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.


A Few Year End Thoughts

Time flies, especially when you’re old. The new year is just two weeks away , so it feels like a good time for a little introspection.

Let me start by saying how sick I am of the old adage to keep going, never give up, you can only fail if you quit, blah, blah, blah. What a load of bullshit. There’s an opportunity cost to never giving up. If you’re following the wrong path, the cost is particularly steep. Maybe the empathetic author with the soft heart should be writing children’s books or working at a counseling center instead of struggling to finish an erotic thriller. Perhaps the creative lead singer of a local rock band should spend less time trying to play rhythm guitar and focus on writing original material that could take his group to the next level. The banker that hates finance but loves English literature; the teacher that hates children, but loves animals; the lawyer that has written one too many briefs and yearns to teach high school history, and the list goes on.

So quit…start over. You have my permission to do whatever you want, as long as it’s not illegal. That’s not failure…that’s courage. I don’t have to tell you if you’re on the wrong path. You know. So make a new plan and find the right path. My God, don’t waste decades wallowing in mediocrity, especially if it’s something you don’t enjoy. Grow a pair and move on.

All right, back to me. I have six novels currently available on Amazon. They are mystery/suspense/thrillers with elements of romance. The only one that sells reasonably well is Tears at Sunrise, but that may be because it’s on sale for 99 cents. So, I need a new path. I don’t write for the money, but neither do I enjoy being a commercial failure.

I have two books coming out in 2018. Stone Ponies and Pieces of January both have a harder and rawer edge than my previous novels. I’m interested to see how they’ll be received. If they do well, I’ll continue down this path. If not, maybe I’ll write children’s books or join a death metal band.

The Girl at Food Lion

She’s just an ordinary looking girl in her late teens working a check-out register at Food Lion. I wouldn’t have given her a second thought if I didn’t know her story. Let me tell you about her.

I don’t know her name, but I know she was born and raised in Conway, South Carolina. She was in an accelerated academic program that allowed her to begin college courses after she finished the eighth grade. That’s right, this girl started college at the age of fourteen and graduated four years later. She’s taking a year off to earn some money before she moves on to graduate school.

It’s amazing the things you can learn waiting in a grocery check-out line. Everyone has a story to tell. This morning I got a glimpse into the extraordinary life of the cashier at Food Lion. I wonder where she’ll be five years from now.

It wasn’t much, just a small moment in a day that’s comprised of hundreds of such moments. She won’t remember it. That’s all right – I will.


Holiday Shopping

Just a quick note to let everyone know if you’re looking for something good and affordable for the readers on your holiday shopping list, Tears at Sunrise is just 99 cents on Kindle!

“Incredibly compelling story! Couldn’t put it down!”

“Good story…definitely worth a read…”

“Interesting story and surprising ending.”

“…my emotions from hurt, anger to happiness I have loved the story from the beginning to the surprise at the end…”

Finding the Doorway

One of the most difficult things about a new writing project is deciding where to start. I’ve got my title, synopsis, and list of characters. The narrative is in my head. Now it’s time to begin the story. I can feel the nervous anticipation in my fingertips, especially the two I use for typing. It’s the same feeling I used to get on the starting line of a 10K or in the batter’s box of a baseball game. It’s not the same feeling as speaking before a large group of people. That, of course, is terror.

Simply put, I’m looking for the doorway, the magic portal that will take me into the story in a way that will make readers want to follow. There are no rules for this process, at least none that I follow. Call it intuition, a feeling, a sixth sense about the way to begin that makes sense to me and, more importantly, will grab the reader by the balls and make his eyes pop. By the way, those last twelve words are a clue that I don’t write for children.

Once I’ve found the doorway I’m good. The characters take over, twisting and tugging the narrative into something that’s always a little different than I imagined. That’s all right…once I’m inside the story my role changes from that of an author to a journalist of sorts, a transcriber of the actions and events that unfold. It’s an interesting and powerful transformation.

Why is finding the doorway so important? What does it matter?

If I don’t find the doorway, the magical entrance that transports me inside the story, I will have to write the story from the outside looking in. Writing anything from the outside is impossible; the prospect of not finding the doorway to a project is even more distressing to me than that last sentence I ended with a preposition.

Good news…I’ve found the doorway to my next story. Shenandoah Dark will be my fifth Salem Mathews novel. Here we go.