When is a Facepalm Not a Bad Thing?

Answer: When the solution to your problem has been right there in front of you all along.

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It took Collin and me ten years to write Chasing the Wind. The idea was conceived in spring 1998 and the book was originally published in May 2008. In between, there were multiple changes, revisions and rewrites, until the finished book bore little resemblance to the early drafts. It was frustrating at times, but I’m happy with it.

One of the cuts that were necessary involved the storyline of two characters, Alex Stewart and Robyn Cantwell. I loved the characters and decided the sequel, An Army of Angels, would focus on them…but it didn’t take long to discover that I hadn’t really thought it out. As secondary characters, they worked…but was there enough for a standalone novel?

I’ve been wrestling with that problem since 2008. I knew how their story started, I knew how it would end, but I didn’t know how they would get from A to Z. I didn’t want to give up, but I just couldn’t figure it out. I’ve shelved it at least half a dozen times. I even considered turning it into a romantic comedy after plotting a series of comedies featuring Robyn’s five brothers.

Nothing worked.

I tried serializing their story, along with stories involving characters from four of my previous novels, on a separate blog. It didn’t work.

Then, at 3:00 this morning, the solution presented itself. Most of my best ideas come at the most inconvenient times, so it’s not really that much of a surprise.

I’ve wanted to write shorter novels ever since I discovered James Patterson’s Book Shots. If you’re not familiar with them, they’re novels that average 150 pages, fast-paced, perfect for readers like myself with chronically short attention spans. I realized that the format would be ideal for continuing the story Collin and I started in Chasing the Wind. It would be the perfect way to move back and forth through all of the characters’ stories and still stick to the timeline.

Now to find out if it’s going to work….

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A New Domain, and a Link to an Old One–Merry Christmas!

Some of you are familiar with my longtime blog, The Three Rs: Rants, Raves and (Occasional) Reflections. I also have a new one, an ongoing serial featuring the characters from most of my past novels. Ever read (or write) a book and wonder what happened to the characters in the years that followed “The End?” I did. And I decided to do something about it.  I hope you’ll check out An Army of Angels while I decide what direction–if any–this blog will take. Word Press isn’t as easy to use as it used to be!

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Angels at Midnight Complete

A Special Price and a Freebie!

I think I mentioned this a while back, but I’m trying something new. Creativia is currently running a special promotion for Chasing the Wind (the ebook is $.99 for the next few days). I’ll be posting short fiction and excerpts at Write On By Kindle to coincide with each of the upcoming promotions, excerpts from upcoming books or “Where Are They Now?” pieces to show what has happened to the characters in those novels originally published back in the ’80s and ’90s. 


Today, I’ve posted an excerpt from the Chasing the Wind sequel, An Army of Angels. I hope you’ll check it out and let me know what you think!

Maybe I Took a Wrong Turn On the Way to…Where?

I had planned to post condensed versions of my upcoming books here, three times a week. It seemed like a good idea at the time. But now…I’ve discovered what could be an even better place to post them. Higher visibility, more readers…what more could any writer want?

So I’m off to check it out. Stay tuned! If all goes well, I’ll post links for anyone who wants to read more….

Write On by Kindle

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First Review: An Army of Angels

One word kept jumping out at me, a word with enormous implications for me. That one word changed everything. If it was true, I was little more than Frankenstein’s monster.”

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An Army Of Angels carries on with plot threads from the earlier book Chasing The Wind in this new short story by the author Norma Beishir. The first book, a novel drawing on themes of love, science fiction, religion, and dark forces, brought together two characters in a life changing journey. This short story picks up with hints and links to that earlier book, while introducing new characters in their own right. It’s meant to be the first aspect of a larger work from the author, and while the storyline has a logical conclusion, there’s room for much more to come.


We first meet Alex Stewart as he deals with the aftermath of the death of his father, Joseph Sadowski, an arrogant and vindictive scientist who he’s been estranged from. He wants nothing to do with his father’s legacy, and yet while going through personal effects makes a discovery that shakes his world to its foundations: he is
not a regular person, but a clone of another man.


Alex goes into a tailspin of self destruction, unable to paint, burning his way through inherited money, ending up working odd jobs, living the life of a nomad for years on end. He drifts from place to place, trying to find out the truth about himself and the man he was cloned from, believing himself to be an abomination. Finally he meets Robyn Cantwell, a compassionate young woman who spends her time helping the homeless when she’s not working at animal shelters. There’s a connection between them, and Alex finds himself trying to deal with his growing feelings at the same time as he tries to keep himself at a distance.

