There is an old and respected adage that says writers should write every day. Certainly, there are writers who do just that. Stephen King famously writes all but two days each year. Oddly perhaps, neither of those two days is Halloween. But that’s beside the point.

Let me pose a simple question. What would you think the point of writing every day is, if you don’t have something to say? Writing is after all a form of story-telling. There has to be a purpose to what you write. The end result may be intended to educate, or entertain, but there has to be a reason the writer sits down, or stands up, or jogs in place to put words on the page. If there’s no reason, no point, no moral, no lesson to be shared – well in that case you’re not a writer, you’re a typist (or a scribbler, as the case may be), and what is the point of that? Read More →

Jamie_05_3DTransparentAfter two years of sporadic but sincere effort, the Lifeboat Augusta series is finally concluded. With the release of installment 5, Survival of the Fittest, the story comes to an end…of sorts. There are no spoilers here. Only heartfelt appreciation for the readers who have been following along with the series and the support they’ve given me. Thank you. Truly.

Rather than leave it at that, brief as it is, I will share a bit of inside baseball with you. The literary edition.

One of the lesser known tasks undertaken when publishing a book, or an ebook, is the gathering of blurbs. These usually short, often flattering quips are written by other authors who have a thing or two to say about the story being presented. Fortunately, I have been on the receiving end of some high praise as I’ve put this series together. Authors I read and enjoy like John Blumenthal, Kevin Garrison, and C.G. Blake have been good enough to share their enthusiasm for the story in print. I very much appreciate the kindness.

With this last installment I asked another author whose work I enjoy to read and consider writing a blurb for the inside cover of, Survival of the Fittest. Sam Torode is a good man. I read his novel, The Dirty Parts of the Bible on a whim. Man, am I glad I did. Funny, quirky, totally believable and absolutely entertaining, Sam’s style of writing and his ability to weave a yarn through the dusty depression era midwest caught my imagination and held it.

We’re very different writers, Sam and I. Yet like cabinet makers, luthiers, potters, or tailors, we have an appreciation for each other’s work. Our work may take different forms and focus on different aspects of the human experience, but we each see something of value when we crack the pages of something the other wrote. That’s comforting, frankly. It’s satisfying too.

When I saw the blurb Sam submitted for inclusion in this final installment of the series, I was very pleased with the sentiment he shared. He said this, “Fans of apocalyptic fiction should check out Jamie Beckett’s Lifeboat Augusta series. This could be the next indie publishing sensation.”

How can I not be tremendously flattered by the appearance of those two sentences. You can see them for yourself, in context, inside the pages of, Survival of the Fittest. They’re right there beneath the blurbs of the other authors I mentioned previously.

If I ever succumb to the idea of starting each morning with a daily affirmation, I think Sam’s might be the message I would choose. It’s positive without being gushy. It’s supportive without bombast or hyperbole. Yet it made my day when I first read it, and it continues to brighten my mood each time I come across it.

With great appreciation to Sam, John, Kevin, and C.G. I must say, this has been an interesting journey. Shepherding Randy and Keisha and their peer group into orbit where they suffer one catastrophe after another, it’s been fun. On one level I wish it would never end. Then again, I’m enjoying the freedom I now have to move on to the next thing. The next story. The next book. Adventure awaits.

Oooo, I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Jamie_05_3DTransparentThe fifth and final installment of the Lifeboat Augusta series is nearing its release date. While it is in the final editing stage, this seems like the perfect time to let readers of the series know the end is near (or is it), and to say goodbye to a project that I’ve been working on for more than two years.

What a pleasure it has been.

This all started as a casual conversation about science fiction in its various forms. That led to a novella called, To the Lifeboats. Originally intended to be a stand-alone piece, it became apparent in the writing that a second and third installment would be necessary to flesh out the story and follow the main characters on a unique and occasionally terrifying  journey. That led to the creation of, Just About Armageddon and Isle of Safety. Yet before Armageddon was a complete first draft it was apparent even to me that Randy Tagget and Keisha Miller had more life in them than three novellas could contain.

In the end the Lifeboat Augusta series lived up to its promise of taking me on a fascinating adventure from earth to space and back again. Yet this adventure was somewhat more fraught with danger, intrigue, and yes even sexual tension than the Mercury 7 ever dreamed of.  Well, they might have dreamed it, but they were professional and tight lipped enough to keep it to themselves.

Watch Amazon for the release of the final installment of the series in October. It’s sure to grab you, throw you for a loop, and maybe even include a twist or two you weren’t expecting. But don’t dive in to installment five without getting a solid footing with installment one first. Start with To the Lifeboats, segue into Just About Armageddon, continue with Isle of Safety, go boldly into Binary Choices, then wrap the whole thing up with Survival of the Fittest.

Thanks for following along with the story as it unfolds. I’ve had fun. I sincerely hope you have too.

 

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.

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