November 22, 2017

Where Stories Come From: COVER OF NIGHT (AKA THE SINNER)

Sometimes, writing can be therapeutic. And AKA The Sinner: Cover Of Night, which serves as the debut of Nathaniel Brigand in Pro Se Productions' Thriller of the Week series, is a great example.

Events and themes were percolating in my head: recent arguments in "support" of white supremacy groups in Charlottesville, a hashtag reacting to a news item about casting Asian actors, and some nostalgia for my "good old days..."

...and then Tommy had proposed a new series of novellas: a "Thriller of the Week" series of Kindle-only novellas based on the old NBC Mystery Movie series...and I had a way to channel some of these issues into my writing.

(On a tangential note, yes, I will be bringing back Mondays With Columbo)

At this time, the #ExpressiveAsians hashtag popped up on my Twitter feed thanks to two of my friends' efforts. (They know who they are, and I don't need to call them out). When thinking of an entry-point character, I realized that I could write about the impact of racism without falling into the usual tropes by making her a third-generation Japanese-American female. (Of course, I ended up falling into a trap that a fellow writer to lived in Japan once made about limiting my stories to three areas of interest). If I needed background info, I knew many lawyers and one of my female friends trained as a boxer. Rather than use AKA The Sinner's suggested setting, I used Rogers Park on Chicago's Northside since I knew the area, and I prefer writing fish-out-of-water stories.
Photo by Gordon Dymowski

And if you were to look at my search history for research...hoo, boy. Reading first-person accounts of families dealing with the implications of growing up in American internment camps during World War Two; female heads of white supremacist groups...and I even did fieldwork. One scene place in the same meeting room where the Chicago Doctor Who Meetup holds its Third Coast Comics meetups. And yes, Terry gave me a strange look....but hey, I do the damn research).

Cover of Night was also a story that went through several changes from initial outline to final draft. Unable to formulate a compelling (non-cliche) antagonist, I realized that the "big bad" wasn't a was a woman. One particular scene in chapter five went through several rewrites. And the reason for all this...

I wanted to get it right. Yes, I'm one of many authors who believe that representation matters and my past writing (especially female characters) has been weak. Or worse, that I've had the "token" woman. Granted, it was a short story with a shorter turnaround time, but I had to back my advocacy with action.

Did I get it right? Probably not. But what matters is that I made the effort. No "just-use-generic-insert-types-here" strategies that other writers have advocated. Writing diverse characters means putting in the effort and making the characters real enough. If I want more than the usual pulp-reading crowd to read my work, I have to make the effort to attract them.

But all in all, AKA The Sinner: Cover of Night should read like a heady mix of Law & Order and Leslie Charteris' The Saint. (And yes, I am planning on checking those books out, why do you ask?) But it's not just a great read (although it's Kindle-only, you can use Amazon's online Kindle reader) at a great's also, in a small way, a huge accomplishment on my part.

November 21, 2017


Last month, I was working on a novella....and now, it's a Kindle-only release via Pro Se Productions. Don't worry - there will be an installment of Where Stories Come From on this shortly....


Pro Se Productions presents the debut of its third series in the Future of Digital Storytelling-THE PRO SE THRILLER OF THE WEEK.

Each week, a new 'episode' of one of four rotating series will be released as a digital ebook for your reading pleasure. From Espionage to Supernatural, From Crime To Suspense, each week readers can find what they need in the PRO SE THRILLER OF THE WEEK.


Nathaniel (Never Nathan, that gets you a polite warning. Never Nate, that gets your life threatened. Never ever Nat, that gets you injured in some noticeable fashion) Brigand, his actual true surname, cursed from birth it would seem, is a man out to save the world after doing all he could to destroy it.

There isn’t a crime that Brigand hasn’t committed, save anything sexual or any crimes directly against children. There are reasons for that particular line not being crossed that are buried in his past, one that not even the best of detectives or even those highest in the ranks of espionage can uncover beyond his criminal history. This Brigand wears as a badge of honor, even though he is no longer a career criminal. Now he only commits crimes for the betterment of others when necessary. And he often finds it necessary.

It started when someone spray-painted swastikas and slurs on Amy Hirado’s door. She learned enough about those symbols from her grandfather, who was interred during World War II. As a defense attorney, she works in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood – she even lives across the street from a synagogue. Given the increased violence, she takes the advice of one of her (now deceased) clients and asks Nathaniel Brigand – aka the Sinner – for help! Little did Amy know...that sometimes the cure for a social ill is worse than the disease itself...especially when The Sinner is that cure.

AKA THE SINNER: COVER OF NIGHT by Gordon Dymowski. Concept created by Tommy Hancock.

Featuring an atmospheric cover, logo design, and digital formatting by Antonino Lo Iacono and Marzia Marina, AKA THE SINNER: COVER OF NIGHT is available now for the Kindle at for only $1.49. This ebook is also available for free via Kindle Unlimited for members.

For more information on this title, interviews with the author, or digital copies to review this book, contact Pro Se Productions’ Director of Corporate Operations, Kristi King-Morgan at

To learn more about Pro Se Productions, go to Like Pro Se on Facebook at