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Judging Angels & Author Featured in Dappled Things

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I am pleased to pass this one along: Judging Angels received very kind treatment in the current issue of the Catholic literary quarterly, Dappled Things, which you can read here. The author was licking his chops over an interview with the sort of Catholics who understand what he was trying to accomplish with his genre-bending epic.

A while back, the author of the piece Jonathan McDonald and his now-bride met us for the traditional Latin Mass at the Oratory in St. Louis and both couples enjoyed lunch afterwards on the St. Louis landing. It was a pleasure to meet such a lovely and erudite pair of young Catholics.

As a firm believer that redheads are undeniably God's greatest gift to the eye of man, and having been married to his own "dappled thing" for 40 years, it is particularly gratifying to appear in a fine journal with the seeming inevitable name. (For the record, the redhead in Judging Angels does not have freckles, which fact alone should call into question her ori…

"Fully Fashioned Lingerie"

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Dialogue of the Day from the sequel to Judging Angels. I wonder who is speaking to whom? And where do you think they are?


Ginger in Follow the Fleet (RKO 1936)

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Follow the Fleet (1936) RKO: Three out of Five Salmon ***

Follow the Fleet is not the one I would recommend as an introduction to the famous screen partnership. (That would be Swing Time.)

Follow the Fleet is a different sort of movie. Part of it is the un-glamorous setting. Fred's a swabbie on a battleship and Ginger is the failed half of their previous dance partnership. Harriet Nelson (of Ozzie and Harriet fame) is Ginger's plain sister who falls in love with Fred's buddy, played by Randolph Scott.

The plot revolves around getting Randolph Scott and Harriet Nelson together so he can be captain of the ship her seafaring father left her. (And, it goes without saying, getting Fred and Ginger back together.) Harriet's rival is a married rich woman played by a cute and curvy yet elegant Astrid Allwyn. Fred torpedoes that affair and Scott suddenly decides he loves Harriet Nelson after all.

Forget the unforgettable Adrian gowns. There is only one number (in a show-within-…

Radio Days and Audiobook Progress

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Three Audiobook Chapters Finished
Three chapters are under my belt for a proposed audiobook, read by the author. (You can hear Chapter 1: Last Things HERE.) Let me know what you think.

The next chapter is going to be the biggest test so far because of the large cast of characters, including the debut of a major one who poses... unique challenges. I am learning the trick is not to go all out trying to impersonate the different characters, but give each just enough of his or her own voice  to clearly distinguish them.

An excited six-year-old girl still tries my dignity, though.

Tech Stuff and Radio Memories
I am using Audacity as my recording program, which has a lot of nice features, running on a Surface Pro 4 with Windows 10.

The main tool of the trade is a Samson C01U condenser USB mic with headphone jack for zero latency when recording narration. This is a very nice mic for close in work, and I mean close. When I get into a character's mind, I drop my voice and move in nearly clo…

Hallmark Cards - Judging Angels Versions

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Aw, isn't that sweet?




And for some redheads it's blood sport.

Chapter 1: Last Things Read by Author

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Here is a little treat - the audio of Chapter 1: Last Things, read by the author. 

Curl up in your favorite chair, turn down the lights, and enjoy the psychological thriller element of the novel, as you are introduced to George Able - a disgraced lawyer who is being divorced by his wife and disbarred by the state. When he celebrates Christmas Eve with some dangerous company - Messrs. Daniels, Smith, and Wesson - you just know things are not going to end well.

At the present, there is no audio version of Judging Angels and this is not necessarily the version of Chapter 1 that will be used should that project get the green light. Just another way of sharing, and a little experiment to see if I could pull it off.

NOTE: SoundCloud does not provide a way to disable autoplay. If you are creeped out at the end of the reading, my Russian Orthodox Epistle chant or maybe something will definitely get your attention! So you might want to stop the player after the chapter ends.

A chapter takes a…

Writing Character Background

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I love to write. Whatever the opposite of writers block is, that is what I have. Writing is the easiest thing in the world for me.

Too easy. I want to jump right in and start recording the adventures and character revelations in my latest novel.

But a good novel must have a good foundation. So what I have been up to lately is developing characters. The motives of characters don't come out of the thin blue. They - like yours - come from their background, what their culture values, even their secrets. How have they been hurt? How have they best gotten by in their world? What are they like when no one is looking, and how is it different from when they are before an audience?

The motives of characters drive plot. I think characters should come first, and the plot should flow organically from them. Otherwise, you get a story where stock characters are plugged in so it rolls along and makes a certain sense but it rings false and the characters are not interesting.

Every character is ge…