The Thriller Zone

On today’s episode 165th episode of The Thriller Zone I’m happy to introduce you to a long-time fan and friend of our show, Mr. Terrence McCauley. He kicks off SEASON SIX with a discussion about his latest thriller CHICAGO 63, a fictional account of a plot to assassinate President Kennedy.

As a bit of history, Terrence is an award-winning novelist, a member of various writer associations, and on today's show discusses his writing career plus shares his journey of writing in multiple genres, including thrillers, crime fiction, and Westerns.

Other topics Terrence and I cover include: the importance of decorum and class in society, we discuss the cover design of 'Chicago 63' and the artist behind it, plus Terrence offers advice for aspiring writers, and near the end, introduces us to Silverback Publishing, a company focused on publishing novellas.

As you’ll see, Terrence is an engaging guest, a prolific writer in not one, but three genres, he’s also a podcast host, and just an all-around nice guy. Let’s get to the launch of Season Six, and my friend Terrence McCauley right here on The Thriller Zone.

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To learn more visit: TerrenceMcCauley.com and as always, stop by our website TheThrillerZone.com and be sure to SUBSCRIBE to our video channel Youtube.com/@thethrillerzone/videos
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Chapters
0:00 Introduction and Early Conversations
3:21 Writing in Multiple Genres
6:55 Favorite Genre: 1930s
9:28 Terrence's Novella 'Chicago 63'
18:31 Importance of Decorum and Class
25:17 Advice for Writers
27:42 Benefits of Writer Associations
29:45 Silverback Publishing
36:32 The Power of Novellas
39:44 Lessons Learned as a Full-Time Author
40:47 Trust the Process and Trust Your Instincts
41:42 Leaving the Big City for a New Life
42:47 Transitioning to Life in Dutchess County
43:25 The Cover Design of 'Chicago 63'
44:19 Closing Remarks 


The Thriller Zone with David Temple is sponsored in part by Blackstone Publishing.

What is The Thriller Zone?

Join podcast host and thriller author David Temple as he gives you a front-row seat to the best thriller writers in the world. If you like thriller fiction in Books, Movies, and TV Shows, you’ll love The Thriller Zone Podcast.

David Temple (00:16.65)
How long has it been we have been in conversation?

Terrence McCauley (00:25.339)
God, for about maybe three, four years?

David Temple (00:29.073)
Well, it's got to be three nearly because that's how long the show is but yeah, I think you were one of the very first people To reach out to me on day Maybe maybe week one

Terrence McCauley (00:31.431)
We'll be.

Terrence McCauley (00:42.783)
Mm-hmm. Yeah, it was because you, I remember that you were going to be at Thriller Fest that year in New York City. So that was where we were going to meet up. And I did see you, but you were obviously swamped with a whole bunch of people from all over the place.

David Temple (00:57.406)
Well, it was kind of crazy, but there's something I wanted to make sure I said to you this week because I was thinking about this as I was preparing. It's a blessing and a curse. It's all good. And I thought if someone wanted to know how to react or act in getting in touch with a podcast for future sharing of their books.

It's your example and here's why. And it's a, it's too edgy. That's what this means. You do something really amazing. You sent me a couple of your books. Just sent them. You didn't, you didn't ask, you didn't say, Hey, can I be there? You just said, Hey, here's a few books. Let me know when I can get on. And the other thing is you didn't hassle me forever. So, so I really, I really appreciate that.

Terrence McCauley (01:51.355)
Well, thank you. Yeah. You know what? This is all about building community and you're doing that. I'm trying to do that because as you know, writing can be a really lonely pursuit. And you also, when you're trying to help, you don't want to be goaded into it like a beast of burden. You want to be able to do it when you can do it. And, you know, brow beating somebody just doesn't work.

David Temple (02:02.23)
Yeah.

David Temple (02:08.417)
and

David Temple (02:16.842)
You know, and it's so funny because you're from Brooklyn, right? The Bronx, sorry, okay.

Terrence McCauley (02:19.983)
the Bronx. I'm from the continental United States, Brooklyn, Queens, they're all in the islands someplace. But yeah. We have a sibling rivalry with our fellow boroughs.

David Temple (02:30.545)
Oh my gosh.

That is so funny. Oh my God. And it's, you know, having, yeah, having lived in Manhattan, uh, on two different tours of duty on business. And I know that I, I fully appreciate that, um, explanation. Anyway, my point is, uh,

Terrence McCauley (02:38.577)
They're over there near Europe.

Terrence McCauley (02:55.171)
Yeah

David Temple (02:59.87)
you would have all the right in the world because that's one of the things I love about New Yorkers. They're like boom! In your face, they tell it like it is. They want something, they ask it and they go for it. Now, they're not a-holes about it. They're just like, Hey, this is what I need. I'm going to do it now. You're not interested? Okay, great. We'll pass on it and we'll be another time. Anyway, I've made that point. So, welcome to the Thriller Zone, Terrence McCauley.

Terrence McCauley (03:21.703)
Thank you, my friend, a really great opportunity to be here, finally, after we've known each other for so long.

