Appearances: Monoblog 2011

My Flimsy Future
Beyond the Blogosphere

Your Blog Is My Blog

The probability is quite high that I won't turn down any guest blog invitations, so keep contacting me with your offers I can't refuse.

And My Blog Wishes It Could Be
Your Blog

My site webnazi has received feedback from frequent visitors who pointed out that it's not really a blog if they can't post their own remarks. She swears she will incorporate an interactive feature for visitors' responses, as soon as she completes another college course in what is becoming her inadvertent second career in website development. In the meantime, my site welcomes your e-mail feedback, criticism, and ideas.

My Guest Blog Appearances

Writers of the West


A Visit With C. M. Wendelboe

Dames of Dialogue


Firearms Fact or Fiction:
Or How Books and Movies Squeeze
Seven Rounds from a Six-Shooter

Featured Guests on My Monoblog

Featured Guest Column:
Jean Henry Mead

Jean Henry Mead (Portrait)

The Three Rules of Dialogue


I'm one of those writers who fills the page with dialogue rather than narrative because dialogue is my forte. Those of us with an ear for accents and speech patterns are fortunate to be able to transcribe them onto the page. But dialogue that doesn't further the story or define characters will cause a manuscript to be rejected, no matter how well it's written.

I remember reading Robyn Carr's article years ago about the three rules of dialogue, which I copied onto 3 x 5 cards for future reference.

Rule #1: Dialogue should tell the reader something about the character’s personality or emotions, or at least reinforce something already established, like anger, timidity, cruelty, impatience or perfectionism. Instead of having a character greet someone by simply saying "Hello," have him say, "Where've you been?" or "Do you know what time it is?" while tapping his foot impatiently.

Rule #2: Dialogue needs to propel the plot forward while the reader gets to know the characters through the way they react to stimuli that directly affect their lives. Their conversations need to establish or reinforce their emotions, their relationships, and the roles they play in the plot to enhance conflict and tension. Even when writing comedy, the characters’ reactions to one another are actually conflict in its truest sense.

Rule #3: Dialogue must individualize each character. No two characters should sound alike just as no two people use the same words or phrases. Each character needs to have his or her own expressions, dialects, euphemisms, speech styles and inflections. But that's not all. They must also have their own value systems, motivations, personal habits and other traits that are expressed in dialogue.

For example, if you assigned each character a number instead of a name and gender, would they be distinguishable from one another?

Every line of dialogue has a job to do. When you're editing and polishing a second draft, eliminate every word that doesn't need to be there. People rarely speak in complete sentences so make sure your characters don't sound as though they're reciting an English lesson.

Creating a character sheet is a good way to establish who your characters really are. Describe each one physically and include his or her basic background information. Then consider pertinent information that will determine her dialogue. How well educated is she? Is her voice husky, squeaky, soft or loud? Does she have verbal ticks? Is she shy and does she stutter when she speaks? Does she use slang? Does she speak haltingly? Or is she articulate and chooses her words well?

How motivated is your protagonist? Is he aggressive, single-minded, abrasive, generous, or power hungry? Any or all of those traits should show up in his dialogue. Geographical differences also affect a character's dialogue, as does his education or lack of schooling. If a character dropped out of school in the fifth grade, he won’t have an impressive vocabulary, unless he’s very motivated and schooled on his own. If that's the case, make sure your reader knows it. One way is to have other characters talk about his education, or lack of schooling, when he's not around or praise him for it when he is.

According to Carr, "Characters come alive when every bit of dialogue develops their personalities; when the action, tension and drama are heightened because of what they said, how they said it and when they chose to speak and when the characters' complex individualism sets them apart from each other.”

Murder on the Interstate (Cover)

Jean Henry Mead
is the author of Murder on the Interstate (Perfect Paperback), the third novel in her Logan & Cafferty mystery/suspense series, which is sprinkled with humor and light romance and features two 60-year-old women amateur sleuths traveling northern Arizona in their motorhome when they discover the body of a young woman shot to death in her Mercedes convertible. The investigation leads to homegrown terrorism.

