Blood on the Cards

Blood on the Cards
Now available at,,, and other online vendors

Blood on the Pen

Blood on the Pen
An unpublished author gets one rejection letter too many and starts killing literary agents. Can a troubled, modern-day Texas Ranger and a meddling, young woman stop it?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

I was very pleased with the presentation BTS Emag did on my short story, The Ladies of Hargrove Court, in their November issue. Very nice.  Now waiting to see when Blood on the Badge makes its way out of the queue.  I almost forgot about it while I've been working on new manuscripts. Is that like forgetting about one of your children?

Monday, November 4, 2013

The November issue of BTS Emag is out, and it features one of my short stories, The Ladies of Hargrove Court. That's nice.  The magazine is beautifully done.  It includes information and reviews on a number of genres.  I'm very pleased to see some of my work in it. :) The magazine is free and here's the link: 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Do you have a favorite fall memory linked to a train? What do you imagine you would see if you were riding a train in the fall? Join the authors of Wild Child publishing and Freya’s Bower as we Take an Autumn Train Ride through our blogs.

A Nice Young Man
by David W. Huffstetler
The cool air of late autumn and a panoramic view of trees clinging to tawny leaves brought a smile, as Eleanor stared out the window of the club car. She turned back to the knitting sprawled over the lap of her simple dress and adjusted the spectacles on the bridge of her thin nose. “Oh, my, what is that awful odor?” A plume of black smoke from the coal-fired engine stole its way through the open window, past her graying hair, and into her face. Pushing and bumping and groaning weren’t enough to close it, so she turned to the passenger riding beside her. “Young man, would you help me with this? I cannot abide the smell of smoke.”
            “Yes, ma’am, of course. Let’s see, yeah, there we go. The latch was stuck. Is that better?”
            “Indeed. Thank you. You must have very strong fingers to free that latch so quickly.”
            “Barrel making tends to strengthen the fingers, if it doesn’t break them.”
            “Are you a cooper then? Wait, let me guess. I’m good at this. You’re traveling from Nashville, as I am, and, ah, Mocker Barrel Factory. I am right, aren’t I?”
            “Very good. My brother and I spent the past three years there. That’s BJ across the aisle, the galoot with his hat pulled down. Oh, excuse me, ma’am. I haven’t introduced myself. Howard, Thomas Howard, at your service.”
            She offered her slight, gloved hand. “I’m happy to meet you, Mr. Howard. I’m Eleanor Fitzpatrick of Jefferson City, Missouri. I spent the summer visiting my sister in Nashville and now I’m headed home. I detest locomotives, but the stage is too slow and bumpy for me anymore. And, what about you, Mr. Howard? Is Nashville your home?”
            A broad smile crawled over his face. “Please, call me Thomas and no, ma’am.  I was born in Missouri, too, near Kearny. BJ and I were in business together there, but things turned for the worse, and we found work in Nashville. Now, we’re headed home to try our hand again.”
            “Oh, that’s exciting. What is your vocation?”
            “Finance. We tried to expand into Minnesota, and things went poorly, but we believe we have righted ourselves now.” He reached for his chest. “Forgive me, Eleanor. It’s an old wound from the war, and sometimes it pains me.”
            The leather seat piped a squeak, as she turned to take his hand. “You were one of our brave boys in the Confederacy, weren’t you? I knew it from your accent. What battle were you shot in, son?”
            “None. I fought in more battles than I’d like to remember, and never injured once. Then came the end of the war. I rode with a squadron of guerillas and, when we tried to surrender, some Billy Blue shot me through the lung. I suppose we weren’t fit to surrender.”
            She patted his arm and returned to her knitting. “Well, I’m happy to know you survived it and survived it well, apparently. You are a well-dressed, handsome young fellow. That’s the problem with war. It robs us of so many fine, young men and for what? It’s all a waste of life and effort, if you ask me. Of course, we should not misremember our sacred dead.”  Eleanor rocked forward, spilling her needles from her lap, as the train screeched to a stop. “What in the world?”
            He helped her gather her things from the floor. “Here you go.”
            “Why have we stopped? What do you suppose . . .”
            “Well, my guess is that there’s a stack of rocks on the track, big rocks, just around a curve by a clump of trees. The engineer probably didn’t see it in time, so he had to stop quickly.”
            “How could you know that?”
            “Pardon me, Miss Eleanor, it’s time for me to return to my chosen profession.” He swung out of his seat, stood back to back with his brother, and pulled two pistols from beneath his coat. “Stand and deliver!”
            Eleanor pulled her hands to her chest. She heard the sound of horses outside and men yelling, “Hands up.”
            The two brothers circulated through the car, collecting money and valuables into burlap sacks. Then her handsome, young man returned. He held the sack out and drew it back. “You have been pleasant company, ma’am. I’ll not take anything from you. If you’ll pardon me, we have an express car to rob.”
            “But, Thomas, how can you do this. I mean, I don’t know what to say.”
            He took her hand, kissed it, and said, “It’s not Thomas, dear lady. It’s Jesse.”




