Thursday, June 02, 2011

Life doth slow a writer down...

Life oft times gets in our way, we sorry bunch of storytellers. There are newborns you have to go see, family reunions, picknics, parades, funerals, hospital visits as well as holidays. We are expected on holidays.

As writers who cherish every moment of time we have to write, we find the less time we have to write, we get more written. That sound like a paradox to you? But think of it, too much time on our hands and what do we do with it but fritter it away? Less time we have, generally speaking, the better we schedule and stick to said schedule. Scheduling time to write is really key to getting pages stacked up and eventually fit for editing and rewriting.

Lately, I have had so many distractions and problems thrown at me by life that a series of monkey wrenches are making it impossible to schedule time, so now I have to grab time wherever and whenever I can.

I embarked on the writing of Bismarck 2013 - tentative title. I have a whopping seventeen single-spaced pages completed, some four or five scenes. I am feeling pretty good about the quality (as I edit in the process of re-reading up to where I left off, then go forward), but not too thrilled with the quantity at this juncture.

While outside forces beyond my control have reduced the time I have had to work on the book, another outside force is working from within--the simple knowledge that I know I don't know enough...that I need to do far more research, and that I need to buckle down for that, despite the fact I want to jump into the writing.  This has always been a problem with me--more anxious to do the story than the research behind the story.

Don't get me wrong. I love reading and researching my topics but the story is bursting to get out of me and onto the now proverbial page which is now a screen and not a page.  The story wants be told, and the story does in fact dictate far more so than research, and that is as it should be. No matter what the backdrop for the human drama is, it needs remain as backdrop and not take over or overtake the story itself. If that happens, you need to be writing for Encylopedia Britanica, non-fiction and not fiction. Dramatic writing dictates the story comes first. Good example is the now 75 year-old classic Gone with the Wind. It is not about the Civil War. It is about Scarlet O'Hara as another Perils of Pauline tale; the burning of Atlanta and the War Between the States just happens around her.

So these are the issues revolving around the opening scenes of Bismarck for me right now. I will see to it these issues and this all important balance gets worked out. In the meantime, the pages I placed up earlier as openers have entirely been overhauled. Rest assured some pages are getting done despite the hassles of life's intrusions--some of which must take precedence over pushing the new novel along.

I blogged at  for my weekly article there on the Creative Process and how very Mystical and Magical it truly is and how it all comes down to we authors having OCD--obsessive compulsive disorder. I think that is part of the tussle to want to get underway with the story despite a feeling of needing to do more research at the same time. Two sides of the brain at war but then a story is a war and an author is its combatant. After all, with my Titanic 2012 and now Bismarck 2013, I am embarking on a new subcategory of suspsense--seafaring suspense.

Rob Walker
Titanic 2012, Children of Salem, and more...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Yet Another Ambitious Seafaring Suspense Novel?

Last year beginning around Feb., I began TITANIC 2012 - Curse of RMS Titanic, and I tried to do my best to keep a running blog or log or diary of progress, success, failures, steps going forward, steps going back...various stages of development of the novel and a running commentary....

Well now after the success of completing TITANIC and now that it has been up for sale on Kindle for some time, I went seeking a new project that was equal to the task of being on a par with Titanic, as I feel Titanic, my Titanic with its various layers, interesting characters, and its new theory of the crime that absolved the iceberg and took Capt. Edward Smith off history's shady pedestal.

So where to go, what to do... After taking a break from the heavy-duty writing, I did a quick book 4 in a horror series I had penned as Geoffrey Caine years back. Always wanted to work again with Dr. Abraham Stroud, arecheologist and vampire/werewolf slayer, so BAYOU  WULF came into being while I allowed something more major, bigger, more ambitious to percolate and it came to me -- Go Find The BISMARCK.

Go after the Bismarck just as Dr. Robert Ballard did not rest on his laurels of finding the Tianic, where she sat on the ocean floor. Ballard next set his sights on The Bismarck, so why not do the same, only give it my special stamp. Give it intrigue, make it compelling, bring in Hitler, get into his head a bit, get into his obsession with the occult and what that might have to do with the ill-fated Bismarck.

And how can I get an Alastair Ransom-type character during WWII aboard the ship to act as hero?  Would he be German or British? Would he have help or act as a loner?  And what about alternating chapters with a current day or futuristic tale of divers going into the now wreck -- as I did with Titanic, only while making it 'somewhat familiar' making sure it is uniquely its own story?

