Friday, November 1, 2013

The Body on the Floor of the Rotunda, latest review


Following is a review that was published in the "About Books" section of the November/December 2013 Montana Art's Council's "State of the Arts" newspaper: 
The Body on the Floor of the Rotunda 
by Jim Moore 
Published 2013 by Raven Publishing, Inc., Norris, MT 

$26.00 Hardcover 

Jim Moore
In his latest novel, Jim Moore immediately grabs the readers' attention with the description of a body falling from the fourth floor balcony in the Montana State Capitol, ergo, the title. 

Readers are introduced in short order to Senator Lynn Bruce, an attorney from Roundup, who becomes central to the story when he is enlisted to defend the prime suspect in what eventually is determined to be a case of murder. 

The author's background as a former state senator and lawyer give him the credentials to pen an intriguing murder mystery, set in the midst  of a busy legislative session, where both the accused, Senator Audrey Welter, and her defender, Senator Bruce, are trying to fulfill their elective duties while grappling with the elements of an impending with the elements of an impending trial. 

The murder victim was a trusted aide to the governor with a checkered past, working her way up the social and political ladder. More than one person would have appreciated her demise.

Untangling the details and solving the crime brings the accused and her attorney in close contact, which spices the story with romance. 

One of Moore's strong points in his work is his familiarity with courtroom scenes and dialogue. It lends his tales the authentic feel that you get from someone who has "been there, done that." Cindy Younkin, attorney and former Majority Whip for the Montana House of Representatives, agrees: "The intertwining of the legislative process, cross party politics, unscupulous politicians, murder and a senator/attorney/rancher who helps the damsel in distress makes for a great story," she writes. 

Moore is a retired lawyer, cattle rancher and former Montana Senate Minority Leader, who lives near Bozeman. His previous books include Ride the Jawbone and Election Day

—Judy Shafter

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Book Covers

People judge a book by the cover, at least at first glance, so covers are very important to us. Our cover for Election Day was created by the very talented author, book designer, and editor, Craig Lancaster, who worked closely with me to give me just what I asked for. We wanted something to go along with both the title and the theme of the story, but more than that, something that would catch the eye of potential readers and hold their attention, and I believe this cover with the White House in stormy weather does just that. The book is about a fictional presidential election and a VERY stormy race for the White House—so it fits. As someone commented, on seeing the cover, "It's dark, foreboding, intriguing in the mist of storm. You can expect just about anything to happen as the story unfolds. Awesome!" And you'll be amazed and thrilled at all that does happen. 

Craig Lancaster also designed the cover for another of Jim Moore's amazing thrillers. A cover that invites you in to read more. 

I recommend Craig Lancaster's work, talent, and professionalism in creating a cover and/or designing a layout for anyone wanting an attractive book. He is also great to work with. 

 Janet Hill, president, Raven Publishing, Inc.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Our Forefathers' Foresight Put to the Test

Now, is a good time to sit back and enjoy the thrill ride found in Jim Moore's novel, Election Day—a better time, perhaps, than July of last year when the book was released. 2012 was an election year in which the campaign seemed to go on forever, millions were spent on ads trashing opponents reputations, and just about everyone, regardless of left or right leanings, was sick and tired of it all. At that time, potential readers may have associated Election Day, with what was currently filling radio, television, the Internet, and newspapers—and wanted no more of it. But this book is far different from any other book, heralding political events unlike any in the history of our country. Yet the happenings that will astound you in this story are entirely possible, due to contingencies our forefathers put into our nations laws.

Little-known laws in the  US Constitution and its amendments are put to a test in this story. The result of this thoughtful, thought-provoking, well-researched novel is a civics lesson wrapped in an exciting thriller with astounding revelations. It is a book that will leave the reader asking, "Are there laws here that ought to be changed in order to keep this unlikely but fully possible scenario from happening?" "What about the electoral college? Is it fair in every situation and contingency?"

