Hope

My mother-in-law, a beautiful human being, passed on from this life today. It’s been a difficult day for the family, and as my wife boards a flight to head home to be with loved ones during this time, I was reminded of one simple word: Hope. It’s a word I strongly believe in. And as I processed the day with that word in mind, here’s what I wrote:

 

Hope is not a homeless cast-off, living in squalid conditions on the edge of the sunset’s shadows.

Though you will find it there.

Hope is not a forgotten word, buried under scientific jargon, dying an abandoned existence in a dusty appendix.

Though surely you can scan the final pages with your index finger and find it there too.

Hope is not an empty, opiate-filled wish, meant to pacify the cravings of a desolate heart.

Though hope is comfortable in emptiness, tucking neatly in an upside-down crevice of a turned-out pocket.

Hope is the undefinable assurance, proved to the heart by a million micro-steps of life, that joy can never be fully extinguished.

Hope is as high as a thousand-mile mountain peak, yet as thin as an inch-thick stream spreading out indefinitely in all directions.

Hope casts off doubt and lingers until despair yields to its indomitable message.

When the world doesn’t choose hope, hope merely grows stronger, encouraged in the throes of life’s storms, emboldened on the faces of the faithful, ensured that the weary will find their way, that the righteous will find their reward, that a simple seed planted long ago will find its way home.

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I need your help! Nominate my novel on Kindle Scout!

Book One of my soon to be released trilogy – A Man Too Old for a Place Too Far – is currently on Kindle Scout, vying for a Kindle Press publishing deal.

You can help! Please check out the Kindle Scout page for my novel. If you like what you read, nominate it. It helps get the attention of the Kindle Press editors. If my book is chosen, then you’ll be one of the first to receive a copy of it for FREE!

You have nothing to lose, but I do have something to gain. I greatly appreciate your help!

The campaign link is HERE!

Here’s the book’s blurb and cover.

Thanks for your support.

If she wanted help changing the world for one forgotten child, she chose the wrong man. Seventy-two-year-old Francis Frick would scorn his own family to close another deal. But Bee doesn’t see the world like you or me. She is an optimist, searching for potential where none exists, and so she hovers above Frick’s bed every night, eating pomegranates and waiting for his eyes to open to the possibilities. One night, it finally happens. A rogue droplet of juice slips through her fingers and hits the sleeping Manhattan businessman on the forehead, thrusting him on a series of baffling adventures to some of the twentieth century’s most brutal regimes—all to help Bee save a forgotten child of history.

A Man Too Old for a Place Too Far is part one of The Forgotten Child Trilogy—a one-of-a-kind adventure that mixes time travel, magical realism, and historical fiction into a contemporary story about an old man, his estranged daughter, and a tiny flying person in a white robe, who chooses to believe that anything can happen with enough prodding and an endless supply of pomegranates.

Forgotten Child Trilogy Book1 FrontCoverFinal

 

I Was Awarded a Writing Residency – in IRELAND!

I’m very excited to share with you this great news: Greywood Arts, in Killeagh, Ireland, awarded me with its Winter Writing Residency for play-writing.  Only one winner was chosen in each category – short stories, poems, plays – and I was selected based on the play I submitted – “The Last Bastion.”

On their blog, they write:

“It was a tremendously difficult decision to select only one work from each category – short stories, poems, and plays. It was truly a pleasure to read work by a diverse and talented pool of writers. We look forward to making the writing competition a regular opportunity to win a week-long residency.

We offer a hearty congratulations and warm welcome to:

Gráinne Daly for her poems To Lady and to Tramp, Tomb Raiders, & Slievemore Cemetary

Orla McAlinden for her short story A Sliver of the Moon

Mark W. Sasse for his play The Last Bastion

Can you tell I’m super excited? I’ll be heading to southwest Ireland on March 30 and will be working on three play-writing projects until April 7.

I want to thank Greywood Arts for this fantastic opportunity.  Please head on over to their blog and read about the good work they are doing. You can also read about the three winners, including myself.

Read their blog post HERE!

 

Hey Login Verifications: Chill out! I live in Saudi Arabia, OK?

Notice to all those places which require me to login:

This is a general announcement for all those online companies and organizations which I have connected with over the years. Yes, I do indeed, in fact, in verifiable truth, on my Scout’s honor, and in the witness of the Almighty Heavens, do actually and in real-life live in Saudi Arabia.

Therefore, when I try to login to your app or website, I may be flagged as being in Saudi Arabia, which in fact, I am.

