"Not much, you?" That's the second half to a southern greeting. "Hey, what's up?" "Not much, you?" That's about how I feel when it comes to social media and writing what's going on in my life. I guess the big one from an author standpoint is my next book will be released on February 6th by Red Adept Publishing. All the Lovely Children came about because I wanted to try my hand at writing a thriller. I should clarify that, a thriller aimed at adults. My previous two publications could fit in that thriller category, but they were aimed at teenagers. When I was at the beginning stages, I asked myself what was one of the most horrible things a person can do, and the answer, in my mind, was to prey on children. I wanted a unique locale and created a fictional mountain town, Temperance, which is based on Boone, N.C., where I lived for several years. As I was randomly writing, trying to get a solid start, I would sometimes write the protagonist, Charly Bloom, as a teenager and other times as an adult. I liked both and decided to set the book in two time frames, 1959 and 1982. While I sometimes outline a book before starting, All the Lovely Children was written organically, and I'm very happy with how it turned out. Charly has become my favorite character that I've created, particularly when she's a stubborn, bullheaded, thirteen-year-old Tomboy.

CURRENTLY READING
Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang.  To be honest, when I saw the title I thought it was a new J.K. Rowling book. If that was done intentionally, it's not a bad strategy. But the magic in this book is subtle and hidden, triggered by emotion instead of spells. I love books with that subtle magic. Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance is also a love story that is decades in the making that reads somewhat like a fairy tale and is told from the viewpoints of all the characters involved. Great book and congrats to Lang for this, her first novel.

On the acting side of things, I'm in rehearsal for Corpse, a British whodunit farce. Here's a photo of cast and crew on our first rehearsal. As you can tell, it's a fun group. The second photo is from my last production, It's a Wonderful Life. The stage version is presented as a 1940s radio play. What makes it so fun and challenging was playing 12 separate characters with a different voice for each.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​All the Lovely Children is getting some lovely feedback. Hope you'll give it a read. Just got off the phone from another publisher who is releasing my first graphic novel aimed at middle grade readers. The rewrite has begun and getting some initial artwork from illustrator Kevin Vassey who has worked on some of the biggest contemporary animated movies. Fantastic ideas were flying and have high hopes for this project.

Ever watch Forged in Fire and wish you had access to a forge? Well I do. I give tours a couple of days a week at the historical Colonial Quarter in downtown St. Augustine. We have a blacksmith shop and here's my latest creation made from a railroad spike. I like how the skull pommel turned out, though it looks more like a chimpanzee, and I'm good with that.

 

 

 

 

Here's my dog and confidante, Bella. We're debating who is longer in the tooth and grayer around the muzzle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book release day for All the Lovely has come and gone. Always exciting and always makes an author a bit anxious. Authors usually have select readers, editors, and publishers who like the book, otherwise it wouldn't have made it to publication. And though we do have our fingers crossed that the critics will like it, it's the reading public we're worried about first and foremost. In these days of e-books, online sales, and book blogs, it's increasingly important for readers to write their own reviews and post them on Amazon, Goodreads, Bookbub, and more. So if you do get a copy of All the Lovely Children, I ask that, after you read it, give it a review. A couple of words to a couple of paragraphs is all I ask. Or if you'd rather not, that's cool. You, the reader, are in charge.

CURRENTLY READING

Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero. Now and again I'll read a book and think, "Dammit, I wish I'd come up with that." This is one of those. A book aimed at adults, it takes its characters from my favorite cartoon as a kid, Scooby Doo. Not the exact same characters, but close enough. As young teens with a dog (Weimaraner instead of a Great Dane) they solved a number of cases that looked supernatural and turned out to be bad guys in monster masks. Now they're all grown, have gone their separate ways, and are incredibly dysfunctional. They reunite, realizing the reason they're such failures as grownups has to  do with their last case, which they now admit was truly supernatural. They return and try to solve the case for real. I do have something similar coming out in 2019. It's a middle grade graphic novel about middle school ghost hunters. More to come.

Also just finished Joe Hill's Strange Weather. Four short novels in one book, I read it in a day and a half. My favorite was about a young guy who went skydiving and landed on a cloud. When his parachute is blown off, he has no way to get down and faces thirst and starvation. And as if landing on a cloud isn't strange enough, the weird stuff really gets going.

Happy birthday to my son, Jamie.

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