Excerpt From Silent Waltz

“What do you want to do?” Anderson asked.

“I’m going home,” Salem replied. “Come for supper tomorrow. We’ll hash things out and come up with a plan.”

“We may have to kill him,” Anderson said.

“Yeah,” Salem replied. “It seems like it always comes down to that.”




An Age Old Question

I’ve been wondering why I find it a bit easier to write a John Howard novel than one featuring Salem Matthews. I don’t prefer one over the other. I love all my characters, even the evil ones. All right, especially the evil ones.

There’s no deviation in the quality of the storytelling or the writing between the two series. At least none that I can see. Actually, it’s easier for me to enter a Salem Matthews book ( you can’t write a decent novel about anything without entering the story and writing from the inside out ). But once I’m inside, it gets hard. The words tend to trickle rather than flow.

John Howard is a rancher and retired two time national rodeo champion. I am neither.

Salem Matthews is a retired Special Forces combat veteran, the owner of a campground, the operator of two successful general stores, and a wealthy man. I am none of those things.

So, what is it…why is it easier for me to get inside John Howard’s head?

I think it’s age. John Howard is old. I’m old. More importantly, several of the primary characters in this series – John, Sarah Jane, Jupiter Campbell, Buck Timmons, and Robert Falls – are old. The only old character in the Salem Matthews series is Bo Carson. Maybe it’s no coincidence that Bo is one of my favorites.

Let me be clear. I can write characters of almost any age because I’ve already lived that portion of my life. I’ve been through it. Writing a scene is part imagination, part creativity, and part memory. With the exception of Bo Carson, I have to search my memory when writing scenes for a Salem Matthews book. Would I have done this or said this when I was thirty, or forty, or fifty? Could I have done it? Would or could this character do it at his or her age? I have to search my memory and trust what I find.

It’s easier when I’m writing a character that’s just a year older than me (Bo Carson) or two years younger (John Howard). I don’t have to remember what that age was like because I’m living it. I can write these scenes with confidence and enthusiasm. The best part is I’ll grow old along with Bo, John, Jupiter, Sarah Jane, and the rest of the gang. Can’t beat that.



New Cover

I just received a proof of the cover for Stone Ponies, my fourth novel in the John Howard series that is scheduled for release in August. I love it! I hope to have a final copy soon and will share it on my Facebook and Twitter pages.

The new novel works well as a stand alone, but if you want to get the full flavor of John Howard’s world I recommend reading Tears at Sunrise, the third book in the series. It’s currently on sale for just $0.99 on Kindle.


For Immediate Release

Salem Matthews is Back!

Pieces of January: by Ronald Paxton

The popular series that began with Deep Water, continues with the latest thriller from author Ronald Paxton. Salem Matthews and his family return along with a new cast of unforgettable characters. Readers that enjoy fast-paced action coupled with edge-of-your-seat tension and lusty romantic scenes, will love this book.

Conway, South Carolina – May 2018 – Pieces of January is the fourth novel in the exciting series that features retired U.S. Army Special Forces veteran Salem Matthews. Once again, the setting is the small, rural community of Shenandoah Lake tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains of southern Virginia.

A record breaking cold has dropped over a foot of snow on Shenandoah County and brought activity on the lake to a near standstill. All is well with Salem and his family…until a body is found in the woods. Two more murders quickly follow, and a note in his mailbox tells Salem that time is short and he is next on the killer’s list. The only choice remaining is to find the murderer or die trying.

Pieces of January is published by Torrid Books, an imprint of Whiskey Creek Press, and is available for purchase on Amazon at https://tinyurl.com/yd5pn6pm.

About the Author: Ronald Paxton is the author of seven previous novels and over forty short stories. His short fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net awards. He lives in Conway, South Carolina. For more information visit the author at http://www.facebook.com/ronald.paxton.3. Mr. Paxton welcomes e-mails from his readers at ronaldpaxton8@gmail.com.

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Make the Words Disappear

I’m currently reading The Pope of Palm Beach by the amazing Tim Dorsey. There’s a scene where one of his characters staggers in to breakfast because he had stayed up all night to finish a book he was reading. This was a person who hadn’t read since high school, but the right book, the right author had opened up a new world to him.

It’s almost like a magic trick, isn’t it? I mean, they’re just words on a page. But in the hands of a skilled writer they’re so much more. Characters become real people and the reader enters the story without conscious awareness. The outside world recedes; the pages seem to turn themselves; the words become dim, until their import is felt and heard rather than seen on a screen or paper. The long night retreats in the face of a fresh dawn. A new reader is born.

My next book, Pieces of January, comes out June 20, and is currently available for pre-order. It’s a good story. If you read it, I hope the words will disappear.