Since I am primarily a writer of fiction, I once had some “tongue and cheek” criticism leveled at me by a friend. My friend, who is a good friend, by the way, considered fiction writing a “piece of cake” compared to non-fiction because its “just made up stuff” and there is little to no research done or needed to back it up.  I wish someone would have told me this before I got started because I spend a grueling amount of time and effort doing just that.
When a book, especially an historical work that has its setting in a particular time and place (say, the late 1800s in Wyoming, etc) and involves specific named locations and historical events and characters, one would be extremely careless not to get as many details correct as possible. If you check my books, especially the Western genre, you will find that I get it pretty close to the way it was.
I once drove to Canada from Michigan to follow the approximate route of the Northwest Mounted Police in the 1870s to Saskatchewan and then to Montana so I would have a feel for what they saw and experienced along the way. This is borne out in my two books MYSTERY IN THE BEAR PAW MOUNTAINS and its sequel, THE NEW BADGE. The following is an excerpt from MYSTERY:

“The exchange lasted for only a few moments and suddenly stopped, as if the outlaws sensed the Mountie had somehow gotten reinforcements. Brenton looked at his younger companion. “Hold out your hand!” he said, reaching into his pocket and pulling out several boxes of rifle cartridges. “I think these should fit your rifle. You Mounties use that confounded .45-75 cartridge that nobody else around here uses, so I grabbed a couple boxes on my way out. Load up and lay down a barrage of fire to keep their heads down, and don’t let up! And for goodness’ sake—don’t shoot me!”

How many would know that the NWMP once used a specific caliber in their Winchester Rifles, different from the Americans just across the border? I could have put anything in there and most people wouldn’t have known (or cared) but I needed to get it right.
If no research was done or required, I could put out books as frequently as church bulletins.
Sure, it bothered me, still does, but in all fairness, the person who made the suggestion obviously never wrote a book, fiction or otherwise. Enough said.  MLJ




Well, it has been awhile since I’ve been guilty of posting anything on this site. Retirement hit me kind of hard.  I think I’ve realized, however, that it is not an excuse for lack of diligence. I haven’t been completely idle, though. I have three manuscripts that are 99% complete (actually, one is 99%, the second is 98% and the third is more like 97). I hope to have a new book out soon, that is if my editor in Canada is still talking to me.  Perhaps she thinks I’m dead (my wife hasn’t received any flowers or sympathy cards, yet).
I’d rather not reveal too much about them, except to say that I’m pretty pleased with what I am seeing thus far.  Most authors do look at their books like they are new-born babes, purposely not noticing the spit up and soiled diapers, not to mention the crying and the smells.  I’ve tried to be honest with myself all along, recognizing my limits, but also knowing that I seem to improve with each new project. I’ll give you a brief overview:
My “97%er” has taken me a long time to write, is the longest, and has been the most technically challenging of any book I’ve written. It has its setting in Sodus, Michigan, but is NOT a continuation of the OLD SODUS series. It still needs a lot of “tweaking” before I feel confident to send it off to Rachel for editing and formatting.
The “98%’er is something different. I’ve been writing poetry from the time I was a young boy of eight or nine. Most of it shows it, too, and I have banished it to a stale, yellow folder to be destroyed upon my death (or if I go crazy).  However, I have salvaged what I deem as being the better or best of it. For posterity, I would like to publish it, perhaps in a chap book.  We’ll see.
My “99%’er” is the third in my PRAIRIE MARSHAL SERIES. It also takes place in Montana Territory in the 1880s, and I’m pretty happy with it.  It is not a sequel to the first two I’ve written, though.
I’m going to strive to write a new posting each week, something substantial, so check back when you can.  It’s hot today, about 93 degrees, but its 73 in the house. A little bit of Heaven, I think.  Take care.  MLJ



If you like the 1890’s in Montana, throw in a young town marshal and his girl, a Northwest Mounted Policeman who occasionally strays across the border to visit his American friends, and a retired Buffalo Soldier who is not above meeting out a little frontier justice, than you might like THE NEW BADGE (sequel to MYSTERY IN THE BEAR PAW MOUNTAINS).
Available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble in paperback and on Kindle—MICHAEL LEONARD JEWELL


FB_IMG_1456190671489  tabor farm c 1910I thought I’d share this photo sent to me by my sister Cindy. This was typical of the magic that existed back in the glory days of Sodus  Township.  I remember as a kid, the street car tracks in Benton Harbor when many of the streets were attractive red brick–a reminder that Benton Harbor once had its own glory days. You could make a trip to the famous Tabor Farm on River Road on the Interurban. This photo is circa 1910. Thanks to Cindy for sharing and credit to the unknown owner of the photo.  -MLJ