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M.J. Ortmeier

Welcome to the writing site of M.J. Ortmeier. We’re juggling several projects.

Necessary Lies

Falling in love wasn’t a choice, but staying in love is. Mark was her knight in tarnished armor, an aspiring television executive spouting his own brand of foul-mouthed poetry. Jen was his little buddy, the shy but excitable chatterbox who lightened his world with her own subtle brilliance. With all the little things they love about each other, they’ve built a good marriage. But now they’re empty nesters, and all the hidden big things are threatening everything they have.


Better Angels

It’s almost Christmas in Chicago. On the last stop of his American tour, English author Ian Berwick opens a copy of his book to scrawl yet another autograph. In it he finds the photo of a group of people mingling in front of a brewery. Two of them had planned to steal a large sum of money, two were impostors, one was in prison, and four were dead. He doesn’t know who left it, but he understands the message: “I know who you really are.”

Katie Banach knew the man who is calling himself “Ian Berwick” years ago, and now her sister is in danger. She will do anything to get his help, including blackmailing him over their shared past, even if it destroys them both. The trouble is, he may not be exactly who she thought he was. He might be better.


The Shops on Cottonwood Street

A series of stories mainly about (you guessed it!) some of the proprietors of the shops on Cottonwood Street. Still mainly in the conceptual stage, we intend to weave stories and perspectives of many characters, some of whom have appeared in Necessary Lies and Better Angels. Titles so far:

Solace: A washed out FBI agent betrayed by his wife finally lifts himself off his great uncle’s couch to buy a junk shop in a worn down neighborhood. Meanwhile, a real estate agent down the street wants to flatten it all, including his newly renovated shop, so the whole street can be revitalized.

The Magic Tree: With a shared passion for stability, a former Marine meets an artist in her whimsically wonderful toy store when he buys a stuffed animal for his daughter. While they’re dating, they each do their best to help the other learn to forgive the chaotic family members who’ve come back into their lives. But one returns who might destroy the hope they’ve found together.

 Always a Bride: An introverted seamstress is called to a wedding to repair the dress and decides to stay and party for once. There she meets a couple of rich entrepreneurs. Her parents would love the one, and the other… well, they have a really long good night. When he sends cryptic and disappointing texts then disappears, his friend steps up.

The Normans

A working title of a project about William the Conqueror. We’ve written a lot, because there’s a lot, a vast, spiderweb-like overlapping of stories. Might be done by 2043.

Talvas the Ogre

Chevalier Gaspard de Millet lives in a turbulent and changing world, but he never lost his ability to imagine. Before his sons leave home, he will instruct them in chivalry with a cautionary tale about a man, William de Bellême, who becomes a monster. When it seems an ogre has appeared in their midst, Gaspard must teach them a different lesson about villains and heroes.

A published short story on Amazon.

Mabel de Bellême

Please enjoy some of the adventures of Mabel de Bellême (pronounced duh BEE-lehm), a Mean Girl of Medieval France:

1. Mabel, 2. Alençon, this chapter has multiple pages, you have to scroll down 3. Travel and Shelter, 4. Chaos of 1047, 5. Knight Takes Bishop, 6. Ragnor’s Tale, 7. The Hunted, 8. Faith, 9. The Orchard of Eden, 10. Honored Guests.