Tag Archives: Civil War


I’ve been saving a few questions from readers that have dropped into my e-mail inbox over the last few months, and there are a few that have come up more than once. A few FAQs for you—enjoy!

I wish Nick Journey had stepped up and shown Sandra Kelly some love. She was there for him and even helped care for Andrew. Will they ever get together?

Journey is still skittish about relationships and not so sure he’s ready for one. But I think if anyone has the ability to break down the walls he’s thrown up around himself, it’s Sandra. I’m happy to say that Sandra is still around in SILVER CROSS, and she and Nick have quite a bit more time together.

Darrell Sharp is such an interesting character—almost childlike in some ways, but capable of sudden violence. Is he based on a real person? Will he be back?

Sharp is back in SILVER CROSS, and in a larger supporting role. He is not based on any one person, but on several people I have known who have been in recovery from PTSD and depression, including military veterans and former law enforcement officers. I would like to write more of Sharp’s story someday, with him in a leading role, as I think he has many other stories to tell. One aspect of his character—the fact that he is capable of extreme violence but paints delicately on china—is based on the character of the assassin Joubert from “Three Days of the Condor,” one of my favorite movies.

Do you visit every place you write about?

I try. It’s not always feasible (kids, day jobs, budget, etc.), but if at all possible, I like to do on-site research. I like to walk in the steps I’m asking my characters to walk. Next week I am headed for Kansas for site research for the third Journey/Tolman book.

Are there really that many conspiracies from the Civil War era? Are you a conspiracy theorist?

I’m not one of those black-helicopter people. I like my conspiracies to be fictional, thank you very much. But I will say that the period around the Civil War is fascinating, filled with intrigue. They are many, many true stories out there that can provide a jumping-off point for a good fictional conspiracy that can reach out from history into the present.

Are any of the characters in COLD GLORY real people?

Aside from the obvious historical figures (Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, Mark Twain, etc.), there is one modern character who in many ways mirrors a real person. Kerry Voss’s appearance, musical preference, manner of speaking, all come from a dear friend of mine. The most interesting part of this is that I did not intentionally set out to give Voss my friend’s characteristics. But after I’d written two scenes with Voss, I sat back, almost did a classic forehead slap, and said, “That’s my friend so-and-so!” Fortunately my friend didn’t mind this. This is the friend who asked if she could be a bloated corpse in one of my earlier, pseudonymous books. Yes, she’s a good friend.


You’ve heard it before: everyone a writer encounters winds up in his writing in one way or another. Parts of Meg Tolman come from at least three different women (a former girlfriend, a non-romantic female friend, and my maternal grandmother)—and one man (a former colleague). And while a few people insist that Nick Journey is my alter ego–yes, we share a few character traits, but really, he is a lot more courageous than I am–there are important parts of him (like the ability to throw a curveball) that come from other people as well. Of course, many parts of all these characters are conjured from thin air as well—that’s part of the fun of writing fiction!

Do you do an outline?

I do an outline, but I’m not a slave to it. Some of the most interesting things are tidbits I discover during the writing of the book. The ending of COLD GLORY is different than I originally envisioned. The epilogue, with the setting in south Texas, was discovered well into the book. I had already named the character of Samuel Benjamin Williams (using the names of my three sons), when I found that the last man to die in the last battle of the Civil War was named Williams—and that he had come from Indiana, just across the river from Louisville, Kentucky. I knew I had to incorporate that into the story, and the ending became very different.

Is Amelia supposed to represent your ex-wife? If so, I bet she doesn’t like it.

No. Absolutely, unequivocally, no. My ex-wife and I have a positive, functional co-parenting relationship, and we share custody of our children. Nick Journey’s ex could not be more different from mine.

What are your political views? I can’t tell from the book.

Good! I have strong personal views, but try to keep them out of my fiction, for the most part. It’s a tricky business at times, since I write fiction that has a political component, but I’m not out to promote (or criticize) any party or agenda in my fiction.

There you have it! Feel free to drop me a line via the contact page—I love hearing from readers. In the meantime, I’m almost ready to begin the actual writing of book #3 in the series. Can’t wait to get to it!





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Catching Up

It’s been a busy few weeks…so busy I haven’t blogged. But it’s been productive busy-ness, both in my personal life and on the writing front.

The last weekend of March was the University of Central Florida Book Festival in Orlando. It was my first trip to Florida, and it did not disappoint. I learned that UCF is the second-largest university in the nation, in terms of student enrollment. (Who knew?) I learned that, away from touristy areas, central Florida is beautiful and the people are delightful. (Special thanks to Anita Gonzalez for showing me around some off-the-beaten-path spots.)

My panel on Saturday was alongside Bob Graham, former two-term governor of Florida and three-term U.S. senator. He and his wife Adele are two of the most thoughtful, down-to-earth people I have ever met. We chatted about our families, our books (he has written a terrific thriller called “Keys to the Kingdom,” which is, as he says, largely non-fiction, but written in the guise of a novel), our respective home states, education, and politics. Sen. Graham never refused to stop and talk to anyone who wanted to visit with him. I can understand why he is still revered in Florida, even in his retirement from public life. (He even drove me from the hotel to the festival site in his own car…what a nice guy!)

This past Saturday was the Oklahoma Book Awards, for which COLD GLORY was a fiction finalist. Didn’t win, but was honored to be there. It is an outstanding event, presented by the Oklahoma Center for the Book, a leading affiliate of the Library of Congress. I met some wonderful book people, and enjoyed simply being there. Congratulations to fiction winner Constance Squires on her win.

This weekend is the Society of Professional Journalists Oklahoma chapter awards, and I have been told I will be receiving at least one award for my non-fiction work with Slice Magazine. I’m delighted that my magazine feature stories are continuing to gain recognition from real journalists.

