Humble pie

I like to think I’m a pretty humble, unassuming guy and I think that makes being a writer a lot harder. Why? Well, at their core, writers are arrogant. 

Not that it’s a bad thing. In fact, for writers it’s important. A necessity. It just goes against everything I am. 
Let me explain. Writers are arrogant because:

1:) you’re writing something because you believe it’s good enough. You’re good enough. Your book that you’ve been toiling away on deserves to be published. It deserves to share the same shelf space with the greats. Who the hell do you think you are anyway?

2:) you’re writing something that people (even those who are not related to you) want to read. That whatever masterpiece you’re crafting will have some sort of value. 

If that’s not arrogant then I don’t know what is. I think that’s why I’m so bad at the self-promotion. I hate (really, really hate) that part of it. 

And as if on cue, here’s the shameless self-promotion part. Here’s The Medal and The New Millennials. Read, share, comment. 


What’s your fantasy?

When I was a kid, I loved fantasy novels. Tolkein’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, Hickman and Weis’ Dragonlance, Jordan’s Conan the Barbarian and the like. There was something special about opening up a book filled with magic. Continue reading “What’s your fantasy?”

There’s no right rite to write, right?

I think almost everybody has a preferred ritual for writing, and every one has their own ritual. I like to sacrifice a fatted lamb to the muses in the hopes of dislodging the words from within my mind. There’s no magic to it. For me, I just have to commit to do it. I really don’t need a specific time or place. The stars don’t have to align. Personally, I would love to have a chance to see the wife off to work, the kids off to school, and then for me to trudge off to the basement office and just write for the next 6 hours. Unfortunately, I have a job to do and bills to pay. So I allot 1 of my off days to writing, and hopefully I am able to bang off a chapter. That’s my goal. One chapter a week.
 This is me when I’m trying to write that perfect sentence. 

I think a lot of writers share the same habit. Some write more, dedicating every spare second to their craft. Good for you! Most of us have other responsibilities to juggle.  Other writers write until they achieve a certain word count. And some just write until the words stop flowing. This week, I’m going to share how some popular writers approach their craft.

J K ROWLING: she’s a big fan of writing wherever and whenever she can. She’s said that she wrote down character names on an airplane barf bag. She’s also been known to write through the night, at cafes, or in hotel rooms. She writes when the writing comes to her.

STEPHEN KING: easily one of the most prolific writers ever, Stephen King writes at least 2000 words a day. He can write a 180,000 word novel in three months. He’s not a stickler for outlines, preferring to let the story take him where it’s going. He is very much-a-fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants writer.

J R R TOLKEIN: Tolkein was the polar opposite. He was a very slow writer. The Lord Of The Rings was written as one book over the course of 11 years. That works out to roughly 245 words a day.

JAMES JOYCE: Joyce made Tolkein seem like a speed demon. There’s a famous story that has a friend asking Joyce in the street if he’d had a good day writing. Yes, Joyce replied happily. How much had he written? Three sentences, Joyce told him.
KEN FOLLETT: If I had to choose my favourite book, I’d choose Follett’s The Pillars Of The Earth. Follet treats his writing like a job, starting everyday at 7 and finishing no later than 5. He’s said that he wakes up in the morning with the story in his head and spends the time making detailed outlines. He also uses a spreadsheet to keep track of all his characters.

JAMES PATTERSON: Another very prolific writer, which isn’t a surprise really, considering he does very little writing. Patterson has perfected an almost assembly line style to writing. He writes a detailed outline for his story and then hires another writer out of his own pocket to write it. Patterson and the other writer both get credit on the cover but all monies earned from his books (and the eventual movie deals) go to Patterson. It’s not a bad deal for the other writer, usually a new writer. They often end up with book deals of their own.

Like I said, there’s no one way to do it. Find what works for you and run with it. That’s it for this time. Here’s the links for my on-going serials, The New Millennials and The Medal. Until next time!


Hoopstad, an imaginary destination. 

     I wrote back in the first post, ‘lo these many weeks that The Medal was a sci-fi story, and I’m sure no one believed it. I’m about 130 pages in and there’s been no sign of anything resembling science fiction. In truth, it reads like contemporary fiction. It’s just the story of a family dealing with the loss of a loved one, and that’s it.

     The medal that Alex inherits from his father is really a MacGuffin. It’s sole purpose, as we’ve seen now is to propel our protagonist into the past and give him a chance to correct a mistake his father made during World War 2. 

     I love time travel stories. Always have and always will. This story feels like it could have been ripped from an episode of Quantum Leap. (It wasn’t!)

     Alex is sent to Nazi occupied Holland, presumably to save the lives of a Jewish family that had successfully hidden for the duration of the war.  They are summarily executed by a Nazi officer in a pique of rage while Alex’s father watched in horror.

     My problem is that World War 2 was a real thing. People really died. Horrible things happened to good people routinely. My story is fictional and I didn’t want to hijack any one’s true stories or impugn anyone’s reputation. So I invented Hoopstad. Hoopstad and all its inhabitants are imaginary. Their stories are imaginary too, but they have been inspired by true events. When we meet him, sturmbannfuhrer Erich Klaages is fictional too. 

     My intent when writing The Medal was that it not be construed as anything other than historical fiction. I’ve tried to keep the details as accurate as possible. I’ve done a lot of research but I’ve been know to make mistakes from time to time. Bottom line; read it. Enjoy it. Don’t expect anything more than entertainment (I hope)!

