Monday, September 30, 2013

Someone Saved My Life Tonight

Since I posted the cover of Someone Saved My Life Tonight earlier today, I thought I'd say a few words about availability.

This was my first short story, so it's kinda special to me.  I like Gus, the "grunt" in this story, and I like the sacrifice that he made, because he made it purely from love of the little girl, Nicole.

The story was written strictly with ebooks in mind, and, since I published it three years ago, that's all that's been available.  Now, however, it's available as a print edition - yes, a paperback copy of the story - and, as an audiobook performed by Scott O'Neill...and performed quite well, too!

Scott has also completed the audiobook for Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, and I'm very pleased with the results.  The audiobook is available at, and at, soon, at iTunes.

Please read the story, or, if you prefer, listen to the story.  I think that you'll like it.

Keep reading!

Michael (T. M.)

Cover # 3

Here's the artwork for the third story that I wrote.  It was the short story, Someone Saved My Life Tonight.

When I wrote the story, Christi and I talked about the ebook cover art.  I had written this story to introduce the "grunts" - the uniformed Justice Security personnel.  I had the idea of a series of short stories featuring different "grunts" as they performed their daily jobs in the background of banks, stores, and education facilities, so Christi and I decided that, since the short stories were going to be a series, we'd make a generic Justice Security short story cover.  The only thing that would change from story to story would be the title.

I am only now starting to write more short stories about Justice Security, and the story I'm writing now actually features the partners:  Joey Justice, Dexter Beck, Megan Beck, Misty Wilhite, Jessica Queen, and Percival "King Louie" Washington.  It's called Saturday In The Park, and I plan to submit it to a couple of magazines before I go "Kindle" with it...keep your fingers crossed!

It only "shows to go ya" that plans change in the fictional worlds that exist in your head.

Keep reading!

Michael (T. M.)

Friday, September 27, 2013

Short Stories

When I wrote my first novel, If You Could Read My Mind, I didn't think twice about short stories.  I wanted to write novels!

Almost immediately, I began writing Mama Told Me Not To Come.  When I completed that one, I still had just enough...whatever you want to call it...for a short story, just to serve as an introduction to the "grunts" - the uniformed Justice Security folks.  So, Someone Saved My Life Tonight was born, and I had done it!  I had written a short story, kept it within the Justice Security world, and told a story...all within just a few pages, topping out at approximately 5600 words.

That was in 2010.  Although I could have, and should have, I didn't try another short story until this year, with The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald. I did that for three reasons - 1) I had begun a novel outside of the world occupied by Nicholas Turner and Justice Security, and I wanted to keep trying things outside of that sphere, and 2) I wanted to write in a different area than action/adventure/mystery/suspense.  I have since written Gold and Hot Child In The City, and I'm now in the process of writing two other short stories, one of which features the Justice Security partners.  That story begins with a bullet whipping past Louie's head.  It should top out at around 5000 words or so.

It's as though The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald opened a floodgate for me.  I now have more ideas for short stories than I've ever had before, and I find it very, very encouraging personally.

This can apply to your writing as well.  If you have an idea for a story, and you don't feel like there's enough there for a book, then, by all means, make it a short story!  There are still numerous publications that accept short fiction stories, among them is The New Yorker, Harper's, Cemetery Dance, Clarkesworld, and Nightmare, just to name a few.  Some are traditional print publications, and some are online publications.  And, if you feel that you just can't wait, or just want to throw a story out there and let it find its own audience, publish it at as a Kindle short story!

Writers have so many more publishing options available to them now, it's incredible.  It's so much better than even ten years ago, because you are no longer limited by traditional publishers.

So, you know that little idea in the back of your mind?  The one that keeps nagging at you to put down on paper?  Get off of the Internet, open up your computer's word processor, and type that first sentence.  It only gets easier from there!

Oh, and another thing:  Pick up a book, and read the darn thing, wouldja?

Happy reading!

Michael  (T. M.)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Print Edition!

Well, I'm proud to announce that there is now a print edition of the latest novel in the Justice Security series!

Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go - A Justice Security Novel is now available as a print edition at

For those of you that like to hold a real book in your hands, here's the link (you'll need to copy and paste it into your browser):

Also coming are print editions of The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald, Someone Saved My Life Tonight, and Jackie Blue. 

