Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sometimes, I'm just stupid

Most nights My Beloved goes up to bed just before I do. She is tired and many times just doesn't sleep very well. Although I'm not always right behind her, I do try to join her fairly quickly. Sometimes I'm just not tired from leaving work, I can get pumped up and the energy is flowing, or I might be finishing up some writing and still have a few thoughts in my head. Hey, when the thoughts come they have to go down on paper quickly. Too often I've lost a fabulous idea simply because I didn't get it written down.

Well, that doesn't sound stupid, you say. Well, this is. Once I finish what I'm doing I'm quickly up the stairs and it's time for bed. My Beloved does tend to fall asleep quickly, she just doesn't stay asleep. So, I pick up the remote and watch the news. After the news I'm still not tired. That's when I start clicking.

We all do it; click, no, click, no, click, no...and on and on and on. It is amazing that in this day and age we pay somewhere in the area of one-hundred dollars to watch the boob tube. (That being said, on many channels boob tube has a meaning it didn't forty years ago). So I click and I click and I click. You know what? What is on television these days just absolutely sucks! All there is are "anything but reality" shows, redneck shows like Swamp People and such, Really Fake Women Housewives of fill in the blank city. Even my old standbys of Discovery and History channels are full of reality crap.

So why do I pay good money for three-hundred channels of low-end crap? Because I'm stupid.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Sale at Smashwords!

As most of you have discovered by now through these pages, I write fantasy / fiction when I'm not at work where the real paycheck comes from. Over the past twenty-plus years it has become a passion. Considering the fact that all my brothers and my sister read like demons is not lost on me. They all have a innate love of the written word. I was the one who came last to that passion.

Be that as it may, I am the one who took up the pen to try his hand at authorship. Over the years I have honed my style and worked diligently to become the best I could be. It has been a long road but a road I have gratefully traveled. Along the way, North of 50 was a big part of that as he served as both proofreader and editor. It is always best to have a critical eye to spot errors. No writer is perfect by any means.

Now, most of you are probably thinking, Robert T., what makes you think you (or any other writer) can write in the first place? There are many authors out there who are very talented and there are just as many who think they are. I have read books by "unknown authors" that are far superior to many of the "known" ones. Some books sell like crazy but are just pure garbage; not the story itself necessarily but the prose, the manner in which it was written. Often it's not the writing that makes an author successful but the dreaded "getting discovered".

So, here's your chance to put it to me and tell me what you think. I am putting my novel "White Staff" on sale through Smashwords. Smashwords is a distributor to sites for ebooks such as iTunes, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Kobo and others. If you would like to see if I'm as good as I think I am just go to the Smashwords site https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/159809 and enter the coupon code MX52S when you purchase White Staff. It'll cost you a whopping $2.50 which is half the regular price.

I honestly hope you enjoy the story and the manner in which it was written.
Thank you.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The business of death

Although I have been to many, many funerals, the majority of them being for family, I have not been heavily involved in most of the details concerning the actual event. Even with my parents I tended to let my older siblings make the decisions. My mother specifically already had things laid out the way she wanted it. She had completely pre-arranged everything.

With the passing of my brother, I became caught up in the business of a funeral and the accompanying events necessary to get things done. Now as a rule, death is unexpected and things need to get taken care of quickly, all the while trying to satisfy the whims of those who are grieving. There are many decisions to make, and thankfully a good funeral home and director is there to guide you through everything so nothing is left behind. The grieving have a lot on their minds and connecting the dots all in a row isn't one of them.

Some of what I encountered was unexpected, although not shocking, I was rather taken-aback at times. Death does not come on a schedule, however grave diggers apparently are. I hope you don't want to be buried on a Saturday because many cemeteries do not inter after noon. Otherwise it will cost you time-and-a-half (or more). I would think it was the nature of the business. Nope, grave diggers are a union. Gotta follow the union rules.

