New and Improved

Friends, this is the newer updated blog, different from the old one. The previous blog can be found here:
but I will no longer be posting to it.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Rock and Roll!

November 17, 2016
Hi All!
     I'm not going to be posting every day, but I couldn't resist a quick note this morning.  Last night was a blast!  I'm going to jot a few words about it now, and I'm also going to include a "moral to the story" at the end.
     Last evening, Linda and I met some friends at a new restaurant/music venue called "Bryan's on 4th."  If any of you are going to be visiting this neck of the woods, you really MUST stop by this place. The owner, "Chef Bryan," has an incredible menu, AND almost all of the wait-staff there also sing/play instruments/perform in one way or another as the night goes along.  Chef Bryan is also an accomplished musician himself.  "Bryan's on 4th" also has a special "music room," which is below the main restaurant area, and there are performers there almost every night.  Last night we knew the performers, the "Phil and Travis Combo," (check them out at: so when I felt the time was right, I asked if I could jump in on the bongo drums they had.  So, I did my best version of "Maynard G. Krebs" and "Gene Krupa" with them. For those of you not old enough to know those references, Maynard was a bongo playing beatnik of some national fame, and Krupa was one of the first "solo" drummers who was wildly popular with music lovers everywhere.  Last night I actually played with the band for an hour or so, and I had a blast.  We played everything from the Roy Rodgers "Happy Trails to You" song to Buddy Holly to the Beatles to Carlos Santana.  I'm not sure the bongos went with everything, but I did my best to make it work!  I actually got some applause from people, but I think that happened because I finally *stopped* "slapping the skins" and the people in the audience were glad I was finally done.....
     Now to the "moral" of the story.  In the world of artistic expression, whether it be in areas like painting, drawing, singing/playing instruments, performing on stage, or writing, it isn't so much always the quality of the product that counts.  It is the experience and the joy achieved that is actually most important.  Art is art, and we are all going to be very different in how accomplished we become in the different areas.  Some will be superb at their art; others will be, to put it kindly, "participators" (like I was on the bongos last night) in the art. And, it is the participation that is the key here.  We all don't HAVE to be great, but if we have any desire at all to "participate," we must do it.  Art is good for the soul and gives us an outlet for the expression of what we really love and value in this life.  Consider this:  Steven King, one of my favorite writers of all-time, plays guitar whenever he can.  Is he a great guitarist?  Check out the YouTube videos of him playing and you can be the judge.  I'll only say it is a good thing he has his writing to fall back on!  Still, he is "out there" and is "participating" in an artistic endeavor he truly loves, and that gives him great joy.  Another writer I know, and whose work I adore on so many levels, is Amy Tan (Author of The Joy Luck Club).  She was a singer (and played the "whip") for a group called the "Rock Bottom Remainders" (check them out on YouTube).  I believe her signature song with the band was "These Boots are Made for Walking."  Is she a great singer?  Again, others can judge that, but I so admire the fact she "participates" in multiple art forms FOR HER OWN SATISFACTION. So, here is the bottom line of what I'm trying to say this morning: There is so much to experience in this life, and we can't get bogged down in worrying about how successful we'll become in all areas.  We do the best we can do, and if we really try our best, we can always keep our heads high.  This is especially true when it comes to writing.  My guess is that most of you reading this blog have a great love for literature and writing, and you may be doing some writing yourself.  You may or may not already have some of your writings published.  No matter where you are at this point, keep writing!  Give it everything you've got. Keep at your art.  If you do, the act of writing itself will be rewarding on so many levels.  Follow your art -- and follow your heart.  After all, they really are one in the same, right?
     This is as philosophical as I get.  I'm going to climb down from the soapbox now and get back to my writing. My next book, which I'll write about in an upcoming post, is calling to me.
    I wish you all a wonderful day!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Lunch with Harry Potter!

November 16, 2016
Hi All!
     Once again, I'd like to welcome everyone to my new author blog site.  I hope you enjoy my stories "from the road" while I do book readings, events, and promotions. At times I'll also include stories from "behind the scenes" while I'm putting my books together.  I write mostly literary nonfiction these days, so I travel all over the country and the globe to gather background information for my stories.  I'll try to post some of those adventures as well.
     Now to my first official post at this new site.....
     The only way to describe last weekend is this: It was a hoot!  I participated in Lit-Con, which is an offshoot of Comic-Con, the wonderful celebration of comics and popular arts.  At Lit-Con, the events were pretty much divided between a celebration of the world of literature and the world of science fiction/fantasy characters - of all types.  All of us authors were grouped together and given a very nice space where tables were set up so that we could display and sell our latest books.  At my table, in addition to displaying some of my books, I also brought "artifacts" that related to some of them: the dreaded "finger jar" from Shell Games (which grossed out nearly everyone who picked it up!),  free "wanted posters" of John Fairfield from Ain't No Harm to Kill the Devil, and lots of "swag" people could take with them related to Olivia's Story (bookmarks, book club reading guides, copies of photos of characters in the story, and so forth).  I was also mightily impressed by the way other authors arranged their tables. Some had HUGE signs they could stand up behind where they were seated; these signs had beautiful color images of their book covers.  One author had a massive bowl full of candy (that thing must have been three feet in diameter), free for the taking by those strolling by.  Another had a dish of "pennies from Heaven" -- and all were encouraged to take a penny while browsing at that table.  Still another brought a laptop for the sole purpose of playing computer games with his readers.  I had a wonderful time at Lit-Con.  I always enjoy visiting with people about my books.  And, it is a true treat to be able to discuss the stories with those who have already read them and hear about what they most enjoyed in them.
     Finally, I'll never forget having lunch at Lit-Con.  Why?  Well, consider this:  I ate my food while surrounded by Alice from Alice in Wonderland, several Storm Troopers from Star Wars, and Harry Potter and what seemed to be about half of those enrolled at Hogwarts Academy!  At that table, *I* was the odd looking character!  I also can't say enough about the dedication people have toward making their costumes appear realistic and accurate.  One "high official" from the Empire spent most of the day walking around the room and inspecting the costumes -- and if a "violation" was found, the character was notified immediately.  These good folks take this THAT seriously!  If you ever get a chance to attend a Lit-Con, I highly recommend it.  After all, it isn't all that often we can get together to celebrate our literature and such wonderful characters.
    Until next time, I wish all of you happy reading!


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

This is my NEW blog site!

November 15, 2016
Hi All!
     This is my NEW author blog site, and it will have all messages I post from November 15, 2016 onward.  I still have my OLD blog site up at this address:
However, that OLD site will have nothing except archived posts going back to the year 2009.  So, if you'd like to go to the old site to read posts that I made from 2009 to 2016, you'll find all the "oldies but goodies" posts there.  THIS *NEW* blog site will have all my writings from this day forward. 
    As I make the final preparations needed to have this NEW site up and running correctly, I wish you all good health, wonderful days, and happy reading! 
    I'll have a new post up soon!