Category Archives: Books

Hey, I’m Revising Here!

I always feel bad when I’ve let too much time pass between blog posts.  Trust me, I have plenty of excuses.  Unfortunately, I was raised on a diet of “stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about” and “I don’t want to hear your excuses.”  So even on a blog, where you can’t see my face, I just can’t bring myself to make up lies give excuses.

What have I been doing besides blogging, you ask?

  • Working — Yep, I still have a day job and it takes up at least 40 hours a week.  I’m currently leading a department reorganization, so it’s been busy (Of course, busy is a multifunctional word that can mean doing anything besides what you’re supposed to be doing).
  • Reading —  I read in spurts.  In the last week or so I finished reading The Warded Man by Peter Brett.  This is a great fantasy novel–best one I’ve read this year.  It is one of those books I wish I had written.  I also read The Great Santini by Pat Conroy.  If you grew up a military brat like me, this book will probably bring back some memories.
  • Watching — I’m watching Babylon Berlin on Netflix.  The show is set in post WW I Germany and features the different factions from the Russian revolution fighting it out in the back alleys of Berlin. (I must admit I got lost on YouTube a few times as well, but I’m trying to pretend like that didn’t happen.)
  • Writing — Besides my standard critique group meetings (two in recent weeks), I’m working on the final revision of my latest novel.  I would tell you the title if I had one, so instead, I’ll give you a little snippet:

The sword hung on the rough-hewn wall. It was a rare blade, a hand-and-a-half sword sheathed in black leather. The sword had been famous once—some stories said the blade was cursed, while others insisted its power saved the Norwood. Many seasons had passed since the last curious neighbor had stopped by for a look. Now it collected dust instead of eager eyes.

Edmond was the exception. The sword fascinated Edmond. He longed to pull it down from the wall and expose the blade, but his father had decreed the weapon remain untouched.  

I will be doing some fast and furious revision in the next few weeks to get this thing ready for the editor next month.  I’ll be announcing the title in the near future, and hopefully, reveal the book cover by the end of August.

So now when someone asks me what I’ve been doing, I have a good answer:

Hey, I’m revising here!

Oh yeah, I also spent some time sitting on the back porch and staring at my yard (What can I say? I’m easily entertained).  Here’s my favorite hibiscus bush:

Hibiscus

 

 

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Back in Weldon

I had a nice visit back in my old haunts.  Haunts seems the right word, because the old plant looks a bit like a ghost town.

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For those who don’t know, I work in the energy sector.  I spent many years working at a power plant in Weldon, NC.  The plant is now shutdown and is currently being taken apart:

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They were just supposed to exterminate the cockroaches!

 

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Finally found a way to get rid of the pigeons!

 

Change is inevitable, but it still feels a bit like my family home is being torn down.

On the bright side, I spent some time at the Riverside Mill hawking my books.

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Book signing are always interesting to me.  It’s interesting to watch the people try their best not to make eye contact.  Actually, I had quite a few people stop and talk to me, but unfortunately it was to direct them to the bathroom.  I did sell a few books, but I think I found my true calling.  My new title is Director of Bathroom Patrons.  Sounds kind of prestigious—right?

If you didn’t get a chance to be directed by me at the Riverside Mill, you can still find my books on Amazon.  (Sorry, I’m not sure where the Amazon bathroom is, but you can maybe try Home & Garden.)

Kingdom of Haven

 

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Filed under Author Appearance, Books, Pictures, Work Life

Where are your Writing Roots?

Charlotte is my home.  I love it here and don’t want to live anywhere else, but I still feel out of sorts on the Charlotte writing scene.  It’s not the other writers I meet here, it’s me.  My writing roots lie in a small town to the east.

I started writing in 1993, the same year I moved to Roanoke Rapids.  I worked, raised my children, and learned to write there (I would say “grew old there” but I’m barely past the half-century mark).

My son was born in Roanoke Rapids in 93, as was my first novel.  Now, he’s out of college and working, and that first novel is collecting dust in a drawer.  I like to think that this means I had my priorities straight, but it probably means that I had a lot to learn about writing. (And let’s face it—you’re never ready for parenting.  You just do the best you can and there are no re-writes.)

I joined my first critique group in that little town around 1995.  I still thought my first novel was ready for a Pulitzer Prize and was working on my second novel (Which is also sitting in a drawer).  That first critique group helped me to realize how much I didn’t know about writing.

I left town for a couple of years around 1998, and when I came back the group was disbanded.  I call this my online period, where I joined several online critique groups like Hatrack River, Zoetrope, Critique Circle, Liberty Hall, and Notebored.  I met several fellow writers in these forums from all over the world.

I’m a face-to-face person at heart though and decided to start the Roanoke Valley Writers Group back up.  I’m guessing that was somewhere around 2002.  I published my first book (The Order of the Wolf) when I was a member of this group in 2012.  They were a great bunch and are still going strong.  I’ll admit, leaving this group was the hardest part about moving to Charlotte.

Another first for me was doing my first book signing.  This happened at the Riverside Mill in Weldon.  It is a huge antique mall and consignment shop (there are no books stores in the area).  The staff of the Riverside Mill was very supportive when my first book came out.  I had a book signing there, and they still carry my books for sale to this day.