Keep watching for them - they should be out in no later than a week!

Happy reading!

Michael  (T. M.)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


"Where do you get your ideas?"

Every fiction writer has heard this question many times.  Ideas spring from everywhere, and affect people differently.

For example:  Take two about myself and maybe...Nicholas Sparks?  Play the song "Saturday In The Park" to us both.  Mr. Sparks would probably dash off a quick story about two people falling in love at an outing in a park, and spending the rest of the book trying to relive the magic of the day.  Me?  I'll keep my idea to myself for now, because I've just started writing a short story about it...but, I will say that it very much involves Justice Security, and goes in a totally different direction than you would expect.

Of course, I base all of my stories on classic songs - bits and pieces of the songs will suggest ideas to me, and the story grows from there.  And the story suggested by a song slowly builds and expands, until, next thing you know, it's a book!  Or a short story!  Or a novelette!

To find stories that you feel comfortable enough with to write, let your mind absorb everything around you, whether it's a song, or a car, or a tree, or a couple of dogs walking down a country road...then turn your imagination loose.  I promise you, a story will emerge, and all that will remain is for you to tell that story.

I have a plaque on my desk given to me by my cousin Melissa.  I look at it every day, because it reminds me of the basics of writing:  "The WORLD is waiting to hear your story."  No truer words were ever spoken, and they apply to YOU.

Keep reading!

Michael  (T. M.)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Reviews - Are They A Good Thing?

Today’s earlier post showed the cover from my first Justice Security novel, “Mama Told Me Not To Come”.  Looking at it, I thought I’d talk about reviews.  One of the things that I stress almost to the point of begging is that readers of my material please go to Amazon and give an honest review!  With “Mama Told Me Not To Come”, of all the things I’ve published, this novel has only 3.4 stars out of 5 on Amazon.  Many were great reviews, but there were a couple of bad ones. 
Consider the review from “hemmedin”, relevant portions shown:  This is an average thriller-action movie script.  …the "King Louis" character was so full of ebonics and lousy dialect ("dat" instead of "that" every time he spoke) I was nauseated. If you like blood, explosions and simplistic "super" characters, this is your book. I really do expect to see it as a movie, though, and I will save my money at that time.”

Exactly.  That’s the way I write!  I see stories as movies, or whatever you want to call it, happening in my head, and I describe all of it as a story!  Unfortunately, the reader has no way of knowing that, so it maybe does read like a script.  And, no, the Justice Security characters are not “simplistic ‘super’ characters”, as this reviewer describes.  They are honed, with muscles, training, and good reflexes.  They have distinct personalities that are only hinted at in this introductory novel.  They get injured, and possibly die, as has been demonstrated in following stories.  No one, and I emphasize, no one, is safe in the imaginary city that these characters call home.

“King Louie” and his ebonics were intentional.  Louie himself explains the sad/sorry reason that he slips into that dialect from time to time, in this exchange with Donna, his dinner date, from “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”:

Donna put down her fork and said, “Louie, may I ask you something?”
            Louie put down his own fork, and replied, “Sho’ can, ma’am.”
            She smiled at his small joke.  “I’ve known you for about a month now…”
            “A month and three days,” finished Louie.  “But who’s counting, right?”
            Donna smiled at Louie again.  “A month and three days, then.  In that time, I’ve seen several sides of you.  I’ve seen the athlete.  I’ve seen the man of depth and feeling.  I’ve seen the man of research and education, and I’ve seen the man of violence…but only when it’s necessary, or when it’s warranted.”
            “And your point?  Or your question?”
            “Out of all the men I’ve seen you become, the one I dislike is this one-dimensional, ebonics-spewing, black idiot.  Why do you do it, Louie?”
            Louie stared at her with his mouth slightly open.  After a moment, he threw his head back and started laughing.  He laughed so hard that other patrons turned to stare at him, and he had tears in the corners of his eyes.
            “Oh, baby, thank you,” he said after he had calmed down a little.
            The lady had been laughing as well…Louie’s laugh was a bit contagious.  “Why are you thanking me, sweetie?” she asked.
            Louie took her hand.  You are the first person that’s been brave enough to ever ask!” he responded.  “The answer is simple, especially for someone that grew up in Alabama.  There were still parts of that godforsaken state that looked at black people as vermin…or worse.  You learned quickly to speak with that ‘eee-bonic crapspeak’ to keep from drawing attention to yourself when you spoke to ‘white folk’.  Sure, it’s demeaning, and it’s one-dimensional…but, for there, and then, it was survival.  Now?  Sometimes, when I’m comfortable and not paying attention to how I speak, I slip back into it…and I don’t know it.”  He leaned closer to her, and said, “My mama, Betty, has been after me for years to stop it.  Now you.  I will make a concerted effort to drop dat habit from mah speechifyin’.  How dat, baby?”
                Donna smacked Louie’s hand, and smiled.  “Thank you, sir.”
Excerpt Copyright 2013 by T. M. Bilderback.