David Temple (03:28.154)
Yeah, no, it's insane. So except my humble apologies. But folks, if you don't know Terrence, he's an award winning, bestselling novelist of, I mean, look, thrillers, crime fiction, uh, Westerns. And let me roll, run down just a couple of things. Author of the university series, Charlie, uh, Doherty series, uh, Aaron McKay series and the Jeremiah Halstead series. Now I want to start out of the gate with this question because

Terrence McCauley (03:32.247)
That's right.

David Temple (03:54.026)
You're one of the few people I know, Terrence, that is doing this. You're writing in multiple genres. So it's a two-part question. You know, I'm famous for that. The first part is how did you come to that doing multiple genres? And secondly, and I know it's a loaded question, but do you have a favorite among those?

Terrence McCauley (04:12.455)
Sure, I was fortunate enough to have a couple of friends of mine who loved to drink coffee back in 2008. And they got a sleeve on one of their coffee orders that said, looking for the next great crime writer contest on TruTV back when that was still around. It was Court TV at the time. So I had a book that I had been working on for a long time. It was Prohibition set in 1930s New York, which combined my love of

everything New York and also everything from the 1930s. So I submitted it and it kept going on and on through the competition. Until one day I hear from them that I won and I was selected out of 200 other books. And so that was the validation I needed because I loved writing. So I was happy and I thought the world was my oyster. They were going to carry it in Barnes and Noble.

True TV, which became at that time, was then a Warner Brothers property. So they said we might be willing to turn it into a movie or a series. I was over the moon. Then what happened? Borders went out of business because they were the people who were going to carry the book and everything kind of fell apart. So that was a real heartbreak for me. But I stuck with it because I'm a determined, hard-headed Irishman. So I wrote a sequel to the book that nobody else wanted.

David Temple (05:40.526)
Hahaha

Terrence McCauley (05:40.939)
And that was also set in 1931 New York, and that was the beginning of the Charlie Darvety series, and I stuck with it. I found smaller publishers who were willing to work with it. And that led me to Polis Books, run by Jason Pinter. And he said, I love your stuff, but I'm looking for a more of an action thriller. Do you have one of those in mind?

I had always been a big fan of that genre, so I wrote the first book of the university series which is Sympathy for the Devil, got an agent, they negotiated that deal, and then my agent at the time said, well, what else are you working on? And I said, well, I don't know, I've got a Western that I haven't, that I wrote, but I don't think there's a market for it. And he said, one of my best friends is publishing Westerns over at Kensington. Why don't you give it to me? So I did.

And so that is how my Western career started. I wrote that book completely on spec and because I just loved the genre and I liked to challenge myself as an artist. So that's how I wound up with being in three different genres. And I've been honored to be able to do it for as long as I have.

David Temple (06:55.146)
And that second part of that question, do you have a favorite among those?

Terrence McCauley (06:58.979)
My secret favorite is the 1930s stuff. I love all my genres for different reasons. I love all of my characters, whether my name is on the cover or not. But, because I do go straight for some other series. But I do love the 1930s. I love that era. I love the clarity of it. I love the complexity of it. It was a far more interesting era than we think from watching the Jimmy Cagney movies or the Edward G. Robinson movies. Those were all great.

but they were a lot more modern and a lot more complex than history tends to remember or that the movies portray. Because these are people who came out of the horrors of World War I, and the Depression was starting. So they had a lot of really interesting life experiences. And especially New York City back then, God, it was a fantastic place to set a story. So that's my own personal sentimental favorite.

David Temple (07:39.531)
Yeah.

Terrence McCauley (07:54.127)
but I never work on something without loving the genre I'm doing at that moment.

David Temple (07:54.188)
Yeah.

Yeah, forget about it. You know, you are a folks, I want you to know, Terrence is a prime example of what I think a true writer is because you see an opportunity, you take it. You have a vision, you build it. You have a dream, you chase it. And it doesn't matter. The genre doesn't matter. The length doesn't matter. The publisher doesn't matter who's involved or who's attached.

Terrence McCauley (08:00.831)
Yeah.

David Temple (08:27.002)
And I have talked to a lot of people during this show and I have learned that the people who really are specific in their vision and clear in their focus and tenacious in their drive really make it and you fill you check all of those boxes. So a little golf clap for my buddy Terrence.

Terrence McCauley (08:49.943)
Oh, thank you. Thank you. I appreciate that. Yeah, because I always say I'm a little too stupid to quit. And, you know, I continue on. And also, as long as I see growth, you know, I started off in my teen years as wanting to be an illustrator. But when I was about 15 or 16, my talent kind of ebbed. And I knew that this wasn't for me, but I still wanted to tell stories. So I did not let that part of myself die, even though I went on to college and...

David Temple (09:09.217)
Uh huh.

Terrence McCauley (09:18.679)
had office jobs, but I always wanted to be a storyteller. So I found another way to do that. And that was honing my craft as a writer.

