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Sunday, June 27, 2021

James Lee Burke shows how it's done

cj Sez:  First: Once upon a time I was ready to close my Facebook Author page on June 30 but now have been persuaded to keep it operating. The Welcome Mat is out so please keep visiting, and commenting, and questioning. I’ll be looking for you.

   “The evening sky was streaked with purple, the color of torn plums, and a light rain had started to fall when I came to the end of the blacktop road that cut through twenty miles of thick, almost impenetrable scrub oak and pine and stopped at the front gate of Angola penitentiary.” 
― James Lee BurkeThe Neon Rain  (the first title in his Detective David Robicheaux series)

cj Sez:  Setting is all important to readers (and agents) and that sentence invites the reader into the story. Every adjective works with its verb in that sentence and carries the action forward. The reader is on the road with the character, sees what the character sees, and ends up where the character ends up. A fantastic opening line to draw in readers, and a wonderful example of show, don’t tell.

   That is not to say that poetic words don’t have a place in a novel. Burke uses them also, and they still show what he wants his reader to see.

   Write your descriptions, tell your readers everything, then re-write everything in a way that shows them. How to do that, you ask? Read, read, and read some more. Get familiar with how your favorite author handles the task. It just takes practice …writing and re-writing and re-writing and re-writing, and sometimes it seems re-writing ad infinitum.

"There's nothing like rejection to make you do an inventory of yourself."   James Lee Burke

   I’ve had a few of those (makes for elephant-hide skin).

   That opening line is why James Lee Burke is one of my favorite authors. Who are yours?
   Hope you’ve had a chance to read The Dawgstar and/or Death on the Yampa. Let me (and other readers) know what you think, okay?
Son’s photo of a vixen and her kit, taken on Dauphin Island, AL. 


Writerly/Readerly quotes: 
   “We read five words on the first page of a really good novel and we begin to forget that we are reading printed words on a page; we begin to see images.” —John Gardner (On Becoming a Novelist)

And now a short message from my sponsor:

The Dawgstar from your favorite E-retailer, including Kindle, here:

The paperback of the international thriller The Dawgstar is available here:  Amazon Buy Now

Buy Death on the Yampa at    

   The paperback of Death on the Yampa, a homegrown-terrorist adventure, is available on Amazon:    Buy Paperback Yampa

   Here's some help on accessing the suspense/ thriller/ mystery series phone app #SCREAM

   All you will need to do is download the Scream app from wherever you usually get your apps.

   You’ll be looking to download Scream: Chills & Thrills, and once the Scream app is downloaded, then you can open it and search for the title or my author name.

   If you have an iPhone, that would be the Apple app store (

   If you have an Android phone, download Scream from the Google Play app store ( 


   If you've enjoyed reading any book by any author, please leave a review on Goodreads or Amazon or Facebook, or wherever. It shares your joy of reading with others and means the world to the author. Please and thank you.


   That’s it for today’s post. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.


P.S. Indie bookstore plug: TO ORDER my books or any book of your choice on-line and support an indie bookstore, contact The Haunted Bookshop here:

   If you’d like me to autograph or personalize it for you, be sure to tell them.

   The Haunted Bookshop has re-opened to limited hours (and they have an awesome bookstore kitty, Mr. Bingley), so if you’re in the Mobile area, you can stop and shop, too.

➜ Follow me . . .     
➜ on Amazon:    Amazon Central Author Page 
➜ on Goodreads:


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