Friday, February 9, 2018

February 9th to the 11th, 2018

The Story:
This is the third book in this action adventure series, The Sharon O’Mara Chronicles. In TOULOUSE FOR DEATH, Sharon O’Mara is asked to help a friend’s dying godfather return four magnificent Impressionist paintings; the most important a large canvas by Toulouse Lautrec, to their rightful owners. Seems simple, but O’Mara learns these paintings were stolen during the final days of World War II from a plundered Nazi treasure trove. She is now confronted, seventy years later, with horrific events that throw her back into Hitler’s obscene war against the Jews. Her efforts to return these paintings forces O’Mara to combat the New Nazi Reich in a deadly race to find a secret key hidden in Paris that may enable these international criminals to restore the Nazi’s to their former vile glory. It is a race to the death.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Book Release Day

Today August 8, 2017, the young adult novel The Cherry Pickers is now available at the following locations.

I am thrilled about this book and while aimed at the fourteen to eighteen year crowd, adults have raved about it.

Autographed copies are available, just send me an email to They are $17.00 and include postage.

I'll also be signing books at Book Passage in Corte Madera, California on October 20, 2017. Hope to see you there.

Stay tuned for more . . . 

Saturday, August 5, 2017


This Tuesday I’ll be publishing my ninth book, The Cherry Pickers. It’s available at all the usual outlets and on-line sites. It is also available through Barnes & Noble and Amazon in paperback. With Prime I think you will get it in 3 or 4 days. Great summer beach read, especially for you Mid-westerners who vacation in Michigan.

Here’s the blurb:
Gregory C. Randall weaves a tale of secrets in northern Michigan during that hot and stormy summer of 1956. With the constant fear of nuclear war, an exploding Middle East, and memories of World War II still fresh with flowers on soldier’s graves; a young man realizes that he is growing up. In Howie Smith’s world of primal forests, orderly orchards, and Lake Michigan; he learns about life and begins to understand death. A crazy aunt, a dying uncle, and the unyielding pressure to bring in the demanding crop of cherries, forces Howie to realize there is more to life than baseball.

Randall unveils, during this brief summer, a family’s fears and triumphs. He explores a region of America left apart from the chaos of the world. It is a place of unwanted migrant pickers, backwoods people who must live off the land, and the grand lake that encloses them all. But Howie discovers it is also a realm of miracles.

I loved writing this story, the characters, and of a land that once was. It was a strange decade between WWII and the Vietnam War. The country was flexing its geo-political muscles as well as its economy. In many ways, America and its cool sense of fair play, saved the world from retributions and vengeance at a scale never seen in its history. What the victors did to Germany after WWI (The Great War), eventually lead to WWII. And the machinations of Japan throughout the Far East, led inexorably to the whole world being on fire.

The 1950s were the Eisenhower years, some say the do-nothing years, but in reality it established the principles and ethics for the next twenty years (good or bad depending on your politics). Business growth exploded, the suburbs were born, cool cars hit the streets, and it was the beginning of rock and roll. Kids were everywhere, and families were now dealing with separation anxiety. It was the period of America’s internal diaspora.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Agency in Writing

I’m working through the final edits of my Thomas & Mercer thriller with my editor (due out next April). He pointed out the usual POV issues (point-of-view to non-writers), and a small plot hole – those were easily fixed. All in all, pretty good until he brought up a new subject that hadn’t been discussed in other books and rewrites: A character’s AGENCY.

The agency of each of these characters is what makes the story so great!

Now what the hell is that? Sure, all of you who spent years getting your degrees and writing up a storm know what agency is Рmaybe. But me? A seat of the pants storyteller who creates characters and stories as if they were a dime a dozen (and clich̩ ridden), this is a head scratcher.

  • 1.     active force; action; power.
  • 2.     that by which something is done, means, instrumentality.

A few have defined it as the ability to freely act or live within the defined world of the story. It is also how a character acts within the boundaries that we, the authors, have set for the story. It is their choices, their actions, their responses to the stimulus, and most especially their relationships to the other characters that creates agency.

Every character (along with their agency) has an impact on the plot. It is how we push one character into another; it is this friction that drives the story. It is how their respective agencies react to each other that our story unfolds. Readers are sympathetic to the characters and often empathize with the character – often with a silent cheer or tear, as the story unfolds.

Every character in a story has a job. As Christopher Vogler in his book The Writer’s Journey, says in one narrow definition, (The Hero’s Journey) these rolls are archetypes: hero, mentor, threshold guardian, herald, shapeshifter, shadow, ally, and trickster. Each of these “jobs” are the character’s agency within the story – and each type reacts to the other characters according to their job. In Vogler’s book he doesn’t even write about agency – he defines it differently and calls it archetypes.

In David Corbett’s excellent book, The Art of Character, he calls out desire as the character’s main purpose: their needs, wants, ambitions, or goals and how these impact other characters in the story. It is agency of a kind.

Within a legal contract (Agency Agreement) the party of the first (the principal) agrees that the actions of a second party (the agent) binds them to later agreements by the agent as if the principal had himself made the agreement. (I’m not a lawyer so forgive my simplicity).

This is what happens between the characters in your story. What one character (principal) does must be consistent with the actions/reactions by the other characters (agents) to that same character. Unless of coarse he’s a lying psychotic with a personality disorder—but then again that is his agency.

I often write up the various characters’ curriculum vitae (stats and CV) before I start the story; all the usual hokum: height, weight, race, hair, scars, ex-boyfriends/girlfriends, family, etc. I haven’t gotten into the stuff inside their heads too much—their motivations, their fears, and what if’s in certain situations—I’ve let that evolve in the story. Will the character be sympathetic or psychotic, do they play nice with others, or will they allow others to control them? Will their actions drive the story (interesting) or will the story drive them (less interesting)?

Agency? Yes, this is something that I will definitely pay more attention to; it may lead to even better plotting and characters.

More later . . . . .