Check out Jean's virtual book tour sponsored by
Pump Up Your Book!

Jean blogs at:

Mysterious People

Writers of the West

Murderous Musings

Make Mine Mystery

She is also on Facebook and Twitter.

Tour of Duty

Gillette, Wyoming

Campbell County Public Library

March 19, 2011

There's no place like home!

Campbell County Public Library

Tour of Duty

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Left Coast Crime Mystery Convention

March 27, 2011

Congratulations to Craig "Watson 2011" Johnson.

Left Coast Crime: Craig and Curt

Tour of Duty

Wild Burro

Hot Springs, South Dakota

April 7, 2011

Thank you to Laural, the writers group, and loyal customers for a successful signing. As a bonus, I whined a little bit (OK, I whined a lot) and I got to keep the poster in the window. And the overnight stay at the local spa resort more than made up for the blah-spa in Santa Fe.

Wild Burro Books

Tour of Duty

Denver, Colorado

Murder By the Book

April 14, 2011
Murder By the Book

A front-page story in today's issue of The Onion pretty much says it all:

"[W]ith publishing houses slashing their marketing budgets, it often falls to writers themselves to make the most of every reading opportunity, from cozy gatherings of just a few fans at smaller booksellers to major events at chain stores that can draw upwards of 10 people. . . .

"'I have to remember that even if just one person shows up, he deserves the same passion and enthusiasm I would give to a big group of seven or eight people.' . . .

"'At one of my bigger readings, I might get avalanched with two or even three questions and have to really keep it moving.'"

Murder By the Book

Tour of Duty

Mystery Bookstore

Omaha, Nebraska

July 30, 2011
Mystery Bookstore Cat

Mystery Bookstore Cat

Appearances Archive

Record of 2012 Tour of Duty and 2011 Tour of Duty.


Current schedule of 2013 Tour of Duty.

What Was What in the Wild West

. . .Someday This Space Might Contain My Blog


C. M. Wendelboe Portrait (Portrait)

My website debuts as I recover from shoulder surgery. That's the right shoulder. And I'm right-handed. So I am writing one-handed.

And I am 'single-handedly' putting up this website.

And if you believe that, then I have another story for you . . .

. . .Sneaky Switcheroo


Curt and Heather

I paid a visit to the local bookseller Hastings and autographed copies of my book — thereby "signing stock" for the first time.

I returned, and after some tedious inquiries I discovered that there were two copies remaining in inventory, and they were located on a bottom shelf in the back of the Fiction section — the injustice of having a surname that starts with W.

My wife promtly placed the books in a serendipitous hole in the New Releases shelf, which happens to be located at the only entrance of the store.

And if you believe that, then I have another story for you . . .

. . . Son of a Beach


C. M. Wendelboe (Portrait)

I just got a phone call from chief correspondent Rick
"Daddy-o" Cunningham of the Spirit Road Mysteries South Carolina news bureau, who reports that Myrtle Beach is sold out.

A Barnes & Noble store had to reorder after Daddy-o bought the initial five copies in stock.

"I hope they get that reorder in quick," said Daddy-o, hopping on his Harley and heading to the American Legion club to hawk the books. "Because I'll be able to get this product unloaded in no time."

And if you believe that, then I have another story for you . . .

. . . Another A. S. Shole Reviews My Book on Amazon


C. M. Wendelboe (Portrait)

Although I suspect this A. S. Shole consists of a group of honorable law officers I had worked with, no one I questioned at the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office took credit for this rave review posted on Amazon. This is despite various inferences within the comment.

"The book grabs your attention like falling through a deck." More than once as deputy sheriff, I had fallen through rotten decks like quicksand up to my armpits while my co-workers were too busy laughing and documenting the occasion with their cell phone cameras to help me out.

This A. S. Shole then admonishes: "Just don't stand around if he starts taking off his watch." I did that frequently in the field, which they assumed was a precaution against breaking it in a fight with some A. S. Shole or another.