David Temple (09:26.866)
Well, mission accomplished, sir. Mission accomplished. Yeah. So last year, let's, let's jump around a little bit because, you know, I'm famous for that. So last year, your blood on the trail won the silver. Am I going to say this right? Falchion or Falchion? Falchion award for best Western. Now that's impressive enough, but your latest novella Chicago 63, which is Terrence, as you know, this is about the time that I pick up the book and I go right here. This is we're going to be talking about.

Terrence McCauley (09:29.841)
Thank you.

Terrence McCauley (09:42.235)
Felsian Award.

David Temple (09:56.214)
But as you can see, I don't have it.

Terrence McCauley (09:58.275)
Right, yeah, because it's only an ebook now. We're in the process of printing them up now.

David Temple (10:03.394)
But I know that you're going to autograph and send me a copy, and I'll add it to my personal library.

Terrence McCauley (10:08.591)
Yep, you're already on the list for a hardcover.

David Temple (10:11.066)
Thank you. But Chicago 63 is a fictional account of a plot to assassinate President Kennedy back in November 63. So I want to shoot out of the gate so that we make sure that the people who have short attention spans or get bored or finish their commute early or something and tune this out and forget to come back, make sure they know about your book.

So I want to talk about your main character, Secret Service Agent Abraham Goldman, which by the way, I love this guy. I like his attitude, I like his drive, I like the way he goes. He in a place of diversity or adversity rather, diversity too, but bad adversity, he goes, you know what? I have this instinct that says blank and I'm gonna tee all this up for you to tell the story, but I wanna tell you what I appreciated about it.

And he said, as he's guarding the president of the United States, you know what? I'm going with my gut instincts here, and I'm not going to worry about the fact that maybe somebody else is arguing with me. So I want you to go and tell me what makes this guy different from other agents. And so that's big. What makes him different, especially in this time? So it's a perfect tee up. And what makes this fictional account different from other assassination plots that we've read about in the past?

Terrence McCauley (11:18.224)
Mm-hmm.

David Temple (11:28.154)
Again, a two-parter, so thank you for your patience in that.

Terrence McCauley (11:28.263)
Sure.

Of course, of course. Well, I mean, it is a fictionalized account of an actual plot that did happen. Um, it was a group of people who were looking to assassinate President Kennedy while he was going to be in Chicago in early November, November second for the army air force game. And they were going to assassinate him on the way to the game as he was turning off of a highway, this sounds familiar. And it was a very slow turn.

And that was where they were going to assassinate him, which was much like what happened later, three weeks later in Dallas, 1963. So that part, when I was doing the research into this, I said, God, this is fascinating. And the reason why we know about the plot was because the real life secret service agent, Abraham Bolden with a B, I changed his name, went forward, heard about this when he worked in the Chicago office of the secret service and brought it to the Warren commission.

in 1964. They didn't want to hear about it. They did not want to know of any similarities to Dallas. And the poor man was not only ridiculed, he also was set up to go to prison for accepting a bribe a couple of years later. And he was in federal prison for I believe about six years. And in 2022, President Biden commuted his sentence and exonerated him because he was that brave. So in my account,

David Temple (12:44.75)
Thanks for watching!

Terrence McCauley (12:57.547)
Abraham Golden is the protagonist. He is the hero of the plot. But there were only two agents that were assigned to from the Secret Service that were looking into these threats that really were coming in from all over throughout the Chicago area. So instead of having too many people in such a short novella, I made it just him and have him drive the action of what was actually happening.

So he does the investigation. There were two people that there were two secret service agents that were involved. I just boiled it down to one. Um, there were also local police that were involved. There were also some federal agents that were investigating, but it was basically the small office of the secret service that was handling all of this as the president was on his way there. So everything that happens in the book, I extrapolate a little bit.

But most of it is factual, especially the parade route. And I've had people say, I can't believe that. They do their own homework, and then they find out through the same sources I did, that were written, not recently, but some of them in 1974, they say, wow, this really did happen.

David Temple (14:08.83)
That is kinda crazy isn't it? I mean not kinda, it's very crazy if you ask.

Terrence McCauley (14:14.071)
Right. I mean, it's, you know, I do extrapolate on a lot. I do make links, but, you know, there were four Cubans that were in the, that were in the area. Two of them were arrested, two escaped. They had high powered rifles in a hotel and they were brought in for investigation and nobody knows what happens to those two. Arthur Valley was a real person and he did have ties to the guerrilla camps in the pre-

Bay of Pigs invasion days in Long Island and throughout the United States. And he was arrested that day as I have it in the novella with arms in his car, but not with weapons. It was just bullets. So it was, and the people who were arrested him are the two police officers who were Chicago police officers. They went on to have colorful careers too. So, and they had some very interesting associations. So that's what I pulled everything together that actually happened.

and made a compelling story. I made some links, like I said, I extrapolated a bit, but I definitely used historical events as my inspiration.

