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.




Without a word Salem swung his hammer into the man’s kneecap. Case staggered back into the trailer and collapsed on the floor. A weak, whistling sound like a tea kettle at full boil escaped his lips.

Salem hurried inside and swung his trusty hammer into the the man’s other kneecap. Case screamed like a five year old girl and threw a wild roundhouse hook. Salem dodged the punch and enjoyed the sound of disintegrating nose cartilage as he buried an elbow in the middle of the giant’s face.

Incredibly, Case tried to get to his feet until Salem took him down with a knee to the crotch.

“I’m Salem Matthews, David. Randi Lane works for me. You remember Randi, the girl you robbed and assaulted last night.”

Case somehow pulled himself to his feet and clung to a small table for support.

“She had it coming,” he snuffled through his ruined nose.

Salem brought the hammer down for the third time, shattering the table along with the man’s hand. Case squealed and dropped to the floor.


Read more of Silent Waltz at

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News Update

Just learned that Endeavour Press, my publisher for Tears at Sunrise, has filed for liquidation. The good news is that authors will receive all royalties to which they are entitled. The bad news is the book will be removed from Amazon sometime within the next 12 months. If you’re interested in the book, don’t delay. It’s just 99 cents on Kindle and free on Kindle Unlimited.

Southern Fried

Long hair tumbling down her back

A smile you just can’t beat

Legs that go for miles and miles

She makes my life complete.


When we go out she makes a splash

She’s the star of every show

But I’m the one that’s in her heart

She always tells me so.



She’s southern fried, Carolina’s pride

My sweet little Dixie girl

Yeah she’s southern fried and I can’t lie

She really rocks my world.


Her mama taught her how to cook

But I hardly eat a bite

That white tee shirt and those Daisy Dukes

Is all I need tonight.


She likes her music southern style

It casts a magic spell

And when Skynyrd plays that special song

You should hear her rebel yell.



She’s southern fried, Carolina’s pride

My sweet little Dixie girl

Yeah she’s southern fried and I can’t lie

She really rocks my world.


I love my sexy baby

She’s the only one for me

And when she whispers in my ear

Nowhere I’d rather be.


I can’t wait till the sun goes down

And we close the bedroom door

She gives me everything I need

But I still call out for more.



She’s southern fried, Carolina’s pride

My sweet little Dixie girl

Yeah she’s southern fried and I can’t lie

She really rocks my world.


Gonna buy a ring and get down on my knees

That’s what I’m gonna do

Ask her if she’ll be my wife

And make my dreams come true.


(Final Chorus)

She’s southern fried, Carolina’s pride

My sweet little Dixie girl

Yeah she’s southern fried and I can’t lie

She really rocks my world.


Ronald Paxton


Copyright 2018



Warning: Writing May Be Hazardous to Your Health

You probably think the title of this post is a joke. It’s not.

Working on a new novel is one of the great joys in my life. It’s also one of the great miseries. Here’s why:

  • Writers tend to engage in catastrophic thinking. I’m no exception. On days when my muse is lazy or disengaged, I can still produce five hundred words that does nothing to develop my characters or advance the story. I’ll eventually delete it and convince myself that I’ll never again write anything worthwhile. This is a dark hole that can stop my creative process in its tracks.
  • I often start the day by checking my Amazon book rankings. Oh look, another day of no sales! Why should I bother writing yet another John Howard or Salem Matthews novel that people don’t want to read? It’s hard to push on when I’m met with such incontrovertible proof of the commercial failure of my work. It’s no fun feeling like an impostor.
  • The middle of the book – God, will this ever end? I feel like I’ve been writing forever, but my word count says thirty nine thousand. Great…I need to think of some more plot twists unless I want this to be a really short novel that no publisher will touch.
  • I can’t sleep. There’s a hole somewhere in the narrative. Jesus, am I going to have to re-read thirty nine thousand words to find it? What if I can’t figure out how to fix it?
  • Other authors on my Facebook and Twitter feeds are writing and selling books. They’re happy and excited. What’s wrong with me? My work is good enough to be picked up by traditional publishers. Where are my readers?

All right, enough about me. Honestly, I’m not bitching and moaning. These are just observations about how I feel when I’m working on a project. There are good days too, of course. Those are the days that make the process worthwhile. There is light at the end of every tunnel. The project will be completed and a publisher will be found. I’m certain of that. It makes me feel good.

Don’t Touch the Dialogue!

A good editor can make any book better. A bad editor can make it worse. I’ve been fortunate to have good editors, with one or two exceptions. There are a few things editors, good or bad, should know about me:

  • I resent you. Even though you’re just doing your job, I resent seeing my work marked up like a fifth grader’s book report.
  • I hate going through the editing process because I already like what I’ve written. I also don’t remember what I’ve written because it usually takes me a long time to find a publisher for my books. Going back through the manuscript is not something I relish. I’ve moved on.
  • Don’t Touch The Dialogue! These are my characters speaking. Their language may not conform perfectly to the Chicago Manual of Style because they are not Ivy League English professors. They’re blue collar people from rural Virginia, and their voices reflect that. If the grammar Nazi in you tweaks the dialogue, you’re changing the voice, tone, and character of my book. You’re fucking it up. Please don’t do that to me.
  • If you send me your edits and say you need them back in a few days (even though the scheduled release date may be half a year away) I will go passive-aggressive on you big time.

You have to find something wrong with the book. I get that. Please confine your changes to problems with punctuation and grammar in the narrative, plot issues, syntax, point of view issues, and redundancies.

That’s it – nothing personal, unless you touch my dialogue. Then it’s personal.