Fan Letter

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The following is from a fan letter from a reader (I’ll call him “R”) from South Carolina. Thought you might be interested. (And thanks, R, for writing!)

You asked which are my favorite characters? That is kind of like asking me which chocolate in a box of chocolates is my favorite. The thing that makes a box of chocolates so exciting is the variety. But having said that, if I had to pick, I’d pick Edward and Marianne, and I can’t wait to read the next sequels of their adventures.

I also enjoyed Bat a great deal, but it took a while to overcome Garrison’s [sic] reservations about him. I must tell you: you left your readers in quite a quandry at the end of “Nice Guy”. At least I am having a hard time deciding who are the good guys and who are not. The only one I am convinced is a good guy is Bat and I am pretty sure Jody is a good guy/gal, but I’m not positive. I had a strong temptation to find you and strangle you :) because of the lack of closure at the end of “Nice Guy”, but it is not the first of your books that left me in that disposition at the end. The thing that kept it from being so painful for the others is that the sequel was immediately available on Kindle for the download. So I anxiously await the release of the rest of the “Nice Guy” series. Good marketing!!!

You asked if I want to know more about any characters. Yes. But I suspect they will be revealed in the sequels. Particularly, I want to know how Edward and Marianne adjusted to their old life of their original time when they returned as mariied people with a lot of new experiences (apparently overnight to those they left behind). I want to know who the bad guys are in the “Nice Guy” series. I want to know more about the Overstreets. You left that small tickler in “Nice Guy” but did not develop it, yet. I am still a bit puzzled over how Bat is going to reconcile the experience of first meeting Garrison as an older man before he met him as a younger one.

Note to readers … we will eventually find out who the bad guys are in Bat’s story. And, in that same novel, he’ll meet a young Justice of the Peace named Andy Taylor Garison Fitch.

Something that was interesting to me was Richard’s first reaction to Bat. I created Bat long before Garison, so I’ve always viewed him a certain way in my mind. It hadn’t occurred to me that someone who was colored by Garison’s way of thinking wouldn’t like Bat at first, but it actually makes sense. It’s wonderful to have my own characters opened up to me in that way. And, for any of you other readers who are hesitant to read Bat’s story for this very reason, try to remember how highly Heather Fitch thought of Bat.

And R, Edward and Marianne are my wife’s favorite characters, too. Maybe because Marianne’s personality is so much like my wife’s. Nah, that couldn’t be it.

What’s In the Pipeline?

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I wrote the following in response to a reader who had read (and liked!) “The Nice Guy” and wanted to know when the next Bat Garrett book would be out. He also wanted to know about the next Edward and Marianne story, so I answered that, too.

Thank you so much for writing! I like all my characters, but Bat may be my favorite, so it’s “nice” to hear that someone else likes him. To answer your question about when the next Bat Garrett book will be out … well, I may have thrown myself a curve on that. If you had asked me that three months ago, I would have said the next Bat novel was going to be called “The Return of the Nice Guy” and was going to be out in the early fall. And then, the next novel in the “All the Time” series was going to be out in December/January with the next Garison Fitch novel coming out next summer (’11).

In prep for all that, I was going over “Return” one more time and there was a reference in there to a story that has been in my head for twenty years, but every time I would try to write it out, I would always stall for one reason or another. Then, one night, I started typing. I’m now several chapters into the Bat & Jody story I always wanted to tell but never could and really enjoying it. However, even if I finish it before early fall (which would probably be pushing it) I doubt that it would be ready for release, as I like to set the stories aside for a while then come back later and see them with a fairly fresh eye.

Now, here’s my plan, which is firmly written in soap: release “Some of the Time” (book two about Edward and Marianne) in December ’10 and shoot for a spring release of “Up to Bat”. With what have now become the third and fourth books in the Bat Garrett cycle are already written, I can release them at some point in the future as I work on the next Garison Fitch and Edward & Marianne books. I know the stories in my head, and have some chapters written on both, but they’re still quite a ways from completion. And then … there’s one more book in my head that draws all three series together. If you count that I have also written (but not yet published) a western novel about Marianne’s ancestor John Overstreet, then that other book in my head will be drawing four series together.

An Unrealized Character

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Several years ago, a friend and I came up with a comic book story. Mike was going to draw the comic book and I was going to write it.

The story was going to follow a guardian angel. One night, the angel had kept his charge from being in a car wreck. But that wasn’t what the angel was supposed to do. He had just assumed and hadn’t checked in with his superiors. What he was supposed to do was allow the man to be in the car wreck, but keep him from dying. The man would have met a nice lady while in the hospital, gotten married, had a happy life.

By protecting the man, though, the angel had enabled him to make it to his white supremacy meeting. From there, he had gone on to garner power and become a new Hitler. The comic book was going to follow him a couple hundred years in the future when he works in a post-apocalyptic age, trying to make things right, one good deed at a time. He would also be battling his own pride and nature in that his first response is to rush in, without taking the proper steps first.

I’d still like to do this comic book and I’d still like to do it with Mike. For now, though, the angel’s only appearance in print is in the novel “All the Time in Our World”. Can you guess which character he is?

Recently Written Passage

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I wasn’t sure what we were looking for, or confident we would find anything of value-value to the investigation, that is. At first glance, I was just seeing the sorts of things one finds in the back of anyone’s closet. The hand-painted wooden figure that was probably made by one of his sons while they were in Boy Scouts, the framed certificate denoting his twenty years in the Lion’s Club, a weirdly-shaped bottle opener. There was even an old Timex watch in one of the boxes, but it wasn’t the one I was looking for. If all the accumulated things told me anything, it was just that Conrad Carroll was just an average guy.

