Author in The Black Hills

Photo by Melanie Norton

by Howard Petote                 Post # 13             February 16, 2018


An Occurrence in Deadwood, South Dakota



As related in my last blog, origins—the creative spark, the seed, the turning point—are mysterious and fascinating. Some have planning behind them—as a carefully designed garden, house or career—but often they are capricious and spontaneous, dictated by chance more than anything else. Such is the nature of life, I think. The origins of my novel, The Sins of Maggie Black, began with a memory.

by Howard Petote                 Post # 12                  February 3, 2018


                  Origins: An Irish Girl Named Maggie


In 1968 the state of Missouri was blessed with the arrival of a baby girl, a one-year-old lifted from the arms of nuns in the west of Ireland. Her name was Maggie, and her adoptive parents—strict Catholics—wanted her to be perfect. But Maggie Black was not perfect, she was merely human—an earthy, feral child who one day realized she would never earn their love. Drifting into drugs, con artists and petty crime . . . 

In Scottsbluff, Ne​braska

by Howard Petote                 Post # 14                    March 6, 2018


                  The Mythical Nature of Real Places



Exhausted, I drove alone late one night, heading north on Connecticut's Interstate 95. I had already driven from western New York to Queens for a job interview, then endured, once I left the city at rush-hour, the nastiest traffic jam of my life. But that was behind me as I cruised toward Massachusetts, where I would spend the night. The passing lights and dashed lines of the highway became hypnotic, and my brain shut down. As I passed through Providence, Rhode Island, vivid memories flooded my mind.

The author amid mining ruins, The

San Pedro River, Arizona

Photo by Melanie Norton


by Howard Petote                 Post # 16                      April 23, 2019








Hiking Sedona, the Grand Canyon and the San Pedro River, 

including a visit with my cousin in Tucson, our recent vacation in

Arizona was a success. The last time I visited—incredibly, 30 years ago this month—was a much different experience. Hoping to explore countless wild areas of the southwest, I became ill in New Mexico, and finally turned my truck around just west of Casa

Grande, Arizona.



Photo credit: ArtofPhoto/Canstock


by Howard Petote                 Post # 15                   March 27, 2018


                                  Into the Crucible



"Out of whose womb came this child? She is dirty and wild, and her

pretty eyes don't fool anyone."


Who is Maggie Black? She would now be about fifty years old, though I don't know her current situation because I've not written her past the age of twenty-six. It is difficult to write about her  without saying too much—explaining the joke, so to speak—and her personality shines on its own in my novel, The Sins of Maggie Black. As stated in my previous blog on origins, she was . . . 

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