Wednesday, December 23, 2020


 Hi folks,

An article I was asked to write for Writer's Digest just went live! If you've got a short story or three lying around, they may not be dead at all. There could easily be life in dem old bones!

Click on:

Blue skies,


Saturday, December 19, 2020

Les Edgerton Interview on BOOKED with Robb and Livius

Hi folks,

Click on the link below to listen to the BOOKED podcast with Livius and Robb. These  guys are the best interviewers out there!

Les Edgerton Interview

Blue skies,

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Best-selling author, Mort Castle, just paid me a wonderful comment.

Hi folks,

Just got this email from a well-respected writer, Mort Castle, and it meant the world to me!

What inspires you, they ask? (And some writers reply, "I don't need no stinkin' inspiration. It's a job of work." And their writing usually reads like it was indeed a job of work.)
But I have been inspired of late, and as probably makes sense, what I read tends to inspire.
So, thanks for the inspiration ...
Stephen King with "The Life of Chuck" novella in IF IT BLEEDS.
Les Edgerton, author
, with the short novel HARD TIMES.
You guys have fueled and fired this guy's creative engines and I appreciate it.

Sunday, November 29, 2020


Hi folks,,

Here's an interview I just did with Lisa Towles. 



Les Edgerton is a multiple award-winning fiction and non-fiction author with 22 books in print. His fiction has been nominated for or won the Pushcart Prize, O. Henry Award, Edgar Allen Poe Award (short story category), Derringer Award, among others. He has a B.A. (with Honors of Distinction) from Indiana University, an MFA in Writing from Vermont College, he’s taught creative writing for the UCLA Extension Writer’s Program, Trine University, St. Francis University, New York Writer’s Workshop, and was Writer-in-Residence for University of Toledo. He is an ex-con who served two years of a 2-5 year sentence at Pendleton Reformatory in the 1960’s for second-degree burglary, and he served 4 years in the U.S. Navy as a cryptographer.

As my mentor and personal friend, I had the honor of talking with Les about his upcoming release, Hard Times, his inspirations, and his writing classes below.  

You historically create very multi-dimensional villains in your novels, such as Truman Ferris Pinter in your novel The Rapist. How do you do that?

I don’t write about villains and heroes. The protagonist is simply the person through whose point of view you receive the story, and the antagonist is the individual whose goals most conflict with those of the protagonist. I don’t see morality as part of either character.

Who inspired your legendary character, Lucius Tremaine from your upcoming book Hard Times?

He’s based on a hack I knew in Pendleton, who saved my life. His name was Jones and we just called him Jonsesy. I’d received my parole and, not knowing any better, I talked about it – something you just don’t do. If you’ve gotten parole, you have something of value to guard and other inmates know that and take advantage of it. The day after I got my parole and was celebrating it, there was a conflict at the prison barber school that resulted in me chasing another inmate around the room with my straight edge. The guard on duty was Jonesy and luckily he separated us, probably saving my life. But Jonesy saved my life again by not writing me up. Had he done so, I certainly would have kissed my parole goodbye, might have become institutionalized and never gotten out. And I easily could have ended up dead in the process. Jonesy took a huge risk by not writing me up; he could have lost his job and that took a lot of courage. I knew then I had to use his character in a book somewhere down the line, and I did. He’s Lucious.

How much outlining do you do personally, and what guidance do you give your writing students about it?

Outlining is a requirement in the novel-writing classes I teach online. But it’s probably a far cry from what many people think of as outlining. No pages and pages of Roman numerals. It’s five simple statements, consisting of 16-24 words. Words. Here’s how it works:

  • The first statement is the inciting incident.
  • The next three statements are the result of the three major proactive actions the protagonist takes to resolve his/her story problem.
  • The last statement is the resolution, which must contain both a win and a loss for the protagonist.

The thing is, I wouldn’t take a trip to Alaska without a map and I wouldn’t dream of taking the trip of 250-400 pages without a map either. I know from experience that such trips usually peter out around page 80. Such an outline requires thinking through the novel. And as sometimes happens, better actions appear to the writer, and that’s no big deal. They simply sit down and rewrite the outline and they always have a solid guide for the novel. Since close to three dozen people have either published or obtained a good agent over the course of my classes and personal coaching, I think that’s proof that this process works. Even so-called “pantsers” such as Hemingway outlined – he just didn’t call them outlines. He called them “Draft #1,” “Draft #8,” and so on. I used the same outline for a short story, a novel and a screenplay of the same story, The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnapping.

