Saturday, June 14, 2014

Hello Readers!


Click there above or here:

For my summer project of just finding and posting stuff that seems cool to me. You may enjoy the updates as well (I hope). This is a summer project while working on a new novel. 

What you will see:

Little known history

Literature discussion





And I might chime in once in awhile

See you there.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Petro Poroshenko - Hope for Unseen Region

In writing the novel, Unseen, I dove deep into the culture and history of Southeast Ukraine. Studied and lived the life - Soviet apartment, power outage, no hot water, no air conditioning anywhere, and the constant need to 'know someone who knew someone'. One crazy taxi ride after another. I learned of the internal tension of identity...are we Russian or Ukrainian? Unseen is saturated with all this.

But I never dreamed the area of Mariupol and Berdyansk would become common knowledge to so many - so quickly.

This Poroshenko seems to have the ability to unite a Ukraine and carry the reality of a Russian history. They are first cousins...for good or bad. Such is family.

I hope he can.

As always - if you pick up the eBook, it is my promise that the heart of the people of Ukraine will not disappoint - and you will experience a story that is much like a Ukrainian taxi ride. Scary at times...but exhilarating. :-)

For more:

Link to UNSEEN

Note: Amazon has a copy 50% reduced if that is helpful. And the national and international distribution company will conform to that price shortly.

Have a great day!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Reader Mind's Eye: Streets of Berdyansk and Mariupol Ukraine

The current hotspot of Southern Ukraine. Pro-Russians and Pro-Ukrainians.

The protagonist and taxi-driver friend, Dima, of the novel - Unseen, moves back and forth between these two sister port-cities - Berdyansk and Mariupol.

The map I placed at the beginning of Chapter One - may not be as needful to the international reader nowadays ;-)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

PUTIN: As a man thinks in his heart, so is he

It was a very hot day that day. I don't know how hot it was because I was in Ukraine and everything was in Celsius. I never learned the temperature there the entire summer. We Americans are pretty set in our ways, big on conformity, but only our own.

That day I was waiting outside a courthouse in a small town. But even though just a village, it had a very long street down the middle of town. This road, Lenin Street, was really just an elongated park with old full trees and mathematically placed park benches. Every town had one of these roads. It is where the Soviets held May Day parades.

My guy in the courthouse was taking forever to get some papers signed and I got bored. Hot and bored. I took a walk up this long park-street just to walk. To do something. On my return to the courthouse I stopped to wait for traffic. A man stepped alongside. He said something to me, not sure what.

"Please excuse me," I replied in Russian, "I don't understand Russian."

He just stared at me.

I realized that what I had said must have sounded crazy. Maybe even offensive. As we walked together towards my taxi he asked where I was from. Then he asked if I liked Obama. The man appeared to me to be ex-military and was fully drunk on Vodka (he admitted to this later). I could tell from his expression and tone that he really did not care for Obama. I was non-committal. He then began to ramble on about the virtues of Putin. Loved his Putin. Gave me a hammer sign to accent the great authority and strength of Putin.

This man and I finally parted ways when it was clear to him that I would not go to the bar with him. I had important business to attend to and my wife was in the back of the taxi, 7 months pregnant and very uncomfortable in the heat (they don't do air-conditioning over there). My taxi driver helped to make all this clear to the man. I am thankful. Had it just been me I probably would have hung out with the guy - and likely have ended up in jail or dead. Because that is mainly what my new friend was all about.

Anyhow, this: many people there identify with Russia such that they even think of Moscow over Kiev. Not everyone, but many. Many sit in this new national identity of being Ukrainian. They understood being Ukrainian culturally...just not nationally. They, their parents, grandparents, and on back lived as Russians. The entire landscape, every building, every holiday, every job...Russian.

It is these young people that have only known Ukraine as not being 'The Ukraine'.

It is all so incredibly deep. The land and history so solidly Russian in Eastern Ukraine. And the young people want to forge a new European identity that is completely foreign to the historical imperatives of the region. The Russian flag is a pretty new color scheme for them as well. It seems so impossible. This change would make the American Revolution seem like a simple shift in address - which it was culturally.

Personally, I hope Ukraine can do this because it is what they want. But what the pains of that separation feel like - I can't even imagine.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Sold a Bill of Goods....

I had fun posting to this week. I titled the little article 'Sold a Bill of Goods'. But I could have titled it 'My Life in Like 300 Words or Less'. In this article, riddled with bravado and a tad of Sam Adams, I tripped. Tripped? Yeah, in one part I qualified the concept of salvation within the reality of the familial. That strange intrinsic love of family members. Something that cant be contrived - just happens (you know what I mean). So I tripped myself up and may spend the rest of the week, as a hypocrite, trying to regain the feeling of what I know to be true (some folks know what I mean).

Anyhow, I hope the little essay is a fun read.

Check out 'Sold a Bill of Goods' here -

Have a great week.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Free Book - Feel the News

Hey Readers,

Especially folks who are hearing about Ukraine in the news. If you would like to get a real feel for the landscape and culture - download Unseen for free.

If you would - please also click on the share links there. If think this story delivers...or not...please do a little review if you can on Amazon or your favorite book review spots.

Thanks! Just click the image below and that will take you to the novel - enter the code:


For a limited time (not too limited)

Monday, January 20, 2014

MLK Day - The Place Where You Live

Been thinking about this day and the impact to our lives today. The amazing thing is that in many cases our children can't even imagine an America of institutionalized racism. How amazing is that?!

In 2010 I wrote a short article for Orion Magazine. It speaks to the Southern American landscape....

Home is a 1936 refurbished ‘family’ off-shoot of the original plantation house.  Our acreage is part of the remains of what was once a 3000-acre family-owned farm going back to 1803.  In this community our house is more connected to the builder’s family name than our own, so etched in the minds of the locals – “oh, you live at the Wilson place,” and “you’re on the hill.” My pride has moved past the offense.

My neighbor cuts miles of trails through the 80 unspoiled acres behind us, has for over 20 years.  It’s not his land but he cares for it and was allowed to build a nice lodge and stone fire-pit for himself there.  It sits upon a giant granite cliff overlooking the life-teeming marsh below.  My part is to visit the little lodge on weekends with my children to swing and rest in the hammock that spans the rustic interior walls.  Once my boss visited from Ireland and was amazed at the way one property would seamlessly roll into the next – “where are the stone walls?” 

Folks here clearly reject the idiom that good fences make good neighbors.  This amiable attitude has been shaped through generations.  My house tells also of their sense of the practical and functional. This morning I passed through the hall of my house where the former wood furnace was centrally placed, once radiating heat in a way that shows an understanding of efficient thermal engineering.  I stepped into boots that are always by the back door. Walking outside, I watched my children making much of fallen branches, black walnuts, and mud.  I wanted to check for deer that rest on pine straw beds in the small forest at the back section of my land.  Arriving there, I looked again at the carved granite stones that were once the foundation of the slave quarters.  This often forces me to better balance the peaceful feel of my community.  The rocks are the foundation to the very worst of human nature.  And that mind-set, like the rocks, is not easily visible but firmly planted and unmoved. 

Have the best Tuesday possible (if you took Monday off)!