Ricks picks

Completing Cuernavaca required help — at times a lot of it. I was fortunate to have as a mentor an accomplished writer and novelist, Lenore Skomal. Lenore has published a host of non-fiction works and two wonderful novels.  Lenore’s literary fiction is rich and powerful and I highly recommend both Bluff and Third Willow, her two novel length works.

Lenore's book Bluff has been adapted as a play! Help my first writing mentor move her novel Bluff to Broadway by contributing to the funding of Bluff --- The play. Click here for our Indiegogo Campaign and find out more about this exciting journey.

Lenore’s novels can be obtained by selecting the icons below.  They’re both on my permanent bookshelf and highly recommended reading.



Cuernavaca is the story of a young man’s struggle with himself, and, ultimately, against circumstances that threaten his very survival. Most of the story is set in Cuernavaca, Mexico, a colorful city with an intriguing history. Known as the “City of the Eternal Spring,” Cuernavaca has played a key role throughout Mexican history. The city was the seat of government for the Conquistador Hernán Cortés after he conquered the Aztecs, and served as a base of operations for local historical figure Emiliano Zapata during the Mexican Revolution. Cuernavaca is a “traditional” Mexican city which retains much of its historical character. Although its population numbers in the hundreds of thousands, you won’t find a building over a dozen stories...

Rebecca Drake

Lenore Skomal

​Victoria Thompson is one of my professors at Seton Hill’s Master of Fine Arts in Writing Popular fiction program and a prolific novelist. She’s written twenty romances and eighteen mysteries and has been nominated for both the Agatha and Edgar awards. In addition to being an outstanding teacher, she’s one of the most sought after mentors by the aspiring novelists in SHU’s one-of-a kind MFA program. Check out her website at www.victoriathompson.com.

Bluff is unique, both in its theme and design.  It deftly explores the ethical challenges surrounding the circumstances of a comatose woman being kept alive until her unborn child can be delivered.  Although the story unfolds through the interactions of the people whose lives she’s touched in one way or another, the unique first person narration of a woman thought to be brain dead makes for a fascinating tale. It’s collected 130 favorable reviews on Amazon.com.

labor relations for school leaders: a practical

guide for labor contracts, negotiations, strikes, and grievances 


Labor Relations for School Leaders is a practical, “street level” guide intended for school board members, school administrators, and members of the public who want to know something of the practical side of labor relations in the unionized environment of public education. It includes a no-holds barred description of the participants and takes the reader through the process of negotiating union contracts, explains what those contracts should, and should not, contain, then makes sense of grievance handling, strikes, and a host of other important...

Rebecca Drake, another of my professors, has published three thrillers in paperback and has her debut hardcover work scheduled for release in spring, 2016. In a genre dominated by male protagonists, Rebecca brings unique female characterizations to suspense filled stories. She obviously loves challenges, since she’s agreed to serve as my mentor for my thesis novel at Seton Hill. To learn more about her, visit www.rebeccadrake.com.

Victoria Thompson

Recently released Third Willow showcases Lenore’s versatility.  It’s a coming of age story, beautifully told through the eyes of four children spending the last summer of their innocence in a small Nebraska town in the mid-fifties — a  summer that changed them forever. Perhaps the most amazing thing about Third Willow is its reach. Albeit in different ways, Third Willow will be a meaningful story for both middle school age children and their parents.