In addition to writing, you’re a deeply committed and inspiring writing teacher. What are some do’s and don’ts for novice writers?

Don’t try to “create” characters. Simply go to the deepest part of yourself—that part deep within that nonwriters never want to reveal… and reveal yourself through your characters. It’s extremely hard and most are unwilling or unable to do so, but if you want to create truly memorable work, I think it’s necessary.

As for novice writers, I’d urge them to simply try to write the book they wish someone else had written and hadn’t. Don’t worry about what you think you know or don’t know. The only way I know to become a good writer is to be a good reader. If I get someone in class who reads very little, I know that person isn’t going to make it. Read anything and everything you can get your hands on. Jim Harrison said it best: “Read the whole of the past 400 years of Western literature and, if time permits, read the same of Eastern literature. For if you don’t know what passed for good in the past, how can you know what passes for good today?”

How do your writing classes work?

I teach 10-week classes that go on continually. When we finish one, we take a two-week break and begin the next one. Classes are purposely small – only 10 writers at a time, because I spend a lot of time with everybody’s work. The fee is $400 for the class, and you can also audit the class for $50, which means you can see what everyone else is doing but you’re not an active participant. The goal of each class is to have everyone become published well. Right now, we’re at week 5 of the current class – taking a week off to recharge batteries and then the final stretch, after which we’ll have a two-week break and start anew. If anyone’s interested, email me at

Pre-Order Hard Times on Amazon forthcoming on December 8, 2020 by Bronzeville Books.

Some of Les Edgerton’s published books include:

Connect with Les on social media:


Thursday, October 29, 2020


 Hi folks,

Well,  here it is--my cover for my new novel, HARD TIMES, coming out December 8 from Bronzeville Books. It's available for preorder now from Amazon.

Hard Times is the best country noir I’ve read in a long while. A knife-edged, cold-eyed story of love and hate at their most visceral, it’s worthy of a place of pride on the shelf next to William Gay and Daniel Woodrell.”—Scott Phillips, author of Ice Harvest and That Left Turn at Albuquerque


Reginald Pulliam

Sunday, April 5, 2020


Hi folks,
Many, if not most of the folks who visit my blog are writers or avid readers. Therefore, I think you are the best possible audience to let know what recently happened to me.

As you know, it takes a lot to create a book. In my case, I average about a year for each book. Since writing is my only job, that’s a year without pay. Then, once the book is done, I have to find an agent, and/or find a publisher. Once a publisher is found, that’s not the end of it. Now there are edits to perform. All of this takes time and work. My next novel, for example, took a little over a year to write and I actually sold it seven months ago. It’s scheduled to launch in November. A long time from when I wrote the first words.

There are a lot of things arrayed against the publishing of a book and a lot of time to wait on a paycheck if it overcomes all the obstacles. Up until now, it’s just been part of the deal. Nobody likes it, but we all accept it.

And now, one more obstacle has been thrown into the mix. And this is a big one.

As you know, unless you’re a brand-name author, any publicity you get for your work is hard won. Mostly, publicity for your work consists of reviews for it. And, virtually the only place reviews can be placed and seen is on Amazon. Authors have little to no control over the reviews they get. Folks buy and read your book and then post their opinions of it on Amazon. Hopefully, their reading experience was positive and so is the review they write and post. Not always. And, we have no control over that.

Over many years, I’ve received many reviews for the books I’ve written. Thankfully, the vast majority of them have been positive. Very few negative ones. And, they’ve helped tremendously with sales.

Imagine how I felt when about a week ago, I decided to check the number of reviews I had for my books. I knew a couple were getting close to those “magic” numbers that trigger Amazon’s algorithms and once achieved, leads to them including your titles in various promotions. I’m not sure what those numbers are, but someone told me that 50 reviews was one of them. A couple of my books were approaching this number.

One that had been close was my novel, THE GENUINE, IMITATION, PLASTIC KIDNAPPING. I hadn’t checked in several weeks but the last time I had it was at 48 or 49 or thereabouts. When I clicked on the title, I received a severe shock. A bunch of reviews that had been on it for months and sometimes years, had disappeared. They only showed 23 reviews! After telling several writer friends and notifying the publisher, I was hugely disappointed in their responses. A couple of friends said things like, “I’ve heard of them doing that,” and offering their condolences, and the publisher saying the same things, but no one offered to help me figure out what had happened or what my recourse could be.

It took some digging and trying to figure out Amazon’s maze to reach an actual person, but I finally did. I sent an email and a couple of days later, received this:


For privacy reasons, I can only discuss specific Customer Review removals with the person who originally posted the review.