Friday, March 15, 2013


Edge of your seat, September 4, 2013
By: C. L. Exline (Pennsylvania, USA)  
Blood on the Cards (A Jack Harden Mystery) (Kindle Edition)
The story features a tough Texas Ranger. What's not to like about a Texas Ranger? Not a thing. Trust me, if you ever need help, you want this Texas Ranger, Jack Harden, on your side. The characters are well done. Some you'll like, some you won't, some will worry you, and a few--well let's just say, don't put anything past them.

Jack is charismatic and takes his job quite seriously. He's a bit of a hard nose, stomps the crap out of the rules, but he's honest and has a bit of a soft heart. The book kicks off with a horrendous murder, then as they say, the plot thickens. Readers will be taken on a edge of the seat exciting ride, hang on but don't close your eyes, you never know who will crawl out of the woodwork or who to trust. There is a selection of bad guys, but who is the worse or who is the next victim is up for grabs. Jack must keep one step ahead before it's too late. This is a must read.

Blood on the Cards is book two in the Jack Harden series. Although it stands alone, why should it? Blood on the Pen kicks off the series and is also a must read.

Review from Lynn Reynolds at All About Romance

My Thoughts:
At the start of this book, Jack Harden receives a late night call. He has a talk with two teenagers. As an adult, you’ll love how he gives them a little tough love. Elsie is a reporter who happens to have a thing for Jack. But this is not a love story. I’m one that usually only reads all things romance but I said that I’d give this book a try. I’m glad that I made that decision – Jack had me hooked right from the first page.

One character to watch out for is Reverend Benjamin Lu. He’s not like any religious man I’ve ever come into contact with. He seems to be one of those characters that keep you riveted to the story. You just have to see if you can figure him out.

Jack is a character that one minute you question his morals and then he turns around and redeems himself. He’s also a man that cares about his family and friends. He’s a man that I would want to have on my side.

David has either done a lot of research to get his scenes so perfect or he has a great imagination (or the perfect combination of both). It would be interesting to know if he would like to see his book on the small or big screen. And then it also has me wondering who he would cast as his characters.
This book is as good as any romance that I have read – I didn’t want to put it down. It has a lot going on and it gets a little complicated but isn’t that what makes a good mystery. If things got solved too early, what would be left to hold your attention? At one point you think you have it all figured out and then you realize that you don’t. The bigger mystery is if there is going to be a book three. If you also like to read romances, you will get a teaser at the end. The only disappointment I had was that I haven’t read book one

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Blog Hop

A group of other authors and I are hosting blog hops.  It’s like following a trail of bread crumbs, in this case a string of links, to some really good books. They offer a unique way for avid readers to survey a panorama of genres and styles of storytelling. The first author hosts five other authors and then they host five each. Before long a virtual library of new books is available at the touch of a keyboard.

Marci Baun was generous in making my link part of her blog.  Marci writes under the pen name Kitty Wylde.  Here are links to help you find her work.

I read Hieroglyphs JJJJJ

Last Chance:


Part of the blog hop is for each participating author to answer a few questions about their work. Here are my answers:

1.       What are the working titles of your books?

Blood on the Pen is the first book in the Jack Harden series. I followed that with Blood on the cards and I tried very hard to make it more than a sequel.

2.       Where did the idea come from for the books?
The premise for Blood on the Pen is an unpublished author who receives one rejection letter too many and starts killing literary agents. Nearly all authors know, or have known, the frustration of being rejected, and at times get the feeling no one even reads their query letters much less their manuscript. So, I took that to the next level. Blood on the Cards was inspired by a story I saw about a group of Congressmen who lived together and took guidance from a man who claimed to be spiritually aware,

3.       What genre do your books fall under?
     Both are fiction and mysteries, but Blood on the Cards also has the flavor of paranormal.