Next month I’ll be road-tripping to Kansas for the last bit of location research for the third book in the Journey/Tolman series. Part of the historical basis for that book involves the “Bleeding Kansas” era just prior to the outbreak of the Civil War. It’s fascinating, going to the heart of what the war was about, and I’m looking forward to walking the ground and getting the lay of the land. Two tiny tantalizing tidbits about that story: John Brown and John Wilkes Booth. Yes, there is a connection between these two men, who were on opposite sides of the great conflict, and who both believed extreme measures must be used to further their ends.

The paperback edition of COLD GLORY will release on October 30. Mark your calendar for November 27, as that is the publication date for the hardcover edition of SILVER CROSS. I am so excited about it. I can’t wait for you to see what is going on with Nick Journey, his son Andrew, Meg Tolman, Sandra Kelly, Kerry Voss, and Darrell Sharp. (Sharp has a larger role in SILVER CROSS. He really wanted to do more, and who am I to argue with a guy like Sharp?) You’ll also meet the shadowy Ann Gray, one of the more intriguing and complex characters I’ve yet met in my fiction.

Also, it’s baseball season, and my Rangers have started the season 9-2. (Couldn’t resist!)

Keep on reading, and drop me a line. I love hearing from you.

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“Oklahoma Voices” radio interview

I was a guest, along with fellow Oklahoma author M. Scott Carter, on KGOU Radio’s “Oklahoma Voices” program this morning, and the audio of the interview is now available on the KGOU website:


I thoroughly enjoyed the show.  Just prop me in front of a microphone and I’m happy. Scott and I talked about our respective books (he’s just released his first young adult novel), the writing process, Oklahoma settings, doing research, and much more.  Give it a listen!

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What next?

In the last two weeks, since COLD GLORY was published, many people–both online and in person–have asked me what comes next.  Will COLD GLORY be a series? Are Nick Journey and Meg Tolman returning? When will the next book be out?

Yes. Yes. And next fall.

The next adventure with Journey and Tolman is SILVER CROSS, slated for publication in the fall of 2012.  (Exact publication date to be determined.)  I’m doing revisions to the book now, and am so excited about this story.  Journey will face more challenges with his son Andrew, and we’ll see if Journey and Sandra Kelly are really able to form a relationship.  Meg Tolman will face the unexpected death of an old friend, and the investigation into her death leads to an infamous Civil War spy, as well as Napoleon III and a modern-day character who may leave readers wondering, “Is she good? Or is she bad ?”  I can’t wait for you to meet Ann Gray. Also, if you are as intrigued by Tolman’s silent, wounded, tortured friend Darrell Sharp as other readers have been, you’ll be pleased to know that he appears in SILVER CROSS as well, in a larger role.

From the Cape Fear region on the North Carolina coast, to the middle of Lake Michigan, to the desolate high plains of west Texas, and of course many scenes in my beloved Oklahoma, it’s a story I have thoroughly enjoyed creating, and I am looking forward to sharing it with you next year.

In the meantime, while promoting the first book in the series and revising the second, I am researching the third, with more Civil War-era intrigues impacting the modern era.  Journey and Tolman and company have much to do, and I’ve recently come across the most unlikely connection between two larger-than-life historic figures from the Civil War period.

But…I’m getting ahead of myself.  For now, enjoy COLD GLORY.  Come out and see me if I’m at a bookseller, library, or festival near you.  Look for SILVER CROSS next year.  In the meantime, please drop me an e-mail.  I love hearing from readers. Don’t forget the events page, to keep up with where I will be.

Keep reading!

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A Picture Is Worth…


I’m a writer, and I revere the written word, but sometimes a picture is all you need.

Thank you to all who made this day possible, and there are many.  (Read the acknowledgments page in the book…)


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I like okra.

Here in Oklahoma, we understand okra.  My mother, a fine practitioner of rural Southern-style cooking, would make it from time to time, lightly breaded and fried.  (Cardiologists may stop reading at any time.)  It is a staple of barbecue joints and cafes that specialize in “down home” cooking, and I find myself ordering it often.  (Even my 17-year-old son, who is, ahem, a picky eater, has decided in the last few months that he appreciates fried okra.)

It’s a Southern delicacy, so it is wholly appropriate that the Southern Independent Booksellers Aliance (SIBA) calls their seasonal group of featured titles “Okra Picks.”  These are the dozen books every season that the participating indie booksellers (over 100 stores) choose to promote and hand-sell to their customers.

I am beyond honored that COLD GLORY has been chosen as one of SIBA’s Okra Picks for fall 2011.  My publisher, Forge Books, is supporting this promotion with “extended” placement, guaranteeing prominent displays in the stores.  There will be posters and postcards, online promotion (http://www.authorsroundthesouth.com/index.php/okra), even QR codes that readers can scan and read an excerpt on their smartphones!  COLD GLORY is in the company of some fine books and authors, a cross-section of fiction and non-fiction.

There is not a list (yet) that I can find of the individual participating stores, but here is a link showing a list of many SIBA members.  It’s a great collection of indie booksellers, from Arkansas to Florida, and many of them have agreed to promote COLD GLORY as one of their favored fall books.

May have to order some good fried okra tonight.

Thanks, SIBA!

CG publishes in less than three weeks!  Join the excitement…order your copy either online or from your favorite bookseller.  And be sure to come and see me when I’m in your town.  I have a few more library dates to add, but the schedule as it stands now is here.

See you down the road!

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Cold Glory Trailer

The Cold Glory trailer is finished and live on YouTube!

Spread the word and join the excitement!

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