Ever wonder how much it costs to run a small section of print in a large newspaper for an obituary? I was shocked at the cost of a two day run. It was in the hundreds and hundreds of dollars (think even higher). I know newspapers have fallen on hard times but the cost was thoroughly ridiculous.

I was surprised at the total overall cost. Yes, I understand costs go up and there are things that need tended to, however nothing that happened was remotely extravagant in nature as that is not the way of my family. The funeral home and its staff did an outstanding job in catering to my our needs. Yes it is their function and they performed well but the business of death, how shall I say it, is one of opportunity. Unfortunately even here, it all comes down to sales.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sunday author's table

This Sunday morning brings another wonderful mystery writer to the table. Are you a fan of the small town mystery? Welcome to Klondike, PA. a rural backwoods town. What could be sweeter and calmer than good old backwoods America? Well, they've got secrets to hide there.

Meet mystery writer Donna McNicol. Enjoy the show!

 When Cherie Marshall catches her fiancĂ© and best friend in a compromising position, she cancels her upcoming wedding and jumps at the chance to escape to quiet Klondike, Pennsylvania to care for her elderly aunt. She thought her biggest issue would be adapting to life in the middle of a National Forest, so very different from her upbringing in the deserts of Arizona.

But that was before she met State Trooper Fire Marshall Jamison "Jazz" Maddox at the scene of a mysterious fire. As they both become acquainted with the close-knit Klondike residents, things get complicated as Cherie and Jazz find themselves in the middle of a local crime wave where arson, kidnapping, embezzlement and a decades old murder are just the tip of the iceberg.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Saturday morning bookshop

Welcome to another Saturday morning where we discover the world of indie authors.
There are very few genres that give you an intense reading experience like a psychological thriller. One such author who succeeds in this genre is Dale Roberts. His work through the Tyson Palmer Thriller Series is worth the price of admission.

Meet Dale Roberts.


From Dale Roberts, author of IRREFUTABLE

When eager, young journalists Tyson Palmer interviews the occupant of a torched building, a reputed lunatic who blames the blaze on a cult with ties to terrorism, Tyson believes he might have just found the story that will launch his career.  Only thing is, he has nothing to go on but the ramblings of a paranoid conspiracy theorist .

Much to the chagrin of his mother and his best friend, Tyson decides to infiltrate the group and get the story from the inside.

Armed with his formidable denial of vulnerability, and as much information as he can find on the group, Tyson slips in undetected, or so he thinks. He plays the part to perfection, becoming one of them, until he encounters the one thing he hadn't counted on; Krista.
As this beautiful, intriguing woman woos him into dropping his guard, he falls deeper and deeper the under the control of a charismatic leader  with a dark political agenda.  By the time Tyson learns the truth, he knows too much to ever be allowed to walk away.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Now I lay me down to sleep

It is with deep sadness and profound personal loss I let the readers of this blog know of the passing of its senior voice, North of 50.

From these pages you have only glimpsed a portion of a life filled with wit and intellect, a soul whose purpose was to love his family and bring a life of joy to others. He is the consummate brother and friend and so much more.

My Brother's Fire

My time has come that I must break these earthly bonds
and shed the fickle chains that tie my earthly soul.

That I have lived a life, a life of dreams
a life that holds a fervent fire,
And quenched my thirst of love and grander things I have not known.

That I have climbed the mount and flexed my wings
and soared to heights unbridled,
and touched the sky with thoughts and prayers my mind may only raise.

In starlight’s glow I bask above the earthly blue
and breathe the breath of angels
as God’s own hand does call me home.

Those hands I touch that comfort me
that soothes my soul I touch no more,
yet revel in the memory of a touch long lost. 

I fill the void my heart has longed to keep
and hold dear the face of my child
and I shall sleep now in peace as I await my valentine. 

We were five and now we are four, yet one day through the grace of God we shall be five once more. 