These WHAT IF questions form the backbone and skeletal makeup of story, and they represent the first "percolating process" for the imagination. They help me SEE scenes, picture the moment(s), imagine the dialouge and scenes and characters.  I imagine the principle characters about a country store cracker-barrel or in this case the ship's galley -- of course aboard the largest battleship ever built to that date, Bismarck's Galley was likely two or three huge rooms needed to feed a crew of some two thousand.

In any event, I want to do my best again for youZ guyZ -- to do a kind of Julia & Julia Journal but this one is not about cooking food but cooking up an imagination emporium--another word for a helluva novel. So am making this ANNOUNCEMENT here and now -- GONNA NEED A TITLE...SO THERE WILL BE A TITLE CONTEST.

Am  GOING to need some 'throwaway' characters - extras willing to die on the Bismarck, but this time German names will be in order for the most part. There will be a slew of other names during the telling of the modern dive to Bismarck story, however, so I will be asking for volunteers -- you give me the green light and I will kill you off in brutal fashion in the story I am tentatively calling BISMARCK 1941 - 2012 or Bismarck 2013.  Much depends on how soon I can get the novel penned as to that significant date.

So am putting out the call to NAME the story contest, and seeking Extras willing to die for the cause.

I will be posting these needs on facebook, twitter, driving people here and there. For the time being if you'd care to read on here are the opening scenes so far. PLEASE tell me what you think in the comments section.

Here is the excerpt in very Rough Form:

                   B I S M A R C K   2013

May 5, 1941 aboard the Bismarck

Adolph Hitler smiled and rocked on his heels, 5’10 in his British-made Wellington boots; he smiled and turned his head in all directions from the bridge of the deadliest battleship ever to set sail on the high seas—Bismarck. He’d come aboard with heavy security, and Lt. Commander Peter Dorfmann had noticed the box—a wooden crate marked as canned fruit, ostensibly a gift for Admrial Lutgens. Hitler’s entourage plied directly to the Admiral’s quarters first, deposited the gift, and had returned to inspect the rows upon rows of sailors lining the deck to greet him, after which came the speech-making.

Dorfmann, well aware of the fidgeting among the ranks now, did his best to set an example, staring up at the fuehrer with a look of pride affixed to his face. He did so while his eyes wandered to the other officers aboard that he could see from his vantage point. There was X whose adoration for Hitler could not be matched. Not far from X, stood X, who was equally excited to greet the leader of the Third Reich who had graced the ship with a blessing now, ending with, “I pray not for you men of Bismarck, for many will die to achieve our ends. I pray not for the Bismarck herself.” Hitler’s voice had gone to an uncharacteristic whisper at the microphone that covered most of his blunt features. Peter wondered how the man could say such things and not a single grumble from the men aboard this ship when Hitler ended with, “I pray for der reich, the Fatherland!”

This sent a cheer up among the men so loud that it sent seagulls a mile away scurrying.

Bismarck, named for its architect Johan Bismarck, had been originally christened and launched amid a crowd of thousands who’d swarmed into the Hamburg shipyards of 14 February 1939 to celebrate the launch of Germany’s grandest battleship. Cheers had filled the air that day, and Peter had been on hand, in his uniform, under orders to be there among the onlookers, giving the Nazi salute as the ceremony came to a close and the giant warship groaned and slowly slid from its gantry and into the water for the first time. At the time, Peter hadn’t a clue that he would be enlisted to be among Bismarck’s crew.

So why now, two years later, with almost the entire continent of Europe save Russia and Spain under Nazi control, was Hitler here, aboard, carting oranges and apples to Admiral Lutgen’s quarters?

Peter was born curious and he was raised cynical.

As for Hitler, Adolph, Peter privately called him, Peter could hardly believe the events that had led Hitler from a failed soldier, a failed artist, a failed family man to this—his prominence as the leader of the Third Reich, but it must be destined, it must be fate, a higher power to which, someday, Adolph might perhaps bow to give thanks. As for the battleship Bismarck, her guns the most enormous ever devised, Hitler smiled even wider now, no doubt at the thought of the power beneath his feet, at the adoration of the mariners, and at Admiral Gunther Lutgens introduction. Not that the Fuhrer needed any introduction.

Still the introduction went on at length, followed by a welcome aboard from Captain Johan Lindermann, who kept it short. Peter thought he detected a minute and quickly covered smirk from Lindermann.

