Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Sixth Annual Authors Fair

I'll be among the 50 or so authors participating in the sixth annual Authors Fair on April 2-3 in Madison, Ind.

The event will be at the National Guard Armory, located at 1533 Clifty Drive. The hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Sunday.

Practically all genres will be available, from young adult to science fiction to romance to various nonfiction titles. Frank Hall, who founded the fair, will also have used books at bargain prices.

I'll have seven fiction titles to sign for interested patrons including my latest release, Old Ways and New Days.

If you're in the vicinity of Madison, a picturesque college town located next to the Ohio River, be sure and stop by and browse the tables and chat with the authors. 

Click here for more information.

I hope to see you there.

Until the next time.... 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Another Giveaway -- The Bully List

I've got a five-day promotion of my young-adult novel, The Bully List, on Amazon, ending April 3. There will be five copies awarded.

It's the story of two boys who are bullied by a gang and decide to seek some revenge by putting together a "bully list" on things they can do to get back at their antagonists. But their plans don't always go as planned. 

Here's the blurb from the back cover:

"It’s not easy being a teenager. You have to go to school. Sometimes you get zits. Sometimes you’re not that popular or good at sports. Even your body doesn’t seem to look right or do what you want it to do at times. But the worst part is dealing with bullies. I don’t care if you’re a boy or girl, bullies just don’t seem to let up in picking on people. 

"Josh and Sam try to get along with everybody. They like to go swimming, ride their bikes, go to movies….just like other kids they want to have fun. But a gang of four bullies seems to spoil everything. So Josh and Sam try to get even as they come up with things to do on their bully list." 

The novel is targeted for middle-school readers and older. 

Click here to register for The Bully List and tell your friends!

Until the next time....

Monday, March 28, 2016

First Thoughts on a Memorable Vacation

If you're wondering where I've been the past two weeks with no posts, my wife and I returned from a 10-day vacation to Budapest, Vienna and Prague. Gorgeous cities. Rich history. Beautiful architecture. Lovely people. Delicious food. Wonderful memories.

Crossing Charles Bridge in Prague
Buda Castle. Hungarian Parliament. Chain Bridge. Schonbrunn Palace. St. Stephen's Cathedral. Prague Castle. Charles Bridge. Just too many places to mention here.

I've posted quite a few photos on my Facebook page. Every time I glance at them I want to hop back on a plane and return to Hungary, Austria, and the Czech Republic.

Part of the beauty of the trip is that the group we traveled with was a lot of fun and enjoyed the adventure as much, if not more, than we did. It was a wide variety of folks, from former air-traffic controllers to school teachers to a physical therapist and everything in between. Most of them were seasoned and savvy sightseers so my wife and I learned a lot from being around them.

The village of Szentendre in Hungary
We also had an excellent tour director throughout the trip and knowledgeable guides at various stops along the way.

Chain Bridge in Budapest 
Instead of flying from one city to the next, we journeyed by bus and got to see the countryside as spring was about to go into bloom. We made stops along the way into small towns and religious sites.

As I recover from the trip, I plan to put into words my thoughts and observations. To be honest, sometimes a person can get overwhelmed by all the sights and sounds, and it takes some time to mentally sort through it all. That's the nice thing about recording many of the places with photographs.

I also made daily entries in a journal to help me remember and relive those moments that I'll cherish the rest of my life. I hope to write a travelogue to share with others. I'll keep you posted on how that goes.

The day before we left, there was the awful terrorist attack in Brussels. I've never understood why cowards target innocents, or anyone else for that matter.  I suppose that's why they're cowards. It's too easy. But most of us know, and pardon the cliche, what goes around comes around.

I will say that my wife and I won't be deterred from future journeys by these acts of violence in Europe and other places on this fascinating planet. I've always liked the comment from globetrotter Rick Steves about visiting different places in the world -- it enlightens and enables a person to build bridges instead of walls between different countries and cultures.

Until the next time....

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Taking Control of Writing Life

I believe writers are often their own worst enemies when it comes to writing.

They complain about not having the time to write, that too many life events interfere with them being diligently involved in the craft. They have myriad excuses for not producing words, sentences, paragraphs, pages, and chapters. 

Some are simply those things that we chose, such as activities involving family and friends. I'm not saying thosse types of things are less important but they do take away from writiing. 

There are other interests, from favorite TV programs to movies to concerts to exhibits and everything in between. They take time as well from the writing life, probably more than a writer realizes. 

And then are events that demand our attention and time, such as catastophic  illnesses to our loved ones, caregiving to the bedridden and terminally ill. I would hope that most writers put aside their selfish interests in those cases. Also, as a silver lining,  a writer can better understand the human condition through observation, and at a deeper level, by being involved in the process.