David Temple (15:21.646)
I love the fact that you took reality and what I call you just bent it. And there's another book I'm reading right now that has to do with bending time. I'm not going to go down that path because it's your show, but it is, it has really made me to stop and think if you, geez, I could go off on a tangent about parallel universes and bending time and so forth. And I think about the movie Interstellar and stuff like that. But when you, yeah, when you stop and you think about it within a

blink of an eye. It's kind of like a movie I saw way back when I think it was Gwyneth Paltrow, sliding doors at a single second. The world could have shifted and gone that way or shifted and gone that way. So what I love about what you did is you kind of opened our eyes to a point in time that if things had been just that much different, just fractionally different, it could be a whole different world we're living in, right?

Terrence McCauley (16:17.187)
Right, and I think that's the reason why you have a lot of these theories that continue on. You know, some people call them conspiracy theories, and they remain conspiracy theories until people actually do research into them. And then once you do see that maybe not the main event, but the tertiary characters that are involved, that's what, if you do that kind of homework, you start to say, wow, maybe this isn't as crazy after all. And I've always had a love of looking into

fringe ideas like UFOs, ancient aliens, that stuff. And most of it, Bigfoot, most of the times I just, I write that off. I say there's a logical real world explanation for an awful lot of that. Example, a couple of years ago, about 10 years ago now, there was a huge sighting of flying rods around public events. And that was a big UFO thing. Well, it turned out they were predator drones. It was a perfectly real world explanation for it. We just didn't know the technology existed. And I think that

You know, there's a lot of real world explanations you can have for a lot of this phenomenon, but when you look at something like the Kennedy assassination and all of the secondary people involved, it becomes a little bit more believable that something was going on. And I don't think it was the stereotypical Oak paneled office, people having cigars, chortling. I don't think that was it, but I definitely think it was probably a few bad actors who had a plan, kept it close and. Unfortunately we're successful.

David Temple (17:22.902)
Yeah.

David Temple (17:34.25)
Yeah.

David Temple (17:43.086)
That's what I liked about this story is you made me, I mean, I would suspend as I do, as you do, as we all do when we're reading a book, we suspend our beliefs for a moment, but with this one, you can just, you don't have to fully suspend it. You can just hang your, uh, your thoughts on the nail behind you and go, and go down that traveling, that road and go, you know, this, this is so close to have. Be have had have happened. Easier for you to say. Um,

Anyway, so I love that. I do want to ask you this. You have a fascination of the 30s. Do you also share a fascination with the 60s or was your fascination simply with the fact that this was a momentous moment, a huge moment in time that you capitalized, capitalize on by fictionalizing.

Terrence McCauley (18:31.531)
I have a love of history and I have a love of historical fiction. So I got used to researching events that happened when I was doing my 1930s novels. My grandmother grew up in the same neighborhood as James Cagney and she was always really emphatic about they were never friends. She said, I just knew him, but I knew him around from the neighborhood and he was a character. He was always getting into trouble. And

That kind of honesty struck me back then because I was a little kid. She could have told me, oh yeah, we were best friends. We hung out all the time, but she didn't do that. And people from that era didn't really exaggerate because I think that they had a capacity to understand that life gets complicated and interesting enough all on its own if you just tell the truth. So that kind of idea and that approach to her life experience made me love history. I wound up researching.

Like I said, I love fringe ideas, usually suss them out for what they are. But with the Kennedy stuff, it was fascinating. And I kept digging into it. And the more I did, the more I realized this is an interesting part of American history in the 1960s. And especially when I had a character like Abraham Bolden in my book, he's golden, he actually did, was the first African American secret service agent to protect a president. And that was at Kennedy's insistence.

David Temple (19:50.647)
Yeah.

Terrence McCauley (19:58.639)
So those kinds of details are fascinating to me. And that's what made me say, there's more than just research here. There's a good story that I can tell.

David Temple (20:07.454)
First of all, I want to jump in here and say, I apologize. I called it Goldman. I wrote down Goldman. I was thinking Goldman. So thank you for not just smacking me upside the face and going, hey, Dave, not only did you misspell my name when you were doing pre-advertising marketing for me, you used an A instead of an E, A-hole, so why don't you just say anyway. You know, sometimes.

Terrence McCauley (20:17.019)
You

Terrence McCauley (20:28.131)
No, it's right. Go ahead.

David Temple (20:31.014)
I said, sometimes you're just moving so fast. You don't think so. My apologies. Yeah.

Terrence McCauley (20:35.559)
Don't worry about it. No, no, it's just, and I, so with him, I changed his name a little bit because, A, I did fictionalize his character, but I wanted to keep it so that if people do Google what I wrote, and I do hope they will do their own research, you'll see, wow, this guy is a fascinating character written of himself. And he has his own book, Echoes from Dealey Plaza, that I suggest everybody take a look at. Fascinating gentleman, really is. He's still with us too.

David Temple (20:59.558)
It insert book plug here. Hey, and speaking of, uh, I want to, I want to jump off a thing. You said a second ago about how people in that era didn't exaggerate or blatantly lie. I'm going to make that a two pronged attack. I'm having a conversation yesterday with the gentleman who's going to be on the show soon, um, and, uh, John Lindstrom. And we were, and we were talking over lunch about, you know, it's a shame. What happened to decorum?

