What’s Not in a Book

Sometimes what’s not in a book is just as important as what is. Profanity and graphic sex are not in any of my books. Romance, YES. Graphic sex, NO. Now, I won’t claim that there’s no violence, as there has to be a murder if you’re writing a murder mystery, right? But I keep the violence to a minimum and try to avoid excessively gory “blood-and-guts” descriptions of the demise of my fictional murder victims. Adult fiction without the adult language. That’s one of my trademarks. If the WILL NICKERSON MYSTERIES and MRS. TREASTER’S BED & BREAKFAST were movies, I’d probably give them a PG rating, for very brief and MILD violence and scary situations at times. But they are clean. Check ‘em out in paperback, Kindle, Nook and KoboRanch Park new coverTrees New CoverViking it isChristmas new coverWhat's Up In Wyoming e-book cover editions.

When Dinosaurs Ruled the Office

They’re often considered dinosaurs of the office. Typewriters. Nobody used them anymore, in
the age of computers, right? WRONG. Many businesses and government offices, too, do, in fact
still use them. They’re needed for filling out preprinted forms, which you can’t do on a
computer, and they’re much handier for addressing envelopes and typing labels and cards, too.
And now it seems antique typewriters are becoming quite popular among collectors. They look
really cool as a decoration piece in an office or a den or a study. The vintage typewriter is also a symbol of an author. Although most authors today (myself included) use computers to do their writing, that symbol remains. And you can still find an author now and then who chooses to use a classic old typewriter to type a manuscript. I have met a few who do, in fact.

The typewriter has had a profound influence in my writing, as I’ve grown up with my dad’s typewriter sales and repair business. The business was dumped in my lap when he passed away, so I’m continuing it for now till the economy will allow me to pursue my dream of a working farm, and hopefully my career as an author will grow to profitable proportions as well. But, anyway, typewriters and authors seem to go hand in hand, and the old dinosaurs have given me tons of inspiration to write. In particular, with repairs it is often necessary to test the machines. Before doing the repairs, you’ve gotta see what’s wrong with the things. Especially if it’s an intermittent problem. Gotta try it out and see what, if anything, is wrong with it. Are certain letters not typing? Is it the space bar? Carrier return? And once it’s been repaired, you’ve gotta try it out before it goes back to the customer. See if all is in working order. Testing a typewriter can be an extremely tedious job. Traditionally you type the sentence “Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country” or something like that. Type that over and over and over and over. BORRRRRING!!! Having a more creative nature, I came up with ways to make it un-boring. Instead of typing that insipid phrase over and over, I began to type sentences in foreign languages (since I’m a big language buff). It’s a great way to practice. Some of the characters needed in other languages can be simulated on a typewriter with the standard American English keyboard, such as for the German Umlaut, you type the letter “a” or “o” or “u”, then backspace and type the quotation mark over it. The accent marks used in Romance languages are harder to do, so I just have to pretend they are there. But foreign languages are not all. I also found myself writing stories, just for fun, to test typewriters. It just seemed to happen naturally. I’d write them out a page or two at a time–actually testing the typewriter much more thoroughly than necessary. A boring task suddenly became fun. Something I looked forward to doing. The stories were silly at times, and nobody but me ever read them, but they did help me develop my craft as an author. Parts of them even fit into my Will Nickerson Mysteries once I began to write in earnest. For example, the Prologue of Ranch Park was lifted almost word-for-word out of one of my typewriter-testing exercises.

So you see, typewriters still do have their place after all. New electronic ones are still being manufactured, and although they lack the romance and mystique of a big old black manual model, they do the job and do it well. These dinosaurs are not extinct.

Keep on typing!
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Christmas e-book Sale!

Does your Christmas wish list include a Kindle? Or a Nook? Or a KoboRanch Park new coverIt's a Place for Trees Cover 001? Or a tablet or smartphone equipped with the ebook reader app? If Santa brings you one (and if you’re a mystery fan) you’ll be able to book it with RANCH PARK and IT’S A PLACE FOR TREES for 99c, as these, my first two WILL NICKERSON MYSTERIES are on sale for this special promo price till New Year’s. And, if you purchase the paperback edition from Amazon, the Kindle edition is FREE. If you’re new to the series, here’s your chance to get started on the cheap!

Santa or Scrooge?

