Saturday, January 28, 2017

We Like Novels with Happy Endings

Judi and I agree with Anne Lamott. The novels that we write have happy or at least satisfying endings. We don’t believe in reading several hundred pages only to discover that the characters we have fallen in love with are on a collision course with death or destruction.

Judi, is actually more adamant about this idea than I am. In the days before eBooks (Can we even remember those days?), Judi would go to the bookstore and read the end of the book first before she would buy the novel. If she didn’t like the ending, the book stayed in its place on the shelf. I was more trusting, but was sometimes disappointed.

That is not to say that our characters have boring, trouble-free lives. They are frequently in jeopardy and have to wriggle out of some difficult situations. Sometimes, one of our characters is destined to die, but the ending of the novel is one that we hope will not disappoint.

Our role model for women was our amazing mother, Alice Bourland. She was loving, kind, and fair, but no one, and I do mean no one, could make her do anything that compromised her morals and ideals. She was intelligent and had a ready wit. She could put people in their place with one steely look from those beautiful, blue-green eyes, and she would never have allowed anyone by word or deed to treat her as anything other than a lady.

Our heroines are not damsels in distress waiting for a strong man to rescue them. A heroine in our books will determine her own destiny and enjoy a relationship with a man with whom they are equal partners.

We think you will like our characters. We invite you to read one of our books. They are only $2.99 in the Kindle Store.

Thanks for reading,

Charlene TESS and Judi THOMPSON

Monday, August 1, 2016

An Interview with Author Linda Bingham

An Interview with Linda Bingham

How did you start writing? What first inspired you?

I remember writing poetry and short stories back in grade school. I was an omnivorous reader and never considered majoring in anything but English literature in college. I don’t think I realized I would be teaching students who could barely read and consequently didn’t last long in Houston’s inner-city schools. In my mid-20’s I set out to write my first novel. Having spent the previous years reading Eliot, Dickens, Hardy, Austen, and other great English novelists, I assumed that I would naturally know how to write dialogue and structure a paragraph, transition from one scene to the next but I found myself hopelessly entangled in words and had to give it up until I gained some maturity (and life experiences)

I was nearly forty and sitting among the ruins of my destroyed beach house when I got the idea for my Galveston historical, Born On The Island. It took the 100th centennial of the Great Storm to interest a publisher in this book. By then I was well on my way to writing full-time. I quit my day job and spent the next several years learning the craft of novel-building, a subject so large I can never fully master it. However, from time to time I feel enormous satisfaction from a well-crafted sentence or dialogue exchange.

Who or what has helped you the most with your writing career? 

Reading thousands of novels was the best preparation for becoming a novelist.

Do you write everyday?


Do you have a special place to write?

My home office. I love working at a big desktop computer so I can keep my back and neck in alignment. Novel-writing is an endurance sport.

Typically, how much do you write a day?

Five hours or so.

Do you use an outline? If not, how do you keep your story and characters together?

I do not outline. I do, however, write extensive character sketches and have a good idea of my plot (for the mysteries) before I begin. Not so much in my mainstream work. For that writing, I’m happy to let the conflict between characters surprise me.

How much do you rewrite? How many drafts do you typically have?

It’s hard to count rewrites when one works on a computer. I typically spend three months on a draft, put it away, and work on something else. Then come back to it, repeatedly. I am currently working on a mainstream novel I wrote years ago and have gone over dozens of times. I’m almost happy with it.

How do you feel about writing groups and have they helped you?

I can’t say they’ve been a help to me. Writing is by its nature a solitary pursuit. I moved recently to a new community and visited a fiction writers group, but the organization was in disarray. I did make a friend, though, and we’ve been helpful to one another.

What drew you to your genre of writing? (A specific author, influence?)