Terrence McCauley (21:03.439)
Hehehehehehehehe

David Temple (21:29.886)
And that, that shot us down a road about a conversation between my friends, Jonathan and Mark, who were at the lunch table and we're like, yeah, whatever happened to that? And it made me think of that when you said people of that era looked at life differently and it made me think the same thing like what happened to, and this is rhetorical predominantly, what happened to decorum? What happened? You know, there are certain presidents in our path, for instance, that have no decorum, we won't go down that path, but

And it challenges me to say, why can't we bring a little bit of the class back to life in general and just be classier? You know what I mean?

Terrence McCauley (22:07.331)
Right. Yeah, no, you're absolutely right. And I think that the, um, I think the advent of social media has hastened that decline into quorum and treating people like they're human beings. Um, my grandmother and my father, uh, all grew up in a very diverse neighborhoods back before they even called it diverse. It was just a bunch of poor people who did different things on the weekend. Some went to church on Saturdays, some went to church on Sundays. Uh, some didn't go at all.

David Temple (22:14.894)
Yeah.

Terrence McCauley (22:34.683)
but everybody was in the same boat. And my grandmother had a piece of advice for me that's carried with me throughout my entire life. And that's treat people as you meet them. If they're good to you, you be good to them. And if they're not good to you, then you stay away from them. And that's just the way it used to be. And people understood, especially in a place like New York City, we're all in this together. You're living in the same neighborhood I am. You might have a nicer apartment, but we're all here. You got to take the five flights up.

David Temple (22:58.219)
Yeah.

Terrence McCauley (23:04.219)
to your apartment, just like I do. You shop in the same places. And I think that the impersonality of everything of modern day just makes people too familiar with themselves. And that's online. And you know, you see people going to baseball games. They used to dress in suits to go to baseball games and they used to dress to get on airplanes.

David Temple (23:06.176)
Yeah.

Terrence McCauley (23:26.799)
but then you look at it and the airplanes used to be nicer. They used to be a really nice experience. I wouldn't wear a suit on a plane now. I mean, it'd be ruined by the time you get there, even if it's a puddle.

David Temple (23:35.914)
Dude, you're taking the phrase right out of my mouth. This is exactly what I said yesterday. I said, what happened to getting dressed properly to go for a flight? Not that it's necessary, but flying used to be an event, kind of be a classy event. Hey, I'm flying to such and such. Now you see people getting on in flip flops or bedroom slippers and pajamas and carrying their headphones. Anyway, we've kind of lost touch with decorum. Anyway, I'm beating that.

dead horse on your show, but we need to bring that back. That's what I'm going to say. Bring the Coram back. Hashtag.

Terrence McCauley (24:13.487)
Yeah, I think that's true. Yeah, man, we definitely need to treat people better. We need to treat each other better. And you know, I think you see people, they dress down and I think that they've also dressed down their approach to life and their approach to their fellow human being. You know, we vilify people we don't agree with. We were terrible. We don't have discussions anymore. We have these firm beliefs that we stick to like their World War One trenches, and we won't give an inch.

Look at what it's doing. It's tearing apart the fabric of society, not just in the United States, but all over the world and it's a nasty trend.

David Temple (24:48.018)
Yeah, it certainly is. All right, let's get back to you. Your short stories have been featured in publications like a thug lit shotgun, honey, a down and out magazine, many other publications. You're, you're really prolific and to have created this body of work in such a short amount of time. And I'm going to ask a question that feels like my closing question, but it's not, what would be your best advice to writers? And I thought about this one. I'm like, man, look at that. He's hit a lot of the biggies. Well, what's your best advice to writers?

as they're trying to inch their way into one of these publications. You got any inside scoops for us?

Terrence McCauley (25:22.487)
I would say don't try to write to a trend because the trend changes all the time. If you feel like you've got a novel in you, try to write that novel as best you can in your own time, but not with an open-ended deadline. Make sure that you don't just get crippled by analysis paralysis. Do your research, do your thinking, do your navel gazing, but don't let it go on for too long. Start committing yourself to the paper and to the page, to the screen.

Because if you do that, then you're going to have eventually a product that you can look at, that you can bounce things off, that you can change and ultimately bring to market, which is what publication really is. It's taking, it's creating a product and bringing it to market for short stories. It's the same thing. If you hit a roadblock in your novel writing, or you're not sure where you want to start short stories are a fantastic way to do that, to, to break the ice, to get you into the habit of writing and training your mind to

create a shorter, tighter story than you might find in a novel. So I always tell people, right, get it done, make it the best you can, and then be prepared for a lot of rejection because that is just part of this business. And for somebody who's not patient like me, I'm very impatient person. That's a tough lesson to learn, but it's an essential one if you're going to have any success in this business. And it is a business.

David Temple (26:45.106)
Isn't it funny how many times, Terrence, we talk to people amongst ourselves and outside this circle of the writing community and they say, all right, if there's anything else you can do, you might want to do that because writing is probably one of the toughest adventures you could possibly do. So I find it interesting. And we, we really are gluttons for punishment in one sense. Now, yeah.