What are your favorite parts of Christmas? And also, what are your unfavorites????

For me, my two favorite things about Christmas are decorating the tree and listening to Christmas music. Actually doing both of those at the same time is really special. I have tons of Christmas CDs, plus a vintage collection of Christmas music on LP records, which get put to good use at this time of year.

Now, for my unfavorite parts of the Christmas season, that would have to be the shopping and the winter weather. Although when it comes to the weather, it’s been incredibly mild this year in my home state of Ohio. Wish it could stay snow free for the rest of the winter–but that’s just wishful thinking!

In my novel, LET’S MAKE IT MERRY CHRISTMAS, however, I’ve done my best to have my story characters love it all. To them, everything about Christmas is awesome.

Post your comments if you like. Tell me what makes Christmas the merriest for you–and also what brings out the Scrooge in you!
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Cute or Ugly? You decide!

They’re becoming a 21st Century tradition. You see them puffing up all over the place around Christmas, at least here in the US, and I’m sure plenty of other places as well. Of course I’m talkin’ ‘bout all those huge inflatable Santas, snowmen, snow globes, Christmas trees, reindeer, teddy bears, trains and the like. Why, they even have inflatable Nativity scenes!!!!! What’ll they think of next??? The ideas are ballooning for new designs that can be formed out of plastic and air. Front yards are where the action is. Cute? Funny? Ugly? Festive? What do you think??? Feel free to post your comment and let me know!!! And let me know, too, if you have one in your yard!!! You can see what the townsfolk of New Oslo, North Dakota think in my Christmastime mystery, LET’S MAKE IT MERRY CHRISTMAS. It’s in paperback and Kindle, plus Nook and KoboChristmas new cover editions, too.

Christmas is Cancelled!

The Prologue sets the stage. Dakota Ranch Park’s annual Christmas On The Ranch festival is in full swing, lighting up the night in Yuletide splendor. It’s a magical Christmas wonderland, which we experience through the eyes of four very different families as they journey through its many exhibits and activities. The children are treated to a Santa’s Workshop and thrill to a ride in Santa’s sleigh. A mini train and a hayride wagon take people of all ages around the snow-covered landscape. Carolers and church choirs serenade them all. Christmas trees glisten in the snow. International Nativity scenes inspire awe and wonder. And the piéce de résistance is a Living Nativity Scene where visitors are mesmerized with the story of that very first Christmas recited from the Bible. The North Dakota theme park has been transformed into a wonderful showcase for all that is Christmas.

Fast forward 11 months. The nearby town of New Oslo is gearing up for Thanksgiving with Christmas right around the corner. The volunteers at the Ranch Park are meeting to plan this year’s festival. Or so they think. The witchlike Director of Ranch Park Operations drops a bombshell. CHRISTMAS IS CANCELLED!!!! The new festival is to be a purely secular and commercial Winter Holidays event. Santa is out. Polar bears are in. The Birth of Christ is out. Winter Solstice is in. The volunteers are out, too. They’re all walking away, disgruntled and irate. A couple of them mention casually amongst themselves that they wish they could have their own Christmas festival. A spunky newspaper reporter overhears them and takes it out of context. So the next morning the townsfolk of New Oslo, North Dakota wake up to the front page news that a new Christmas festival is going to be held. And try as they will to deny the rumors, the hapless volunteers find themselves in charge of it all. They have no choice. They’re drafted. The townsfolk egg them on, all wanting to join in the fun and offering whatever services they can. Will Nickerson suggests the location. The wheels are turning. The ball is rolling. Like it or not, a huge new Christmas festival is coming to town.

Not everybody warms up to the idea, however. As things begin to shape up and the Christmas spirit fills the air, a mysterious saboteur, lurking in the shadows, brings havoc to the town. A mini train derails. A Humongous Christmas tree topples. Animals escape from the Living Nativity Scene and roam freely on the streets. An enigmatic calling card appears every time. Who’s behind it? Will, Jenine and all the gang find themselves drafted as detectives. Can they get to the bottom of it in time to save this North Dakota Christmas festival?

LET’S MAKE IT MERRY CHRISTMAS is in paperback and Kindle, Nook and KoboChristmas new cover ebook editions. It’s a light mystery that’ll make you laugh and groan a bit and hopefully help make your Christmas merrier. It won’t make you cry. So lose that handkerchief. This one’s The Un-Tearjerker.