Still with Hitler basking in it, the long and winding introduction, filled as it were with praise for his leadership and vision for the Fatherland, finally closed, and Adolph, feeling a twinge of his childhood fantasies bubbling up, raised his hand to the two thousand men aboard Bismarck and shouted, “Seig heil, sieg heil.” To which the men responded in one voice, two replies: “Sieg Heil,”—to Victory—and “Heil Hitler! Heil Hitler!”

And so it went on. It went on long. Every proud young seaman in the Der Deutbchen Krietgsmarine stood on the decks, arms raised in the now well-known Nazi salute, and when the combined nearly two thousand men raised their voices, shouting Zeig Hiel, Zeig Hiel, it felt as if Bismarck herself shook with the reverberation.

May 5, 2012 at the wreck site in the Irish Sea

The black undersea cosmos at these depths could not be calculated for its sheer impact on the human psyche. Ryne Muellerheim slid in behind Horst Baderfitz as they closed in on the sunken Bismarck, encased as they were in the underwater marvel of a mini-sub, the Blitzmariner, of modern German design.    

Both divers could trace their ancestry back to the men on the shipwreck they were racing toward—the infamous German destroyer, Bismarck. They moved through the deep like a wave, hardly noticeable even on the radar screens manned by people who expected to see them, the captain and crew of Victory, the seagoing salvage ship that meant to take what it could from the bowels of the sunken WWII battleship.

They had little interest in anything else such as precisely how or why she sank as history dictated her demise quite thoroughly, although some scholars questioned the odds of a direct hit on her rudder by a single torpedo fired from a plane like some gift from the gods of the British fleet and ample vengeance for the sinking of The Hood, the Lusitania, and Titanic’s sister ship, Britannic—all of which had been sent to the bottom by German engineering of one kind or another.

Ryne and Horst watched out the portals, marveling at there being no wake, no bubbles, nothing to indicate they were here. They traveled much as a shark or dolphin. Absolute silent running in what amounted to a high-tech titanium shark, a sleek, space-age designed undersea craft created specifically for this, the most ambitious salvage of a dead ship at such depths in all of history. They meant to make a fortune along with that history.

The Bismarck sat at the sea bottom in the straights of the Irish Sea in a deep valley floor. It would be 4,570 meters or 15,000 feet to the surface should they encounter any problem. In other words, miles to the surface once they exited Victory and dared enter Bismarck. The two men had seen graphs depicting the depth, putting New York’s Empire State building on the bottom for comparison alongside Paris’ Eiffel Tower and Toronto’s CN Tower—all dwarfed to the size of a needle on such graphs. It was a miracle that Robert Ballard had ever found Titanic, and even more of a miracle that he’d located the Bismarck in 1989 at such depths. All thanks to the advanced underwater sonar developed by the US Navy.

A school of krill suddenly engulfed them, the cloud so thick as to blot out sight.

Damn, it’s like a white out in Upstate New York!” shouted Ryne, who’d spent some time in America.

Horst nodded. “Like million diamonds blinking down on—” but he didn’t finish before the implosion of Victory, killing everyone aboard instantly, the two German divers and George Fleet, the man at the controls. They never knew what hit them aside from the krill storm but Victory had slammed into Bismarck like an airplane hitting a mountainside. The krill had blinded Victory’s pilot long enough for Bismarck to kill them all.

At the surface, everyone aboard The North Star—an oceangoing scientific and salvage ship, those at the monitors sat stunned, aghast at knowing the expedition was over, doomed to failure. One man had noted the sudden cloud on the radar screen that had engulfed Victory and the three men inside with the suddenness of a storm at sea. At the last possible moment, Fleet, steering the sub, had shouted out the word ‘whale’. Where there was krill, there was whale. He’d most likely—though no one would ever know for certain—cut away from the whale to avoid hitting it only to crash into Bismarck rather than make a soft landing aboard her.

Rob Walker
Titanic 2012

Friday, May 13, 2011

Kindle is King and ahhh...Walker

Finally, I am on a level playing field with all the major writers as I am taking up just as much space on the Kindle Shelf as any other author, no matter the name. Thanks and praise be to Kindle. Honestly, every chance I get, I push the Kindle reader as every time a Kindle dedicated eReader is sold, I hear a Ka-Chinging in my ear. I have posted posiive on Kindle on my facebook, pushed it one twitter and on chat groups as well as my blogs. Definitely, the thing for all of us to do - just as we should all be pushing LITERACY...

