Wednesday’s Writing & Words with Charles Ray

Today on Wednesday’s Writing & Words, I’m excited to introduce Charles Ray, author of Frontier Justice. 


 Frontier Justice:  Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal


When the Civil War ended, runaway slave Bass Reeves returned to Arkansas, married his sweetheart, and started raising a family. Unable to read or write English, but proficient in six Indian languages and an expert with firearms, he was often hired by deputy U.S. Marshals to scout when they sought fugitives in Indian Territory. When President U.S. Grant appointed Isaac Parker federal judge for Arkansas and the Indian Territory, Parker decided to hire African-Americans as deputies because inhabitants of the Indian Territory didn’t trust whites. Reeves was one of several blacks among the 200 deputies Parker deputized, and became the most famous. In a 32-year career, this amazing man captured over 3,000 fugitives and only had to kill 14.

Frontier Justice is a fictionalized account of Reeves’ first two years as a deputy marshal.



  1. Why don’t you tell us a little about yourself? Are you married? Any kids? Where do you live?

A:  I grew up in a small town in East Texas. When  I graduated from high school, I joined the army just to get away from it—oh, and to see the world as well. I’m married and have four adult kids and three grandchildren. After spending 20 years in the army, and a further 30 years in the U.S. Foreign Service as an American diplomat there’s no way I could ever fit back into the rural Texas world, so I live in suburban Montgomery County, Maryland, just outside Washington, DC.

  1. What genre do you write? Why do you like that particular type of story?

A:  I write fiction and nonfiction, and because I like reading several genres, I also write more than one. My main fiction, though, is Western/History; a series about the Buffalo Soldiers of the Ninth Cavalry, in the Old West after the Civil War; and a mystery series about a retired army officer who lives in the DC  area and works as a private detective. He hates bureaucrats, politicians, and except for his friend who  works for a firm that has him on retainer, he’s not too fond of lawyers.  I’ve also done a trilogy about the Cold War, a fictionalized account of the life of Bass Reeves, the first African-American deputy US marshal west of the Mississippi, some urban fantasy, and a couple of sword and sorcery stories.  My nonfiction has included a few books on leadership and management and a couple of photo books of my travels. I once taught photography in a junior college, and have worked as a newspaper and magazine photographer/artist.  As to why I like my two main fiction genres—I’ve always been something of a history geek, and I try in my books, even though the events are fictional, to set the historical record straight. In my mystery series, I show how honor and integrity are important, and that in DC, the average people live pretty exciting lives, too.

  1. What are your fondest memories of writing or reading?

A:  When I was a kid, my stepfather’s sister had two sets of encyclopedias—Americana and Britannica—and I was the only person she would let read them. By the time I graduated from high school, I had read every book in both series.

  1. What are some of your favorite authors and books?

A: Robert B. Parker’s Spenser series, Sue Grafton’s Alphabet mysteries, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Louis L’Amour. Some of my favorite books:  The Illustrated Man; I, Robot; A is for Alibi; The Big Chill; John Carter of Mars; The Fire Next Time; Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn; A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. See where I’m going with this? I’m all over the place. I love to read—and with a few exceptions, I’ll read anything (almost).

  1. If you could describe what writing means to you, how would you do so?

A: Writing helps me to make sense of the constant jumble of thoughts whirling around in my mind.

  1. What is your favorite snack & drink while reading/writing?

A: I seldom eat when I’m writing. When I’m reading, I like a peanut butter sandwich (only super crunchy). As to drink, when I feel like being healthy, I drink water. I start each morning with one or two cups of coffee. When I get tired of drinking healthy, I mix a big vodka and tonic or plain vodka on ice.

  1. Which book do you think was best adapted into a movie? Why?

A:  I am Legend, starring Will Smith. Even though the screenplay veered off many of the most  chilling scenes in the book, it stayed true to the intent.

  1. Which book was the least successful adaptation into a movie? Why?

A:  I, Robot, also with Will Smith. It was funny and exciting, but too far from the book which has always been one of my favorites.

  1. Write your favorite quote and explain why you picked it?

A:  “You can only be insulted if you allow it.”  Don’t know who originally said it, but it applies so well to writers. You have to have a lot of self-confidence and a thick skin to write for public consumption. No matter how well you write, there will always be someone who doesn’t like it—for whatever reason. That can only bother you if you allow it to.

  1. Any other things you’d like to share?

A: Being a writer means one really important thing—you write. You should write every day, even if it’s just a grocery list or a list of chores. Never, never, never let someone else convince you that you can’t write, because the truth is, you can.