Terrence McCauley (27:07.151)
We are.

David Temple (27:08.67)
As a member of, let's see, New York City chapter of the Mystery Writers of America, how do you do? ITW, International Crime Writers Association, the Military Writers Society of America, and the Western Writers of America. You're in a lot of good company. What's been some of the best lessons from being associated with these groups? Because a lot of people say, well, we all know that going to conferences is great.

but I want to take it a step further and say, you know, belong to one of these or many of these organizations because of blank, and I'd love to hear your opinion.

Terrence McCauley (27:42.039)
It's great to be able to have a sense of community, to be able to talk about the different war wounds all of the writers have in that genre because it's a lonely enterprise to be able to start writing. I don't know if it's necessarily noble because no one's making you do it, but it's definitely great to go to these conferences if you can swing it and get the kind of inspiration you can only get with people who get the joke.

The same joke that we tell each other all the time when we start each day by sitting in front of the keyboard and starting to type away. I found that when I joined the Western Writers of America, the amount of knowledge in that room was tremendous. You would think that these are just a bunch of people who read cowboy books and that's it. The wealth of information and how incredibly well read

My fellow writers in that genre are phenomenal. They could talk to you about crime novels, cozies. They could talk about different industries. It really opened my eyes to the fact that a lot of genres like Westerns or cozies get pigeonholed, but their audience base there and the contributing writers to those genres is phenomenal. So I always say if someone can afford to swing it, to go to a conference,

Give it a shot, but go with a plan. Don't just show up and say, I'm going to let lightning strike. I have a list of people who you want to meet and, uh, don't, I wouldn't say work the room, but have a plan of who you want to talk to and what you want to say to them when you do.

David Temple (29:07.92)
Yeah.

David Temple (29:16.966)
I'm going to take exactly what you said and say, do work the room. Have you, if you've got your notes in your pocket and you're, you're networking to make a future connections, then yeah, work that room. Also, I, you know, when I was reading about you and one thing I did not know, I did not learn until just recently is that you have your own podcast, which is spies lies and private eyes on the authors of the air global radio network. And I believed I, I met the gal who runs that at, um,

Terrence McCauley (29:45.848)
Pam's back, yeah.

David Temple (29:46.942)
Yeah, Pam at a Basha con this year. Boy, she's got some energy, doesn't she?

Terrence McCauley (29:51.867)
She is something else, she is a force unto herself.

David Temple (29:54.898)
Yes, she is. And I couldn't believe, I mean, you're 60 plus episodes in and you and I both know how hard this gig is. We do it because we love it because we're not getting rich doing it. And how did this podcast come out for you and what's your favorite part of it?

Terrence McCauley (30:12.623)
Well, Pam wanted me to do one for a while, even though I wasn't blessed with the dulcet tones you have. I've got a Bronx accent that could cut glass. So you sound like Shadow Stevens and I sound like a dying barn animal. But I do. It's my native French accent. But I do enjoy speaking to the authors at various stages of their career. Some of them are older than me, but this is their first book. Some of them have been bestsellers for 20 years.

David Temple (30:20.751)
Hahaha!

Terrence McCauley (30:42.511)
What I try to do in my podcast is cover the writer's journey, no matter where they are in their publishing life. And I've gotten the opportunity to interview some great people and be able to talk to them about what was important to them when they were writing, the various influences they've had. And every once in a while, they'll give me some advice that I can pass along to my listeners. And that's rewarding because everybody who tries to do this

goes in with one idea of how they're gonna get published and how they feel the publishing industry is gonna treat them. And then once you get into it, you get into that cold water and you realize this is a whole different ball game. And so I think it's great to be able to pass on some of the wisdom that they've earned over their careers to different people.

David Temple (31:28.058)
Yeah, by the way, New Yorkers say whole different. Southerners like me say whole another. It's a whole another thing, which makes no sense. All right. Before we wrap, I want to ask about a venture that our mutual friend, Steve Stratton, shared with me recently when he was down here in San Diego visiting. And I'd love to hear more about this company, because I'm going to I'm going to act as though I don't know anything because I know very little. So tell me about Silverback Publishing.

Terrence McCauley (31:34.135)
Right.

Terrence McCauley (31:55.959)
Yeah, Silverback Publishing is the brainchild of the great James Aft. He's also the force behind best thriller books. He has amassed a lot of really great reviewers who don't just get the free books, look at them and then wrote, write a glowing review. They delve into this industry and they love their writers and they love good stories and I've never seen them review a book they didn't like. So they're not out there headhunting. They're actually there to promote.

good writing when they find it. Um, and James is actually the reason why Chicago 63 got published in the first place. I have a, it's part of a greater trilogy that I want to tell from a cops perspective of the Dallas shooting. The before event, the right after Roswell was arrested and then the pursuit for the shooters afterwards. So I was shopping a trilogy. I might have a publisher for it. Then fingers crossed. But he said, you know,

why don't you try something else that's a novel novella that would be more accessible to people rather than someone signing on for a three book arc. And I said, all right, well, I do have that Chicago plot that was going to be in the novel. But I knew that if I when I wrote that novel, Abraham Golden would be there for about a quarter of it. And then he would disappear. And that's not fair to the character. And that's not fair to the reader.