The plot, the characters, the premise, the outcome of Election Day, by Jim Moore will stick in your mind long after the book has been put down or passed on. This is not your usual Election Day.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Body on the Floor of the Rotunda

Off to a good start, our launching campaign for a great thriller by Bozeman author, Jim Moore, lost momentum when the call for help of one of Raven Publishing's authors took our immediate attention.

We are still mourning the passing of Joan Bochmann, author of Absaroka, who left her cancer-ravaged body on September 26, 2013. Yet, as Joan would want us to, we want to continue to share the news of the latest release by our best-selling author, Jim Moore. It is too good to be ignored, and there is still plenty of time to put this book, in hard or soft cover, on your holiday shopping list.

About The Body on the Floor of the Rotunda:

Murder in the Capitol becomes the top news story when the body of Gloria Angel, the popular and lovely assistant to the governor of Montana is found on the floor of the rotunda of Montana s capitol. When an autopsy indicates foul play, Missoula Senator Audrey Welter finds herself accused of murder. She turns to a Senate colleague, attorney Stretch Bruce from Roundup, to represent her. They struggle to fulfill their legislative obligations while preparing a defense to the charge and trying to figure out who is the real killer. Was it the Governor? The Attorney General? The vagrant found lurking in the basement of Capitol? Was it Audrey s former husband, who was enamored with the dead woman and had been stalking her? The twists and turns come one after another right up to the end of the trial, as Audrey’s life hangs in the balance. 

“don’t pick up this book expecting to go to bed early”
Judge William Russell McElyea

“There is a ‘Montana Way’ in everything Jim Moore does. This novel deserves to be read by everyone who loves our great state.”
Neil J. Lynch, Former Majority Leader, Montana State Senate 

“The intertwining of the legislative process, cross-party politics, unscru- pulous politicians, a murder and a sneator/attorey/rancher who helps the damsel in distress makes for a great story.”
Cindy Younkin, Attorney and former Majority Whip, Montana House of Representatives. 

“Love and Lust drive the action that ends with a dramatic courtroom scene. This novel captivates right to the end.”
Kathleen Mohn, founder of Speak and Write, a corporate training firm

Available in hard or soft cover at many fine stores including Montana's largest independent books store, Country Book Shelf, as well as many online sites including http://www.ravenpublishing.netAmazon or as an ebook at Smashwords or Amazon's Kindle.

Sit back and enjoy the ride!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Miranda and Starlight Audio

Miranda and Starlight, by Janet Muirhead Hill, is available on CD, read by the late Joan Bochmann, author of Absaroka.

First published in 2002, Miranda and Starlight gained immediate popularity with girls who love horses as well as other readers. One young fan wrote, "My brother loves your book and he hates horses." Readers as young as five, many adults, and senior citizens have expressed their enjoyment of this story and have asked for more. Now, with the choice of being able to listen to the book on CD in addition to the paperback and ebook editions, it is available to a wider audience than ever.

This audio edition has been a long time coming, and many fans of both the book and of Joan Bochmann are thrilled to have it available now.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Joan Bochmann, author, rest in peace

Author Joan Bochmann left her pain wracked body and our sight on September 26, 2013. She will be sorely missed, but she has left a legacy of talent, love, and an example of strength and faith to her family, fans, and a host of dear friends.

Born on November 21, 1934, in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, Joan was the oldest of six children. Allen and Dorothy Muirhead, her hard-working, loving parents provided the rich culture of ranch life in the beautiful Yampa Valley, high in the Rocky Mountains. She learned love and respect for horses and ranching from her father and the love of books and reading from her mother. 

Joan cherished those gifts throughout her life and shared them with others. She often read volumes of great fiction to her younger siblings and involved them in storytelling games where she created gripping stories on the spot and encouraged sisters and brothers to do the same.