My presence also was more likely to instigate a fight if I happened to be wearing my special name badge:
A. S. Shole.

However, I have no need to take off my watch for this one. I’m glad they all got together and posted the review, as it sounds as if they enjoyed the book!

And if you believe that, then I have another story for you . . .

. . . Bookmarks or Bust


C. M. Wendelboe (Portrait)

Patty and Jen at the Campbell County Public Library did a bang-up job of organizing. Even though I was the one who insisted I'd need a bigger room than the one originally reserved, I vastly underestimated the turnout. When I ran out of my promotional bookmarks, I had to resort to swiping the ones in the library.

However, for the first time in my library-patronizing history, I returned materials I'd checked out before incurring a fine.

People came early to get books signed. And people stayed late to get books signed. In between, more than one hundred people were kind enough to let me talk about my writing and marketing experiences.

People in the hometown audience were especially interested in my sleuth, Manny Tanno: how and why I developed the character. A lot of them will end up doing some sleuthing of their own looking for themselves and each other in my characters. I recognized several aspiring writers in the crowd, and with any luck they gleaned some tips from the discussion.

On the personal front, Heather and I collected sooooo much cash from the book sales today that we might not have to subsist on Alpo and Ritz crackers three meals a day for the next eight days in Santa Fe. But we'll probably still be sleeping in the car. Hope we can find a porta-potty close to the Left Coast Crime Convention festivities.

And if you believe that, then I have another story for you . . .

. . . Santa Fe Follies


C. M. Wendelboe (Portrait)

Heather and I arrived in Sante Fe in one piece, a day before the conference. Being a day shy of paying exorbitant prices at the allegedly luxury hotel we reserved for the event, we opted to stay that night at what we affectionately referred to as the "Adobe Mustang." Apologies to any readers out there not familiar with Gillette's infamous non-adobe establishment.

Rather than rent by the customary hour, we splurged for the all-night rate. In the room, there was only one working lamp by which to burn the midnight oil: Thank God for the gray-blue glow of the fuzzy TV. We concluded that they cut off the lights so we couldn’t see what creeped on the floor.

But the room had all the amenities we needed, really. The micro-bathroom sported toilet paper that was less-than-one ply. More like half ply. And was dangerous to use, in that I got a paper cut with it. Twice. Or was that my fingernail poking through?

We were glad we brought our own soap, as the paper-thin ones provided reminded me of Lilliputian playing cards. We even contemplated writing on them and playing snooker to take our minds off what we would find when we turned the sheets back.

But once again, we were pleasantly surprised, as nothing crawled, jumped, or slithered out from under the covers. Forking over that extra peso for clean sheets paid off.

When we finally made it yesterday to our destination "inn and spa," we were astounded. Not in a good way. At three times the price, it is at least thirty times more ghetto. And the famine situation is even worse than we'd expected. Indeed, we're already waxing nostalgic for our family-sized bag of Fritos in the "Adobe Mustang."

And if you believe that, then I have another story for you . . .

. . .Crutchless in Sundance


Sundance Library

Well, quite a few faithful followers have been inquiring about my recent lapse in posting to the monoblog. To tell you the truth, I came down with a severe case of the kneesles. It became so increasingly intolerable that it impaired my ability to think of anything clever to chronicle.

In fact, the kneesles persisted until the pain finally drove me to seek treatment. Then the next thing I knew, I was stuck in surgery — again. This time it was my left knee.

So, being an insufferable optimist, it is with great joy that I tell you I still have two out of four extremities fully functioning. And thanks to pharmaceutical fortification, I was able to hobble right out of the recovery room — with one crutch, not two — and hit the road in time to make my library gig in Sundance. Better yet, I didn't even get pulled over for driving under the influence.

And if you believe that, then I have another story for you . . .

Tour of Duty: Two-Wheel Tour
(Tagging Along with Craig)

Missoula, Montana

Fact and Fiction

June 29, 2011

The first store on the biker tour that actually had my book in stock.

Fact and Fiction

Powell's Books

Beaverton, Oregon

July 3, 2011
Powell's Books