Thanks so much for jouning us today!!



Author Bio:


Charles Ray has been writing fiction since his teens. A native of Texas, he left home and joined the U.S. Army when he was 17. After 20 years in uniform, he joined the U.S. Foreign Service, serving as an American diplomat in Africa and Asia until his retirement in 2012. He now lives in Maryland where he is a fulltime writer/photographer. Ray has worked as a newspaper and magazine journalist and has written more than 50 works of fiction and nonfiction, including a popular series about the famed Buffalo Soldiers of the Ninth U.S. Cavalry in the period after the Civil War. He has been a book reviewer for various print publications since the 1970s and does regular book reviews on his writer’s blog, (Charles Ray’s Ramblings).

He currently works as a part time lecturer for Johns Hopkins University’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and runs a workshop in professional writing for Rangel Scholars at Howard University.


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April Prompt – Day 4 – Sin

Since this prompt is 4 days after Easter, I’m posting a poem a wrote years ago. *Warning*  I am NOT a poet so read at your own risk!!

Hold On

The time passed ever so quickly

as Jesus grew into a man.

Mary knew deep in her heart

it was time for God’s plan.

Jesus had taught them many things,

but some didn’t like what he said.

They lied and conspired against him

and said they wanted him dead.

As Jesus hung there on the cross

in the hot heat of the day.

Being mocked, bleeding and bruised,

dying to take our sins away.

When Jesus felt like giving up,

his strength was done and gone.

God gently whispered in his ear,

hold on, a little longer, hold on.”

As we go through the trails of life,

we sometimes feel alone.

We forget that God is there

as we complain and moan.

Losing the one you love is hard,

the pain too strong to bear.

We forget the pain Jesus suffered,

as we ask, “God don’t you care.”

He cared as his son hung on the cross,

but it was all part of his plan.

If Jesus hadn’t been willing to die,

we couldn’t get in the Promised Land.

If we quiet our hearts in times of need

and know that God is not gone.

We can hear him gently whisper in our ear,

hold on, a little longer, hold on.”

The Next BIG Thing – week 8

  1. What is the working title of your book?

Unforgiving Ghosts

2 .Where did the idea come from for the book?

This is the first book I wrote and it comes from my personal experience. As a matter of fact, the tragedy in the book is the reason I became a writer.


3. What genre does your book fall under?

Christian contemporary romance


4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I like Carly Schroeder or Ashley Tisdale to play Megan. The part of Steven Peterson would be Paul Walker but he’s have to wear brown contacts. Leonardo Dicaprio could also work. As for John I always pictured a young Tom Seleck or Lee Majors. The closest thing I could find as a younger actor was Bradley Cooper or Niall Matter who played Zane in Eureka, of course he needs to grow a mustache!


5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Are you kidding me? One sentence!! *Sigh* Okay here it is: Megan Black is trying to outrun the ghosts of her past, but soon learns that running away only causes more problems.


6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Self-published under my own imprint: Kingdom Kastle Publishing, Inc.


7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

It took 2 years but I had a little problem. I wrote the first half on our old computer. Then we got a new computer and I couldn’t open the disk (yes a floppy disk!!) because the disk wasn’t compatible with the new computer. It took 8 months to find someone who could help format the old disk, so I didn’t write anything during that time.


8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

That is a hard question. The one thing I miss in Christian novels is the lack of sexual tension. Obviously there is a reason for the closed door perception regarding sex scenes. However, the fact that characters have to be engaged to even kiss is a bit much to take. And, I’ve never liked the plots where the whole town is saved and everyone goes to church. So I walk a fine line between Christian content and general romance. I create sexual tension between the characters without giving blow by blow details about what they are doing. I feel like most Christian novels are devoid of passion. I try to bring that passion into all of my novels. My greatest sense of accomplishment is when a reviewer says “I don’t usually read Christian content but I loved this book!” Therefore I can’t really compare my work to other Christian authors.


9. Who or What inspired you to write this book?

As I said earlier this novel was inspired by a personal loss. I had a stillborn daughter 15 years ago. Through that tragedy I became a writer. It’s a good thing to remember that God is always in control even during the bad things.


10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

As my character, Megan (who is named after my daughter) tries to deal with her heartbreak she must also find her faith in God and trust that He is in control. She cannot have peace until she comes to terms with this. The romance parts are pretty good too! ; )



***Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (Work In Progress) ***

Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them. It’s that simple.

Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing

  1. What is the working title of your book?
  2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
  3. What genre does your book fall under?
  4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
  5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
  6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
  7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
  8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
  9. Who or What inspired you to write this book?
  10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?


TAG You’re it!!

Tina Kline Smith

Kerri Griffith

J.C. Andrijeski

J.T. Kalnay

Jacquie Rogers

Day 6 – Reading


“What are you reading?” Dillon entered the parlor.

A Sicilian Romance.” Caitlin sat on the sofa with her feet curled beneath the white fabric of her dress. A matching cottage cap covered her red curls.

“I like Ann Radcliffe.” He also liked the domestic picture she presented curled up by the fire reading.

“Have you read it?”

“Several times, but I liked The Italian better.”

“I have not read that book yet. ‘Twas only published last year. Although Papa did allow me to splurge on books sometimes, we never got new ones.”

“’Tis in my study if you would like to read it.”

“Are you serious!” Excitement flashed in her smile. “I cannot wait to read it.”

Let’s give a …

Let’s give a warm welcome to Marianne Evans, (insert clapping). A Christian author who has stopped by today with some words of wisdom.

Marianne Evans

Author Bio:
Marianne Evans is an award-winning author of Christian romance and fiction. Her hope is to spread the faith-affirming message of God’s love through the stories He prompts her to create.

Evans’s novel, Hearts Communion, earned Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year honors in the Romance category and readers have lauded her work as: ‘Riveting.’ ‘Realistic and true to heart.’ ‘Compelling.’ Evans has also won acclaim in such RWA contests as The Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence where she has been a finalist twice, and the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence.

A lifelong resident of Michigan, Evans is active in a number of a number of Romance Writers of Aneruca chapters, most notably the Greater Detroit Chapter where she served two terms as President. She’s also active in American Christian Fiction Writers and the Michigan Literary Network.

You’re Writing About…WHAT?

Yep. Those four seemingly innocuous words came at me more than a few times as I created the story DEVOTION, releasing on October 15th from Harbourlight Books (part of the amazing publisher, Pelican Book Group!). Why, you may ask? Oh, nothing too out of the ordinary…just another day of being an author of Christian fiction and romance writing about adultery.

You read the word correctly, no need to scan back over it a few times. Adultery.

Before I wander into the topic of the “A” word, let me give you a frame of reference. Some background. First of all, there’s a misconception out there that Christian fiction and romance is, thankfully, beginning to overcome. What would that be? It’s the idea that books with a Christian world view and faith-centered themes are somehow out of step with modern culture and the reality of our world. Unrelatable.

There’s another misconception we’re blasting out of the water as well. It’s the idea that Christian novels are…well…shall we say…a cleverly masked sermon. I like to hope, and pray that the stories we tell apply to the life all of us lead with an uplifting message of hope and inspiration.

Now, I’ll step toward the topic of DEVOTION.

I’ll grant you, the idea of a Christian novel centered on the issue of adultery is unusual, but Devotion and the characters who drive it, stirred my heart and refused to be silenced. Kellen and Juliet Rossiter had a story to tell with powerful importance and impact. The idea of working on committed relationship, fixing what’s wring and finding your way back to the love you share with your spouse appealed to me as a writer and a woman who been married for thirty years.

Marriage, like life, has seasons both good and bad. People you love, the vows you make, aren’t disposable. When the seasons of turmoil transform in to the seasons of joy, you look back on the trials and share a knowing sense of connectedness and rejoice in all you have established together as husband and wife—a covenant, not just a contract.

I pray you enjoy Devotion and that it blesses you as creating it has blessed me!

Book Info:
From This Day ForwardChristian Music agent Kellen Rossiter has everything he ever wanted: A-list clients from coast to coast, a loving wife who honors and respects him, and a faith life that’s never wavered—until now.Juliet Rossiter has the perfect life: a rewarding schedule serving the underprivileged, a husband who loves her as Christ loved the church, and a blessed future as a mother—at least that’s what she thinks.For Better or WorseBut what happens when their rock-solid marriage begins to crumble under the weight of an unexpected and powerful temptation? How does love survive when its foundation is shaken?

‘Til Death Do Us Part

When human frailty and the allure of sin deal a harsh blow to their relationship, it will take more than love to mend the shattered trust and heartbreak. It will take a lifetime of devotion



You can win a FREE ebook copy of Devotion by leaving a comment. God Bless and thanks for stopping by! : )