The Kindle has reKindled more readig in America than any other device known to man in modern times. Just recently, I pushed on an article that explained that the kinde is the top selling gadget of all gadgets that people WANT - such news is good for us all.

Frankly, after working with some 8 or 9 different publishers and as many agents over the years, guess who has been my best partner in crime and books? AMAZON, yes, and I kiss the ground CEO Bezos walks on as he, more than any publisher on the planet, had done more for WRITERS than anyone anywhere. When did an Indian like me (part, very small part Cherokee) ever get such a great "contract" or Treaty from a white man? A 70/30 split favoring this Mississippi born hybrid? WOW and come on!

Plus, and this is a huge plus with anyone who had gone the rounds with NYC publising -- plus I can't reject myself! I send it off to my publisher, who is  now ME, and I get special treatment - last five book length works, no rejection, no returns to speak of, and no remainders! No 'special events' or 'special sales' for which I earn nada, zip.  No waiting on a vauge, questionable royalty check filled with mysterious bookkeeping that revolves around an antiquated system of withholding author payment on basis of the dreaded RETURNS. No waiting a year and a half to see the book take shape and get 'clothes' and back copy and pricing while you have no say-so in any of it.  Gone are those days.

In point of fact, there are so many pluses to becoming an Indie author that I placed up my last five titles without the bother of taking them again to an agent or a publisher, washing my hands of the entire system and replacing it with me, myself, and I.  A dream come true for this ol' country boy.

Rob Walker
Find me on Twitter, facebook, KDP

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Your website is your calling card, like your business card, so you want it to be as attractive as possible, and when you hear back from people who have visited your site, you want to be responsive, to make changes to it if it makes sense to do so.

My website has a great look thanks to my son's graphic art genius.  Not long ago the folks at First Turning Point reviewed this website, and as a result I had changes made.  Even more recently, having had enough complaints about its opening with sound/music, I squelched the sound and replaced the one youtube with another video that could be turned on and off with a button.

Go to First Turning Point to see the initial review of the site.  Find it here. Let me know what you think of this author's site. Drop me a comment.  Here is where you can find the review.  Below that is the website url itself.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

URLs Leading to Rob Walker Online Everywhere

Here is where you can find info and more info on me, from me, about me, but truly directed at YOU...articles, blogs, talk radio, website, all of it so you can run me down....

My website

Kindle community forum thread “what moves kindle books off shelves” is at:


Online mag./articles:

My Facebook page:

My Twitter Page:

My Blog Talk Radio Interview:

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

ACcure...a cure...Accurate Accuracy in An Historical Novel

Never Forget the Author in Authority, Authenticity

A Newbie just finished her first historical novel, and she asks: Just how authentic does it have to be? How much accuracy is necessary? How do you keep from making horrible gaffs?

My initial response in my head is that if you are going to actually use a jock strap in your Roman Gladiator story, you had better do the minimum to find out first if gladiators used jock straps, and secondly, if they did, you need to know what they were made from--certainly not plastics or some mysterious material dropped on the Romans by aliens (unless you are simply go for goofy, fun, crazy laughs such as A Funny Thing Happened to me on the way to the Colosseum). If it is serious historical novel the authentic Roman jock strap must be determined unless you choose not to use it - the strap.

The entire idea of Historical Fiction is a somewhat schizophrenic label, history meaning somehow ground in fact while fiction is (from the Spanish ficciones) a "pack of lies" even if it is to "prove a truth"... so we historical fictionlists no less than our sister schizoid science fictionalists (science supposedly being fact), we are in a dither, a conundrum as it were, but some keeping our feet firmly aground helps.

What does EB White's Charlotte's Web have in common with historical fiction and indeed all fiction, this wild fantasy we adults read to our children only to find ourselves so drawn in as to be the ones in tears when Charlotte doesn't make it (you won't read that book again because the ending's just too hard to take...). What indeed makes this FANTASY fiction believable and in fact mesmerizingly so, a tale so crazily unbelievable. Come on, a story of a pig and a spider having a full-blown platonic love for one another, a relationship we'd all like to have, one of unconditional and sacrificial love all taking place in our own backyard? What makes it work? What makes Stephen King horror work?

Accuracy, authenticity, the authenticated voice - alongside accuracy and authenticity in background, backdrop, props, and in short DETAILS. The Devil is in the Details. Detailed accuracy makes a believer of us all both in film and in fiction. Setting the stage with the proper accoutrement's is absolutely necessary to make historical fiction truly come to life.

