Showing posts from 2017

Thanks! Unbroken 5* Reviews Continue

Please remember to take a moment and review Judging Angels after you've recovered. Thanks!

Exposition - The Thing Everyone Who Writes About Writing Loves to Hate

I share my drafts with my driver, bodyguard, and factotum, Red Death, who is also my lawfully wedded wife. Sometimes it is frustrating. She puts up with it, though, as she does with all of my idiosyncrasies, and is a good sport about cleaning up my crime scenes.



The clatter of the typewriter stopped. Home was uncovered by the silence.

There was a pot of soup on the stove. The dog warned of someone walking past the house, putting all six pounds of terrier into it. He could hear his wife singing a tune he did not recognize; she sang only to herself.

He rubbed his eyes. Loss of signal. He remembered the tension when, as a child watching the end of a space mission on television, mission control would announce 'loss of signal' during reentry. Minutes passed, then at last the voice would come from the Gemini capsule, or the Apollo.

They were back. They went places in those days, before it was routine, before it was forgotten until everyone learned what o-rings we…

Rubricatae Chronicles Word of the Day

The vast universe of the Rubricatae Chronicles (sorry, GoT, the Judging Angels series is too big for just one world) has its own rich vocabulary. To assist readers, Hermes Pharmaceuticals, maker of the drug Adapt, bring you The Word of the Day. Ask your doctor if Adapt is right for you. "For when there's nothing wrong - with you."

FIXED: Truth About 1952 UFOs Over D.C.

Chapter 0: The Night Before the Day the Earth Stood Still

“War in Korea and here we are chasing little green men.”

That was the last thing Caveman heard from his wingman, Trigger, before they each jogged to the hanger for his own fighter jet. He had said something expected and serious to set the right tone but felt the same.

“You got her ready for the dance, Airman Wells?”

Wells was colored but took good care of his airplane. Caveman had come back from the war with no patience for anyone who judged the worth of a person by his race. A bunch of mutts had conquered the Aryan supermen of Hitler.

“Yes sir. She’s ready for anything.”

Caveman chuckled under his breath. “Guess we’ll find out.”

He had already begun a quick walk-around inspection. He trusted Airman Wells and did not expect to find any problems. It was a ritual exchange of responsibility.

He always used this time to remind himself that his new baby was thirsty. She ran through fuel and ammo faster than his last wife ran through…

Thanks for Another ***** Review & Progress

The string of five star reviews at Amazon continues unbroken. If you've enjoyed NEW YORK BOOK FESTIVAL AWARD-WINNING Judging Angels (heh, that never gets old) please consider spending a couple of minutes leaving a review at Amazon. (Do it right now, before you forget!) Amazon's voodoo book promotion system requires a certain number of reviews to kick in and Judging Angels is well shy of the mark.

On the other hand, seeing nothing but five-star reviews and kind words does make an author feel warm.


So how is the sequel coming along you ask? (You did. I heard you. You've just forgotten.)

I have felt more like sleeping than writing lately but when I do write I more than make up for my laziness.

I can tell you this much.

First of all, God willing, book two will not be the last. It is not being written as the last, anyway.

It is not going to mix up genres like Judging Angels did. While it will be another thoughtful book for grownups, and will continue the story begun in…

Another Good Review for Judging Angels

"The way the author bases his characters on experiences and ideas and weaves the faith into the story is brilliant.  I know that mysteries, crime novels, crime dramas, etc… can get pretty stale after a while because there are times when it becomes predictable at every twist and turn. However, That is not the case with the story that is presented through Judging Angels."  -  Joe Sales

Catholic blogger Joe Sales was kind enough to give a short review of Judging Angels. He reports that had a hard time getting through it, but has nothing but good things to say about it.

If you (forgivably) think "legal thriller" you are going to have difficulty wrapping your head around Judging Angels, because that is not the direction it goes. You barely get a glimpse of the inside of a courtroom, and that only with a secondary character. The story is mainly to hold the reader's attention through an extended meditation on the nature of temptation and our response to it, the sanct…

Judging Angels Recognized at New York Book Festival

I am pleased to be able to pass along the news from my publisher, that Judging Angels received an "Honorable Mention" in the fiction category at the 2017 New York Book Festival.
This is a first for Hope and Life Press, and  I am very happy to share the recognition with my publisher.

"Fully Fashioned Lingerie"

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)

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

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…

Judging Angels & Author Featured in Dappled Things

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…

Hallmark Cards - Judging Angels Versions

Aw, isn't that sweet?

And for some redheads it's blood sport.

