Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Genre: Adult Literary
Word Count: 85,000

My Main Character's Most Fearsome Obsession:

Tom can’t stop life from changing on his secluded, northern Wisconsin lake, and that scares the holy hell out of him. Summer vacation used to mean old-fashioned families at his resort. Now his customers and neighbors are the types of people he doesn’t understand, like big city rich folks and gay couples. He’d call it quits and retire, but he couldn’t afford to. Even if he could, it wouldn’t bring back the past. It wouldn’t help his invalid wife recover. He wouldn’t find peace. Modern times are terrifying, and Tom is obsessed with holding them off, just a little longer.


That’s it. Tom has had it. He’s going to burn his place down.

Tom is the only original resort owner left on secluded Squaw Lake, and vacations at his lodge used to be so nice, so quiet, so... traditional. Until last year. Now, a mobster-looking guy from Chicago turned one of the restaurants across the lake into a strip club. Some fancy rich kid transformed another eatery into a hotspot of global gastro-tourism, and a very nice but very gay couple bought and remodeled a third establishment. Tom could ignore the ruckus they cause, except they all decided to resurrect the Squaw Cup, an annual competition for best resort on the lake.

So, Tom has a big decision. In order to win, he can modernize, learn to accept all sorts of new people, and come to grips with 21st century life. Or he can hide his discomfort and his secrets in a pile of smoking rubble. He has plenty of gas and more than enough matches.

The other three resort owners are trying to escape their own troubles, too, from the confines of stale relationships to mob bosses back home, and everyone on the lake, old and new, must struggle with the challenges of life in the northwoods, from dangerous cold to protective mama bears. Along the way, some of them discover the value of people, no matter how different they are. The rest find it much harder to relinquish their outdated beliefs.

THERE’S ALWAYS SOMETHING ON SQUAW LAKE (85,000 words) is a work of literary fiction that tells the story of the year when life on a secluded, northern Wisconsin lake transformed. The narrative is presented from the perspectives of each of the four resort owners, each tied to a season.

First 250 words:

The Squaw Point Resort had its best winter in maybe six or seven years, which was really too bad, because one of these days Tom was going to burn the fucker down.

He meant it this time. Honest. Tom stood over the fryer in the kitchen while the inspector from Rhinelander lay underneath and grunted like it was the worst health catastrophe he had ever seen. And on top of that crisis, the biggest snowstorm of the season circled its way down from Lake Superior. In March, for God’s sake.

On the TV above the corner of the bar, the little blond weatherman kept breaking in every ten minutes to flap his arms at the big colored map. Everything north of Highway 8 lay in the pink band, which meant 16 to 18 inches. Tom watched through the door to the kitchen. The kid on the TV looked like he felt important for the first time in his life. His eyes opened wide and his cheeks flashed bright red as he listed off the schools that had already canceled for tomorrow, then pleaded with his viewers to stay off the roads and make sure they all had a little extra food in the house.

“These late March snowstorms can really pack a wallop. We’re talking heavy, wet snow, blowing and drifting conditions, this is really going to be a doozy. Please, pay attention to these travel restrictions, hunker down, this is going to be a bad one.”

“Uh oh,” said the guy from under the fryer.

1 comment:

  1. Shriek! Please send with a 1-page synopsis as separate Word attachments to Also, please paste your query in the body of your email and include “NoQS submission” in the subject line. Thank you so much!