Secrets from the Overnighter


Flashback to my first published novel

By Jeff Salter

Looking back over my use of the 4F1H “free” weeks, I see that I’ve given scant attention to my first published novel, “The Overnighter’s Secrets.” It was actually my seventh completed novel, but the first to receive a contract, from the lovely Stephanie Taylor at Clean Reads (formerly Astraea Press). Yep, I had six other complete orphans raring to go before my seventh novel finally found a home.


Written (and revised) during roughly the middle six months of 2011, T.O.S. had a contract by the end of that year, went through months of extensive editing, and saw its release in May of 2012. By the end of 2012, T.O.S. was also in paperback… and was subsequently brought to life also as an audio book.

Long before Shane acquired the overnighter, a silent movie actress kept secrets there. Is Beth’s terrifying ordeal simply because she unwittingly possesses the overnighter’s secrets? “The Overnighter’s Secrets.” Suspense novel, only $2.99 in digital formats; paperback also available (varied prices); audio version also available (price varies). Clean Reads, 2012.

Over three years ago, I blogged about the origins of this story, how it brought me into contact with the granddaughter of the silent movie actress who’d owned the material I was examining, etc. That blog is here, if you’re interested:

In the sequence of my actual writing: though it was published before any of these others, this seventh novel followed three in the Somerset Series (including Called to Arms Again and Hid Wounded Reb), the two screwball comedies in the series Amanda Moore or Less (Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold and Scratching the Seven-Month Itch), and my first foray into first person fiction (Rescued by That New Guy in Town). After T.O.S was well along in the editing process, I finally began re-working those first six manuscripts and five have since been released!

One of the ironies of T.O.S. is that it was the novel I did not have time (or, initially, the interest) to write. I was very busy with overhauling and revising and submitting those other six books… as well as dabbling on other new stories. I explain this further in my Author’s Notes to T.O.S., but if not for the gentle persuasion and infectious energy of my friend Dean Spradlin, it’s possible I would not have done anything with this story about the overnighter’s secrets.


Have you ever had a project that sort of sneaked up on you and you tried to brush it away because your time was too strained or your interest focused elsewhere?

[JLS # 282]



About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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11 Responses to Secrets from the Overnighter

  1. jbrayweber says:

    It’s not that I didn’t have time (though, geez, I have less now than ever), but I never intended to write a series about pirates. I wrote on pirate book and then began world building on what I had planned as a series in a totally different genre – paranormal romance. My heart has always belonged to the macabre, the spooky, and the mysterious. But as I was beginning a rough draft, I had writing peers want more pirates, most especially a secondary character from that first book. Halfway through writing his story, I fell in love…with him. Crazy, I know. I became obsessed with the pirate world I had created. The pirates didn’t sneak up on me, they ambushed me. LOL! Now I’m seven books into the series with three to go. AND I’ve started my paranormal series, too.

    Great post, Jeff.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jeff7salter says:

      I wondered how/why you’d embraced those lusty pirates. Did not realize they had CAPTURED you! Awesome, Jenn. Yes, it’s cool when the Muse works her magic on us and pulls (or pushes) us toward the material she wants us to write.
      thanks for sharing your story.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Joselyn says:

    I’ve never had a project sneak up on me. Mostly it feels like they are a mob, scrambling around me, demanding my attention… or maybe that’s my kids.

    I just finished reading Curing the Uncommon Man Cold. I expected Jason to flee at any moment, pants or not. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • jeff7salter says:

      Thanks for reading my screwball novel, Joselyn. Now tell us —how does your husband behave when he’s ill? Is he a spartan who carries on? Or does he wimp out like Jason did?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Joselyn says:

        He hangs in there pretty well, although he does take it easier than I do. Where he would go to bed at 7 or 8 in the evening with a cold, I would run 8 miles instead of 10. He does also have more sinus and ear trouble than I do, so if I had that I would be more miserable too.

        Liked by 1 person

      • jeff7salter says:

        sounds like he’s a pretty good soldier. So I guess you don’t need Christine’s Scare Cure


  3. The answer to your question is:Constantly. It looks like life may be changing here,but even so,I have to figure out my time better than it has been going.Stories try to finish themselves while I work, shower, sleep.And nothing but these posts have gotten finished in a long time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jeff7salter says:

      same here — other than my weekly sprints and preparing this blog.
      However, in the past few days, I have gotten nice progress on a new story — a murder mystery.


  4. Patricia Kiyono says:

    I can’t say I’ve ever had a project sneak up on me – but I may eat my words in the next few months. I’ve been banging my head against the wall on a project I need to finish by the end of June, and all of a sudden I’m diving into another one. I have Overnighter’s Secrets and actually read the first two chapters – someday I will finish it. I’ll have to confess that until that book came out I’d never heard of a suitcase referred to as an overnighter, so it wasn’t until I started reading that I understood what the story was about!

    Liked by 1 person

    • jeff7salter says:

      hope you enjoy my story when you get a chance to finish it.
      Be sure to read the Author’s Notes and other material in the back. There’s also a photo of silent movie actress Lizette Thorne, when she was in her prime.


  5. Pingback: How My First Published Novel Came to Be | Four Foxes, One Hound

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