Saturday, October 15, 2016


John M. Daniel’s Blog
October 8, 2016

Welcome, friends and fellow story crafters. Do you rely on your memory to help you with the details of an incident in your past? Do these details matter, and must you get them right? Good luck with that.
A member of my writing group has a pair of twin cousins who shared a bedroom as little girls. Now grown women, they still think alike about many subjects, but one of them has a clear memory that the walls of their bedroom were blue, and the other twin is positive that those walls were green.
This week guest blogger J.R. Lindermuth, a fine mystery writer, expounds on this phenomenon of “creative memory,” and the role it plays in his newest novel.


Perception and Imagination—
There’s a difference.

Perception, the manner in which we experience events, is often expressed incorrectly as a result of the imagination.
Of course poets, Wordsworth for instance, knew that a long time ago. It was confirmed as recently as 2013 in an article in Psychology Today by scientific researchers in Sweden.
Law enforcement also has been aware of it for a long time. It's the reason police prefer to interview a witness to an event as soon as possible. As time passes, our imagination begins to question and reshape what we experienced.
It can happen to police, too.
It happens to Officer Flora Vastine in Shares The Darkness, seventh in my Sticks Hetrick mystery series. She allows memories from the past to influence her investigation of a murder.

Jan Kepler and Swatara Creek Police Officer Flora Vastine were neighbors and schoolmates, but never close.
When Jan, a school teacher, avid birder, and niece of a fellow officer, goes missing and is found dead in a nearby tract of woods, Flora finds herself thrust into the middle of an examination of the other woman's life, as she searches for clues.
As usual, the police have more than one crime to deal with. There’s illegal timbering and a series of vehicle thefts taking up their time. And there are other issues to deal with. Flora is concerned that there’s some shakiness in her relationship with Cpl. Harry Minnich, who seems to be making a lot of secretive phone calls.
Still Flora maintains focus on the murder. Despite evidence implicating other suspects, the odd behavior of another former classmate rouses Flora’s suspicion. Flora’s probing opens personal wounds as she observes the cost of obsessive love and tracks down the killer.
Some people will question your sanity when you say your characters speak to you. Sigh. Only another writer would understand. Flora had been nudging me to give her a chance at taking the lead in a Hetrick book. After all, the man is her mentor and he's taught her well. I decided to give her the opportunity, and I believe it worked out better than I expected.

A retired newspaper editor, J. R. Lindermuth has published fourteen novels and a non-fiction regional history. His short stories and articles have been published in a variety of magazines. He is a member of International Thriller Writers and is a past vice president of the Short Mystery Fiction Society.
For more information about John Lindermuth and his books:

Amazon author page:
FB author page:
In addition to Torrid and Amazon, his books are also available from:
Barnes & Noble, and from other fine bookstores.


Call for submissions: Your 99-Word Stories

The deadline for November’s 99-word story submissions is November 1. The stories will appear on my blog post for November 12, and will stay posted for a week.

note: this 99-word story feature is a game, not a contest. Obey the rules and I’ll include your story. I may edit the story to make it stronger, and it’s understood that you will submit to my editing willingly. That’s an unwritten rule.

Rules for the 99-word story feature are as follows:

1. Your story must be 99 words long, exactly.
2. One story per writer, per month.
3. The story must be a story. That means it needs plot (something or somebody has to change), characters, and conflict.
4. The story must be inspired by the prompt I assign.
5. The deadline: the first of the month. Stories will appear on this blog the second Saturday of the month.
6. I will copy edit the story. The author of the story retains all rights.
7. Email me your story (in the body of your email, or as a Word attachment) to:

THIS MONTH’S PROMPT FOR NEXT MONTH’S 99-WORD STORY: Write a story inspired by the following sentence: I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.…


Calling all published authors—

I try to feature a guest author the third Saturday (and week following) of each month. If you’re interested in posting an essay on my blog—it’s also a chance to promote a published book—email me directly at


Thank you for visiting. Please drop by next week.


  1. John, I'd never thought about how imagination affects memory, but I will now. Thanks for that and best wishes for great success with Shares the Darkness.

  2. Excellent post on how intertwined our imagination, memories, and characters we create are--and how that plays out in our writing. Good post! Thank you. (I like it when my characters try to talk to me--unfortunately they often like to chat when I need to sleep!(smile))

    1. Thanks for visiting, Madeline. And congrats on the republication of Reticence of Ravens!

    2. Thanks, Madeline.I know what you mean about those characters talking to us.

  3. Thanks for hosting me today, John.

    1. And thank you, John, for your excellent post.

  4. I enjoyed reading your book, John. Your characters are intriguing as well as the plot. As a former news editor and reporter, I've found that writing fiction has freed me from the constrains of journalism as well as enriching my imagination.

  5. Thanks you, Jean. We come from a similar background in journalism and you're right about the difference.