Category Archives: writing

What’s In a Name?

Being a fictional writer, I’m always scouring and searching for the best names to use for my characters.

Have you ever noticed that some names are so amazing they invoke an image as soon as you hear them?

That’s what happened when I saw an obituary for Mayme Divine. I never knew her, I didn’t know anything about the woman who had passed away. But that name came to life in my imagination.

Now, Mayme Divine is a character in two stories in the Mists of Garibaldi – Tales of the Supernatural. But she doesn’t stop there. I have already started laying out a whole series of books with Mayme as the main character. And I promise, you’re going to love her.

Mayme will connect with her best friend from college, Estelle, and the two of them together will be solving mysteries. But what you need to understand is that they really don’t want to solve mysteries. They want to meet cute guys (even though they’re in their late sixties) and find the best martini in town. Mysteries are just something that falls in their lap along the way.

I know you’re going to love Mayme and Estelle, so stay tuned for more!

What’s On Your List?

I have a shopping list on the side of my fridge. It helps me remember what to buy when I go to the grocery store.

I have a list of errands to run. I use it to create my route, saving as much gas and time as I can, and still get everything done.

When I was on a dating site, they have you create a list of what you’re looking for in a partner: fit and trim, non-smoker, age range, geographical area, successful, likes movies and travel, that list can go on and on.

A friend of mine gave me a gratitude journal to write down the things I was grateful for each day. Besides the obvious, I wrote things like a summer rain storm, chai latte in the morning, the ceramic kitty that sits on my desk at work. These lists are very important, they remind us to keep a proper, and positive perspective.

As a writer, I always keep lists of unique names, character traits, places, and dialogue I can incorporate into my stories.

Lists are more than just a collection of words. They can be liberating. They can provide direction and clarity, organization and insight. What’s important? What’s not?

What’s on your list?

Forgotten Lives: Where Evil Lurks

The first book in the Ninth Miracle trilogy has done very well. For all the fans of this book, the second book will be out in just a couple of months.  Shattered Souls: When Angels and Demons Collide is almost ready for you.

In book one Forgotten Lives, you met Maya, Isabella, and Raye. In the next book, you’ll meet Adriana, Chantelle, and Leila. I know you’re going to love reading their spell-binding, nail-biting stories as much as I have enjoyed writing them.

Stay tuned for more!


Julie Howard, Mystery Author

I always enjoy getting to know other mystery authors, and sharing them with you. This month we meet Julie Howard, author of the Wild Crime series.

Julie has published a number of short stories, and edited and co-produced a memoir by former Hewlett-Packard executive, Ray Smelek. Before settling down into writing fiction, she used to be a reporter for The Sacramento Bee, Las Vegas Review-Journal, and a national news service.

Julie Howard

Today Julie writes fiction similar to her taste in reading: mystery/suspense, and historical and literary fiction. Her current series was born when she was a newcomer to Idaho, feeling overwhelmed by the wide-open spaces and curious about the isolated locations where people live. She found it a great setting for mystery and suspense. And though not planned, her trilogy came to her all at once.

Crime and Paradise, her most recent book was released August of 2017, and is the first in her Wild Crime trilogy. It’s a story about Meredith, a young woman who moves to a remote location in Idaho, and who believes the only way out of her abusive marriage is to kill her husband. When he ends up murdered, she becomes the prime suspect. Despite all the evidence pointing to her, Meredith finds an unlikely supporter and friend in the county sheriff. Together, they uncover some ugly truths about her husband and their small, isolated town.

Crime Times Two, the second in the Wild Crime trilogy, is currently with the publisher and will be released in summer of 2018. In book two Meredith becomes wrapped up in a series of mysterious deaths in a nearby mountain town. At the crux of the story is the theme of belonging, and the ambiguities that exist along the borders of guild and innocence. Julie is currently writing the third book in the trilogy,

Download a free short story, Three Ghosts, from her website:

The Writer In Film

There are a ton of movies about writers. Here are some of my favorites. I hope you’ll add to the list though. What are your favorite movies about writers?

Sunset Boulevard (1950) Directed by Billy Wilder, starring William Holden and Gloria Swanson

The Shining (1980) Jack Nicholson

Throw Mama From The Train (1987) Billy Crystal and Danny DeVito

Funny Farm (1988) Chevy Chase and Madolyn Smith

Her Alibi (1989) Tom Selleck and Paulina Prizkova

Misery (1990) Starring James Caan and Kathy Bates

As Good As It Gets (1997) another Jack Nicholson feature

Finding Forrester (2000) Sean Connery

Adaptation (2002) Nicholas Cage and Meryl Streep

Stranger Than Fiction (2006) Will Ferrell, Emma Thompson, Dustin Hoffman, and Queen Latifah

Julie and Julia (2009) Amy Adams and Meryl Streep

The Ghost Writer (2010) Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan

Saving Mr. Banks (2013) Tom Hanks

This Beautiful Fantastic (2016) Jessica Brown Findlay, Andrew Scott, and Tom Wilkinson

Author Spotlight – Chuck Ambrose

Marc Rainer is the pen name for Charles “Chuck” Ambrose, Jr.

A graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, Chuck is a former Air Force JAG Circuit Prosecutor and former federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C., and in Kansas City, MO.

In his more than thirty years of experience, he has tried hundreds of both military and federal (civilian) major cases, including prosecutions of homicide cases, federal conspiracy trials, and mafia and other organized crime prosecutions.

Weaving scenes from his investigative and trial experiences into the plot lines of his novels, Chuck’s writing has been hailed by those in the criminal justice fields for their realism.

Chuck tries to make the books as realistic as possible, using actual criminal organizations and cases in the plot lines, and even use real transcripts from his trials.

He has co-authored a manual on how to try murder cases, which was published by the American Bar Association’s Criminal Law Section.  Chuck lives in a suburb of a major northwestern city with his wife, retired Special Agent of the Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations (OSI), and their three rescue mutts.

Find him on his website at

A self-published author who has sold over 40,000 books to date, Chuck has four novels out and is working on his fifth. His latest release is A Winter of Wolves, which concerns the Islamic Terrorist threat to the U.S.

Goodreads describes the book as:

‘Federal prosecutor Jeff Trask is summoned to a murder scene. A Park Police officer has been brutally murdered at the Lincoln Memorial. As Trask and a team of local and federal investigators try to find the killer, more police officers are murdered. While attending the funeral for one of these victims, Trask and his team find themselves in a firefight with a cell of radical Islamic terrorists. Disqualified because of his involvement at the scene at Arlington National Cemetery, Trask is reassigned to Washington D.C.’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, where he discovers that the firefight at Arlington was only part of a bigger and much more sinister plot to bomb that threatens the entire east seaboard.’

I’m so excited to read this series of crime mysteries, and I hope you’ll join me.

Be sure to check in for next month’s mystery/suspense writer spotlight!


Feisty After 45

A dear friend and accomplished author, speaker and publisher, Elaine Ambrose, recently accepted submissions for an anthology titled Feisty After 45. And yes, I have a cute little story in the book.

Feisty Front Cover FINAL 2-18

Join Elaine, me and others at JUMP, (Jack’s Urban Meeting place) downtown Boise on Friday, April 22 from 5-7pm.

I promise it will be a fun filled evening and I would love to see you there.