However, I can tell you that reviews are typically removed from the website for one of four reasons:

1. The review conflicted with our guidelines ( This includes reviews that were posted as promotional content.
2. The review was removed by the customer who submitted the review.
3. We discovered that multiple items were linked together on our website incorrectly. Reviews that were posted on those pages were removed when the items were separated on the site.
4. We detected unusual review behavior.

For more information, search Seller Central / Vendor Central / Author Central Help for “Customer Product Reviews.”

We appreciate your understanding. We hope to see you again soon.

We'd appreciate your feedback. Please use the buttons below to vote about your experience today.

Best regards,

This time, I went through their maze of responses and finally got a real person to talk to. Oh… also, by this time, reviews for another book of mine, BOMB!, had vanished close to 40 reviews or more and there were only 11 left! Here’s the exchange I had next.

Hi Les Edgerton, Ada here.
10:44 AM
Hi Ada,Reviews have disappeared from my books on sale with Amazon. Last week, over 30 reviews disappeared from a novel and this week about the same just disappeared from another novel. I responded to the first instance and got an email saying that there were four reasons this happens, but it didn't tell me which of the reasons applied to mine, nor was I given any info on what I could do to remedy the situation. Now, it's happened again. I don't have a clue why this is happening.
10:45 AM
Ada | Customer Service
Oh no!
Sorry to hear that.
Let me check it for you.
10:47 AM
Yep. I've been a loyal customer of Amazon's for many years--have purchased many, many books myself as well as sold my own books. This is disturbing as I've never had any problem in the least with y'all.
10:48 AM
Ada | Customer Service
i don't have a direct contact to the department that handle this kind of issue at this moment,is it okay if I sent an email to them?they'll just get back to you after 24hours.
10:52 AM
That would be great, Ada. I just don't understand this at all. Now I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop... wondering which book is next on someone's hit list. Reviews help drive my sales and are very important to me. Thank you for any help you can give me--I appreciate it.
10:54 AM
Top of Form
Ada | Customer Service
i already send an email to them
they will just get back to you after 24 hours
10:56 AM
Bye and have a good day. I appreciate your help.

Ada | Customer Service
Thank you for contacting Amazon.
Have a great day!
Take care and God bless.
10:57 AM

I got a reply from them and they didn’t actually lie—I received it after 24 hours… to be accurate, after 72 hours, and it was the same message they’d sent the first time, this time signed by a guy named Justin H. Up to this point I had been polite and restrained, but this was too much. Here’s what I sent Justin (or whatever his or her real name was):

Justin W
This is totally unacceptable. This is out and out censorship. Someone is systematically removing dozens of reviews from my books and I have no recourse to see who or why they were removed? This flies in the face of everything that is American and is more akin to something done in a repressive country like Russia, Cuba, North Korea or China.

Of your four "reasons" I cannot think of a single review I have ever received that would apply to any of those criteria.

i have spent literally thousands and thousands of dollars on Amazon books and other products. This is simply venal and evil.

Les Edgerton

I don’t know what to do. I guess I’m hoping that enough of you will forward this to friends and make it go viral and maybe Mr. Bezos will see it and realize the kind of censorship his minions are performing. Probably not. If you think this can’t happen to you, think again. Someone in a cubicle or working from his mom’s basement seems to have control over you and your livelihood.

Or maybe thousands of you will rise up and flood Amazon with millions of reviews for my books. Yeah…

I’ve just never felt this helpless. I depend on your wonderful reviews to help sell my books and to have some halfwit just take them down for one of their “reasons” arbitrarily because his mommy forgot to put the jelly on his PB&J sandwich or wash his tidy whities on time just makes me want to meet this dude in a dark alley and “talk” to him. I can face my accuser in a court of law, but I can’t face the unknown moron who is messing with my livelihood on Amazon. It’s clear they have us writers by the short hairs and care nothing about our rights. This is a cautionary tale—this is what monopolies like they’ve become often do.

If anyone has any idea of any recourse I might have, please let me know. I’m just sick. This is symptomatic of many other things happening to our country and our rights.

