Sunday, November 13, 2011


Hope everyone had a great Veterans Day weekend.

Land Run and the new novel both include characters with military history. In Land Run some of the characters have interesting back-stories in WWII and Desert Storm. For the new novel – a Ukrainian character has a back-story of Afghanistan (his Soviet days).

Today I am watching a Weather Channel show that is covering the Coast Guard station in Kodiak Alaska. It’s a lot better than much of my memories of there ;-) But there was something in this show I had forgotten about the military. These guys were running rescue drills in the pool while their Chief yelled at them about this or that. Then the Chief pulls them all aside to describe the mistakes they had made. After that he asked them, “how many mistakes are we allowed to make?”
“Zero, Chief!” they said.
“That’s right! Drop and give me twenty!”

1 in 5 will graduate from that school. Even in basic training we started with 100 and graduated with 36.

No mistakes. That is so impossible. But it really is the mind-set we all had in the field…every day and for every task. And we did make few mistakes.

Even though it is so unrealistic a demand of people…the pure belief in this saves lives and wins battles. In their tasks – there really is little room for mistakes.

I would have to say that this mind-set I had for 5 years informed and impacted my working life, and real life, for the following 20 years. Failure in task never seems to enter in to my thinking. In fact, probably any success that is found in my life – I can mostly give credit, for my part, to my short-sightedness. :-) (but I am working on lightening up nowadays)

There are so many stories, you know. Here is one I love. When I was 10 years old my uncle Bob got in the local paper. This is what happened:

He had spent 4 solid years in the Pacific fighting from island to island. After the war he came back home and became an electrician. Then 30 years later the Pentagon was going over their records and found that they owed him 36 medals. These included multiple purple hearts, two bronze stars, a silver star, and on and on. But included in this package was a bill for $80.

It seems that on whatever island he was on at the time – when he heard that the war was over he walked to the beach and through his M-1 rifle into the ocean. Someone had seen him do it and reported him. So the Pentagon wanted their $80 back for the rifle (I guess the 1945 price?) Crazy stuff.

If you have stories – please add them to comments.

Happy Veterans Day!

Friday, November 4, 2011


I have had a lot of questions about the settings of both novels.

For Land Run - simply, Oklahoma is home. I grew up there and no matter how long I have lived in North Carolina or anywhere else - I call it home. In these days when it is so easy or necessary to be mobile - I think we all have a place we consider home. For me, Oklahoma is where I discovered a love of reading and writing. I discovered how large man and his problems are. And where I was a private pilot - getting to see how small we all really are in this vast world. It is where I left for the Coast Guard - setting out on the ocean to find how small I am in this world I was. Oklahoma was the environment from which I branched out - only to come back to it with a better understanding and an enhanced respect.

For the new novel Unseen - Our family made 3 trips there over 3 years. The final trip had me living there in an apartment for 2 months. This gave me a good feel for the people and language (I took a year of Russian in college...but I can tell you that doesn't count ;-). It gave me inclination and time to delve into their literature (classics and contemporary) and history as well. And our family fight to bring back a child we hosted in the States gave me a template to develop a compelling story. It is not our family story in any way (well maybe here and there) - there just is no way to make our story believable :-).

Well, that's some insight into the choice of setting. I love to start a story with 'place' in mind first. Not sure where the next novel will be located...please stay tuned.

Next Novel working on it now) - Baraboo Wisconsin AND Ukraine!!

Have a great weekend!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Dog Lessons...

Hi! Just a note about a recent experience and some thoughts.

My neighbor was walking his dog in the woods out back of our place. A very cool dog,Lab-Pointer mix. My neighbor created trails through 80 acres for this purpose. A few days ago on a morning walk the dog, Maggie, chased after some some stray dogs. He thought nothing of it as she always returned home after these ventures. But then a day went by, then two, and then three.

Out here in the country, during hunting season, it seems impossible that she would return. Dogs get stolen regularly, shot, or ran over. He still did all he could do with postings in the area, online, and word of mouth in the community. And many friends of his were praying for him in this.

Late last night I felt compelled to walked to the furthest part of my property and yell for her.  I yelled her name across another neighbor's vast field and the name echoed into the woods beyond. I prayed that God would supernaturally carry these calls as far as they needed to go to reach her. That they be a beacon for her somehow.

As I walked back to my house I thought about this prayer. About belief. Here is this person that even some who do not believe - but understand the concept of him is..big. That should God exist he would be...big. For believers he is known as the Lord of Hosts, Almighty, Alpha and Omega, Lord of Lords, King of Kings. And much more. Big.

But then I looked to my own faith and found how little I had in such a person to simply...return a dog home? I determined with all I could manage to believe him for this simple task. I refused to enter my house until I had settled this with him at least to my satisfaction. 

This morning I woke to a call from my neighbor telling me that a man, a pastor, had found Maggie and was bringing her home. He lived just on the other side of that field I yelled across.

I truly don't know anything or understand anything. I keep coming back to that know what I mean?

Have a great weekend.

Monday, October 17, 2011

VERY FUN Interview tonight

Just want to post a big thank you to the book club of McAlester public library in McAlester Oklahoma. I was invited to call in and speak with them towards the end of their meeting about Land Run. Great questions by the way!

This coming Thursday evening, Oct. 20, I will be the guest speaker at the North Wake Home School Honor Society in Raleigh, NC. I am looking forward to that as well. My daughter Caitlin will be in attendance so I hope to spice it up a bit to avoid the perception of dad just giving another lecture. ;-)

Have a great day!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

On Writing Stuff

Somehow things have just opened up in the first draft of the new novel.  You never know where you are in the process of completing a narrative - not really.  But I estimate it is 2/3 complete.  And a whole lot of fun to write.  The creative part is really just enjoyable work and problem-solving.  And the draft of writing is a mixed bag of good and bad.  But to keep moving ahead, in this phase, is always good.