I figure I have no more “great” book ideas than George Eliot, who published 7 novels in her lifetime, or Barbara Pym, around a dozen. But my years on the planet need filling up, and I like plotting mysteries. It’s a genre the reading public never seems to tire of, or seeing dramatized. I loved Nancy Drew when I was a child, Josephine Tey as a young adult reader, and still have many Ruth Rendell novels to go before I get through her entire oeuvre. I focus on women writers now to balance out the steady diet of male writers I was force-fed in college.

What authors do you like to read?

Since I spent so much of my life reading fiction, in the past few years I’ve tried to even out my reading experience with non-fiction. I like reading about science and technology. Writing a mystery, or any kind of fiction for that matter, taps into the whole gamut of one’s knowledge. I know a little bit about a lot of things!

Who is your greatest support?

I value my family for reading and loving my books. My sister is my biggest fan, and she alone knows where all the bits and pieces came from.

What do you think of e-publishing?

As important and wonderful as the invention of the printing press! The process of “getting published” has been democratized.

What methods do you use to market your work?

I maintain a website/blog, a Facebook author page, an email list of friends, family, fans.

What are you working on currently?

I just emerged from a prolonged bout on my new Elinor & Dot mystery Death In The Stacks. I’m filling time before inspiration strikes again re-reading a large mainstream work called Oklahoma Air (I’m from a small town in Oklahoma).

What advice would you give to beginning writers?

Don’t go into it for fame and fortune. You’ll get your heart broken.

Linda Bingham's books are available on in the Book Store.


In paper (available from resellers on Amazon):


Born On The Island, a novel of Galveston


Who’sBurning Paloma Blanca (my arson investigator series, including the next two)
Up In Flames
What the Librarian Heard (first Elinor & Dot mystery)

Digital mysteries, all available on Amazon:

Visit Linda at:

Friday, July 1, 2016

An Interview With R. L. Hayden

Richard and L.C. Hayden

How did you start writing? What first inspired you?

I started writing during study hall instead of doing my homework. I lived in France in the ‘50s and visited many WWII sites. My first short stories were fictional about that time period.

Who or what has helped you the most with your writing career?  

I guess I’d have to say my wife, L. C. Hayden, as I stopped writing out of high school. After helping her with her stuff, I finally decided to start back. 

Do you write everyday?

I write as often as possible. I also spend time doing simple websites, and help other authors get their work on Kindle and as trade paperbacks with Create Space.

Do you have a special place to write?

I do have a ‘room’ but we like to go to other places that have power (Village Inn, Bassett Plaza, etc.) and work there.

Typically, how much do you write a day?

When I actually write, I can knock off about 5,000 words in a couple of hours. 

Do you use an outline? If not, how do you keep your story and characters together?

I don’t use an outline, and only keep a character sheet that I update whenever I add some more description, etc. I usually work from a two page ‘plot page’, but the characters take it from there.

How much do you rewrite? How many drafts do you typically have?

I usually do some rewriting as I check back into previous chapters. There may be two drafts before I send it to my editor.
What drew you to your genre of writing? A specific author, influence?

I like James Rollins, Steve Berry, and Dan Brown, but my novels are a little different.

What authors do you like to read?

The ones mentioned above, and some others in the same genre.

Who is your greatest support?

I’d have to say my wife.
What methods do you use to market your work?

We have signs on our vehicles, I’m learning about key words with Kindle, and posting my website on emails. I’ve still not gotten into heavy marketing.

What are you working on currently?

I have two series out, and am working on the second book in one series and the third book in another series. Plus, I’ve got a novella I’m working on about an assassin with principles. I’ve done the first 8 chapters, and have had friends suggest ‘jobs’ for him. They will be given credit when the work is done.

What advice would you give to beginning writers?  

Simply write. Don’t get tangled up with “my work isn’t good enough” because it is. Mostly because you did it, and the more you write, the better your works will become.

R.L. Hayden’s Books can be found in the Amazon Kindle Store

His titles include:
What Conspiracy, Cover-Up, and Shimmer (Rick Prescott series), Deadly Relics, The Manuscript (Tyler Dawkins series.)

Visit his web site here:

 R. L. Hayden website