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The Heart Beneath the Badge

When Sheriff Heath Royal seeks relief for his tormented conscience by attending church services for the first time since his youth, he is beckoned to an empty seat by the wealthy, recently widowed Rebekka Korhenen Brando, and both are immediately, although unwittingly, stirred by an unintentional rekindling of the feelings that almost led to a marriage between them twenty-five years earlier.

     Gossipy church members and malicious tongue waggers from the small community of Shady Spring, Texas, watch in amusement and sometimes in horror as the former lovers struggle through a series of challenges and near-death experiences to determine whether the forces of evil or the roundabout intervention of God Himself will allow them a life together.

     Standing in their way are a demented ranch foreman convinced that he and Rebekka are destined for each other, Heath’s dubious future as a lawman, and grudge-bearing outlaws who want to put the sheriff into his grave. The solutions may be divined under the sheltering limbs of a magnificent old oak tree where Heath and Rebekka seek solace and open their hearts to each other.

Those Phone Calls

Dylan Johnson wasn’t shocked when another one of those phone calls informed him that the Wayne Weston High Shool Class of 1956 had lost another member. But he was heartsick to his core to hear it was Betty Sue Hundley, his steady girlfriend during their junior and senior years.

     In his mind’s eye, Betty Sue had remained that pretty seventeen-year-old with a sweet smile and a healthy athletic body so fit she could dance away an entire evening to jukebox music on the concrete pavilion at Knotty Pine Lake, their summer hangout.

     And, oh, how she could dance! How they could dance! Together they were masters of the jitterbug, always drawing admiring stares from classmates and teachers at special events like the junior-senior prom.

     But that was then. Now she was eighty-three-years old. And dead. Leaving him with a mind full of memories and a heart full of hurt. She would dominate his thoughts for a long time before he could regain the peace he worked so hard to maintain.

     Those thoughts would center on what Betty Sue revealed to him at their fifty-year class reunion when they slow danced as closely as they dared with her husband standing just a few feet away.

     How different their lives might have been if they had their high school days to live over.

(Please note. The author, George T. Arnold, has not yet determined whether he wants to publish this story, contained in a flip book with another story called  The Uniform. If you are interested in reading the flip book, contact George at or call him at 803-285-0404.)

Wyandotte Bound

Bound, like many other strong words, finds its meaning in the perceptions of those it affects. To the Van Sheltons, it is positive and deep-rooted, defining their ties to a vast amount of land abundant in the timber, cattle, and silver that make them the wealthiest and the most powerful family in the town of Wyandotte and influential throughout the state of Nevada.

          To J.D. Rohr, who has no money and few prospects, bound is a hopeful force, driving him to Wyandotte, where he assumes the identity of Jesse Bodine in a desperate attempt to live in obscurity, hiding from his reputation as one of the West’s most feared gunfighters.

          For Dr. Frederick Albert Carlisle, an aristocratic Boston physician who becomes Jesse’s friend despite their romantic rivalry, bound is a magnetic lure that compels him to abandon his Beacon Hill mansion, his upper-class privileges, and his affluent patients in a quest to give meaning to his life by serving poor westerners sorely in need of his healing knowledge.

          As for Honoria Lowell Blaire and Lillian Tomlinson Wellesley, blue-blooded descendants of two of New England’s oldest and most distinguished families, bound represents the chains that will bind them to “a God-forsaken wilderness” if they choose to live with the men they love instead of clinging to their pampered lives among America’s nobility.

          And for the incomparably beautiful Jolene Lloyd, being bound is the same as virtual imprisonment when she is coerced into saving her family from financial catastrophe by being shackled to a ruthless, emasculated tyrant driven by hatred and bitterness to take control of Wyandotte and force the mighty Van Sheltons to grovel at his feet.

These and the other men and women of Wyandotte, the good and the bad, battle for a quarter of a century to determine their region’s fate during the fading years of the Western Frontier.

The Uniform

All men of a certain age have one. The call it “The Uniform.”

     It is a dark blue suit kept freshly drycleaned and carefully hung in a zip-up bag stored in their bedroom closet. A lightly starched white dress shirt and a matching silk tie remain at the ready one bag over.

     It’s their wedding and funeral uniform. All older men are similarly equipped, but as much as they hate to face up to it, they reluctantly accept that nowadays they attend far more funerals than weddings.

     However, not all is gloom and doom when they gather to celebrate a longtime friend’s life. It is a reunion of sorts in which senior men and women gather to praise their departed friend, enjoy a leisurely lavish meal, and retell all the stories – true or fictional – with which they all identify.

