New Christmas Story Coming Soon!

I’m happy to announce I’ll be publishing a new Christmas short story this year. Unsure of release date, but it will be well early for the season. It even has a cover!

jollyoldsthickSMALL

 

Can you pick up the tone of it? Yes, light-hearted, silly, funny (hopefully) with a warm fire-place-like touch of sentiment – all those things you need to settle into the holiday season. You know, like a cinnamon stick in your hot chocolate or spiced cider simmering on the stove.

“Jolly Old St. Hick” was actually a short play that my drama group The RLT Players performed in their Christmas show “Tales of Wonder II” in 2015. It was a funny and well-received vignette, and last year I got the idea of re-writing it as a short story. I didn’t get very far.

Until now! I turned the 2000 word play into a 6000+ word short story coming your way to a Kindle near you!

I’ve actually not written many short stories in my life. I’ve written more novels than short stories, actually. I’m not sure if that is bizarre or not, but I’m becoming more familiar with the genre. Most of my short stories are Christmas-themed. Why is that? I’m not sure, exactly, but perhaps there’s something comforting about a warm cup of tea, a fireplace, and a 30 or 40-minute sentimental read.

In 2014, I published “If Love is a Crime: A Christmas Story” about a runaway slave in 1852.  Available Here.

In 2016, I published “Christmas in the Trenches 1914” a fictitious account of the real-life truce between the Brits and the Germans in WWI on Christmas Eve 1914. Available Here!

In 2018, I will publish “Jolly Old St. Nick.”

I hope you enjoy, and look out for the release of my new one soon!

Advertisements

Even Writers Need a Day Off

I have a three day weekend from my day job. This typically means that I’m burning the midnight oil with all types of writing projects, trying to take advantage of the extra time to concentrate on plot twists and dialogue and all the other important things in life.

But today, no.

I don’t know why. It’s been the most non-productive writing day of my life.

I can’t even process what I actually did today. Now it’s 6:38 in the evening and what have I accomplished?

I took a walk this morning. Music attached to my ears. It was nice.

I ironed my shirts. Something I rarely do. What’s going on here?

I cooked some lunch.

I transferred music from the cloud onto my phone.

I spent too much time scrolling through my Facebook feed.

I took out the trash.

I didn’t have one writing thought today. No creativity whatsoever. It was just one plain old nothing.

And you know what? I think I needed it.

We all need down time, and perhaps, writers need it more than most. The brain that is typically swimming in a thousand directions doesn’t mind sitting as a toad staring mindless into a stream, focused more on the skimmer on the surface than the indigo blue overhead.

A little mindless me time might just be what I need to get back at it tomorrow.

So whatever you do in life, take a day, at some point, and do nothing.

Then be ready to get at it tomorrow.

(Now would you look at this. I just wrote a blog post about doing nothing on the day I did nothing. So does that mean I actually did something? Hmmm.)

The Library of Siena Cathedral

This summer I had my first ever trip to Italy – 14 incredible days of culture, history, and food. I thought I’d share a few highlights from time to time on the old blog.

On our tour of ancient capital of Siena, the magnificent cathedral impressed for architecture and art. What else is new? It’s Italy, after all. Here’s a few shots of what we experienced at the cathedral.

2018-08-02 10.26.11

The Cathedral – opened in early 13th century

2018-08-02 10.42.28

The unique striped design inside the main hall of the cathedral.

2018-08-02 10.43.52

Floor design in main cathedral

2018-08-02 10.49.11

Yes, a famous sculpture.

2018-08-02 10.57.10

Choir book. So cool!

2018-08-02 10.57.27

The vibrant ceiling of the library.

2018-08-02 10.58.07

These library frescoes are original. Never restored. The vibrant colors over seven hundred years old were amazing.

2018-08-02 10.58.31

2018-08-02 10.58.53

The library! These ancient choir books were too amazing to pass up. Anyone up for singing?

Review of “A Man Too Old” from Brandywine Books.

A short while back, Lars from Brandywine Books posted a great review of “A Man Too Old for a Place Too Far.”

Here’s a couple excerpts:

A sort of a cross between A Christmas Carol and Winter’s Tale. ”

“It’s hard to evaluate an idiosyncratic book like A Man Too Old For a Place Too Far. It’s the beginning of a trilogy, so a lot of things remain unexplained. We don’t learn clearly what sort of creatures Bee and Ash are, and what their purpose is.”