Below are the two from the hip responses the young novitiate got from my good friend Pat Brown and then from me the same day she asked the question (isn't the Internet something?)

On Tue, 3/29/11, Pat Brown, author of Absinthe of Malice (a great read by the way) wrote:

I've started writing historicals recently. The first two I finished were set in 1929 in Los Angeles. I'm writing one right now set in New York in the late 1880s. All you can do in terms of research is the best you can. The
20s, being Prohibition and all it brought is very well documented. Unless you have a major blunder, like put the wrong President in Washington or have the Titanic sink in 1969 (Hi Rob!!) most people won't call you on.

Or if you're like me, you spend a small fortune on books and things like old Sears, Roebuck catalogues. I was also lucky enough to go to L.A. to get some research there. Not knowing where your novel is set I can't say much more.

But really, story and characters trump research.

> To which I then wrote to support what Pat said on the same day:

I agree with all that Pat says here, esp. about story over research; research is part of the back-drop and like setting belongs back of characters and action as backdrop. Look at Gone With the Wind for an example. Scarlet's 'soap opera' is far more compelling and important than the lil ol Civil War, now isn't it? As for the best way to get CAUGHT in a blunder before it goes public, I have found my best avenue of defense are good early readers and editors - whom I love, one and all. I generally acknowledge them one and all on my ack page, and yes ebooks have ack pgs and dedication pgs if they so choose same as some having a eAutographed title page.

Like Pat, for props, I rely heavily on Sears and Roebuck but also Wards' Catalogues of the day along with all the many books consulted. If you have your character pick up a gun that does not yet exist, whoa, you will hear about it....sometimes you will hear about it and the person who flagged it is DEAD WRONG. But even if you do a contemporary novel as I did with my Edge Series and set it in a venue you have NEVER been to as in Houston, will rile some folks up if you fail to call the Canals running through the city Channels....or visa-verse as I forget which was correct now but I sure HEARD about it from ONE disgruntled reader who did acknowledge that it was the only problem bothering him in FOUR novels of 80-90,000 words, and he loved my main character, a Texas bred Cherokee Indian named Lucas Stonecoat.

So you do your best, you be as diligent about the research as humanly possible, and then you do like ten rewrites as your early readers pick it apart, going back to the well and your sources many times over. My problem with research is I always leap into the story and have to stop and start to go back to the research to be be sure....

PLEASE DO LEAVE a comment if nothing else to let me know you dropped by!

Rob Walker
Titanic 2012 - a hundred year old mystery with a horrific twist
Children of Salem - an ecumenical spy w/vendetta falls in love with the witch's daughter instead

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Classic Claptrap or Classic Literature - Where's the Line Drawn?

Genre Fiction Becomes Classic Literature How?
  by Robert W. Walker

There has been a long-standing feeling among the snobbish in the literary world that says such books as Silence of the Lambs, The Exorcist, or any genre book is hardly worthy of academic concern, that the mystery and horror novel in particular are inferior to what is considered actual "literature" which somehow has more dignity about it and is certainly a place for the classics. And yet the works we today consider classics were in the day of their publication condemned as "genre" or something less than "literature".

Certainly there are some people who point to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and call it a boy's adventure tale yet it has become the classic, even the pinnacle of the type of book that academics land on and like vultures pick apart and pluck out symbolism, irony, depth of characterization, important themes. Such matters concern academics just as a single short story by Pappa Hemingway can cause whole dissertations to be written to which Hemingway must laugh all the way to eternity.

But somehow even today there are bastions of academia and readers who feel that a mystery, especially a murder mystery or a police procedural such as an Ed McBain novel does not come up to the level of importance to be called anything but a lesser creature than literature. The word literature must be used only for dead poets and ancient novels of the past, for the Bronte sisters and Mary Shelley, Jules Verne, Conan Doyle, E.A.Poe, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain and too many to list here. However, novelists mining the same fields as Verne's science fiction, Doyle's puzzles with Sherlock Holmes at their center, Dickens' soap operas of human condition and contrition, Twain's humorist travelogues or young adult coming of age tales, Edgar Allan Poe's horror, Shelley's horror, Abraham Stoker's horror classic Dracula, Robert Louis Stevenson's Jekyll & Hyde -- these are somehow elevated due to the mastery of the author and their "genre" forgiven or forgotten.

