Thursday, May 29, 2014

Write or wrong

Several years ago when my brother and I began this blog, it was for fun; it was an attempt for an aging man to chronicle his thoughts as he journeyed through life. As 'Ramblings' approaches 20,000 visits, albeit many, many returns from the same viewers, and has in excess of 500 posts, it has become a little more than what it started out to be.

Although I still chronicle my thoughts on various subjects as we spin along on our blue marble, it has also given rise to a writer's heart. I have been writing for over two decades. It began with The Crystal Point trilogy and has since blossomed to several books and short stories. It has been a long journey to get to this point, and it is one I shall continue as long as I am able.

The publishing industry has changed dramatically in just a few years. The powerful publishing houses that have ruled the roost have seen their influence dwindle with the advent of the ebook. Publishers were the kings of the written world, but in a real sense, they were also the gatekeepers. It was they who decided who was let into the club. What the ebook has done is open a wondrous world of high caliber writers to the public. Unfortunately, it has also allowed barnstorming by those who couldn't string two sentences together coherently. But in a way, there have always been crappy books on the shelves, no matter who the gatekeeper has been. What one person thinks is a five-star, another thinks it belongs in the toilet.

Today, my sixth novel, Decimation of Allingaard, is now available on It is the second book in an epic fantasy series. It has truly been a labor of love and diligence to bring this to you. I hope you enjoy the effort.

And thank you for following along.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Day's end

As we celebrate this memorial weekend, many give thanks to the long list of brave men and women who gave of themselves that we would be free. There is no greater sacrifice that can be wrought than to give of one's self for the betterment and freedom of another.

We are a free country as much as from their efforts as anything. But we as a people seem to be reaching an impasse. Our military and our police forces are reactionary in nature. That is the way of things. That is the way the world works. Something bad happens, and we respond. But we as a people, are a growing populace. We span the continent from coast to coast. We number nearly 325 million strong. Our security can't be guaranteed. That has never been the intent anyway.

We are continually bombarded by stories of shootings, massacres, and terrorist threats. We want safety. We want someone to protect us. We see news stories of demonstrators railing and protesting against the police and military for not seeing everything coming. Why wasn't that person who killed the children at the school known about? He should have been stopped. The police failed us. Everyone has their own cause, their own way of looking at the world and its troubles. We call attention to war and famine and disaster, and we protest because the government didn't or doesn't do something about it.

Then we see the opposite side of things shouted across the headlines. Big brother is lurking everywhere. He spies on us through the street cameras, the internet and the phone lines. They are intrusive. Our very lives are a spectacle on display. They know our inner-most secrets. With the advent of knowing everything across the world the second after it happens, we are terrified in our homes.

Well, guess what folks. You can't have it both ways. We are not the only free peoples across the face of the globe. Our neighbor to the north, Canada, and most of the European countries are just as free as America. They have their own concerns. Though they have a way of life that is different, what we share is remarkably similar.

Then why are we the target of terrorism? Simple. It's because we as a people have always stood up for the underdog. We may have the big stick, but we often use it against oppression. As a matter of history, I wish that were always the case, but sadly, it doesn't always work out that way. Our leaders have been just as underhanded as those of other countries. That's what makes us the target, and not Denmark. We have a history of coming to the rescue. Others see us as the bully for that reason.

But to think we can stop all the woes of the world is simply irresponsible. Foreign policy is complex. What helps one, offends another. One can not simply bury one's head in the sand like an ostrich. If we ignore what happens beyond our shores, we are deemed to suffer the same fates as our forefathers. Incidents like Benghazi will always happen. It is a different world, a different war we fight in the twenty-first century. And it is a reactionary war. We will always be one step behind.

Our services, both military and domestic have a tremendous burden placed upon them. They are our guardian angels, and our saviors. They deserve both respect and admiration for the call of duty they have answered in our place. On this day, I thank the men and women who have given of themselves that we would be free. And we are free. A camera over our heads doesn't change that fact.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The nod

I consider myself a worldly sort of fellow, (okay, not really, I live in Ohio). So I was rather surprised when I read a detailed article on the internet the other day. Okay, it was something stupid that someone probably put up on Facebook or some other cultural abyss, but everything has a grain of truth, right?