In loving memory...Donald (North of 50)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

And so it begins

Updating my post from the other week, it is with sadness that I must inform our readers that North of 50 will not return to these pages. His time is near.

Life, even in its fullest sadly ends the same for all of us. With that often comes unfulfilled expectations of how life progresses. Only the oldest should succumb to the ravages of age and disease. That is the way of things. That is the way it should be, although life often has its own vision of what the future holds. It is natural that our grandparents and then our parents are the first that we must grieve for. With the extent of my family it was not uncommon for me to attend a funeral nearly every year. Even as a child death was a function of life.

As brothers growing up we had our share of fights and brouhahas. As children we shared many things including our bedroom. Believe me, you get to know a lot about someone when you grow up sleeping in the same room. But what we really shared was a bond that has stood the test of time. We bonded as family, we bonded as brothers. He is one of the three or four closest persons to me in my lifetime, outside of my parents.

His is a voice of learned experience. His knowledge spans a vastness many simply can not understand, except of course, if it involved anything to do with science.Disease is a tragedy that ravages the body, but what it steals is a mind. A mind is what we are, what we know, what we become. Science fiction has many stories of saving the mind, not the body. One's essence is the mind, one's essence is the soul. I think to some extent they are inter-related.

I know some do not believe in an afterlife, or God, or a god. I feel sorry for them. As I have grown up Catholic, it is part of my belief system. Nuns have a funny way of convincing little children of things like that. As an educated (or perhaps enlightened) adult, I have come to believe whatever we choose to call heaven, it is there. If it wasn't, what's the point?

I will leave North's moniker up on this blog as he is part of its history. He is part of me.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sunday author reload

Science fiction has become a thriving genre in the reading world. It is an industry unto itself. Author Stephen Arseneault has tapped into that genre with his 'Sodium' series. His first, Sodium I is described as a 'grand adventure'.Stephen has many five star reviews on this work. If you're a sci-fi lover, this is your ticket to the alien invasion.

SODIUM:1 Harbinger

 Before an invasion it is wise to gather intel on your foe. Harbinger begins the tale of the fight to save Earth as told from the perspective of an unlikely hero...

In 1957, a group of wilderness adventurers are confronted with the unexpected. They are forced to defend themselves against an unworldly enemy. Will man's first encounter with aliens force them to run or will they stand and fight? This is the first thriller in the SODIUM series. Follow along as the unwitting group determine their own fate.

Stephen Arseneault's first book in a grand series. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Saturday morning bookclub

One of the things I enjoy about being a writer is meeting other writers. I belong to a group that works both to support and challenge each other to become the best that they can be. One of my brethren in words has developed his style to both challenge and reward the reader.

Meet Randy Morris, author of the Jehovah and Hades series.

This collection includes:

-The Journals of Jacob and Hyde
-Jehovah and Hades
-Jehovah and Hades: Federal Case

The novellas listed above are books 1-3 in the Jekyll and Hyde series. Total word count for all three combined is just under 54,000 words.

Jehovah and Hades follows the last two known descendants of Dr. Jekyll (from Stevenson's Jekyll and Hyde) as they track down the uncontrollable monsters that originally came from Mr. Hyde. Jehovah is a computer hacker and weapons maker and Hades is an incredibly deadly assassin who is unkillable when Hyde takes over. The Journals of Jacob and Hyde follows their father as he discovers his powers.


Jehovah and Hades: Books 1-3

Thursday, February 7, 2013


This morning I made a comment to an author over in the UK. I asked her a question about greeting others in the British style. It all came about because as a little boy, we all knew the Irish said 'top o' the morning'. Unfortunately, she said they had nothing of the sort.

I was disappointed. I thought that was the rule. What I learned as a child still should hold true. Perhaps as a fantasy author, I still live in a fantasy world. But what if what we learned when we were children was actually true? How cool of a world would that be? My grandson Ragin' Cage is about to turn the big '4'. It's hard to believe he is that old already. I wondered, how 'awesome' (his new word) would the world be through his eyes?