4.       What actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie redention?

For Elsie, I’m not sure. I can see her, I can smell the fragrance of her perfume, but a specific actress doesn’t come to mind. She would have to be young and sassy.  Moses Browner reminds me of Morgan Freeman. Jack could be a combination of Alan Ladd (Shane) and John Wayne. For him, I think of James Caviezel and, though he’s not a actor, Blake Shelton.

5.       How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscripts?
Each manuscript took about nine months, not counting proof reading and rewrites.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Blood on the Cards Released

I'm happy to say that Blood on the Cards has been released by Wild Child Publishing.  The story is linked to a friendly game of Texas Hold-em that turns bad.  Jack Harden is confronted by a brotherhood of powerful men who are led by a self-proclaimed prophet.  There is a bit of the paranormal for flavor.  While this is the second book in the series, a follow up to Blood on the Pen, I tried very hard not to make it a sequel.  What I mean is that this book needed to stand on its own merit without requiring a reader to have already read Blood on the Pen.  No reviews yet, but I've contacted a few folks who were kind enought to review the first book, and I hope to see their reviews around the end of November.  I hope people like it.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Blog Tour Anyone?

I begin a 12 stop blog tour this week on December 1st, and it is being coordinated by Tribute Book Reviews. If anyone would like to drop by, talk about writing or just chat, the schedule is at

Monday, August 22, 2011

Disposable People 99 Cents

No, we're not selling people. The price of the ebook version of my book, Disposable People, is going to be 99 cents beginning August 23, 2011 at I hope this will make it available to anyone who likes to read and has access to an ereader, smart phone, or computer. Read on!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Blood on the Cards

It looks like my publisher and I will start rewrites for the second book in the series, Blood on the Cards, soon. I've said that rewrites are like giving the book a root canal, but they are a very important and valuable part of the process. I'm looking forward to it; although, I'll have to refresh my memory a little on what I wrote, as I have finished the manuscript for Blood on the Badge and am working on a new story set in Boston. If writing weren't so much fun, it would be work.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Reviews and Videos

Some good things have happened lately. Disposable People won two more five-stars reviews, both posted on and one also on I also shot a video for, titled Blood on the Pen, that gives an overview of my books. I hope people like it. I'm thinking about another video for youtube aimed at debut authors with a few tips on how to jump through some of the hoops in the publishing process. If anyone thinks that is a good idea or bad idea, I'd love to hear from you. The url for the current video is if you'd like to see it. It's about 6 1/2 minutes long.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Book Lovers Inc Review

Got a terrific review from Book Lovers Inc. for Blood on the Pen this week. Lea Franczak wrote the review and gave it 4.5 Bookies. They ratings are defined as:
4 Bookies = "Awesome Book", 5 Bookies = "Perfect! I love it." So, it falls somewhre between awesome and, well, I wasn't expecting perfect. Lea's full review is posted on It is beautifully written. Of course, I'm wearing a really big smile after reading it.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Tufts University List

My mouth is still agape from finding my book, Disposable People, listed as a "Suggested Book" at Tufts University in Boston. I don't have any personal experience with Tufts, but Forbes Magazine and Newsweek list them as one of the best univeristies in the country. Wow. I don't know what member of their faculty read the book, but I am flattered with their listig it. Disposable People is something of a preqeul to Blood on the Pen. Elsie is the main character, and she hasn't met Jack yet. So, it is her story. The blurb is right over there on the side of this page. Right there. Do you see it? Yeah, that's the one.

Blood on the Cards - Released

Blood on the Cards - Released
Mystery, thrills,and a touch of the paranormal. Now available at,,, and other online outlets

Blood on the Pen

Blood on the Pen
Available now from Wild Child Publishing at,,, and other websites. Jack Harden is a modern-day Texas Ranger haunted by his wife’s death a year ago. But, when a murderer strikes, he is called into duty. As he battles the urge to kill the drunk driver responsible for her death and the hunger to kill himself, he now must chase a killer who wants him dead. Elsie Rodriguez is assigned to report of the murders for her newspaper and ordered to stay with Jack Harden. He’s old school, tough, and doesn’t want her there, but, despite his gruff manner, the big Ranger triggers something inside her. Something more than just her Latin temper. Can she pull him back from the edge of sanity? Or will death win again?