A Christmas Groaner

The Ranch Park’s banned Christmas from its festival this year.
Now Happy Holidays is all that we hear.

Even Saint Nick has gotten the boot,
Replaced by a clown in a polar bear suit.

So the folks of New Oslo have taken up the cause,
To bring back Nativities and good ol’ Santa Claus.

A new Christmas festival is coming around,
Proclaiming it’s Christmas when snow’s on the ground.

But what’s going on here? The town’s all alarmed.
There’s a saboteur lurking, doing us harm.

It’s causing us hurt; it’s causing us pain.
Someone’s even derailed our miniature train.

What’s that commotion going on downtown?
Our Humongous Christmas Tree, it’s been toppled down.

Once again Will Nickerson is getting the call,
With Jenine at his side and the whole gang and all,

To save Christmas in New Oslo; can they do it in time?
You won’t find the answer here in this rhyme.

But it’s all in the book, Kindle, Kobo and Nook.
It’s in paperbackChristmas new cover, too; so let’s have a look.

LET’S MAKE IT MERRY CHRISTMAS, it won’t make you cry;
So lose that old handkerchief! Just bid it goodbye.

This Christmastime mystery won’t bring on the tears.
It’ll make Christmas merrier for readers for years.

I’ll be the first to admit, my poetry’s BAD,
But you won’t have to endure it in this tale that’s not sad.

There’s another style of writing, as everyone knows,
So readers be thankful, my books are all PROSE.

LET’S MAKE IT MERRY CHRISTMAS is available on Kindle and in paperback at amzn.to/1oHbL8n and it’s on Nook and Kobo, too.

The Official Will Nickerson Mysteries 99c Pre-Christmas e-Book Sale!






(And as a bonus, my ghost story MRS. TREASTER’S BED & BREAKFAST is included in the sale as well, although it is not a part of my mystery series)

Here’s how it works:

All ebook editions of my WILL NICKERSON MYSTERIES are on sale at 1/3 of the regular price thru November, taking in Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the USA. The regular price for these ebooks is $2.99 in US dollars, which makes them 99c sale price.

So fire up your Kindle.

Book your Nook.

And they’re on Kobo, too.

Get ‘em while they’re cheap!

Sale ends when November ends. Ranch Park new coverIt's a Place for Trees Cover 001

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Since all titles are enrolled in the Kindle MatchBook program, they are *FREE* with the purchase of the paperback edition from Amazon.

The Christmas Un-Tearjerker

I got the idea to write LET’S MAKE IT MERRY CHRISTMAS a few years ago when I saw a newspaper editorial about all the Christmas tearjerker movies that come on TV year after year. Most follow a similar plot, being stories of sad times–people (or maybe cutesy animals, snowmen or whatever) dealing with poverty, sickness, death in the family, loneliness and the like–and keep you crying for a couple of hours before the miracle that always happens at the end and often brings on more tears than all the doom and gloom that precedes it. That’s exactly what keeps me away from Christmastime movies–and Christmas books, too. So I got to thinking–why not write a Christmas related book that’s not sad? I decided to do it with my existing characters from the WILL NICKERSON MYSTERIES series, placing them in a Christmastime situation in their small town of New Oslo, North Dakota, as the town prepares for a big Christmas festival. I wanted to keep the tears and the violence away, so instead of a murder, as there are in my other mysteries, this time around Will, Jenine & Co find themselves sleuthing a series of annoying and sometimes comical sabotages that plague the Official Sakakawea County, North Dakota Christmas Festival Committee, threatening to wreck the whole event. A mini train derails. A humongous Christmas tree topples. Animals escape. Who’s causing all the commotion? Can our intrepid amateur detectives get to the bottom of it in time to save Christmas In New Oslo? It’s a light and fun, family friendly read, with a Christmas message to it, too–that is always to remember that the Birth of Christ is the real reason for the season. Make it as festive as you want, but always keep Christ in the center of it all. Christmas is much more than just “the Holidays”. LET’S MAKE IT MERRY CHRISTMAS is in paperback and Kindle on amzn.to/1oHbL8n and it’s on Nook and Kobo, too. It won’t make you cry. So lose that handkerchief! You won’t need it. It’s the Un-Tearjerker.
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