Joan graduated high school at the head of her class. She worked at various jobs since she was just fourteen years of age. She spent more than thirty years working as a paralegal. She married young, raised two children, and always kept the love of books, reading, and writing alive. She took night classes at the University of Colorado, Boulder, studying psychology and English Writing. Over her lifetime, she produced a large collection of short stories, essays, articles, and a novel, Absaroka, Where the Anguish of a Soldier Meets the Land of the Crow, which won a prestigious IPPY award honorable mention in Best Regional Fiction for the Mountain West from the Independent Publishers Group. This book has been published in trade paperback and as an ebook (called The Wild Horses of Absaroka) and an audio book, (Absaroka, From War to Wyoming). She narrated Miranda and Starlight, a book her sister wrote, which was recently released on CDs.

Joan took lessons and got her pilots license in 1967. She loved to fly and never missed a chance to climb into a private airplane, take to the air, and soar among the clouds. Besides flying, riding horses, reading, and writing, Joan enjoyed skiing, playing golf, hiking, and camping. She loved spending time with her children, Debbie Tanner and Gary Zimmerman, and her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She especially liked holidays and events that brought her large extended family together. Thanksgiving was her favorite holiday.

She was a member of the Grace Place Church, in Berthoud, Colorado, where her faith and her family of friends and loyal supporters grew and flourished. 

Joan left several unpublished stories and the beginnings of three or four novels that she didn't get time to finish.  Her death is a loss to not only her friends, family, and fans, but to the world of great literature. 

Joan was my sister, my idol, my mentor, role model, and best friend. Even as I miss her, I am also grateful that she has finally escaped the ravages of cancer that kept her in pain for so long. Rest in peace, dear Joan. 

Janet Muirhead HIll

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Raven's New Imprint

Raven introduces Dark Trails Press

Darker content, but still True Fiction

True Fiction—fiction because the stories and characters are made up—is true in the sense that it mirrors real life and explores important real-life problems and solutions.  As we go deeper into the world of true fiction with books that confront serious, contemporary, but difficult and often unpleasant issues, we see the need for a new publishing arm—one for stories that are not suited for the children who read our Miranda and Starlight series and other novels written for elementary and middle-grade kids. 

Oh, yes, we have published some very good, very poignant, and very grown-up stories for adults. They do not, however, contain any but the mildest curse words, let alone any vulgar language, nor any overly violent or explicit sexual content. However, our new imprint may publish books that include any or all of the above—even as it follows our definition for true fiction—or moral non-fiction. 

By moral, we use John Gardner’s definition as supplied in his book, On Moral Fiction. “True art seeks to improve life, not debase it. It ought to be a force bringing people together, breaking down barriers of prejudice and ignorance, and holding up ideals worth pursuing.” Our new imprint will publish books or short pieces that confront dark, but true-to-life issues—using these principles.

Dark Trails Press, will soon publish its first book, Caught at the Edge by Raymond Storm, as an ebook. It portrays the life of the kids in the warring street gangs of East L. A. and shows how men in the big drug cartels entice them with drugs, guns, and sexy women, only to exploit—and then dispose of them when they are no longer useful.

The book also introduces the type of organizations laboring to rescue these children and turn their lives around. It shows how a young life is redeemed by a program established to offer troubled boys a better—and far less dangerous—way of life.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Book's Journey: from writer to reader

The time between the spark of an idea in an author's brain to the published book in the hand of the reader is often years.

The writer may let the idea simmer, formulate, and develop in his mind for many hours, days, weeks, and sometimes years before beginning to write.  Then it can take more days, weeks, months, and/or years of writing and researching, as that idea spark creates new characters, worlds, and events. The next step, rewriting, editing, and proofreading before the author is satisfied that it is ready to be read, may take even longer. When that is done, it is time find a publisher who agrees.

Few writers land a publisher or even an agent with the first query or proposal, but may accumulate many rejections, and, if they're lucky, suggestions for improvement. When finally accepted by a publisher, it is possible, even likely, that more rewrites and edits will be required. When the manuscript, the product of the author’s years of work, frustration, and love finally gets into the publisher's queue, he must wait—sometimes months, or even a year or two or three—before the publishing team has it in book form. To the author, this can seem interminably long, and he may fear that the book has been forgotten. What the author doesn't know, unless he asks, is that the wheels of the publishing machinery are grinding along,  moving the book through the many steps of the process to completion.
Getting the attention a commercial publisher seems to get harder as the years go by, but perseverance sometimes pays off. And even though it may seem to take forever to see the book finally in print, it won’t happen if the author gives up. 