     In the back of their minds, however, they can’t help wonder, without saying so out loud, which of them will be the next to be celebrated.  


(Please note. The author, George T. Arnold, has not yet determined whether he wants to publish this story, contained in a flip book with another story called  Those Phone Calls. If you are interested in reading the flip book, contact George at or call him at 803-285-0404.)

Media Writer’s Handbook: a Guide to Common Writing and Editing Problems 7th ed

The recipient of the Readers’ Favorite 2021 International Gold Medal Award for best nonfiction/education book, MWH is in third decade and 7th edition of continuous publication. It has been purchased at more than 300 colleges and universities nationally and abroad and has sold more than 40,000 copies.

     It can be used by both students and professionals interested in improving their writing skills. The first eight chapters offer simple explanations and examples of how to improve writing immediately. Twenty-two chapters follow with a thorough review of grammar and punctuation, also explained simply with hundreds of examples.

     The next hundred pages provide quick reference sections for words frequently confused (like accept and except, anxious and eager, lie and lay, who and whom), words frequently misspelled, irregular verbs, and wordiness and trite expressions.

     The book ends with more than 50 pages of self test questions and answers covering most of the chapters. A detailed table of contents, along with an index, makes finding what one needs easy and fast.

     Teachers may request a free email copy of a Student Workbook containing 30 class lessons and 64 exercises. A free Instructor’s Guide provides answers to all 64 exercises, 30 quizzes for the 30 chapters, three 100-point exams, and a 300-point comprehensive final exam. The book can be used to supplement writing and editing courses or to provide a complete language skills course.

    The author, Dr. George T. Arnold, received all publishing rights back from the publisher of the first six editions and wrote and self-published an expanded 7th edition in which he was able to reduce the book’s cost by 75% — from $86.50 to $22 for the print book. The e-book costs $9.99.

     The fact that the book is an international award-winner and has been used continuously for more than 25 years speaks for itself.

One Minute Past Christmas

This is a story about a Greenbrier County, West Virginia, family in which a grandfather and his granddaughter share a special ability – they call it a gift – that enables them to briefly witness each year a miraculous gathering in the sky. What they see begins at precisely one minute past Christmas and fills them with as much relief as it does wonder. But they worry that the “gift” – which they cannot reveal to anyone else — will die with them because it has been passed to no other relative for forty-four years.



Serendipitous Hodgepodge & the Kitchen Sink

     I created a title I hope gives an intriguing hint of the book’s content: a hodgepodge mostly of true experiences I wanted to write about, but not one of which by itself is of book or short story length.

I chose Serendipitous because many of the experiences happened entirely by chance and turned out to be extraordinary and wonderfully amazing. I added & the Kitchen Sink to give me an excuse to include other totally unrelated items I tacked on simply because I wanted to and had no other publication in which to place them.

 Everything I have written since retiring from a career as a journalist and journalism professor has been different, but this publication carries my efforts to a new level in breaking the rules of journalistic writing that require the writer to be objective and keep himself or herself out of the story.

 My textbook/resource book (Media Writer’s Handbook, a Guide to Common Writing and Editing Problems) is both a journalistic and an academic publication that has been on the market continuously through seven editions since 1995. It has been purchased at more than 300 colleges and universities and has sold more than 40,000 copies.

 I took up fiction writing as a challenge in 2012 and have produced one self-published short story, One Minute Past Christmas, and three novels (Wyandotte Bound, Old Mrs. Kimble’s Mansion, and The Heart Beneath the Badge) published traditionally by Speaking Volumes.

Old Mrs. Kimble Mansion

Forty-four-year-old Forrest Alderson isn’t at all sure of his motives for returning from self-imposed exile to Asher Heights, West Virginia, to see his hometown for the first time since he graduated from college. All he knows for certain is it’s something he has to do if he is to find out whether he can break free from the tragedy that compelled him to flee or whether he is forever doomed to be
imprisoned by it.

He has spent the intervening twenty-three years in sacrificial preparation, striving obsessively to become enormously wealthy with one exclusive goal: to at long last take possession of Old Mrs. Kimble’s mansion, no matter the cost, and let that magnificent structure he has coveted since he was a poor boy stand as proof to one and all that native son Forrest Walker Alderson has done himself proud. 

Or could it be his return is motivated – as his attorney, Olivia Fillmore, fears – by revenge, an evil desire to rub his great wealth and success into the face of the one person who caused him to hermit himself away all those years without a wife,
children, or even a close friend?

To have any chance of finding the answers he so desperately needs, Forrest will have to struggle through a challenging new romance, an addiction to a perilous old love, a sensational murder trial, and the inevitable decision about what to do with the rest of his life.

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