Try and remember what your world was like when you were a little child. I watched the world some today as a four-year-old. As I passed over a set of railroad tracks, I remembered how excited I would become when we would get stopped by a train. Today? Not so much fun; it's an inconvenience. As a child I would always stop and stare at the sky when a plane flew overhead. I still do that some to this day. Going into the way-back machine, in those days you were also treated to the sound of a sonic boom. Even the mundane could be an adventure. In those days we weren't tied to the television and no, sorry to the children of today, there were no such things as video games. We invented our own Olympic sports to play in the neighborhood. One such game was "polockey". It was a cross between polo and hockey. We played in the streets with a ball and sticks and baseball bats and croquet mallets trying to shoot a goal. One of those games cost Baby Sis a chipped tooth.

The world of a child is a world of discovery. Everything to them is new and unspoiled. As adults, that no longer applies. We might remember the carefree days of our lives from "back when" but it can become jaded through the eyes of experience. We shouldn't let that experience color our visions of the world, no matter what obstacles we face in real life. Tomorrow begins my second day as a four-year-old.

A big thanks to Kate Aaron who was the inspiration for today's blog. Check out my 'mate' from across the pond, Kate Aaron, a British author who writes, how shall we say, with very strong opinions. http://kateaaron.com

Sunday, February 3, 2013

A voice on hold

For the last several years both my brother and I have enjoyed posting our thoughts and experiences on this blog. My original idea was to put forth an on-line journal of my thoughts and life experiences as my time on this blue marble begins to expire. I invited my brother, North of 50 to join in the fun. He has a unique voice and a quick wit. To date, I hope we have brought a bit of thought-provoking joy to all who have followed this blog.

I'm sure some of our loyal followers have noticed that North has not spoken from this platform for some time. At this time I regret to inform all of our readers that North is in ill health. I hope that at some time in the future his voice shall return to these pages with the vibrant wit he has shown us in the past.

All my love and my prayers to my esteemed sibling, North of 50. Your time has not yet come, my brother.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Saturday author, part deux

Today is a special Saturday indeed. Today I am helping to spotlight a fellow author, Scott Langrel. Scott has begun a fantasy series that I have started and it is a heck of a read. Prior Earth is a captivating look into a fantasy world of what-if? This is a fantastic read and the series will certainly draw you in.


PriorEarth Book One (The PriorEarth Series)
What if everything you thought you knew about your home, your friends, your family--even yourself--was a lie?

A storm of change is coming to the planet Earth, and no one will escape it. Many will perish, unable to accept the total reshaping of reality as we know it. In the aftermath that follows, a handful of ragtag heroes must adapt to this strange, new world and begin a quest to save the Earth's remaining inhabitants from total annihilation.

Saturday morning author

It's another wonderful Saturday morning and I have another fantastic author for everyone to consider when choosing their next book to read. Meet Michael Meyer, a retired English professor who has traveled and taught around the world. He has ventured into the world of writing and has used his talents well in his novel Covert Dreams.


THIS INTERNATIONALLY ACCLAIMED SUSPENSE THRILLER by Michael Meyer has been compared to Robert Ludlum's Bourne series, and the writing style has been compared to that of Dean Koontz. 

Imagine waking up remembering intimate details about a country in which you have never traveled and fluently speaking a language that you have never spoken. B.J. is living the ideal life. He has a great wife, a wonderful job. And yet he is experiencing life-like vivid dreams of Munich, a city he has never visited.

Stan Halsey is a professor in Saudi Arabia, who sends for his wife to join him. She arrives, and, in the blink of an eye, she vanishes, leaving no trace of ever being alive in either the United States or in Saudi Arabia.

COVERT DREAMS is a fast-paced international suspense thriller that moves from Munich to the burning sands of Saudi Arabia. What is real, and who is responsible for the terrifying nightmare?

Covert Dreams