I condemn no book that works, and mystery titles of today and recent years deal with huge issues such as what it means to be an honorable man in a less than honorable world; mysteries cover the gamut of modern life and its alienating nature, the disenfranchisement of mankind from his true nature, and the stripping away of individual freedoms. Lord of the Flies, a British classic, is horror of the first order, one of civilization's worst nightmares. Bradbury's fiery tale of burning books while science fiction is a study in governmental controls gone amok,and yes, the intellectuals are the first to be imprisoned in a theocracy or a dictatorship. Mystery, Horror, Science Fiction, even romance from Shakespeare to the thinnest of modern day romance novels touch upon psychology, good vs. evil, the ripple effect of gossip and miscommunication.

I submit to you that genre fiction, including my own historical thrillers, deals with the most complex of human desires, needs, goals, desires. Just as the core story within the pages of Herman Melville's Moby Dick deal with aberrant human psyche so perfectly, just as Dickens' Christmas Carrol deals with the human condition and its complexities, so to does Hammett and Leonard, Robert Bloch, Richard Matheson, Dean Koontz, Stephen King, the Bronte heirs - a long, distinguished list of female authors from across the modern landscape such as Laura Lippman, Charlaine Harris, Tess Gerritsen, and Patricia Cornwell.

Tell me Dr. of Literature and Professor of Classics, how will the modern 'masters' of these various genres from science fiction to historical fiction be regarded by academia, and in the end, will they not square up with the elder statesmen of early "genre" fiction classics thanks in large measure to their popularity? Dickens was writing a series of serial novels with each installment in the daily newspaper there in London, Mark Twain writing for a San Francisco newspaper, and today as with the huge crowds waiting for the next installment, so too hordes of readers anxiously await the next King installment.

I recall how The Catcher in the Rye suddenly was in every freshman English class across America. I don't see that so much nowadays. I wonder where The Catcher went. I see more copies of Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart - a mystery surrounding a character who refuses to change because something inside him cannot change. An African village mystery man, a book of great physical battles as well as mental battles written in English by an African author--a modern day "classic" for what reason? It is considered great literature, great writing. Recall Flowers for Algernon and 2001 - A Space Odyssey, books that were also finding their way into every college English class and considered "high-filuting literature.

It may be true that for a genre piece of writing to rise to the level of literature and especially classic literature that it be read by more than one generation and so not easily forgotten by time itself. Few books rise to this level, but in calling out whole genres such as mysteries as somehow lesser than literature is in fact a strange attitude and behavior, for all great literature come out of popular acclaim as much if not more than critical acclaim which often lags behind discoveries made by readers of every stripe and not the critics.

Robert W. Walker (Rob)
follow popular acclaim for my own Children of Salem and Titanic 2012

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Changing Directions - New Work in Progress - and a Short

Hello everyone -- as Titanic is up and selling on Kindle, I've turned back to doing a horror novel, something fast, furious, and a lot easier to write than the complex and heavily researched Titanic 2012 which is garnering rave reviews now, some of which I have noted on my facebook page. A simple Google of Titanic 2012 - Curse of RMS Titanic will take you to some reviews as will a visit to store.

In the meantime, my Children of Salem is now my bestselling Kindle title - 325 sold since Jan. 1 alone, and it has come up on several Kindle bestselling lists - and for a time was #1 in historical fiction.

I am working on Bayou Wulf and hope to have the rough draft finished between now and February's end, perhaps into March.  That will be then a YEAR since I began work on Titanic 2012 -- giving myself a year to accomplish that book, which was completed and posted way in advance of a year -- on Halloween Night 2010. Up until Children of Salem took over as my highest selling title, it had been a thin, straightforward horror novel and so I am in an effort with Bayou Wulf to offer up more in the category of horror, and those who have read Titanic know of its suprenatural and horrorific overtones....after all, I did place a disease-spreading monster on board.

The Bayou Wulf title is an extension of my 3-book series featuring Dr. Abraham Stroud, vampire slayer whose inheritance frees him up to bring in any technology and any manpower and gunpower necessary to destroy such godawful creatures as werewolves, vampires, and revenants. Abe first appeared in Vampire Dreams, Werewolf's Grief, and Zombie Eyes - previous to this as paperbacks with older pub dates and more boring titles and artwork than my Kindle editions. Abe is an archeologist with a steel plate in his head earned in Vietnam, a former Chicago cop, and the great-great-great grandson of Van Helsing. Bayou Wulf continues his story - a continuation only made possible by my partnering with Amazon-Kindle.