An idea popped into my head (I have no idea why) and I asked Angela, “Do you know if Kevin Jefferson ever hit your husband up for a loan?”

“Not that I know of. Why?”

“Just grasping at straws. I’m thinking your husband’s a banker. Jefferson needs some money, so he hits up his friend from the archeology club-”

“Jefferson wasn’t in the club,” she corrected.

“Oh, right. Anyway, I’m just thinking maybe he asks Conrad for some sort of friendly deal. Half the normal interest rate-or no rate at all, maybe. Conrad says no, Jefferson gets mad and kills him.”

Angela was shaking her head as Jody replied for her, “That would be kind of a stretch, wouldn’t it? I mean, he might hold a gun on him until he could produce some money, but what good would killing him do?”

“And no money was ever missing,” Angela injected.

“Murderers aren’t always logical,” I defended. “And, like I say, I’m just grasping.”

The boxes had a lot of mementos and a few documents-some in frames, some not-but none of them sent up a flag for either Jody or I. And we didn’t come across anything that led Angela-as in a mystery movie on TV-to jump forward and exclaim, “That’s the thing the mysterious stranger gave my husband the night before he [the stranger] died from an acutely spastic colon!”

My mind kept getting drawn back to that notebook of baseball cards, but I chalked it up not to intuition but just obsession.

More Ways to Read about Garison Fitch!

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You can now read Kindle books on an Android or a Mac! Just go to Amazon and click on any of the Kindle links on the front page. It’ll show you how to dowload FREE software that will enable you to order and read all Kindle-available books on your Android, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Blackberry or Windows PC!


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There’s a web site I can go to and see how my books are selling on the Kindle platform. Amazon has recently redone the web site to give the author way more detail and information about their sales.

I hate it. The old format was way easier to read.

Either way, I still don’t know who is buying my books. I don’t really want Amazon answering that question for me because it would be an invasion of those readers’ privacy. Sure would like it if those readers would write me!

If you’re one of those wonderful readers, write me at

One Down, Million to Go …

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Sometime over night, between June 27 and 28, I sold my first copy of “The Nice Guy”. I’m a little surprised that it took this long, as Bat Garrett is such a prominant character in “Lost Time: The Legend of Garison Fitch, book 3″. I think, as time goes by, more and more people will want to know his back-story, which is told in “The Nice Guy”.

Could it be because “The Nice Guy” was referenced in the comic strip “Tuttle’s” (which you can read 5 days a week in The Denver Daily News, The Vail Mountaineer and The Moore County News or on-line at I don’t know, and have no way to track it. Thanks to whoever you are that’s (now presumably) reading “The Nice Guy”. Hope you’ll like it and I hope you’ll tell your friends!

On a Roll (and trying not to slip on the butter)

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Finally getting some work done on the new Bat and Garison stories today. This weekend, I managed to get way ahead on “Burt & the I.L.S.”. That’s a relief because, two months ago, I just couldn’t do BILS for anything.

Thought I ought to let the readers of this blog (if there are any) know that page 11 of Book 6 in the BILS saga has a veiled reference to “First Time: The Legend of Garison Fitch” that fans of that book will get and everyone else will probably read right over without acknowledging that anything out of the ordinary happened. BILS has been fun–for a lot of reasons–but one of them is that I have gotten to play around with time travel conventions in ways that I can’t really do in the Garison stories.

I have long patted myself on the back for being good at prioritizing, but the reality is that I usually didn’t have much to prioritize. Now that I am a husband, a father, a preacher (at a church in the midst of a building program) a hospice chaplain, a hospital chaplain in training, a newspaper columnist, a newspaper cartoonist, and a comic book artist, prioritizing is taking on more and more importance!

Good News / No News

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The good news is that I’m way ahead on writing/drawing “Burt & the I.L.S.” and I’m a week ahead on my newspaper column (as opposed to my usual practice of scrambling to get it emailed in just before the deadline). The bad/no news is that to do so I have not been writing on my novels.

I’m reminded of the “Dick Van Dyke” episode where Rob explains to Millie that writing can take many forms, including just thinking and puttering around the house. Millie then tells him that what isn’t writing is explaining to the neighbor what writing is.

Thanks David!

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A big thanks to the “David” who recently posted a glowing review for “Lost Time: The Legend of Garison Fitch, book 3″ on Amazon. Whoever you are, if you stumble across this web site and blog, drop me a line.

Still crack up every time I see the review by someone who thought my story was good but the grammar/editing was so bad she wondered if maybe the book had been translated from another language. Not to compare myself too strongly to a near-genius, but I do what Mark Twain did in one instance. He published “Huckleberry Finn” with his own money, and then, as people would write to him and tell him about the mistakes they had found, he would correct them (if need be*) and then have the corrections in the new edition. So, readers, if you spot a mistake, please email me ( and let me know.

* I say, “if need be” because sometimes people suggest corrections that I don’t agree with. Especially as concerns dialogue, sometimes my characters “don’t talk correct”. Listen to the conversations around you, real people massacre the language all the time, but we accept it because it’s real. Also, when Garison talks or writes, some of his syntax seems off. I did that because he’s from a different time, where some of the rules of grammar are different. There have been other suggestions about such things as grammar or punctuation. I have corrected some and sometimes I haven’t agreed with the “spotter” so I left it as is. If you have a question or comment about that, let me know. I’d love to talk with you about it!