Let’s Talk About Mainstream Fiction

The Long Journey Home

The Long Journey Home


This is a link to my novels on Lulu, please check them out.


This is a link to my story “Flowers for Anna”, please let me know what you think of it.

I’ve written my share of mainstream fiction.  I enjoy working on a true-to-life story now and then.  Some of my first stories were mainstream.  “Stories of Our Lives” is a collection of mainstream short stories that I wrote over the years.  My other mainstream collection is the detective series “Private Investigations Team” or P.I.T. for short.

True-to-life stories must deal with some issue.  I have dealt with relationships in my short story “Change of Season” and my novel “The Long Journey Home”.  I address aging in “Flowers for Anna.”  I looked at a life of memories in “The Tree, and the story “What’s Right is Right” shows a boy trapped in the nightmare of child abuse.

P,I,T, was a project of mine.  It started as a role playing game.  In the game, four players take the parts of the detectives.  Each detective has his or her specialized set of skills.  They work through the cases gaining experience and getting hints to the solution of their personal backstories.  The short stories were developed from the case scenarios and the backstories of the detectives.

When writing mainstream stories it is best to start from what you know.  Using a familiar setting or characters with backgrounds that you have  experienced.  I have several left-handed men of Italian descent that happen to know martial arts in my stories.  I also have stories with settings in places I am familiar with like Wilkes-Barre, PA, Washington, DC, and San Jose, CA.  It is funny how you can get tripped up when using familiar areas.  In my novel “The Long Journey Home” Jim Mavelli and his wife Diane, have lunch at Armon’s in Old Towne Alexandria, VA.  Well Armon’s closed about a year after the novel became available.  Also in the novel, Jim, at that time he was known as Jason Monroe, gets into a fight in a bar called Bourbon Street in Gibraltar.  Bourbon Street also closed down after the book was out.  I hate to think that I was a jinx to the business community.

I had mentioned before that I was inspired to write “The Long Journey Home” by the rock tune “How’s it Gonna Be.”  I just thought it was an interesting concept to be able to walk up to people you’ve known for years and be able to talk to them like you’re a stranger.  The main character of the story, Jim Malvelli, ends up in a super version of witness protection.  His death is faked and he gets a total makeover.  His appearance is completely changed by the government because he is the only one that can identify an international terrorist named Fernando.  Why he would agree to leave his wife and to start a completely new life is the core of the story.

There are times when you must know the setting of your story in detail.  There are times when the setting itself needs to have a certain character.  In those cases it is useful to make up your own setting.  For my detective series, “Private Investigations Team,” I created the factious city of Avendale, Maryland.  I located Avendale on the Chesapeake Bay where the real town of Chesapeake Beach is now.  It is a big city that would cover the area of Chesapeake Beach, North Beach, and several other towns in that area.  The city has nine separate sections, each with its own style.  The stories have the detectives roaming from the tough streets of the south side to the mansions on the upper east side.  Creating my own town gave me complete control over where events could happen.

Many people start writing to highlight an issue that is important to them.  Many will avoid the entanglements and problems of going directly at an issue by setting it in a fiction story.  There they can explain their view through the characters and show what they believe would be the ultimate end.


Pete is a retired software developer, a writer, and a martial arts instructor. He lives in Maryland with his wife Cathy and they are enjoying their retirement. Pete is the author of four novels, "The Teacher", 500 Years from Home", and "The Long Journey Home" are available at Lulu.com; and "Pioneers" in available at the Kindle Book Store.

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