So I put it into a novella when that was what Chicago 63 became. So then once that started getting legs, we formed this group called of silverback publishing, where the idea is to use Chicago 63 as a test case to see how we can bring novellas to the general public. And it's going to be, and it is a different experience. It's not just writing a book.

David Temple (33:22.595)
Right.

Terrence McCauley (33:49.967)
publishing a book and seeing where it's at, it lands. It's also about creating experience for the reader. And that means curated content. And we've been doing the interviews with a lot of experts like Steve Stratton over the last few months to give people a beautiful hardback book signed by the author and also curated content that explains the evolution of the idea. Because a lot of readers love to know where did you get this idea from?

What made you want to write this book? And instead of just talking about it, they can be part of it. And we feel that it is a really nice way to reach a new audience and also to give authors a chance to get their work out there because not every idea is worthy of a novel, but chances are writers have a novella in them, maybe a nugget of a story, and that's what we're going to do our best to bring to market.

David Temple (34:19.505)
Sure.

David Temple (34:47.653)
Well, I love this idea because there's so many of us and my stories that I write start as novellas. I'll have this idea, I'll bang out about 10 pages and then I think, you know, I got just enough gas in the tank to probably do a novella. And then I always have this conversation before I knew about you and others and just having a different attitude about publishing in general.

Oh, I'll put it on the back burner and see if I can flesh it out to a full 360 or whatever the number count page count is at that time. But some, sometimes often more often than not that it doesn't go anywhere, but you go, man, I'd love to just get this story out. So first of all, is it only open for novellas? Is that pretty kind of, kind of the key to it?

Terrence McCauley (35:31.639)
Yeah, for this part it is. Until we have a proof of concept and then we feel that we're going to be able to do more. I'd love nothing more than to be able to be part of a full publishing group. I mean, because between me and Steve and a lot of the other authors who have shown interest, we have a wealth of experience and a bitter experience in some instances about how, about what to do and what to avoid. So we would love to be able to publish full length novels, but...

For now, I think the novellas are a great way to introduce the company to a new audience. And it's also good for us to learn what we know and what we don't know. The known unknowns are the ones that always trip up enterprises like this. So we feel that the novellas are a great way to start the experience of, of seeing curated content could appeal to some people.

David Temple (36:11.308)
Yeah.

Terrence McCauley (36:25.615)
And there's, we want to see where this journey takes us. And we've been happy with the results so far.

David Temple (36:32.091)
Well, I love the idea. I'm going to support you guys in any way I can. Maybe even you guys will let me get in on the fun and throw one of my novellas at you. But I thank you. I really love this idea. And I think I remember is I'm flashing back to James Patterson. Love him or hate him. I happen to have grown up really enjoying his reading or writing. I came out with an idea a few years back called Book Shots.

Terrence McCauley (36:39.643)
Work? Please do.

Terrence McCauley (36:50.247)
Mm-hmm.

David Temple (36:57.886)
And I always thought that was cool because I do a lot of flight travel and I like to just pick up a book, maybe blow through something, maybe on a short flight. Book shots were perfect. Of course, you and I both know we both read a lot of books for our podcast and our passion for reading. But sometimes you just want a little something. You want a snack. You don't want a whole meal. So I applaud you guys.

famously and heartily for this idea. So folks once again, it's called silverback publishing. I'm gonna assume it's silverback publishing.com I don't have it right in front of me.

Terrence McCauley (37:33.283)
Yeah, it is. And we also, yeah, we figured that reader choices and reader tastes have changed over the last few years. You know, like I said earlier, with the advent of social media, people are looking for something that's a little shorter and a little easier to get through. So it's also a great way for authors to introduce their greater body of work to someone who might not want to sit down for a 300 page novel, but it's a really great way to tell a tight story.

and they can be part of an existing series or an independent book, whatever. But it's, we're excited about where it's heading. And we got some great reviews, thank God, about Chicago 63. I.S. Barry reviewed it, gave it a beautiful review. She's on the cover and Cheryl Head, a lot of people and Matt Coyle, a lot of great people gave us some awesome support and we're very grateful.

David Temple (38:13.261)
Yeah.

David Temple (38:24.618)
Yeah, dude, I applaud you once again. This is the writing community taking the power into their own hands and going, Hey, maybe I can't get published over here with the big five. We'll just call it, but at least I can get it in the hands of some people who are really passionate about the business of publishing, even if it's a novella. And everybody, listen, if you're a writer, you've got a novella in you for crying out loud, we're talking about less than 50,000 words, and if you do.

uh, nano-rimo as many of us do in November when you write 50,000 words in 30 days. If you're a writer, you can do that. If you can't do that, then maybe you should do something else. Just an idea. All right. Once again, it's silverback publishing. And as we close, I want to do a variational thing because you're so good. You're such a great interview. He and interviewer, but I want to, I want to, I, you know, my standard closes.

best piece of writing advice, but I want to know because you've already touched on another adjunct to that, what's one of the biggest lessons you've learned since becoming a full-time author? Because I've watched you from a distance for almost three years now and I've never seen anybody so consistent and you don't sit around, oh I've got like four more days, no you just bang it out. So what's that best lesson you've learned?