“Fascinating. Easy to read. Enjoyable … recommended!”

Head on over to Brandywine Books and read the entire review!

THE FORGOTTEN CHILD TRILOGY

Book 1: A Man Too Old for a Place Too Far

Book 2: The African Connection

Both available in Kindle & Paperback.

Book 3: A Parting in the Sky – coming 2019

cropped-wordpress-forgotten-august-20181.jpg

PNC Park, Pittsburgh, PA – From the top of the Rotunda

Here’s one of my favorite not Italian spots in the world – PNC Park. It has, of course, been lauded over and over as a modern baseball marvel. One of the truly outstanding features of this stadium is the navy steel rotunda which forms a spiral walkway to the very top  of the ballpark. I’ve been meaning to post these since June, so now as the baseball season begins to wane, and I go into mourning, I thought I’d show you what Pittsburgh looks like from the top of the rotunda of the greatest baseball stadium in the world. Here goes:

 

2018-06-23 15.28.38

Legacy Square commemorating the great Negro League teams from Pittsburgh. There used to be bronze statues here. Where did they go?

2018-06-23 15.29.44

Looking straight down on the enormous statue of the great Hall of Famer Willie Stargell – one of my childhood heroes. He died the night before PNC opened its doors in 2001.

2018-06-23 15.30.24

Enter a caption

Here’s the top of the rotunda itself. The original designs had a roof over the steel structure, but I’m so glad that didn’t happen.

2018-06-23 15.31.03

Standing at the top of the left field foul pole – fans filing in.

2018-06-23 15.32.19-1

Looking eastward over the Allegheny River. The tallest building in Pittsburgh – the former US Steel building takes center stage. 

2018-06-23 15.33.12

Looking Southeast over the Allegheny. PPG Paints building second from the left. In the distance Point State Park and Mount Washington.

2018-06-23 15.35.56

A beautiful view of the Roberto Clemente Bridge heading downtown.

2018-06-23 15.34.25

In my happy place.  See you next summer PNC Park.

$200 Giveaway – September Meet & Greet with Kindle Book Review

Hey everyone,

Here’s a great opportunity to win a $200 gift basket while supporting some of your favorite authors! I’ve teamed up with the Kindle Book Review on this exciting giveaway starting September 7 and running through Sept 24.

Enter to win, and make sure you click on my book. It’s right there as the first book in the first row.  Thanks for the support and good luck!

Enter to Win HERE!

kindlebookreviewsept2018

wordpress forgotten august 2018

The First Ever Massive Trilogy Read-Through

I had just finished the second revision of book 3 of my brand new trilogy.

So what was next?

Revision three, of course.  But then I paused and thought for a moment. I knew what I needed to do, but I was reluctant. It would be too time-consuming. It would stop the flow of my revision work. No, don’t make me!

What was it? It was to read the entire trilogy from first to last page. I would become the first person to read the entire trilogy, which makes sense since I wrote it.

I told myself I needed to do it. I rolled my eyes and thought of any other way to get around it. But I knew if I wanted to present the very best overarching story possible that I needed to delve back into the ENTIRE story.

So that’s what I’m doing.

I just finished reading book 1: A Man Too Old for a Place Too Far, and you know what? I enjoyed it. After just finishing the storyline of the entire trilogy, it was fun to revisit the genesis of everything. There were definitely some details along the way which I had forgotten, but I was pleased with the story’s consistency.

I think I’m on the right track, and that makes me happy.

It can be painful to read one’s own work. Tedious, actually. But it’s so important, and I usually end up surprising myself thinking “Hey, how did I think of that? If I wrote this paragraph today, I don’t think it would have been as good.”

On the other hand I also run into these thoughts: “I don’t really like this sentence anymore. How about a simple edit?”

Re-reading is crucial to jog one’s memory of the myriad of character and plot details which absolutely must mesh.

But do it. Hold your nose if you have to, but keep re-reading your own work. It will be well worth it.

If you haven’t read book 1, please check it out. It’s a story I’m really happy with, and it’s only $1.89 on Amazon. Permanently.  Thanks for the support!

Link to Amazon. Only $1.89 on Kindle.

cropped-wordpress-forgotten-august-20181.jpg