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About Mike

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So far Mike has created 36 blog entries.

The New ‘Retribution’ is Here

NewRetribution234The revised edition of my first book, “Retribution“, is now available for the Kindle or in paperback.

This was my first fiction writing effort. Thanks to many writers who have shared their knowledge, the revision is a better telling of a compelling story.

In making the story more ‘readable’ I cut four minor characters. I also eliminated some unnecessary background material which didn’t affect the story. Finally, I resequenced several scenes to make the story flow more chronologically. The revisions trimmed the book length by about 14,000 words, but the storyline–the hunt for two kidnapped little girls and their mother’s killer–remains intact.

It’s not often that an author chooses to re-write a fiction book and I was counseled by several people to ‘move on.’ But I’ve always felt this was a special story and I wanted it to be available in the best form I was capable of producing.

If you have purchased the Kindle version in the past, it is my understanding that you can download the new version free, since the ASIN – Amazon’s internal tracking number – remains the same.

Thanks to the many people who encouraged me in this effort. But most of all, I’d like to thank Thonie Hevron and Waights Taylor for their insightful comments in beta-reading the ‘final’ draft. (Thonie and Waights are also residents of the Santa Rosa area and provide technical comments as well.)

My wife, Nancy – the life-long journalist – provided critical editorial comment. And finally, my special thanks to Ida Jansson of Amygdala Designs in Oslo, Norway for her excellent cover design.

I welcome your comments on the ‘new’ story.

By |June 24th, 2015|Categories: General||0 Comments

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Retribution Revision Edits Completed

Today, I completed the ‘final’ pass-through of the revised version of “Retribution.” I’ve managed to pare nearly 15,000 words from the original story, and still keep the storyline intact. (There’s just less background on some of the minor characters and I eliminated four characters.)

I’ve also contracted with Amygdala Designs to do a new cover. Right now, we’re looking at an early-to-mid July release.

By |June 12th, 2015|Categories: General||0 Comments

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New Free Content Added – PROVEN

Readers can now get a free sample of the draft first chapter of PROVEN, the next book in the Angela Masters Detective Novel series.


To access the free sample, go to the Free Content tab and click on the DRAFT cover for PROVEN.

By |April 25th, 2015|Categories: General||0 Comments

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Bargain April – Award-Winning ‘Entitlement’ on Sale

The third book in our Bargain April promotion is now listed.

EntitlementRibbon234From today through April 30, ENTITLEMENT, the award winning novel in the Angela Masters Detective Novel seriesis on sale for only 99 cents for the Kindle Edition.

Follow this link to get your copy today at this special price!


And, as always, I appreciate your review on Amazon.

By |April 24th, 2015|Categories: General||0 Comments

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Ghost – The Promo Video

Since GHOST is on sale this week for only 99 cents (Kindle version), I thought I’d repost the video from its original launch.


By |April 19th, 2015|Categories: General||0 Comments

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Bargain April – Phase 2

The second book in our Bargain April promotion is now listed.

Ghost CoverFrom today through April 23, GHOST is on sale for only 99 cents for the Kindle Edition.

Follow this link to get your copy today at this special price!


And, as always, I appreciate your review on Amazon.

By |April 17th, 2015|Categories: General||0 Comments

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Bargain April

Beginning April 10th, our Bargain April promotion will feature three popular titles of the Angela Masters Detective Novel series will be on sale. The sale dates will rotate by title:

Fire Storm – On sale for only 99 cents for the Kindle version – April 10-April 16

Ghost – On sale for only 99 cents for the Kindle version – April 17-April 23

Entitlement – On sale for only 99 cents for the Kindle version – April 24-May 1.


This is a great chance to try the Angela Masters series or to get that volume you haven’t read yet.


By |April 8th, 2015|Categories: General||0 Comments

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Louisville Free Writers’ Conference

mapThe Louisville Free Public Library is hosting a free writers conference on April 25th, 2015.  The conference will be held at the Southwest Library Branch at 9725 Dixie Highway from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.  This sounds like a good, short conference for writers of all levels.  I’m registered to attend and I hope to see other local writers there.


This is the schedule sent to me today:


 WELCOME 10:45-11:00

Community Room


SESSION I 11:00-11:55

 “Writing Emotionally Authentic Characters” Presented by Katie McGarry

Community Room

How to use body language, visceral emotion, selective word usage, backstory, and setting to create characters and scenes that can cause your readers to laugh, cry and fall in love with your book.


“Synopsis, Query, Pitch” Presented by Kurt Hampe and Bethany Griffin

Computer Lab

Learn techniques for crafting a clear synopsis that you can revise into a concise query and exciting elevator pitch.


“Before and After: the Birthing of a Book” Presented by Colette Ballard

Blue Activity Room

From conception to completion, learn the process a book goes through before, during and after publication. Colette will share samples from each draft of her debut novel, Running on Empty, as well as her rejection letters and acceptance letter.


SESSION II 12:00-12:55

 “Advanced Elements of Scene” Presented by Kit Alloway

Community Room

Using hilarious examples from her early writing, Kit will teach you how to create tight, cohesive, and purposeful scenes that both serve your plot’s purpose and act as individual works of art.


