, she is attacked by vicious dogs and stunned by a cruel death that leaves her inconsolable. Loving hands reach out to help her out of the depths of despair into peace and joy.
Like Kathy, my life is busier than I’d like. My dream is to retire from my full-time job and write every day, but someone has to pay the mortgage, and that would be me. I am working on my sixth novel, the fourth one in my Winston and Strom murder mystery series. Seattle homicide detectives, Nick Winston and Pat Strom are called to investigate the murder of Father Michael Dunne who has been tragically stabbed to death in the confessional. Who would want to kill the popular priest? BLESS ME FATHER FOR I HAVE SINNED will be published in the Spring of 2019
I’ve never met the man, but he’s become a good friend and I would like to introduce my friends to him. He has a distinguished name, one you won’t easily forget. Caleb Pirtle III was once a newspaperman, winning both the Texas Associated Press and Headliner’s Awards. Caleb also served as editorial director for Dockery House Publishing in Dallas, Texas for twenty-five years where he developed and produced magazines and books for the corporate and retail marketplace.
Caleb wrote three teleplays: Gambler V: Playing for Keeps, a mini-series for CBS, Wildcat: The Story of Sarah Delaney and the Doodlebug Man, a CBS made-for-television movie, and The Texas Rangers, a TV movie for TNT television. As if that weren’t enough, he has also penned over seventy-five books. I stand in awe. I’ve poured sweat and tears into five novels. I can’t imagine seventy-five books! I’d like to share one of my favorite Caleb Pirtle novels with you.
I’ve been on four writer’s retreats and am amazed at the considerable amount of work I’ve accomplished each time I’ve taken the opportunity to get away from my lounge chair and compose while enjoying the beauty of the Northwest.
My most recent adventure included a trip to Port Townsend, WA, a lovely coastal town on the northernmost end of the Olympic Peninsula. It’s famous for its graceful Victorian homes, whale-watching tours, delicious seafood, and Fort Worden State Park where An Officer and a Gentleman with Richard Gere was filmed.
It’s also home to Manresa Castle, a unique hotel boasting rooms with turrets, an antique closed-in elevator, and haunted rooms. Continue reading →
There are many gifts of Christmas including a gracious, giving attitude by many people. Individuals dig deep into their pockets to buy toys for disadvantaged children. Others drop coins into the Salvation Army red kettle. Still others donate turkeys and canned goods to area food banks. Don’t you wish we could keep this warm, caring attitude for the whole year?
We also take special care to find just the perfect gift for our loved ones. If you have a book lover in your life and are looking for just the right book, I’d like to share the books I have authored with you. Hopefully, you’ll find one that sparks your interest.
Seattle homicide detectives, Nick Winston and Pat Strom, search out crime in the underbelly of the Emerald City. This time, a serial killer is murdering lesbians in the Northwest’s most gay-friendly city. Winston and Strom are called to the apartment of University of Washington student, Kylee Harris. The provocative young woman is slaughtered in her bed, and the killer leaves behind a grisly clue that shocks even the most cynical detectives. https://www.amazon.com/Kiss-Girls-Make-Them-Die-ebook/dp/B06XBR46LV/refContinue reading →
Wow! I had to look back in the archives to find out how long it’s been since I wrote a blog post. Almost three months! That’s forever in the land of blogs. I once read that if you don’t communicate weekly, you’ll lose your audience and they won’t come back. I hope not. I raise my finger in protest and sputter, “But I had to get my grandson ready for the new school year! And then there was the house appraisal!” The prep work to spruce up my home for the appraisal was a heavy lift. I ended up painting most of my house’s interior and increasing my Home Depot credit card balance as high as the national debt.
Photo courtesy of Jonathan Rolande.
Whew! Now that it’s done and my leg muscles have recovered from running up and down a ladder, I’m ready for life to return to normal. Which means, talking with you, reading, and writing on my new book, Bless Me Father For I Have Sinned. Continue reading →