Saturday, September 26, 2015



I don’t know why we’re always surprised at negative emotions. The worse of them are hard-wired in our brain from a primitive time when we had to fight tooth and nail for our very existence.

No one is born civilized. Babies are not born good; they are born innocent. Civilized behavior is a trait learned from those who nurture us during our formative years. There is always enough anger, rage, and hate to go around. At some time in our early years, most of us learn how to handle negative emotions, or at least avoid the worse of them. The emotion that few of us learn to master is rejection. We meet someone, and we admire them. We want to be their friend. There might be a time when we love them, only to be faced with rejection. There is no plan or blueprint to guide us around the worse of it, and it hurts so much that sometimes it is hard to even breathe. In BLINDSIDED, Rodney is the starting quarterback on the football team and the most popular student in school. He has a bright future ahead of him when everything suddenly goes wrong. His story is no different from the things that have happened to many others as they struggle through their high school years. It might have happened to you. I hope you will take a moment to follow the link below to Amazon Scout’s promotional site and click the ‘Nominate Me’ button. It will give me a chance to win a contract for my YA novel. Thank you for reading, and have a wonderful day.   

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The making of a Novel

I have written 16 books that vary from Civil War stories to Suspense, Crime fiction, and Westerns. Even though they vary widely in subject matter, they have one characteristic in common. All of them contain romance as a subplot because love is a part of life as I know it. Until I started writing Blindsided, I had never written a story that could be classified as Romance. I saw the opportunity as a challenge. I wanted to write a realistic young adult romance, so the reader would say; “I’ve been there and done that.” Here is how I went about preparing myself to write Blindsided.

High school is an emotional, often traumatic time in the life of most young people. There can be many negative experiences such as bullying, fierce competition, anger, and other raw feelings that leave us emotionally crushed. Important decisions that shape the rest of our lives have to be made, and many of them aren’t made easily. To write this type of story effectively, you have to get in the mood emotionally. The best way is for the author to reacquaint himself with the sights, sounds and the smells of a typical high school. I read sections of high school textbooks to bring back the feeling of what it is like to cram for a test. I did a lot of research on the things taught, not because I wanted to include all of those details in my novel, but because I wanted to return to the years when I was a teenager. I dug a football out of our utility room and bounced it in my hand. And then I thought of music. No one knows when music was invented, but it is thought to be a representation of our body’s natural rhythms. Play a rock song that has 150 beats per minute and you will feel your heart speed up. As I wrote and rewrote sections of Blindsided, I found music that represented the things that were happening in the story. I found a couple of love songs, the kind they played at the senior prom and listened to them over and over again. Another important scene in the story happened during football practice. I found several fight songs and played them over and again. I watched videos made at football games where the excitement was building, and coaches and players had furious expressions as they glanced at the clock on the scoreboard. In the videos, cheerleaders danced along the sidelines with emotions that varied from ecstasy to agony, and I remembered what it was like. You experience a lot of emotions during your high school years, some of them so raw that your mind veers quickly away to something more pleasant. Occasionally, an event can slip up on you, and you find yourself, well . . . blindsided. It is what this novel is all about. I hope you will get a copy when it becomes available and read it. I also hope you enjoy reading the story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Please follow the link below to KindleScout’s site and hit the Nominate Me button to vote for me. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015



I have spent the last few months writing a book about intolerance and bullying. I have seen a lot of both during my lifetime, and most of it is from people who don’t know what they believe. Even the most intelligent among us change their core beliefs during their lifetime. Democrats become Republicans or the other way around. Marriages might not last a lifetime, and a career change is not beyond the realm of possibility.
 I was halfway through this article when I realized I was going to have to go all the way back to the title and start again. Originally, the title was ‘What I Believe,’ but as I continued to work on it, I realized I was working on the problem from the wrong direction. It is very difficult to explain what you believe because many readers will decide what you meant rather than what you said. The Beatles complained once because there were too many of their fans who tried to find deep meaning in their songs. Their response to this was an explanation that the songs didn’t mean anything important. The words were mostly chosen because they could be rhymed and set to music. 

There are a surprising number of people in the world who are negative, and most of them are on Facebook, or it least it seems that way. In the early 1700s a writer named Voltaire made the statement, “I may disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” This statement sums up my attitude toward those who sow hate, intolerance, and discord. I don’t like statements that are overly negative to appear on my Facebook news feed, but I grant you the right to say them. I seldom remove a post of this nature unless it is particularly loathsome. Voltaire was one of the first to campaign for freedom of religion and freedom of expression. My strongest beliefs are bound up in Voltaire’s two statements.