Even after twenty-two years of wedded bliss, I still find it amazing that I completely don't understand the opposite sex. The post in question had to do with 'the nod'. You know, that slight bob of the head that men sometimes exchange as they pass. A few weeks ago, okay, maybe a couple months ago, I forget, I'm getting older, I exchanged 'the nod' with someone I passed on the sidewalk. My Beloved asked if I knew him. I answered no. I don't think she quite understood. Apparently, women do not do 'the nod'. It almost sounds like a Seinfeld episode. (If there was one, I missed it).

It is such a simple gesture. I find it hard to believe it's only a man thing. There are basically, two types of nods. The first is an upward tick of the head as you acknowledge someone. This one is generally reserved for someone you know, but not always. As with the second type, it is used in passing. Number two, is a slight downward motion, keep it slight, as you pass another. There is no hard-fast rule or reason to do so, you just know, and if you are the recipient of 'the nod', it needs to be returned.

I suppose, it's a guy thing.

By the way, book two of the Last Elf Prophecy; Decimation of Allingaard will be available in about ten  to fourteen days.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

What's a cover to do?

To all those who follow along with my little blog, I appreciate your patience with this little game I have played. It has been fun for me to string you all along. Sometimes, we poor, bumbling authors just need to build the suspense, soooooo....

Here it is, the cover for book two of The Last Elf Prophecy; Decimation of Allingaard

I hope to release the book itself within the next two weeks. Look for it on Amazon and it will follow as well, Barnes and Noble and iTunes as well as a couple other outlets. I hope the wait has been worth it for those who enjoyed the first of the series, Sands of Nevertime.

Thanks for playing along....

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Almost ready

A few more days ... the cover for book two of The Last Elf Prophecy will be fully revealed.

It's getting closer.....

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Pay it Forward for Brandon

Pay it Forward was not only a wonderful movie, it has become a life lesson for many. I had never actually heard the expression, before the movie in 2000. It was based on a novel of the same name by Catherine Ryan Heide. In recent years, it has also been noted that it was a philosophy of Woody Hayes, long-time football coach of Ohio State University.

But what does it mean to you? What does it mean to me? To me, it means doing something for someone who just needs a hand up, or someone who finds themselves in a difficult situation. It is with that in mind....

I have a friend that is an author. His name is Brandon Hale. He has a wicked sense of humor and is the author of multiple books, most noted being the Day Soldiers series. As is the case in life, not everything is fair. Not everything is just. We have to roll with the punches. Well, Brandon has received a heavy blow, recently being diagnosed with cancer. With the passing of my brother, it is something I can contribute to for a better outcome for another.

Twenty-eight authors have banded together to launch this anthology to benefit Brandon. He writes in the horror genre about vampires and werewolves. Each of us have lent our talents for this benefit to our fellow author and friend. For many of us, writing this type of story is a little bit out of our comfort zone, but I think you will find our efforts are well worth the read, twenty-eight short stories about vampires and werewolves.

The Bitten will be released within a few weeks as we are ironing out the final details. I will pass along a definite date once it is nailed down. All proceeds from the sale of this book are for our friend, that he is able to walk into the night, and fight vampires once again.

I hope you will pick up a copy. It will be available through Amazon.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

What will cover it?

I have learned over the years, the writer's primary focus should be putting out the best story one can. There is a tremendous amount of 'pouring one's soul' into the story, the writing, editing, character development and everything else. At the end, the author should feel tremendous about the product produced. Then it's ready, right?

Not so fast, mon ami. Say what? Yep, there is still a monumental decision yet to make. The world is a visual place, and the advent of the internet and ebooks makes it even more so. Nothing grabs a potential customer, yes, you all are customers, like an outstanding cover. 

It's true. One of the first things a reader will fixate on is a visual cue; the image on the book. The book cover. It is your handshake to the reading market. Hello, look at me. My image tells you what you are in for. I'm exciting, I'm romantic. I'm an adventure. That is what you want to convey to prospective readers.

The problem is, no matter how gifted an author may be, most, are not designers. They have limited knowledge of how or what to design. Most can tell you what looks great, or what appeals to them, but they can't design it. What does happen, is, most hire the cover design out to artists and illustrators. Then, like most other design projects, after some give and take, a final design is settled upon and the launch countdown begins.

So, what is this? It's the launch countdown to a cover reveal....

You just don't get to see it all yet. But, it's coming, coming soon. Book 2 of The Last Elf Prophecy.

Stay tuned.....