Blue skies,

Saturday, March 28, 2020


Hi folks,

A former casual acquaintance of mine, Jimmy Wynn, aka "The Toy Cannon" former player for the Houston Astros, has just died at 78. I met Mr. Wynn at a Super Bowl in Houston when the Minnesota Vikings lost me a few thousand dollars.. I honestly don't even remember who they played--Miami? Doesn't matter and I'm not looking it up. I imagine most people who went to a Super Bowl would remember who played but I'm 77 and don't care any more. Anyway, we had seats on the 50-yard line and Jimmy sat directly behind us. I spent the entire ballgame talking to him--he was far more interesting than the game. (Did I mention I lost several thousand dollars on it? That, I remember.) Anyway, he was fun to talk to and I remember him much more than the lousy game (on which I lost a lot of money...) The entire game cost me $100, believe it or not. I belonged to a group of gamblers--high-rollers--led by a guy named Stan Pitzak, who owned the Linebacker Inn, across from where I worked near Notre Dame,. and Stan had his own plane on which he flew a bunch of us down on. The game was supposed to be in the Super Dome, but they had flooding or something and it was moved to Rice Stadium,. Where I lost a few thousand dollars and met Jimmy Wynn. We ate afterwards at a seafood restaurant just across from the San Jacinto Monument and when I returned home and mentioned to my mother where we'd eaten she told us my great grandparents had founded the restaurant. I think this story is in my memoir, Adenaline Junkie, but not sure. After all, I'm 77. I do remember I lost several thousand dollars betting on that sorry QB Fran Tarkenton, who continued to throw passes to receivers covered by multiple defenders, ignoring wide-open receivers who were begging for the ball, but seemed to be in Mr. Tarkenton's blind spot. That was the main subject of our conversation--Mr. Tarkenton's bad eyesight, which was costing Jimmy some hard-earned greenbacks as well. Never seen a TV broadcast of that game so don't know if it was obvious on TV as well, but it sure was to our group of gamblers and Mr. Wynn, who I believe had excellent eyesight. RIP, Jimmy! You could sure rip the cover off a baseball.

Blue skies,

Saturday, March 21, 2020


Hi folks,

I’d like to throw out something for your consideration. We’re in a national crisis as you know where an awful lot of us are staying home to do our part in defeating the Coronavirus, To make our self-imposed exile from each other even worse, our entertainment options have been severely curtailed with the cancellation of most sporting events, concerts, plays and many of the normal outlets we enjoy. As a writer, one positive thing is that people are reading more and book sales are up.

There is one thing that is available to those of you who are writers or have often wondered if they have the skills to be a writer. As most of you know, I host an online novel-writing class. We’ve had enormous success over the years with nearly three dozen people who’ve attended our classes and/or been coached by me privately having succeeded in publishing their novels over the years. I don’t know of any other class with our kind of class record.

Class members of an early class, all of whom became published (with the exception of Joe who is the husband of Maegan Beaumont whom he's standing next to.)

We also have another service we offer. For quality control, each class is restricted to ten people. That way I can spend sufficient time with each classmate and they can spend time with each other as well. So we can’t add new classmates. But we have another popular feature. We often have class auditors. Those are folks who sit in on our class and see everything we’re doing. The only difference is they can’t participate actively. They’re observing just like auditors in any college course. It’s extremely valuable to every level of writer—from the raw beginner to the polished professional. We’ve even had agents audit from time to time. Agents audit to scout potential talent and are the only people we don’t charge. They provide a valuable service for our participants.

All writers make the same errors that prevent them from getting published. Over and over, we see the same mistakes repeated. That’s why auditing is so valuable. Writers often don’t see their own flaws, but when they see the same things they do repeated in other writers and see why it’s not a positive trait and why, it informs their own writing tremendously. I had one auditor who held an MFA from a good university tell me after auditing our class that he’d learned more in ten weeks than he had in the entirety of his university experience. That’s probably because our only goal is to see each of our classmates become published and published well.

Two of my books we use in class.

There’s another benefit to auditing. Whenever we have an opening, we go first to our auditors and offer them the opportunity. Also, many times a newer writer is unsure about their ability. Sitting in class and watching everyone else’s work and approach is an eye-opener. Very often, they see their own level of ability reflected in others and it raises their confidence. By the same token, often auditors see that they have holes in their writer education but see clearly how to fill those holes. All in all, it’s a great experience for a writer of any level of experience and/or ability. It’s simply demystified.

Okay. Sales pitch over. Just wanted to let folks know of our existence and availability. We’re just beginning the second week of this session and everything we’ve done to date is always on the site to study. The cost for full membership in class is $400, but the fee for auditing is only $50.

This is a great time to join us! Just seeing what we do will give many a sound idea where they are as writers and for advanced writers, you’ll see work that will inform your own work and take you to another level. And, for not much money at all!

If interested or if you have additional questions, please shoot me an email at

Hope to see some of you looking over our shoulders soon!

Blue skies,

Just a couple of the novels written in class.