The chute flew open and John’s heels slammed down above the point of Hellion’s shoulders before the gelding’s front legs hit the ground. John pulled hard on the reins with his right hand as he swept his feet back and forth, trying to maintain his balance above the raging animal.

Hellion twisted and bucked like a crazed demon as John fought to keep his left hand clear of the animal. His legs quivered with exhaustion. A vicious cramp had his right hand in a vise grip. This would not end well.

Jesus Christ, is it eight seconds yet? Come on, Jupiter!

“Time!” Jupiter hollered.

John let go as Hellion launched him out of the saddle. The landing wouldn’t have won any medals at a gymnastics competition, but at least he stayed on his feet.

The silence was gone, replaced by a wave of raucous cheering that refused to subside.

He walked over to Danny Jacobs. The young cowboy’s mouth was hanging open. John pointed to the gelding.

“You saw what I did. That horse is a fucking pussy, Danny. Make him believe it. Climb back on and kick his ass…”




New Release!

I am excited to announce that Stone Ponies, the fourth novel in the John Howard series is now available for pre-order for just 99 cents. The release date is set for August 7th. Order your copy today at https://tinyurl.com/y7k53ev3.

Speaking of John Howard novels, I just received a great 5 star review on Amazon for Tears at Sunrise. Check it out if you want a glimpse of the story. BTW, this one is still sales-priced at 99 cents! Get your copy at https://tinyurl.com/yd34qf7v.




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.