Chapter 1: Last Things Read by Author

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

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…

Finally: One Answer to the Blacklist

One Catholic media outlet was kind enough to provide an answer as to why they declined to acknowledge Judging Angels. I do sincerely thank them for the courtesy.

Without going into details, the sense was that they preferred positive stories where Catholics victoriously lived out their faith.

And, that's nice, I agree.

I have to wonder, however, what service they imagine they are providing to Catholics who may not be victoriously living out their faith. There may be Catholics who are confused, tempted and even lapsed.

I don't know. Perhaps I have it all wrong, and all Catholics except me are victoriously living out their faith and Catholic novels should solve characters' problems in a few gentle pages of rosaries and counsel from their kind and wise parish priest.

But, they have one thing right. I didn't write Judging Angels for Catholics without doubts, without temptations, and without sin. I suspect their victorious Catholics would not find much value in practical le…

Another " ***** " Review

I want to thank an FOB (Friend of Bear) who took the time to leave a review at Amazon on Judging Angels. Of course, it was all the sweeter for the pretty stars.

I know you get sick of hearing this, but reviews like those are what people rely on in this day and age. They really do matter enough to warrant the nagging. No, not nagging. I have my self-respect, you know! Let's call it... begging.

 I don't know much about publishing except it seems to be a "top down" process of people buying promoted books, rather than a "ground up" one of good books growing in popularity and attracting attention. My wife and I were discussing books she has recently read and did not enjoy very much. But they are the ones that are heavily promoted.

I get the model and am 100% for people making money.

The community's voice is a wonderful way to gain an audience for good books that bypasses big-money promotion and blacklisting. (See previous re: EWTN.) It is grassroots marketi…

Judging Angels Sequel Stats


48,500 words, or over 1/4 of original Judging Angels competed in first draft.

30 scenes in four general settings: Washington D.C., Washington D.C., Cascade, WI, and Other.

Approximately 30 characters depending on what constitutes "a character" sufficient for counting - here an actor with lines - but of course only a few of those are major characters.


Additional major new characters are already planned I think you'll enjoy.

There is a high probability of piracy on the high seas.

The original narrative continues three weeks after the first book ends and blasts through one action-packed week involving familiar characters and answering questions left over from the previous book. Well, most of them. Some of them, but the really, really big ones.

Then there is a flashback that begins on the original Christmas Eve, 28 days before the end of the original book involving new characters and bigger plots.

The two timelines, with their own sets of characters and…

Tim Capps on Fiat Ministry Show

Here is Tim Capps's splendid interview yesterday on the Fiat Ministry Show with Kent Kuholski. Listen to Tim as he discusses his death penalty defense work from a thoroughly Catholic point of view, as well as his newly-released novel Judging Angels which presents the broadest readership with a full-throated defense of traditional sacramental marriage in the face of temptation.

Departed for a Season - Book II in the Rubricatae Chronicles

A very short prologue to Book 2 takes you to the beginning of the Rubricatae Chronicles -1952. The Dante Project makes its first move. It is referred to only as "The DESS File," a public triumph covering a disaster that makes it a nation's most closely guarded secret.
The narrative proper starts three weeks after the end of the first book. The cozy little family drama of Judging Angels is broadened to show how one flawed man's decisions can have consequences beyond what he can possibly imagine.
The little things make headlines in Heaven. Also, it turns out, in Hell.

In fact, a Hell of a lot has happened in those three weeks. Mysteries left over from the ending of Judging Angels are answered, but overwhelmed by new and deeper ones. 
Characters old and new people a chessboard spanning two worlds. The squares seem to dissolve into a gray and uncertain moral battlefield. Characters will need unusual discernment to stay true to their colors. In Judging Angels, they were …

Five-Star Reviews, Catholic Information Control Failing

UPDATE: Remember Egg-Gate from 2015? The Bear got his book sent to the Vatican, too! Just like the children's book about the merits of gay penguins and lesbian rabbits as parents. If your memory is fuzzy on Egg-Gate, here is the real story. A touching saga of a blacklisted author who appealed directly to Pope Francis with an explicit request for the Vatican to weigh in on her pro-homosexual books. She got a kind letter from Msgr. Peter B. Wells of the Vatican Secretariat. Just something the Vatican sends out to every author as a courtesy? If so, Bear can't wait to get his!  (Above or below his autographed picture of Ginger Rogers? Hmm...)

Or do you think that was different and the Bear should probably not hold his breath? You be the judge.

Youcould not pay me money to do this [beg]. But I would do it to help a book that is a missile aimed at every prince of the power of the air, throne, dominion and goofball with a mic in his hand who can't stand sacramental marriage and who…