Somewhere along the line it seems folks have lost the thread that makes the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge so remarkable. It’s not really about dumping ice-water on your head or shaming your friends into doing the same. It’s about raising awareness and funding to battle a horrific disease. So when I was challenged to participate, I accepted – but I threw in a twist I wish more of us would include in our videos.

Enjoy it or hate it, watch if you will. Then consider how you might do something a bit more beneficial than just dumping water on your head. The concept is timeless, so if you feel a need to help someone, do it. You’ll be glad in the long run.

Most people aren’t aware of it. Frankly most people probably don’t care. But if you’re into finding adventurous destinations that are off the beaten path, they’re out there waiting to be found. One of my favorites is at the the point where 23rd Street intersects with FDR Drive in New York City. You have to look closely, but there is a sign to be found if you pay attention. It will lead you to a path that leads from Manhattan to the Hamptons – in just 40 minutes.

While in town for a brief visit I stopped in to get the skinny and take in the sights. Pilot Magazine (a publication of the good folks at AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) was good enough to run the story. Whether you fly or not, it’s worth a read. In part because you never know who you’ll meet when you bop around NYC with an open mind, a curious eye, and a willingness to get into a conversation with those you meet. In this case, I bumped into Chris Mitchell who was preparing to Fly the Whale. Yes, that Chris Mitchell. Go figure.

You can read the whole story here.  If you’ve ever been to NYC, or better yet, if you’ve ever wanted to go, this just might open up a whole new way of looking at the Big Apple.

SmallCover_JPGAs the fifth and final installment of the Lifeboat Augusta series takes shape, I find myself in a particularly good mood. Reaction to the series has been terrific. I’ve received so many complimentary comments about the ebooks that I’ve decided to celebrate. Starting today and running straight through Sunday, June 29, To the Lifeboats, is being offered for FREE on Amazon. Just click the link, download your copy, and start enjoying the adventures of Randy Tagget, Keisha Miller, and the cast of characters who inhabit the Lifeboat Augusta.

It has been a real pleasure writing this series. I’m pleased to know so many readers have enjoyed the adventure so much and I have every confidence you will find the conclusion to be just as intriguing as the rest of this quirky out-of-this-world life or death drama. What a ride it’s been.

Hang tight, it’s not over yet. There’s more to come.

David and JamieIt’s a fair question. What kind of an author stalks his own readers? Well, in my case it’s an appreciative one. It’s been my good luck to have dedicated readers who praise my work in public and bang on me regularly to write faster, finish the next project, and get it into their hands as quickly as possible. I love these folks. They make my work a more satisfying experience. They bring a smile to my face and a song to my heart. I’d be sunk without them, and so when the opportunity presents itself I have made it a practice to seek out enthusiastic readers and find a way to say, “Thank you” in a personal and hopefully meaningful way.

Most recently, I’ve been stalking David Nicholson. He’s a good man, an enthusiastic booster of my Lifeboat Augusta series of sci fi novellas, and he even plays the guitar in his down time. I appreciate his support so much I promised to dedicate the fourth novella of the series to him, which I did. When you flip through to the dedication page you’ll see his name right there. I wasn’t kidding.

What David didn’t expect was that I would depart from the ebook format for him and him alone. Just this once. With the release of, Binary Choices earlier this week, I took a single set of pages and a cover to a secret location and had the whole shebang bound for him. With the assistance of his sneaky and wonderful wife, Amanda Jo, I was able to track David down at a local Thai restaurant and pounce. I presented him with the only bound copy of, Binary Choices, and I got a big ol’ smile in return. That’s a perfectly fair trade in my book. See for yourself. We’re both pretty darned happy with the way things turned out.

Thanks David (and Amanda Jo, too). You’re the best!

 

BinaryChoices3DBinary Choices is the fourth installment of the five part Lifeboat Augusta series. It’s been written, edited, tweaked, re-edited, and is currently in the final stages of production. It will be released shortly to an audience of readers who have been patiently awaiting the next chapters of the story.

They will be pleased, surprised, and left hungry for more I’m sure.

Although much of my writing career has been focused on paper and ink, the Lifeboat Augusta series has not been. Occasionally I’m asked why. And so I’ll tell you.

