Winter’s Icy Caress Update

The first draft is completed, and I’m starting on revisions of the second book in the Clare Thibodeaux Series.  I began working on the book in August of 2016 after I published Exodus.  Writing the new saga in Clare’s life was slow going at times but now over 70,000 words later, I can see the end in sight.  My son’s wedding, a three-week visit to Los Angeles, and the return of my favorite crazy Labrador to our home kept me away from my writing more than I would have liked.

I am still planning to have the Kindle edition up by the end of May, but this will depend on how the revisions progress.  Thank you for being patient as I try to make the story the best it can be.

Back to writing!


Old Land, New Story

This new blog ‘The Cultural Bridge’ from The One Million Project will feature writers from around the world giving readers a glimpse into their lives. A great read!

The Cultural Bridge

If I tell you I’m an African, what comes to mind? Poverty? War? Genocide? Lions and elephants? Black people living in primitive grass huts?

Lonely tree in the mist, nature autumn season, landscape in the

We think in stereotypes, but reality is so much more complex and therefore more beautiful. The Africa I know is not one of grief and limitations. It is a land of creativity, entrepreneurial endeavours, opportunity, cutting-edge cell phone apps, and streets full of cars and energy. It is multi-racial and multicultural.

My description might surprise some people. Perhaps it’s a story they don’t want to hear. After all, stereotypes are more comfortable. They reassure us that the world is as it has always been; it’s predictable; we know and understand it.

I’m not denying that there is some truth in the stereotypes; there definitely is. But there are also false assumptions and outdated notions. They crumble at the edges as a new generation of Africans create…

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A Writer’s Tense Moments

The tension builds and the cast of potential villains grows to the point where it’s almost impossible to figure out who is the real ‘bad’ guy or gal.  The buildup to a book’s climax is an important part of the story.  Do all the pieces fit into the puzzle I’m painstakingly created over the past 8 months?  Will I do the scene in my head justice?  Or will the readers be deeply disappointed in my efforts?

The past month has been gut-wrenching for me.  I know how important these last few chapters are to the success of my book, and the knowledge paralyzed me with fear.  A few nights I sat looking at a blank screen, unable to find the right combination of words to put the visions in my head on the page, so readers would see the fictitious events as I imagine them.

The entire book is a trail I want readers to navigate by following the bread crumbs I leave for them.  If they take the wrong fork, I will lose them, and they will put the book down.  But if I can leave treats and small gifts along the way, hinting at a bigger treasure at the end of the trail, they may stay the course until the end.

Last night, I finished a very rough first draft of the chapter.  It’s not finished, but it isn’t a blank page any longer.  I can work with it.  Tonight I will read it again and find ways to instill the fear, the despair, and the heartbreak necessary to give it life.

The ‘After’ in my tale will be my next writing challenge and I fear it will be one as intimidating as the preceding chapter had proved to be for me.  Every action has consequences–sometimes happy, frequently not.  How my characters react and the directions their lives will take is in my hands.  Some readers may dislike the conclusion of my story.   Keeping  them engaged, regardless of their feelings, is my goal.

Books should make readers feel a variety of emotions.  I want them to cry when my main character does, get spittin’-mad at the antagonist, and fall in love with the same man who touches the heroine’s heart. 

When my book ends, I hope my readers feel their time was well spent and my story has a lasting place in their memories. 

Isn’t that what all writers want?

What’s Missing from Movies

I love the classic movies of my childhood. If Katherine Hepburn or Bette Davis are starring, I curl up with a bowl of popcorn and my canine sidekick for a bit of nostalgia. OMP author David Butterworth blogs about the difference between today’s cinematic blockbusters and the more understated but powerful movies of the past.


I was engaged in a recent chat about this subject when I met a colleague I’ve been working with as I stopped for a bite to eat in one of the canteens on the college campus here. We got talking about some excellent movies from the past; black and whites, such as first makes of Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Rebecca,’ and Agatha Christie’s ‘Witness for the Prosecution,’ and outstanding Ealing Comedies like ‘The Ladykillers.’ Sadly, however, they tend to be largely overlooked these days, and even forgotten.

What is common about these movie examples is that they all have unusual or unexpected endings which also might be called ‘carefully crafted,’ although it’s not the only attribute. The other quality or qualities which they possess are good acting, good drama and perhaps, arguably, the most important ingredient – an excellent script. Good dialogue, together with speaking talents, in my view, are the cornerstone…

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The Men in Clare’s Life

Even independent Clare Thibodeaux has some men in her life, but she wants to make her own decisions whether they are right or wrong.  She learned this early from her mother, Maureen, and her father, Rory.

Rory Thibodeaux is Clare’s father.   Every other man in Clare’s life is compared to her father.  Rory was a former Navy SEAL.   Rory and his wife own and operate a lakeside resort on the shore of Lake Michigan.  Taking on the role of hunting and fishing guide for the resort, Rory is an expert marksman, an avid hunter, and angler.   He teaches his children to work, play, and survive in the sometimes harsh Upper Peninsula.

Noah Thibodeaux is Clare’s twin brother.  He’s popular, competitive, and good-looking.  Clare likes the fact her brother isn’t a ‘player’ like some of his friends.  Noah and Clare are close and enjoy spending time together.

Kirk Dunne is a first year resident at the hospital in Florida where Clare works. They dated for six months thinking they were exclusive until she discovered he was going out with other women. The relationship ended badly, and Clare questioned her own judgement when it came to men. 

Dave Cartwright was the best man at her parents’ wedding.  Rory and Dave served as part of the same SEAL team in the Navy.  They’ve had each other’s back on the battlefield and after leaving the Navy.  Dave is a Special Agent with the FBI.

Lee Songetay grew up on the Red Cliff Reservation north of Bayfield, Wisconsin.  He served in the US Army before going to work for the FBI.  A member of the Ojibwe tribe,  Agent Songetay serves as an intermediary between the government agency and the Ojibwe people.  He is a talented musician and composer, as well as being a persistent flirt. 

Wyatt Harris meets Clare when they are both newcomers to Bayfield.  He is quiet and always assessing the people around him.  He doesn’t share very much about his past.  Recently separated from the military, Wyatt served several tours in the Middle East as a sniper for his Navy SEAL team. 

Clare’s journey won’t be easy; but hopefully with the love, friendship, and support of these men, she will overcome the obstacles in her way. 

Exodus is available on Amazon and Smashwords.  Winter’s Icy Caress will be available by the end of May 2017.