I will place up an except of Bayou Wulf soon to give you a flavor of same.  For now, I wish to place up a short story featuring Lucas Stonecoat  whose four books begun with Cutting Edge are a study in character-driven story. A psychological thriller -- Here it is:      Shy One Pearl

A Det. Lucas Stonecoat short story (Lucas is featured in the Edge Series)
Quarrelsome was the single word most people leveled at Detective Lucas Stonecoat, a full-blood Texas Cherokee Indian cop in Houston, and a man who proved that a Native American Indian could kick the stereotype, get off the reservation, and make a living as a police in the white world-and still keep his identity. There was much to admire about the man besides his Jimmy Smits good looks, his 6’4 lean frame, and his mesmerizing eyes. Still, he was surly and contentious ever since Pearl Sanchez had disappeared.

He kicked out at his desk, the sound sending a shot through the old police station slated for demolition.

“You gonna bring the house down before the wrecking ball?” asked Dr. Meredyth Sanger, police shrink, to whom Lucas always went for profiling help. He’d asked her for any insights she might have about the kind of man who could abduct a fourteen-year-old girl and then send little bloody pieces of her home to the family, making it clear he was chopping Pearl up little by little.

Lucas had gone over everything ten, eleven, twelve times. Everyone who worked for the father, everyone the mother had ever known, completely turning their private lives inside out in search of anyone anywhere at any time that either of the two might have crossed. Whoever was behind this crime seemed to take great, abiding joy in the suffering of Pearl’s parents, Pearl being their only daughter. It stood to reason it’d be a disgruntled employee, after All Sanchez ran a business both high-powered and involving hundreds of employees. Countless employees and come and gone, many of them upset with Sanchez. None of these panned out. But each had to be checked. Meanwhile the clock ticked on for Pearl.

He’d turned then in earnest to the mother, and he found things in her past she pleaded he keep just between them, things that even Sanchez didn’t know. Again none of the leads here panned out. He went back to Sanchez, tossing out the idea it was work-related, digging into his background. Could it be someone he’d crossed as a child, as a teen, as a young man in college? Nothing.

So much time wasted and nothing. The strike force had no better luck. The clock ticked on. Time was not on Pearl’s side.

They finally had to cede to the notion the maniac who had Pearl was a total psycho with an agenda he alone could possibly understand. A mad agenda that had no connection to the real world. This meant no real world sensible means of looking for a motive, and without a motive—if he had simply stalked her and lifted her off the street for no reason other than to chop her up and send her piece by piece home….how could they possibly catch the fiend?

He’d remained faceless all this time.

He left no clue, as corporeal as fog, a phantom within the fog, a fog that had kept Lucas in the dark all this time. Too long…another digit arrived in a tidy box.

The parents recognized the knuckle and nail.

Who knew if the crazed fiend might simply next take her leg, an arm, her head, or Pearl’s spleen, her heart, her stomach?

In the middle of it all, Lucas’s Chief, Aaron Phillips, recently having taken over the stationhouse that’d soon be leveled, got in Lucas’s face and ordered him in no uncertain terms to see a shrink other than his chum, Meredyth.

“For kicking a desk?”

“Just do it before this case overwhelms you!”

“See a shrink when the case is ongoing!” Lucas demanded.

“That’s an order! No excuses!”

“But time’s of the essence, Chief! We need to keep on the case, else Pearl—”

“Case’ll be waiting, Lucas. This one’s going nowhere.”



It was too true. In every sense of the word, the Pearl Sanchez case was going nowhere.

As soon as Chief Phillips turned his back, Lucas felt an attack coming on, one of his blackouts from a lingering condition from years past that only Meredyth Sanger knew of. He’d learned to trust her for this reason, but now she’s handing me off to some shrink I don’t even know? And what gives with Chief Phillips, stopping me from doing my job in the middle of my investigation? That just isn’t done!

Then the blackout was over as quickly as it threatened to drop him to his knees, and he saw it…saw it clearly. Something had changed in Pearl’s life. Her routine disrupted.

The new piano teacher.

How many times had he seen it in the paperwork. How many times had he ignored it?

Pearl was locked away in her piano teacher’s basement or attic or crawl space. Little Pearl’d been taking lessons for three years, and she played at the school pageant, a regular prodigy. The pictures depicted a beautiful young Hispanic girl. But her piano teacher had died in a car accident, and she’d begun to go to a new piano teacher. It was a detail no one, including Lucas, had paid any attention to.

Lucas raced from the old stationhouse in Mid-town Houston. He drove across the city with his strobe light flashing, horn blaring. He called for backup as he did so. The last package sent to her parents had held Pearl’s bloody left ear. The maniac could tire of the ‘game’ at any time.