As I said, each character has depth, and feeling.  I just didn’t unload everything in the first novel.

So, as I said, even bad reviews are good, if they help you improve…or, as in this case, if you don’t reveal all of the eggs in your basket!

Keep reading!

Michael  (T. M.)

Cover # 2

As promised, below is cover # 2 - the cover to the first Justice Security book.  I think Christi did another great job with this one in hinting at the story inside.  She also came up with the permanent features of the security officer badge, and the font in which the title and my name are presented, both of which are included in each Justice Security cover.

Another cover is coming soon!

Keep reading!

Michael  (T. M.)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

"I Don't Know How To Be A Writer" Part 2

Yesterday, we talked about how to get started writing.  Today, the comment we're addressing is:  "What if people don't like what I write?"

The answer for that is simple:  Who cares?

Most writers will tell you that they aren't writing stories to please others.  They're writing for two reasons:

   1.  To get it out of their system.  I often find that when I'm writing something, I don't sleep well until it's finished.  For me, this is common.  Once I've finished a particular story, I sleep fairly well...until I start concentrating on the next one.

   2.  To please themselves.  I appreciate every fan I have, and I appreciate every single person that shells out hard-earned nickels and pennies to pay for my writing...but, I didn't write it for you.  I wrote it for me.  I like every story that I've written, no matter how violent, how creepy, or how offensive others may find it.  I didn't write any of them for others, although I'm happy that others have enjoyed what I have written.

Now, a codicil to what I've just said:  I have toned down language or lightened a situation or two when the story was aimed for possible publication in a magazine, or something along those lines.  That is acceptable, when it's possible that minors could pick up the story and read it, etc.  But, when you pay money for something I've written, you get it  just the way I wrote it.  In that case, it isn't my responsibility to monitor what you read, or what ideas you subscribe to - that's your business, not mine.  I do not believe in censorship, and if you pays your money, you takes your chances.

So, when you put pen to paper, or, nowadays, type on your computer screen, write long as it pleases you.  Everything else is icing on the cake.

As always, pick up a book...and read!

Michael  (T. M.) 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

"I Don't Know How To Be A Writer"

In talking with friends and acquaintances, I've often heard the phrase, "I always wanted to be a writer, but I don't know how."

Come on!

You know how to write!  It's easy!

I came to this writing business late.  For years, I had tossed ideas around in my head, worked out plots, and imagined conversations between my characters.  I heard songs, and a line of lyric, or, sometimes, just the title, would suggest a plot to me, offering a plausible situation to place my characters into, just to see how the characters would react.

But, I was never comfortable enough with my ability to put those ideas to paper.  I mean, during the year I spent in college, I was a reporter for the campus newspaper, and had submitted a couple of stories...and, several years later, I had an opinion column in a now-defunct small town newspaper, but I didn't have enough confidence in my writing abilities or my ideas to try to tell the stories.

Finally, in 2008, I was going through a layoff at the place I used to work.  During that time, I decided that I would attempt to write one of the stories, and see what would happen.

