Character. The process takes time and effort. “Real” people have many layers that make up who they are. A fictional character, if they are to be more than two dimensional black and white words on a page, have those same layers. Mind candy, pictures playing in the reader’s brain.

Sam Deland’s story is more complicated than just his job as a cop. From SINK RATE, the first in the SAM DELAND CRIME NOVEL series scheduled to be released next month. Stay tuned…

“Okay, brother. I’m almost at the house, I’ll be turned around shortly,” Sam hit the end button and dropped the phone again. He made the right turn onto a narrower blacktop and drove the four miles to his lane in silence and dark thought. The entrance to his place was almost invisible if you didn’t pay attention. Sam was glad he didn’t have to give directions here very often. An opening, between two old maples at a sharp bend in the road, led to a single width drive, grass growing between tire paths. The drive curved right then left past an aging apple orchard and through a magnificent oak stand, ground darkened from the sun, but not too dark that at least some undergrowth was able to survive.

It turned again hard and up a slight grade to a clearing on the left where the outline of a charred foundation could still be seen. Past that and up the hill a bit more was Sam’s house. It looked like a barn because that’s exactly what it was. “Was,” Sam would tell folks, “is a word earned with a hell of a lot of work and even more money.” Sam found the place while he was still a trooper working the Violent Repeat Offenders Task Force in Philadelphia. The farm had not been active for many years and the family moved to towns where they could get work. They were descended from the original German immigrants to the area and this family had forged beyond Blue Mountain and settled north of the ridge. The stone house and big barn were very typical during the 1800s. Renters lived there last and the house burned to a shell.

Sam guessed either the owners were too far away or didn’t have the desire or the insurance to rebuild the house and tried to sell the property. He was making a ton of money in overtime and, with his other interests, was getting killed in taxes. Besides, when he came to look at the place and kicked out three rabbits, a grouse, and an old doe and her triplets, he sat right down in the barn yard and did the addition in the dirt with a stick. The real estate lady thought he was nuts. Sam wrote a deposit to her that day. He’d written a lot of checks for this place since, too. He loved it here, he’d never leave.

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