I am not gay, transgender, or bisexual, but I want everyone to have the freedom to define their sexuality. What they believe or the way they live isn’t any of my business. I might not agree with you on politics, but I want you to have the right to vote for the candidate of your choice without undue pressure by those who disagree. As long as your behavior doesn’t interfere with the freedom of another, I want you to decide what beliefs will guide you through life even if it is unpopular.

I am opposed to bullying, oppression, and the quick putdown that seems to be so popular today. A man accused of a double murder made the statement, “I am so very sorry.” Sorry doesn’t cut it when irrevocable damage has already been done. Are your preferences really so important that you need to make others uncomfortable in order to express them? I received an email from a friend on the far side of the world after he read the first three chapters of Blindsided. “You’ve really put your foot in it this time,” he observed thinking of the controversy that might ensue from what is a nothing more than a Young Adult novel. Well, maybe not. I am not the guy you would select to sing lullabies to your babies or to read them a bedtime story. The world is full of harsh realities and I’m a big boy. Bullying, harassment, or the latest version of cruelty isn’t the answer to the ills of society. There is a better way, and it leads upward. Thank you for reading and God bless.

Sunday, September 13, 2015


If you look at the statistics, you might think that bullying is the number one sport in America rather than football. There are far too many incidents, and a surprising number of them lead to suicide. Each year, 750,000 people attempt suicide in the U.S. and 30,000 of them succeed. No one knows how many of the suicides among adolescents are caused by bullying, but the numbers would be astronomical.

Not all bullying leads to something so shocking, but bullying is never a positive thing. Much of it is subtle, but it still hurts those who are victimized. Most of us have experienced it at one time or the other. It might happen to the only girl who wears glasses in her class, and her classmates call her Old Foureyes. No one remembers that she won the spelling bee two years in a row, or that she has the best voice in the chorus. They sometimes forget her real name. Or you might be the kid who had to move to a new school because your father got a better job. Your grandparents came from Asia, and the kids call you Hung Chow and pull their eyes up at the corners and make funny faces behind your back. Or maybe you are standing in front of your hotel waiting to go to a speaking engagement at the civic center, and an overzealous cop body slams you, or maybe you are the cop and you stop a motorist on a lonely stretch of highway. As you approach the window, you see a large pistol aimed at your face, and you think about your wife and your two children . . .

I could go on forever, and I do to some extent in my newest novel, Blindsided. It is about bullying, the unfair judgment of others just because they perceive us as being different. Some of you will read Blindsided, and you will say that’s not so bad. It just happens. Suck it up. Others of you will see it differently as you remember your pain so vividly that it will jar your back teeth loose. Go to AmazonScout’s website and read the excerpt, and then click the ‘Nominate Me’ button which will give me a chance to win a publishing contract. Thank you for listening and God bless.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Young Adult Novel BLINDSIDED now on Kindle Scout's promotional platform 

On September 12th, I will launch my Young Adult Romance novel Blindsided on Amazon’s new publishing program called Kindle Scout. I hope that many of you will support me in this effort by going to their site and read the excerpt and book description. Here are some of the things you might be interested in and my motivation for writing the book.

A book like Blindsided requires an inordinate amount of research because of the nature of the subject. I wanted to be as accurate as I could from a medical standpoint without weighing the reader down with too many statistical facts. I also wanted to know why there were some who felt they were born in the wrong body, and how this conclusion came into being. Was it peer pressure, a desire to be different, or were the beliefs about their own body and orientation valid. It was interesting to explore the reason so many feel threatened by those who are different from the rest of us. This also gave me an opportunity to ponder the fact that there are vast numbers of people who have objections to those who are ‘different’ based on religion, ethnicity, or gender, yet are tolerant concerning some other kinds of behavior that should be an issue to all of us. Bullying is never acceptable for any reason, although there is far too much of it occurring at schools, on social media and wherever people come in contact with others. I think it is fair to tell you that my research caused me to examine my own values on a variety of subjects.

Please take the time to read the excerpt and click the ‘Nominate Me’ button. It will make it possible for me to win a publishing contract with Kindle Scout. Those who participate will receive a free copy of the book at a later date.