Friday, July 8, 2011

Rafe Vincennes - Is He A Sociopath?

"From the time he was a toddler, people said Rafe Vincennes reminded them of a black cat. Darkly handsome, he seemed to walk on silent cat’s paws. Rafe’s moral code is similar to a cat’s as well, in that he doesn’t have one. In addition to engaging in adventuresome sex, he has a penchant for meting out extreme justice to those who wrong him. Number one of Rafe’s Rules of Vengeance is the Times Ten Rule – whatever anyone does to him, he does back to them times ten."

Since I sold my very first article to the Harley Davidson Enthusiast (for $60) back in the early 70's, I have thought of myself as a non-fiction writer.

I currently write a weekly column for the Logansport (Indiana) Pharos Tribune. I blog regularly at and I write this blog.

I wrote a bi-weekly column for my local newspaper ( the Wabash Indiana Plain Dealer) for over 20 years. I wrote a weekly column of political and social commentary for King Features Syndicate for ten years. My free-lance work has appeared in publications such as Newsweek, McCalls, Sports Illustrated and USA Today, along with many others. All of these were essay-type opinion pieces.

One of my articles in Newsweek won the Indiana Presswoman's award for Social Commentary, then went on to win at the national level. Four of my columns have been published in textbooks as illustrations of superior essay writing.  I have appeared on television and been heard on radio many times, thanks to my political opinions.

I have developed and taught workshops and courses on Column Writing  for such organizations as the International Women's Writing Guild, the Eastern Shore Writer's Club and others.

Essays were my comfort zone - short, punchy, opinionated pieces in which you spent words as if they were dollars. I got so I felt as if I could do that type of writing with one hand tied behind my back. Give me an hour and I'll give you 500 words on the subject of your choice.

A few years ago, I was fired from my position at the Sheriff's Department (by a new sheriff who wanted an administrative assistant who owed her job and her loyalty to him). I decided to make challenging use of my time between jobs by writing a novel. I wasn't at all sure that was something I had the skill set to do. I had spent 3 decades learning to edit my words down to a minimum. Now I would have to try to do the opposite to produce a novel-length manuscript -  at least 350 pages.

When I sat down to begin, Rafe Vincennes came into my head full-blown. He wrote his own story. I've never had to worry about finding length or thinking about "what happens next". I never had to bother with creating an outline. I just put my fingers on the keyboard and go.

When he was in 2nd grade, Rafe's teacher called him a sociopath. I still don't know whether that diagnosis is accurate. He can be a hero at times but some of his behavior makes even me cringe as I write it although I've grown to love him too.

There are now 5 completed novels in the Rafe series and a sixth partly done.  Rafe's story will be over when he decides it's over.

Of course, like all writers, I would like to see my books published. I've learned that marketing fiction is a Catch 22. The big publishing houses want to see only agented manuscripts; agents don't want to take you on until you've proven you can sell your own work (and, non-fiction, I've learned, doesn't count).

I plan to keep trying but, in the meantime, Rafe can be found at So what do you think? Is he a sociopath?

Disclaimer: If you are easily offended by graphic language and content, you might want to take a pass.



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