It helps to have read Chasing The Wind first, obviously. This picks up plot threads from that book and hints at more to come. The story focuses on the relationship between these two people, very different characters. Strong characterization is its bedrock. Alex is a sympathetic character from the outset. The clear estrangement he feels about his father is understandable from the glimpses we get about Joseph in flashbacks and journal entries. His father is a monster, and Alex’s reaction to the truth about his existence fits perfectly with that. He withdraws from the world, lives a ghost of a life, and his hesitation about being involved with Robyn is a logical turn of events. Alex is a tortured soul, but not because of a situation of his own making. It makes him compelling.

Robyn herself is automatically sympathetic to the reader. There’s a compassionate and empathetic quality to her personality, and a lighter touch. From the way she lives her life, the reader sees her as a genuinely decent person. And her brothers (a handful in and of themselves) provide some much needed comic relief.


The story has a natural pace to it, and a skilful touch in the writing. It’s somewhat condensed, but that’s merely for a short story format that comes to an end at the right spot. It deals with a tortured soul who has run away from the world, and the woman who coaxes him out of his shell. And it hints at a darker story yet to come. It leaves the reader wanting more, and I look forward to seeing where the author goes with the story of Alex and Robyn.

–review by William Kendall, Speak of the Devil

From the Pages of the International Intruder: the Cantwell Brothers Tell All

After months of dogged pursuit, the notorious Cantwells have finally agreed to sit down with this reporter and talk about life, love, their kid sister and their famous brother-in-law. Thanks for the exclusive, gentlemen.

MIKE: Gentlemen? Where?

PAULIE: She means us, stupid.

J.J.: You’ll have to excuse Mike. He’s not all there, if you know what I mean.

INTRUDER: Not all there?

RANDY: He had a do-it-yourself lobotomy a few years back.

MIKE: That was an accident!

PAULIE: He has a metal thing in his head. Makes the TSA guys nuts when he flies.

INTRUDER: Is it true you boys grew up in a commune? That your parents were hippies?

PAULIE : I knew this was gonna come up. Yep. Mom and Dad were flower children and we all lived in a commune.  They didn’t turn respectable until most of us were adults.

CHUCK: They grew their own pot.

J.J.: You don’t have to tell everything, douchebag!

INTRUDER: I’ve heard they gave all of you hippie names and that you later had them legally changed.

PAULIE: I knew it! I was under the impression we were here to talk about Alex!

RANDY: It’s true. My name was Free. Robyn was Karma. Mike was Peace–

J.J.: And he even misspelled that!

RANDY: Yeah. He kept spelling it “Piece.”

INTRUDER: And the rest of you–what were your given names?

J.J.: I was Wind.

MIKE: We used to call him Breaking Wind.

J.J.: We still call you Lameass.

CHUCK: I was Star. Paulie was–

PAULIE: Shut up, Lameass!

MIKE: I didn’t say anything.

J.J.: Paulie’s name was Sunshine. Does he look like Sunshine to you?

RANDY: Maybe it was the blond hair….

INTRUDER: Your sister, Robyn, is married to the up-and-coming artist, Alex Stewart. What’s he like?

PAULIE: I had my doubts about him at first. He was living in a homeless shelter when she met him, for crying out loud! But he’s cool…even though he’s pretty tight-lipped about where he’s from and all.

INTRUDER: You don’t know anything about his past?

J.J.: I think Robyn knows, but she hasn’t told us anything.

INTRUDER: Nothing?

MIKE: Nope.

INTRUDER: Cassandra Adrian bought one entire series at his first show.

PAULIE: Yeah. The Images of Hell series.

INTRUDER: She declared it to be his best work, did she not?

MIKE: Yeah, but coming from her….

J.J.: She’s a strange one. All the charm of a cobra.

INTRUDER: You didn’t like the paintings?

PAULIE: They were creepy. Even Alex thought they were creepy.

RANDY: He said they came from his nightmares.

CHUCK: I’ve had weird nightmares, but that stuff’s beyond weird.

MIKE: It’s the kind of stuff that gives you nightmares.

INTRUDER:  Cassandra Adrian is one of the world’s foremost authorities–

PAULIE: On torture? That’s what this boiled down to. People being tortured.

INTRUDER: Why did Alex paint them, then?

PAULIE: He said he didn’t feel like he had any choice. Something was making him do it.

MIKE: You know, like that old comedy bit, “The devil made me do it.”

INTRUDER: You think the devil made him do it?

PAULIE: Don’t be silly. The devil’s just something you see when you’re on a bad acid trip.

INTRUDER: Thank you for your time, gentlemen….