In case you were wondering, there are many non-residents of Saudi Arabia living in Saudi Arabia. (Did I mention I was one of them?) These non-residents have the need to access their bank accounts, login to their Google apps, or possibly even check on certain government services. Yes, they may need to do that Saudi Arabia, so I would be much obliged that you ALLOW ME TO DO SO!

Stop with the silly twenty-seven step verifications.  I do not have access to my home phone in the United States because, well, I LIVE IN SAUDI ARABIA.

I am not a hacker. I am not a Nigerian 419 scammer. I am not phishing for information, because if I was a hacker of any solid reputation, I wouldn’t route myself through Saudi Arabia because, well, you know – those million step verifications.

So I’m just a normal guy, doing a normal job, who happens to live in the Middle East. I still have to access stuff.

So please just let me. If there’s a problem, I’ll call you. How does that sound?

Thank you for no longer making me a digital hostage because of my geographical location.

Thank you. I’m glad we can agree that all of you need to just CHILL A LITTLE!

I live in Saudi Arabia. Get over it.

Sincerely,

Me.

How does FREE sound? WHICH HALF DAVID – Get the novel now!

For the first time ever, my most recent novel WHICH HALF DAVID is available for FREE on Kindle.  In case you aren’t aware, FREE indicates no exchange of money whatsoever. Consider it a gift. A reading gift for you from me. If you like it, please try another of my books and leave a review for me. That would be excellent use of that FREE book.

Which Half David FREE HERE!

FREE on Amazon UK HERE!

“5 Stars – Redemption at its best … Expect the unexpected in this very unique novel with an unforeseen twist.” – Inspirational Author Dolores Ayotte

 “5 STARS … a spectacular tale …” – Colleen Chesebro, Lit World Interviews
“The action and tension throughout the book was gripping,  and I  found myself dreading the next page but unable to stop turning. Five stars.” – Chris, Christian Indie Book Review
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Nominate My New Novel for a KINDLE Press Contract!

The KINDLE SCOUT campaign for my new novel – A Man Too Old for a Place Too Far – is now off and running!

Please clink the link to read the first excerpt available anywhere, and if you like it, I’d ask for your nomination. It might help me land a Kindle Press deal. If it does, you’ll get a free copy of the book!

This novel is book 1 of my brand new and first ever series – The Forgotten Child Trilogy. I put my heart and 22 months into this one. It’s an absolute blast. At least it was writing it, and I hope it is reading it as well.

KINDLE SCOUT NOMINATION LINK HERE!

Thanks for your support.

Forgotten Child Trilogy Book1 FrontCoverFinal

How to Improve at IMPROV (and Life)

I organized my first official drama event last night here in Jeddah–A Night of IMPROV.

I emceed the event where five members of my new drama group – The Sun & Sand Players – took the floor for a crazy night of improvisation.

A small but enthusiastic group participated, and we pulled in a slight profit to help fund our first real show in January.  Overall, it was a fun night.

The IMPROV performers are knew to the genre. They did a fantastic job – especially when taking into account the few opportunities that they’ve had to perform IMPROV, let alone IMPROV in front of an audience.

There were tense moments when their brains didn’t respond quickly enough, and they were flat-footed, unable to make that leap to the center of the floor to give a response. But that is normal. Natural, really. It’s to be expected no matter what you’re working on. The only way to improve IMPROV is to do it. Try. Jump in. Use the impulses. Feel the nerves in the gut and go for it. Mouth blazing, with little regard for self-censorship or self-consciousness. And as an actor practices, puts herself out there, let’s himself be put into different situations, he or she will improve. It’s a process. Sometimes a slow-moving one. But a process none-the-less.

It’s no different with my writing. It’s no different with life. If you have a goal, if you follow a passion, if you want to get better at something, put yourself out there. Play the fool for once, follow your pride, and jump right back in.

As an IMPROV actor, you might say something that people don’t laugh at. That can be painful. As a writer, I might write a cringe-worthy cliche that unleashes a whole slew of down votes. I won’t improve if I don’t learn to shake it off, learn from the misstep, laugh at myself, and move on.

This is the way life works. You will only attain that which you stubbornly shoot for. You’ll never hit the stars if your standing inside a barn. You’ll never cross the ocean if you don’t get into the vessel. You’ll … yeah, there’s all kinds of other corny saying I could add here, but you know the drill. You only improve at things which you are willing to work at, continuously, religiously, passionately.

That’s the only way you’ll improve at IMPROV, or at life in general.

I’ve got some writing to do.