“Synopsis, Query, Pitch” Presented by Kurt Hampe and Bethany Griffin

Computer Lab

Learn techniques for crafting a clear synopsis that you can revise into a concise query and exciting elevator pitch.


“Psychoanalyzing Your Characters” Presented by Bill Wolfe

Blue Activity Room

Want to delve deeper into the psyches of your characters, discover what makes them tick and portray more realistic relationships? Learn techniques to discover your characters’ greatest fears, desires and all the hidden secrets of their hearts.


LUNCH 1:00-1:30


PANEL Q&A 1:30-2:30

Community Room

Join all of our guest speakers for an open-floor question-and-answer session.



“Reduce, Reuse and Revise” presented by Kelly Creagh

Community Room

You have your novel drafted and it’s time to dig in to your first (or fifth) revision. There are as many ways to approach this daunting phase of the process as there are for drafting, but which is best for you? In this session, learn methods that will help you to determine what to keep—including your cool—what to cut, and how to remain (mostly) sane in the meantime.



By |March 30th, 2015|Categories: General||0 Comments

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1980’s – Too Close to the Present

I recently interviewed with a literary agent. She liked the manuscript of the Angela Masters book she read.  However, she made an interesting comment about the setting.

“Your books are set in the 1980’s.  That’s too close to the present.”

While that may seem like a strange comment, I understood what she means.  The science of criminal investigation has changed markedly in the past 30 years, but it’s sometimes hard for people to really understand how far we’ve come in that time.  This has become apparent to me from some of the critiques I receive from my draft chapters.  I get comments from well-meaning reviewers that demonstrate the changes of three decades.

Here are a few explanations:



“Why doesn’t Kim (the lab technician) swab for DNA?

dnaDNA, deoxyribonucleic acid, was first discovered in 1869 by Swiss physician Friedrich Miescher.  It’s unique attributes in living things, and the double-helix construction, was first postulated in 1953 by Wilson and Crick.  DNA was initially used in paternity suits, and was collected under clinical conditions. The first court introduction of DNA evidence occurred in 1986 in England. Finally, the first DNA-based conviction in the United States occurred in 1987. Tommy Lee Andrews was convicted of rape in the Circuit Court in Orange County, Florida. Andrews’ DNA matched semen traces found in a rape victim.

Therefore, in 1981-1985, the general time frame of the Angela Masters novels, DNA was not a consideration.


Protective Clothing

“You don’t mention that Angi and the other detectives would don protective plastic booties before they enter a crime scene.”

Today, and for the past twenty years or so, it has been standard for police and medical personnel entering a homicide scene to wear shoe coverings.  The primary purpose of this is to protect against blood-borne pathogens, such as AIDS.  However, AIDS was first identified in the United States in 1981, and not officially named until 1982.  It was not until 1991 that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued regulations regarding prevention of occupational exposure by such practitioners as doctors, nurses, and EMTs.  Police generally came on board following the lead of EMTs.

Again, this was not a consideration for investigators in the time of these novels.  It is true that, even in the early 1980’s, detectives and others sometimes wore latex gloves.  However, this practice was not universal, even within a single police agency.  Also, it had more to do with avoiding direct contact with bodily fluids in general, as well as other contaminants, rather than disease protection.



“You have Angi going into the crime scene before the CSIs even get there.  She would have to wait outside until the CSIs had photographed the scene and collected and processed evidence.  Then the CSI would give the detectives the ‘all clear’ to enter.”

csiI’m amazed at how often this comes up in comments.  It’s a good example of why many detectives hate the CSI television shows.  CSIs are invaluable in processing scenes for evidence and clues, but they are not at the forefront of an investigation.  Similarly, it is not the CSI’s job to interview witnesses, conduct investigations, or make arrests.  In many cases, particularly in larger police agencies, CSIs are not sworn police officers.  They are highly trained civilians.  For example, in the Los Angeles Police Department, a CSI must hold a masters degree to process evidence.

In real life, the lead investigator is completely in charge of the scene.  The CSI reports to the lead investigator, not the other way around.  In most cases, the lead investigator wants to get a first hand look at the ‘lay’ of the scene, with as little disruption as possible.  After this initial view, in which every effort is made not to disturb the scene, then the CSIs will begin their processing.


The Result

The current state of scientific support for criminal investigations certainly adds a welcome dimension.  However, the decision to place the Angela Masters stories in an earlier time, when these technologies were not available, was a conscious one.

As I noted on the opening page of my website, “The series is set in the 1980’s.  Because of this, Angi and her fellow investigators do not have the advantages of DNA, modern cell phones, or other sophisticated technology.  Instead, they rely on their training, instincts, and observations to solve horrendous crimes.”

By |March 18th, 2015|Categories: General, Investigation||0 Comments

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Book Six – “Proven”

I finally hit on a theme for the next book.  The story combines elements of what was in progress previously, tentatively titled “Death Knell” and adds some new ideas to the mix. So far, I have about 12,000 words done, although some of it will have to be edited even before I put the initial draft together.  This is because the narrative from “Death Knell” needs to be re-worked to fit in with the new material.

But at least it’s a start.  It’s been eleven months since I published “Fire Storm” and it’s been a long trek to bring a new story together.

By |March 3rd, 2015|Categories: General||0 Comments

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