"If You Could Read My Mind - A Nicholas Turner Novel" was born.  The novel focused on a former police detective whose wife had miscarried their child due to a fiercely rampaging malignant tumor, and that tumor had killed her as well.  The story takes place ten years after that fact, with Nicholas having drinking binges, and working as a private investigator that focused on cases involving children.  His redemption, and a combination of "second chances" while investigating the kidnapping of a little girl, and the promise given to him by someone that loved him dearly, provided the rest of the story.  I was through with it in three and a half months.  I copyrighted it, and then started looking for an agent.  I had a couple of agents that expressed interest in the novel, but, upon learning how short it was, passed on it.  A few trusted people had read it, and said it was good and that they liked it, but the rejections from established publishing left me wondering if it really was any good.

I was determined that this book would see itself published one way or another, however.  Then, I stumbled on to an unobtrusive link on Amazon, inviting authors to "independently publish with us".  So, in 2009, I published it first as an ebook for the Kindle, then took it further to CreateSpace, and published a paperback edition.  The book has been well-received, with an overall 4.7 stars out of 5, and glowing reviews from a handful of the many, many folks that have purchased it, and read it.  Now, I'm proud to say that the book is being produced as an audiobook, thanks to the good talents of Scott O'Neill.

I've never bothered to search for a "legitimate"  publisher, or agent, again.  I will be forever grateful to Amazon for breaking the chokehold that "established publishing" had on authors that weren't corporately acceptable.

That success gave me the courage to continue.  If readers thought that much of my first attempt, and were willing to pay money to read it, then, maybe, they'd be interested in a not-quite-by-the-book security company.

The point of this story is this:  to be a writer, you have to write.

Each story begins with the first sentence.  Write that first sentence.  Develop your characters in your mind, whether they're good guys or bad guys, and establish what they would do in a given circumstance.  Once you have that, and you've written that first sentence, you are on your way to becoming a writer.

And continue writing!  If you write a sentence each day, or a paragraph, or a page, it becomes easier and easier...but, you have to make the effort.  No story writes itself - it has to channel itself through you.

And don't forget to read!

Michael  (T. M.)

Friday, September 20, 2013

Cover # 1

My wife, Christi, designs the covers for all of my eBooks.  Christi is an art teacher, and teaches from grades K-9, depending on which of the two schools she's teaching any given day.  She's at one school the first two days of the week, and at the second school the remaining three.  She's also an artist, and does some beautiful work!

This is the cover for my first novel.  Christi designed the cover to try to convey a sense of what is inside:

I think she did a wonderful job, and I like it very much.  I'll post another on Monday!

Meanwhile, this weekend, pick up a book, and READ!

Happy reading!


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Happy Thursday!

I mentioned in an earlier message that "The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald - A Short Story" is now available for download to your Kindle or your Kindle App.  Here's the link to the story on Amazon:

If it doesn't appear as a link, you can copy and paste it into your browser.

Now, two big news items:

1.  "The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald - A Short Story" is coming soon as an audiobook, available through,, and iTunes.  The contract was finished yesterday, and Patrick Peterson will be doing the production.  I believe that Patrick will bring that story to life!

2.  "Someone Saved My Life Tonight - A Justice Security Short Story" has been completed as an audiobook, also available at,, and iTunes.  The production was completed by Scott O'Neill, and he did a bang-up job on it!  Here's the link for that one:

Please check those out, and enjoy!

Happy reading!


Monday, September 16, 2013

Oh, and one more thing...

One more thing...I've just hooked this blog into my Author Page at, so you can keep up with events there.

I'm hoping that in a week or so, I'll have an announcement about a couple of audiobooks...stay tuned!

Happy reading!


Welcome To My Musings!

Hello, and welcome to my blog!  I'm T. M. Bilderback (also known as Michael - my middle name), and I write.

I write books and short stories.  I write books for the Nicholas Turner series, and the Justice Security series.  I also have begun writing outside of these two series, and will keep doing it!

I'm new to blogging, so be patient with me...I haven't figured out what I'm doing!

I just made available a short story called "The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald".  It's available now for download to your Kindle or Kindle app for 99 cents.

One thing that I ask of all my readers:  When you have read one of my stories or novels, pleasepleaseplease take a short moment, go to Amazon, and give me an honest review!  Good or bad, like it or hate it, I'd like to see your opinion!

If you are a fan of my work, you know that everything that I write is titled after a classic song.  The basis of the story or novel usually comes from a line, or a series of lines from the song.

That's all I have for today.  Sorry, but I will write more later.

Pick up a book, and read!