“Anatomy is destiny,” Sigmund Freud had said. This was a twisted truism here. At what point would the piano teacher-turned-killer decide to take a piece of Pearl that would be fatal?

He found the address that’d been in their files all along, the same address he’d subconsciously memorized. The piano teacher had been pleasant and had answered all the questions previous detectives working under Lucas had asked of her. Her alibi established, she’d claimed not to have seen Pearl for a week, not since her last session at the keys. Another dead end, so he’d thought.

So everyone had thought.

Now he stood pounding on the door. He had no warrant, so he must talk his way in, sift about the place, make small talk, find reason to open the door to the basement, try to get a rise out of the bitch.

He calmly did it all, and Mrs. Louise Bohnheim came at him with a knife as soon as he went for the door. As soon as she attacked, Lucas put her down with a right hook and tore the door open. He took the rickety stairwell two and three steps at a time, and sure enough here was Pearl, her eyes wide, her mouth moving below the gag, her bare body shivering and covered with small cuts where the mad woman had been at play.

Lucas tore away her bonds and gag, and he lifted her into his arms, and she said thank you repeatedly in a mantra of gratitude, and he told her to save her energy, and that he’d get her to a hospital, and that she’d soon be in the arms of mother and father. Safe.

“Is that the way you remember it, Detective Stonecoat?” asked Dr. Kari Martin, the police shrink he didn’t trust, despite kind things Meredyth had said about Martin.

“You can be sure she’s the best, Lucas. I would only find the best for you. I love you, remember?”

“Remember?” he looked up to see not Meredyth but Dr. Martin instead. “Hold on. Whataya mean, how I remember it. That’s how it was, just like I told you.”

“You spoke to Pearl when you found her?”


“And she spoke back?”


“Thanked you repeatedly, you say?”


“And when you got her to the hospital, she…her eyes were open and she was conscious?”

“Yes! How many g’damn times I gotta say it?”

“Until you get it right.”


“Meredyth said to keep at you until you get straight with this Pearl Sanchez business, detective.”

“Get straight?”

“Detective, the coroner has time of death for Pearl Sanchez at twenty-four hours before you reached her.”

He shook his head firmly….then more firmly. “That’s not how it happened.”

“No…not in your head, obviously.”

Lucas swallowed hard and stared at his griddle-sized hands; they seemed far away, as if his arms were turned to rubber and stretching away from him. Martin finally broke the silence. “Detective, how long since the Sanchez case was closed?”

“Active yesterday, closed today.”

“Try six months ago, Lucas.”

“Six months?” Lucas looked around the office and past the office to the green walls of the institution. “Six months?”

“That’s how long you’ve been with us here.”

Doctor and cop stared across at one another in a silence of infinite depth.

“You saying, I was committed?”


“And Pearl Sanchez is dead?”


“I carried her to the hospital in my arms. Gave her to the ER people.”

“Dead, sir. You carried her in dead.”

“I did?”

“I’m sorry, but at least for you, this is a good day.”

“A good day?”

“A breakthrough. You’re aware of your surroundings.”

“Pearl didn’t make it?”

“You had a break down, Lucas.”

“But she talked to me.”

“Perhaps on some level she did; perhaps you soothed her spirit, Lucas, but her body was gone when you arrived ahhh…too late.”

“Too late. But for six months now, playing it over and over in my mind…”

“You saved Pearl. You weren’t too late.”

“I let her down in the real world.”

“It’s a burden to be sure, detective, but one that we’re here to help you accept.”


“The only way to free you.”

“Free me from this place?”

“No…from…from this version of events…”

“Gotta accept the truth.”

“Then we can talk about your going out the door.”

Lucas heard faint music playing somewhere the other side of the door. He stood, pushed his chair away, and went toward the door. “I could’ve sworn I’d gotten there in time.”

“I’m sorry. Everyone is.”

“I never suspected the piano teacher.”

“No one did.”

“No one did in time.”

Quarrelsome was the single word most people used for Detective Lucas Stonecoat, surly and contentious ever since the Sanchez case. Before that he’d been a likeable fellow, and he’d had a chance with Dr. Sanger. Not anymore. That Sanchez girl…what was her name? Pearl, a shy one, yeah…. He’d gotten there shy maybe twenty, twenty-four hours…had failed to break it in time. Now shy Pearl haunted him.

Now his badge weighed heavy.