But the main point is that writers, for the most part, control their own destiny in finding time to write. If they don't have the time, then it would be wise to cut back on those outside activities that cut into their time. 

If they're unwilling to do that, then maybe they should keep writing on the backburner until they make the needed life changes.

Writers, it's your decision. Take  control of your writing life.  

Until the next time....

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Story Songs: A Few More Friendly Tunes

I have several more songs to add to the songs about friendship. They would have been included in the earlier post but I try to keep my musings at a reasonable length. 

Now these songs all have "friend" or "friends" in the title. There are many other recordings out there about friends but that will be a post at another time. 

So here are a few more that I've enjoyed through the years:

Dionne Warwick and Friends -- "That's What Friends Are For"
No. 5 in 1985
Written by Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager

"Keep smiling, keep shining
Knowing you can always count on me, for sure
That's what friends are for
For good times and bad times
I'll be at your side forever more"

Garth Brooks -- "Friends in Low Places"
No. 1 in 1990
Written by Dewayne Blackwell and Earl Bud Lee

"I've got friends in low places
Where the whiskey drowns
And the beer chases my blues away
And I'll be okay"

Wishbone Ash -- "Everybody Needs a Friend"
Released in 1973 on "Wishbone Four" album
Written by Martin Turner

"Trust in me, I'll try to do
Everything to help you that I can
Broken wings can heal and mend again"

Randy Newman and Lyle Lovett -- "You've Got a Friend in Me"
Released in 1995 in "Toy Story" soundtrack
Written by Randy Newman

"If you've got troubles, I've got 'em too
There isn't anything I wouldn't do for you
We stick together and can see it through
Cause you've got a friend in me"

And last, but certainly not least:

The Beatles -- "With A Little Help From My Friends"
Released in 1967 on "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"
Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney

"Oh I get by with a little help from my friends
I get high with a little help from my friends
Going to try with a little help from my friends"

Until the next time....

Saturday, March 5, 2016

March Madness Giveaway

It's March Madness. Basketball fans know what that means. Hoops, hoops and more hoops.

So check out my latest giveaway: an e-book edition of "Shooting Star."

It's the story of a young man who transfers to a new school. Although he's an outstanding basketball player, Jesse Christopher faces obstacles in fitting in at the school as he contends with bullies, cliques, teachers, and even fellow basketball players.  

Jesse is the member of a rural team that has hopes of winning the Kentucky State High School Basketball title. Read his story. 

The giveaway ends March 12 so be sure and enter. No gimmicks. No follows. No strings attached. 

Give it a shot! You may be a winner.

Just click here.


Friday, March 4, 2016

Story Songs -- Some Friendly Tunes

Some of the most uplifting tunes are those about friendship. Aside from food and water, having friends helps sustain us through life's journey.

Friends are special. They brighten our days with their presence,  lift us up when we're down, and enhance our memories when we reflect on our lives. 

There are quite a few friendship songs that I've enjoyed through the years, so many that I can't include them all in this post. More will come later. 

Here are some of my favorites:

The Beach Boys -- "Friends"
No. 47 in 1968
Written by Brian Wilson, Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson and Al Jardine

"We been friends now for so many years
We've been together through the good times and the tears
Turned each other on to the good things that life has to give"

Queen -- "You're My Best Friend"
No. 16 in 1976
Written by John Deacon

"Oh, you're the best friend I ever had
I've been with you such a long time
You're my sunshine and I want you to know
That my feelings are true
I really love you
Oh you're my best friend"

James Taylor -- "You've Got a Friend"
No. 1 in 1971
Written by Carole King

"You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I'll come running, to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I'll be there
You've got a friend"

Simon & Garfunkel -- "Old Friends"
Released in 1968 on "Bookends" album
Written by Paul Simon

"Old friends
Memory brushes the same years
Silently sharing the same fear"

Andrew Gold -- "Thank You for Being a Friend"
No. 25 in 1978
Written by Andrew Gold

"And when we both get older
With walking canes and hair of gray
Have no fear, even though it's hard to hear
I will stand real close and say,
Thank you for being a friend"

Kenny Loggins and Stevie Nicks -- "Whenever I Call You Friend"
No. 5 in 1978
Written by Kenny Loggins and Melissa Manchester

"Whenever I call you friend
I believe I've come to understand
Everywhere we are
You and I were meant to be
Forever and ever"

The Zombies -- "Friends of Mine"
Released in 1968 on "Odyssey and Oracle" album
Written by Chris White

"It feels so good to know two people
So in love...
So in love..."

More to come later, my friends.

Until the next time...