Publishing has gone through two massive transitions in my life. First, it went from linotype operators and hot lead to the computer age. Edits were done without paper or pencil. The typewriter was replaced by the keyboard and an entire page could be laid out without setting a single letter into a steel form for the printer to use.

A few decades later the second change was to the publications themselves, not just the means of creating them. Ebooks came into being. No more paper, no more warehouses or delivery systems or stinky old trucks are necessary to produce a story and move it from the author’s desk into your hands. It’s all digital now. I like that. In fact, I like that development quite a bit.  Read More →

Sometimes people ask me why I so routinely include music in the fiction I write. Burritos and Gasoline, is thick with musical references. So much so that a fan in England wrote to ask if I would consider compiling a soundtrack package to accompany the book.

I liked that idea.

To be completely honest, I include music in my writing because music has always been a major influence to my life. It’s a key to the American experience as I see it. From my earliest memories of my mother singing show tunes around the house, to my first glimpse of the Beatles, the Stones, the Byrds, and the Lovin’ Spoonful on Ed Sullivan’s variety show, to the band my friends Mark and Bob and I formed in the seventh grade – music has been one of the great joys of my life. Read More →

Screen Shot 2014-05-02 at 9.10.32 AMClaire North hits it out of the park with, The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August. Yes, this story traverses the years, the decades, the centuries experienced by one Harry August, an otherwise unremarkable man from the British Isles, save for one odd fact. He continues to live the same lifetime over, and over, and over again. Not the same life, mind you. Just the same lifetime. He is always Harry August, but his destiny is not fixed. It is flexible, inviting, terrifying, perplexing, dull, and invigorating. Whatever he wishes his life to be, it can be. But unlike the rest of us, he carries with him the memories of previous lives.

Read More →

 

It went like this. She asked for an interview, I said yes, and off we went. There are five videos, each involving a single question and answer. I had a great time. Well worth the time it took to conduct the interview. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy it, too.

Part 2 is here. Question: Will you only publish in the Ebook format?

Part 3 is here.  Do you like it when readers try to meet you?

Part 4 is here. Where is Abiaka County, Florida?

Part 5 is here.   Question: What made you want to become a writer?

Cover_SmallIt’s short, only 36 pages from start to finish. It’s called, Deep in the Grove, and it’s priced at a rock-bottom $0.99. One penny short of a dollar. I’m actually kind of proud about that.

The story is based on a real event, although it departs from reality early. In real life, I was present when two skeletons were removed from a sandy gravesite, hastily dug under cover of darkness deep in a citrus grove. That experience has lingered in my mind for several years. Visually compelling, emotionally wrenching, even olfaction comes into play when you stand beside a hole in the ground where bodies have recently been decaying. It’s impossible to forget. And so I decided to write about it in a highly fictionalized manner.

To be truthful, I initially thought about writing a non-fiction magazine piece detailing the actual killings. But the more I thought about it, the less appealing the idea become. I couldn’t find a way to write the story that didn’t feel slimy, sensationalist, and ultimately disrespectful of the two murdered girls. So I dispensed with the notion. Yet the experience of standing beside that hole in the ground, watching as their bones were recovered, witnessing the professionalism and care the crime scene investigators put into their grisly work – the memory kept nagging at me and nagging at me. Clearly the memory wasn’t going to go away easily.  Read More →

Screen shot 2014-03-01 at 6.20.44 PMLiterature is a gift that can fire the imagination and propel the mind into new discoveries. Then again, literature sometimes contains filthy words that corrupt our young and foster anti-establishment thought processes.

Both the sentences above describe an actual position taken by educational leaders. Amazingly enough both of these positions once existed in the same time and in very nearly the same place. I know. I lived it.  Lucky me.

You see, I spent my elementary school years in East Hartford, Connecticut. It was then and still is a lovely little suburban town known for Pratt and Whitney airplane engines and the ability to supply a nearly endless stream of office workers to the world headquarters of a mind-numbing number of insurance companies  just across the river in Hartford.

Just as I was about to enter high school my family moved to the considerably more affluent, rural and intellectually liberal town of Glastonbury. The two towns share a border. Their inhabitants are almost indistinguishable from one another. Yet there was a stark contrast between the two that could be attributed to a young punk who was causing trouble. His name was, Holden Caulfield. That little bastard swore, and he swore a lot dammit. East Hartford wouldn’t stand for it. Glastonbury on the other hand, embraced him.  Read More →