The real 'fun' part is coming back to it from a readers perspective - because that is who I am writing to.  And man, as with Land Run, I believe you guys are going to have some fun! :-)  Also, with some twists and turns, depth, drama, and humor.  While the 'culture-clash' in Land Run plays out in a current-day local community - the next novel is international in scope.  And if you enjoyed the use of history to inform the story of Land Run - well, there is some of that in the next novel as relates to the Cold War.

BTW - if anyone has questions about Land Run or anything really please feel free to post in the comment section.

Just a quick reminder if anyone is available - I will be at the Tar River Festival this weekend.  The town park will have all kinds of events for the whole family.  And the shops spill out into Main Street.

SEPTEMBER 10, 2001 12:00- 3:00

Coffee Hound Bookshop
103 W. Nash St.
Louisburg, NC 27549
(919) 496-6030

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

INSPIRED! Just never know where that stuff comes from....

Excited about being considered for inclusion of the library systems for Oklahoma (OKC) and Tulsa counties.
If featured - I hope to get out there for a book event.  Well, I hope to get out that way regardless ;-)

FUN:For folks that have finished reading Land Run especially - I want to place some images (among a million) that helped to inspire the next project I am working on.  Um, I better get back to working on it, huh. ;-)

(See short story here and also click here at AUTHORSDEN to get a feel of one of the characters - Dima)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

GREAT BRITAIN: Across the Pond! And Something About a Patriot

I ran into some great folks in England that have been so kind as to include my short story, The Patriot, in their collection of fiction.  There is also a short review of the writing (very thankful for that as well).  There is a lot of great information on current books, reviews, and other writings I am having fun reading on the Lost in Fiction website.  Please click below and check them out as soon as you can - you will be glad you did. :-)


FYI - This short story is a piece of character development for the current novel I am working on... ;-)

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Reader's Manifesto

I don't know about you - but I have found that standing firm, holding tight to who you are is never easy.  But the the older I get the easier it gets.  There are many aspects to Land Run that does not meet certain CBA or ABA requirements (the gods of fiction publishing - Christian and secular).  But in this novel I strove towards a pretty simple and independant agenda.  Tell the truth - entertain - every word must fit the character, scene, and story.  That's it.  I found through the process of finding an agent and then a publisher - the literary world out there is not exactly a friend to this 'agenda' of mine.  They are friends to parts of it and contexualized versions of these goals of mine in this writing.  But that is not enough.  The control over art today is crazy to me.  Marketing has taken over what people can read and where they can access it even.  How did that happen?  I don't know.

I ran across this critique of literature a few years ago and found it very encouraging.  You may as well - so I will include it here.  If you have interest or time to read it - please leave your responses in the comments section (if you do - you will be like the first to do so ;-)

Readers Manifesto

One week until the 'release date' of the novel.  I need to google for what that means.  It is available now online at a lot of places. See the Land Run Website   But I think it is a date where the publisher issues advertisements and firms up 'book-events'.  It will be interesting and I

Friday, March 4, 2011

On Reading

Thanks to all who have shared out information about Land Run.  I have already heard that many folks now have their early copy in hand and are reading.  I invite all to post any thoughts or comments - excited to get some feedback.  You can post anywhere and I'll find it. :-)

I am interested in the 'state' of American fiction.  There seems to be something for everyone - very American.  Sometimes writing can be strong on story or in eloquence, or both.  I hope readers will find both in Land Run.  And find some, "yes, I've never thought of it that way, but that's how it is." - Moments.

Personally, I came up on a literary diet that was a mix of sorts.  My early teen reading was mostly whatever my (much older) parents brought home from the library.  Later, through the teen and military years I mixed thrillers, classics (mostly 1920-1940), a mess of Louis L' amour, and whatever was new.  My time in the military was great for reading as TV was still something you scheduled to watch and usually missed whatever you scheduled.  Because life was more consuming. We had what was called a 'mid-watch'.  This was from midnight to 4:00 a.m..  My volunteering for this watch made me popular at any unit; read, make rounds, read, make rounds, etc. 

College was a matter of getting the textbook demands scheduled (a kind of auto-pilot mode) and then read whatever I wanted. While there I hit the classics again for a couple years.  And took interest in my Creative Writing courses.  I guess I was blessed to have this extended holding-pattern before entering the 'real life' phase.  I am still in that phase, I notice.  I am reading some contemporary international stuff nowadays.  It turns out that people outside of America write novels - good ones. :-)

What are your fiction leanings?  Who are your considered 'greats'?  I would like to know.

Monday, February 14, 2011

On Writing

One cool thing about writing and publishing a novel is that you get to talk to people who also love to write. A lot of folks like me find it hard to find time to write. From this experience I can maybe encourage folks with some things I have learned so far.

If you have an idea of a project, commit to a few hours every night. Do this whether you are inspired or not. Just show up and be available. Start an outline as it comes to you and keep it flexible. Write.

When you complete a narrative, re-write it a whole lot. Start to work on a proposal and send it to many Literary Agents. You might get lucky…so make it good. In my case, I did get lucky and received a contract with a top agent.

Another avenue to the publishing process for new authors is to enter contests in literary journals. Choose magazines and journals that fit with your genre. Good agents check these out to find new talent.

Personally, I chose to go with the publisher I have because they are in Oklahoma and are very experienced in new authors. Also, I am very needy and appreciate the attention they give to me. ;-)

Please comment on anything that you have come across on this site. The short story, two chapters of land Run, or any updates to the blog. I appreciate any feedback and open discussions on topics that interest you all.