I will always be grateful to the folks at the Riverside Mill for their support.  That’s why you’ll find me there this Friday afternoon and Saturday signing books (hopefully) as part of their Endless Yard Sale.

Stop by and see me, buy a book, or just shop till you drop.  There’ll be plenty of other merchandise to choose from.  Of course, none as good as my latest novel.

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Of course, you can always find my books on Amazon if you don’t want to come out and shop.

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Filed under Author Appearance, Books, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Process

Get it While it’s Hot!

Last weekend was nice here is Charlotte.  I spent the day working in the yard and got the vegetable garden planted.

2018 Garden

My wife is especially excited about the spinach.  I can’t let her have too much of it though or she might go Popeye on my butt.

Spinach

Of course, a nice day outside isn’t complete without a fire.

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I’m not stirring up that fire for my health.  The pan on the bench in the background is the smores fixings.  They’re not quite Reese’s Cups, but they’ll do in a pinch.

Speaking of fire, this is the last day of my red hot book sale on Amazon.  Head on over and get my Kingdom of Haven series for a great discount price.  The Order of the Wolf is still free until the end of the day and the rest of the series is discounted.  Free is good, but a discount isn’t bad either.

Ahem, after last weekend, I need to buy some more marshmallows.

 

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Filed under Books, Fantasy, Free, Gardening, Writing

Here’s a Treat

 

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Check out my new strawberry pot!  There’s nothing better than a freshly picked strawberry.  We’ve harvested about 10 berries so far.  Most of them didn’t make it into the house, but that’s the point.  You gotta have something to snack on while you’re out in the yard.

If you’re not into strawberries, check out my Amazon promotion going on right now for the Kingdom of Haven Series. . . Delicious.

Kingdom of Haven

 

 

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Filed under Books, Gardening, Marketing, Reading

Check out my Stuff!

I will be running an Amazon promotion on the Kingdom of Haven series for the next 5 days.  The Order of the Wolf is free, Stenson Blues is $.99, and The Eastern Factor is $1.99.

I tend to write towards the dark and gritty.  If you’re not quite sure if they’re your cup of tea, check out my quick book descriptions:

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Having a mid-life crisis, shit happens, and people die.

 

 

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Coming of age, more shit happens, and more people die.

 

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Life’s a bitch, then you marry one, and then you die.

 

If you like gritty mercenaries, strong women, and dirty politics give them a read.

What was I thinking?  That sounds pretty light and cheery.

 

 

 

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Filed under Books, Fantasy, Free, Marketing, Reading

It Takes a Village?

I’ve heard the expression: “It takes a village to raise a child.”  This isn’t entirely correct.  Children are raised every day by single parents or a set of parents with no external support.  Some of those children turn out fine, and some children who grow up with a huge support network have major issues.  While the adage isn’t totally correct in all instances, I believe it is a good concept.  Basically, we all need help at some point or another to succeed.

But when should we ask for help?

For me, the “It takes a Village” concept is hard to put into practice because it appears to be in direct opposition to another important concept: the Work Ethic.

Work Ethic:  a belief in work as a moral good: a set of values centered on the importance of doing work and reflected especially in a desire or determination to work hard.

While the definition of Work Ethic does not say “do it alone,” it does imply a person should work hard as a moral obligation.  The way many of us interpret the idea of Work Ethic is that if only I work harder, I can attain my goal.  I do believe this can be the case in many instances, but there are times when hard work alone will not get you there.  Sometimes you need help.  Unfortunately, a person with a strong work ethic equates asking for help as weakness.

Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

I’ve seen this expression thrown around by people who advocate for the “It takes a Village” concept.  It doesn’t quite ring true for me.  In order to ask for help, you must first recognize your weakness, acknowledge it, and then seek help to overcome it.  Because of this, I prefer the following quote:

Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it.

I have a hard time asking for help, because of that Work Ethic thing (Yes, I will drive around the block as many times as it takes before I’ll ask for directions, but that’s a different issue).  I do normally recognize when I need help, but I get stuck in that “if I only work harder” line of thinking.

Writing is one of those areas where you can’t do it alone.  Of course, you can sit alone at your desk or in a coffee shop to write, but you cannot learn to write a great novel alone.  It takes the help of fellow writers either through critique partners or some similar means.

I’ve recently come to realize that I cannot promote my books alone either.  Yes, I can hire someone to run a blog tour, and give away free books, but that only goes so far.  In order to truly promote my writing, It Takes a Village.

So this is my request.  If I am to reach my goal and make writing a full-time adventure, I need your help.

Friends, neighbors, and (dare I hope) fans, if you haven’t yet purchased any of my books you can find them here.

Hey, I’m a bit on the frugal side. If you’re anything like me, you probably wait for the sale before you buy.  Well, it just so happens that I have a 5-day promotion on Amazon starting on April 15th.  The Order of the Wolf will be Free, Stenson Blues on sale for .99, and The Eastern Factor for 1.99.

 

Kingdom of Haven

If you are one of the few who has bought a book of mine or the not so few who have received a free copy, please leave me a review on Amazon or Goodreads. (or anywhere else where I can find it)  Reviews are worth more than gold in the writing world.

If you are looking to join a village, you can join my newsletter mailing list here.

Also, my next book, Half-hand will be published in time for Christmas and I am currently seeking Beta Readers.  You can sign up here.

Writing is my passion, if reading is yours, give my books a try.

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