Terrence McCauley (39:44.103)
to keep working at it. And I have to find the thing that's gonna keep your backside in the chair and your fingers on the keyboard. And there's a lot of different ways of doing it. For me, I write out on the porch. I'm not there now, I'm in my house, but I have a screened in porch and a windowed in porch. I will admit, I smoke my cigars. That's what keeps me in the chair and writing, but staying with it. There's a bunch of different ways that you can learn how to craft a story that you can...

follow structure to do research, but ultimately it, you won't have anything to sell. You won't have anything finished until you finish it. And it's just to keep at it, keep banging away at it and be, oh, and once you get that habit of writing and that commitment to the project that you're working on. Beautiful things happen. And you know, you have to do it in order to accomplish it. You can't expect it to happen by osmosis or.

David Temple (40:33.336)
Yeah.

Terrence McCauley (40:40.823)
a strike of luck. It's staying in the minds and plugging away at it and making it the best you possibly can.

David Temple (40:47.378)
And I'm going to put a colorful little exclamation point there and to say, trust the process and trust your instincts. Trust that passion that lives within you to make you even think you want to do it. A lot of times we have all that judgment voice, not to get off on a tangent here, but I'm going to do it because it's my show, damn it. But you, we get, we get caught up in that voice that goes, Oh, what if it's not good enough? What if it really sucks?

Terrence McCauley (41:05.574)
Damn right.

David Temple (41:13.73)
Who cares? There's a lot of other things in life that we go after that fall apart. And we, we don't go, well, I wish I could have learned to drive a car, but I backed out wrong. Okay. So my point is just allow for the passion. So once again, that is great advice coming from Terrence McCauley. And if you want to learn more, go to Terrence, that's two E's in Terrence, by the way, McCauley.com. And I, we just want to send a great big old Thriller Zone love to a Duchess County. And I did want to ask you,

What made you leave the big city for the and I got a pretty good idea because I've seen plenty of Instagram in your new life. How? Why? Why out there and how you like it?

Terrence McCauley (41:54.671)
Well, my wife is from this area. She grew up in Millbrook. It's funny, she's Guatemalan American. And when everybody says, learns that one of us is from Millbrook and one of us is from the Bronx, they assume she's from the Bronx. I'm like, no, she grew up in horse country. I'm the city rat. But she grew up right near Millbrook. And then we moved to a Jason area here in Dutchess County, Armenia. It's right near the Connecticut border.

David Temple (41:58.23)
Okay.

David Temple (42:20.416)
Okay.

Terrence McCauley (42:20.495)
And it's been, it's, we've always had a weekend house here since we got married and we've been, um, we've been up here since COVID happened when I w I had a regular job at that time, uh, the, they suspended operations. So we worked remotely. We moved up here. I started writing full time and then we've been able to, uh, stick with it ever since. So it's been a, it's a quiet but beautiful part of the world. And there's a lot going on up here. So.

It was a tough transition from the city because I grew up there my whole life, but I it's beautiful up here. It's really, and the people who live up here are quality people.

David Temple (42:57.146)
Yeah. And you know, the peace and harmony of countryside's pretty nice backdrop for writing. And if you need a, you get a hankering, as we say in the South, if you get a hankering for a little city life, you just jump on a train and go right or car or whatever, but then just go in for a little injection. Well, once again, this is so cool. I'm so glad you took the time. I'm, I do apologize once again, it's taken so long, but this is what tenacity does. You, you stuck in there and here we are. And man, I couldn't wish you.

more luck and I would be holding up. I'm just going to put the copy of Chicago 63 on the screen and by the way who designed this cover because I love it.

Terrence McCauley (43:36.439)
A great artist by the name of Christian Storm. He did Joe Clifford's covers. I think he's wonderful. I hope to God he's able to do all of my books, whether I self-publish them or I have another publisher do it. Yeah. I told him what I wanted. I've told him what I envisioned and God, he just exceeded my expectations. Like you wouldn't believe. And he also did a great job with, with getting it done on time with all of the endless feedback from people.

just a quality artist and I highly recommend him. His name is Christian Storm. He did a great job with the cover.

David Temple (44:07.199)
Awesome.

Well, I beg kudos to Christian. I have been able to communicate with him, so he seems like just a solid dude. Once again, Terrence, thank you so much for your time on the show. It's been a hoot.

Terrence McCauley (44:19.559)
Thank you, my friend, I appreciate it. Thank you for the opportunity. And thank you for what you're doing for the community. It helps an awful lot.

David Temple (44:26.266)
It is my pleasure. All right. Let me hit stop here. Make sure everything is a golden.