We asked author Jim Moore about the journey of his novels, from the conception of the idea to the day he was able to hold the actual book in his hand. He got the idea for his first book, Ride the Jawbone, from years of driving by the old Montana railroad bed near his ranch near Two Dot, Montana. "Someone ought to write a story about the old Jawbone," he thought. Since no one else had, when he finally retired, he wrote the historical legal mystery. After submitting the manuscript for Ride the Jawbone, to a large number of agents and editors without success, he wrote Election Day, and began the submission process again with that political thriller. When that didn't succeed, he decided to try a contemporary legal murder mystery of the kind he often read. The result was The Body on the Floor of the Rotunda, which he began in 2006 or 2007. "This manuscript," Jim says, "… was offered to many agents and editors with no more success than with the other manuscripts."

In 2010, Jim took a publishing workshop offered by Raven Publishing and presented by Janet Hill. At the end of the class, he left his manuscript for Ride the Jawbone for her to read, "In case you get time to look it over. I know you're busy." He baited her with a delightful short story which he left on top of the manuscript, "Because it has my contact information on it," he said. Janet first read the short story, finding it compelling, funny, and with a great twist of an ending. She enjoyed the flavor of Jim's writing enough to begin the novel—and was soon hooked. Raven Publishing contracted the rights and published it the next year. It sold well and is still in demand after 5 printings. So it was only natural that Raven would want more of Jim's work. Election Day followed in 2012 and The Body on the Floor of the Rotunda is available in hardcover, paperback, and ebook as of July, 2013. 

Raven Publishing looks forward to more from Jim in the future.

Saturday, June 1, 2013


Jim Moore, former rancher, lawyer, Montana State Senator, Minority Leader, and now prolific author, has yet another book coming out next month. "The Body on the Floor of the Rotunda" may be the best yet. Many of his previewers think so.

Who killed the beautiful Chief Aide to Montana's Governor and tossed her over the balcony to land on the floor of the rotunda in the state capitol? Senator Stretch Bruce, attorney at law, doesn't know, except to feel certain that it wasn't the accused, Senator Audrey Welter, his lovely client. By the time of the trial, he still doesn't know and is left with no defense but to cast doubt on the prosecution's evidence. Readers will keep turning pages until the surprise breakthrough that turns the tide of the trial.

Intrigue, political corruption, mystery, and romance make for a gripping read from start to finish.

Jim's previous books, "Ride the Jawbone" (2011—and now in it's fifth printing) and "Election Day" (2012—now on sale at a reduced price on Amazon) have delighted thousands of readers. Moore has many more books waiting in the wings. Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Extraordinary "Election Day" Novel

After the many long months of the ruthless campaigning that led up to the 2012 presidential election, most of us were fed up with elections. However, anyone who has read Jim Moore's Election Day will tell you that the fictional election day in his novel is like no other. In a complex and page-turning scenario, Jim reveals facts about the US Constitution that most of us never even considered. His characters become real and important to the reader, but the most important "character" may be the Constitution and the Laws of the United States.

What if, just days before the election, the vice-presidential candidate is killed in an auto accident. His running mate is elected, but dies before taking office. Who, then will be president and how will that person be chosen?

The amazing thing about this scenario is that the framers of the constitution foresaw even this eventuality and made rules for how to proceed. As you read the complications that follow, you will be amazed at the thoroughness with which the founding fathers' considered every possible detail, but you just might question their wisdom. Should some of these laws be changed? The plot's twists and turns will surely keep the reader turning the pages until the last question. "When was election day?" Not exactly an easy question to answer

Election Day by Jim Moore was published in 2012 by Raven Publishing, Inc.

Moore's best-selling novel Ride the Jawbone came out in 2011.