Thomas Shepherd Goes AI

Thomas Shepherd AI sheriff
Thomas Shepherd AI #4

Thomas Shepherd – An Experiment in AI Image Generation

Thomas Shepherd AI #1
AI image generation is so incredible, and it gets better every day. I fed the following description into one image generator:
Sheriff Thomas Shepherd – Age 33, sheriff of Nightshade County in the Finger Lakes of NY. Messy sandy hair, blue/green eyes. He has Asperger’s Syndrome.
Thomas Shepherd AI #3
The AI returned these four photo-realistic images. I can already tell you which ones best describe the Thomas Shepherd who lives in my head, but I want your opinion. Which do you think best matches your internal picture of Thomas Shepherd?
Thomas Shepherd AI #2
By the way, these images were created with Starry AI, but there are countless tools available that generate stunningly realistic (and accurate) pictures.
As a creative, I find the best use for AI images is “ideation”. If I create a new character and wish to picture him or her, AI is a great help because I can feed it an exact description and have the AI generate a portrait that is far more accurate than a stock photo of someone who somewhat matches those traits.
My friend and fellow writer Joanna Penn at The Creative Penn switched to AI-generated images for blog posts and no longer uses stock photographs. When someone with Joanna’s experience speaks, I listen. I’m only skimming the surface, and I can’t get over the depth of possibilities offered by AI image generation.
Are you using AI to generate photo realistic images? How about book covers?

Her Last Breath: The First Instalment in the Wolf Lake Thriller Series

Dan Padavona’s suspenseful masterpiece.

Life is rarely straightforward, especially if you’re Deputy Thomas Shepherd. After being shot in the line of duty, all Shepherd sought was solace, a chance to rejuvenate and rebuild. The sleepy resort village of Wolf Lake seemed like the perfect place. Quiet and scenic, its waters were supposed to offer tranquility. Instead, they revealed a terrifying secret.

A Disturbing Discovery

When the body of a missing woman appears on the shore of Wolf Lake, the tranquility of the village is abruptly punctured. More so, when fingers are quickly pointed at a teenage boy with a tumultuous past. The village, like a pack with a singular focus, seeks justice. But is it the justice that the woman and the evidence truly deserve?

A Deputy’s Conviction

Despite his retreat from a previously tumultuous life, Deputy Shepherd’s instincts are sharp. The quick accusation of the teenager doesn’t sit well with him. Is it because he sees too much of his own turbulent past reflected in the boy? Or is it because the evidence and the narratives don’t match?

Driven by a need to protect the innocent, Shepherd plunges himself into a game of wits with an elusive and dangerous killer. The pursuit becomes more than just about vindicating a teenager. It’s about survival. For in the background, the real murderer watches, with Shepherd himself potentially in the crosshairs.

A Taut, Engaging Thriller

“Her Last Breath” is evidence of Padavona’s prowess as a thriller writer. The narrative is tight, engaging, and incredibly suspenseful. The small-town dynamics, prejudices, and the suffocating pressure for a quick resolution set a stage where tension thrives, and Padavona exploits this masterfully.

The parallels between the tarnished reputations of the detective and the accused teenager, combined with the visceral hunt for a killer, make for a story that’s more than just about solving a crime. It delves deep into the psyche of its characters, exposing their vulnerabilities, strengths, and motivations.

For The Lovers of Suspense

If you’ve ever been gripped by the writings of Gillian Flynn, Robert Dugoni, or John Sandford, prepare to add Dan Padavona to your list of must-read authors. “Her Last Breath” isn’t just a thriller; it’s an experience. With every page, the stakes get higher, the plot thickens, and the line between hunter and hunted blurs. As the first book in the Wolf Lake series, it sets an exciting precedent for what readers can expect in subsequent instalments.

In a nutshell, “Her Last Breath” is a compelling dance between deduction and deception, making readers question every narrative and suspect every character. It’s a ride that once boarded, is impossible to disembark until the last page is turned. So, buckle up!

Dan Padavona’s Thomas Shepherd: Triumphing Over Asperger’s

Thomas Shepherd autism hero

In an age where diverse representation in literature is crucial, Dan Padavona offers readers a compelling and multi-dimensional protagonist, Thomas Shepherd, who stands tall not just for his detective prowess but also as a beacon of hope for those with Asperger’s syndrome.

A Hero Beyond Labels

Thomas Shepherd is not just any character. He’s a mosaic of determination, intelligence, and resilience. His battles aren’t merely against the criminals he pursues, but also against societal perceptions and challenges that come with Asperger’s syndrome. Padavona’s decision to craft such a character is both daring and necessary, adding a layer of depth and relatability to Shepherd that resonates with many.

Breaking Stereotypes

In literature and media, there’s an unfortunate trend where characters with neurodivergent conditions are often portrayed within the confines of their challenges. Padavona, however, has taken a commendable approach with Shepherd. While Asperger’s is a part of Shepherd’s identity, it doesn’t define him. It’s a facet of his being, like any other trait in a complex individual.

Shepherd’s Asperger’s brings unique strengths to his detective work. His keen attention to detail, ability to recognize patterns, and unwavering focus make him a formidable detective. His journey is a testament to the fact that challenges can often become strengths if approached with the right mindset.

An Inspiring Mirror to Reality

Padavona’s portrayal of Shepherd isn’t just fiction; it mirrors real life. Many individuals with Asperger’s often excel in their respective fields, turning the unique attributes of their condition to their advantage. By weaving this reality into his narrative, Padavona offers readers, especially those with Asperger’s, a hero they can look up to – a reflection of their potential.

Changing the Conversation

By introducing a protagonist like Deputy Shepherd, Padavona effectively changes the conversation about neurodivergence. He opens up a dialogue about the need to look beyond perceived limitations and to focus on individual strengths. In doing so, he also creates a space for more characters with diverse experiences and challenges to take center stage in literature.

Dan Padavona’s creation of Thomas Shepherd is a laudable step towards inclusive literature. Shepherd stands as a testament to the human spirit’s ability to overcome challenges and redefine narratives. For readers, Shepherd is not just a detective solving gripping mysteries, but also a symbol of hope, perseverance, and the boundless potential that lies within every individual, irrespective of the challenges they face.

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