As always, new chapters for Running the Gauntlet and The Medal are posted. Don’t forget to vote! Until next week,


Running the Gauntlet: casting call. 

I had a lot of fun last week when I did the casting call for The Medal and thought I’d carry it over this week with Running The Gauntlet. Most of the young actors I’m not familiar with but look close to the image of what I had in my mind’s eye as I wrote them. Let me know if it jives with what you pictured.   
Colton Haynes as Brock Blevins. Colton wasn’t my first choice for Brock. He’s a little long in the tooth but my daughter thinks he’s right and who am I to argue. You may recognize him as Roy Harper in Arrow or Jackson from Teen Wolf. 

Karidja Toure as Victoria Williams is a French actress known for Girlhood but I think she perfectly embodies Victoria. She has the grace and confidence that is so crucial to Victoria. 
Joey King as Kat “Wiggles” Wigglesworth. This young up and comer is perfect for Wiggles. I know her from White House Down and Fargo and I think she can capture the quirky, techy Wiggles. 

Tony revolori  as Manny Pacheco. People will recognize Tony as Zero from The Grand Budapest Hotel and will know that he can portray the melancholic Manny without having him completely lost in sorrow. 

Charice pempencgo as Elisabeth Salonga. I confess I’d never heard of Charice, but damn if she doesn’t look exactly like Elisabeth!

Nick Robinson as Carter Drake. I recognized Nick from Jurassic World and Boardwalk Empire and it’s like looking at a photo of Carter. 

Damien Lewis as Mr. loggia. I heart Damien Lewis if only for Band of Brothers! We also saw his dark side in Homeland and I am sure he can capture the enigmatic Mr Loggia with just the right amount of polished malice needed for the character. 

Daniel Craig as Sinclair. As great as Dan, (can I really call him Dan?!?) is as Bond, James Bond, I think he’d be great as the uncultured, rough Sinclair. 

Patrick Sinclair as Dr. Pauer. Patrick probably needs no introduction. Who didn’t love his turn as Leodegrance in Excalibur? Has he done anything else since? Anyway, dress him up in a Kim Jong-Un style military uniform and suddenly he’s Dr Pauer!

Olivia Munn as Miss French. I loved her in The Network. She’s due to play Psylocke in the next X-Men movie, so Miss French would be a breeze. 

      Well, that’s it for this week. I hope the visuals help while you’re reading Running The Gauntlet. Maybe pass the link to any teens or tweens, and let me know what they thought. That is the target audience, after all. 

     As always links to the new chapters are posted.  Find Running the Gauntlet and The Medal here. Until next week, happy reading!


Casting Call!

      I’m sure I’m  not the only writer who dreams of what his cast will look like on the big screen. Yeah I know, talk about putting the cart before the horse. I haven’t even finished writing the darn thing yet! Still, it’s a guilty pleasure and not without its merits. At the least, you’ll get a visual description of your character in your head that you can use as a quick reference point when writing. I should stress very strongly that you keep notes too, and refer to them often to maintain consistency in your story. Also when writing your story, NEVER use your celebrity description within the story. For example, in The Medal I wouldn’t write;

 Alex saw Genie from a distance and was taken aback by her beauty. He’d forgotten how much she looked like Geena Davis. 

      Your celebrity descriptons are meant only for you as the writer. To include it in your narrative is a cheat and really cheapens the experience for your reader. 

     Anyway, here is my blockbuster cast for The Medal when it’s finally made into a Hollywood film.  😉


Tom Hanks as Alex Allenby. What can I say? I only want the best and Tom (that’s right, we’re on a first name basis) has that every man quality needed for Alex. 

 Hal Holbrook as Brennan Allenby. Admittedly, Brennan has a small part, but it’s vital to the whole story. Hal just looks gentle and vulnerable and perfectly captures Brennan. 

 Cherry Jones as Emily. I loved Cherry on 24 as President Taylor. She’s tough, decisive, and in charge, just like Emily!

Grant Gustin as Lorne Allenby. Fans of The Flash will recognize Grant. Lorne is probably the most likeable character we’ve seen thus far, and Grant’s Barry Allen shares that quality. 

Liam Hemsworth as Jeff. Jeff is a hottie hot hottie. I hear that Liam is also easy on the eyes.  ‘Nuff said!

Geena Davis as Eugenie Allenby. Genie is beautiful, classy, and way out of Alex’s league. Geena fits the bill perfectly. 

  Kevin Pollack as Clive. I love Kevin pollack! He’s a great character actor who makes movies better just being in it. Plus, he has the chops to play the thoroughly unlikeable, conniving, and selfish Clive. 

Well that’s it for part 1 casting. There will be all new characters to introduce in part 2. (Spoiler alert!). 

As always, new chapters of The Medal and Running the Gauntlet are up. Read and vote. Tell your friends too! See y’all next week!


Step outside your comfort zone!

I’ve mentioned earlier that I think the number one thing a writer needs to do is read. The reason for that is to immerse yourself in as many different types and styles of writing as possible from a wide array of writers. So if you usually enjoy sparkly vampire love stories, try reading some true crime non-fiction. 

The point here is to grow. Personally, I like reading. I normally tend to gravitate towards literary fiction, but I’ll try anything. 

The same is true for your writing. Expand your horizons! All the great writers are doing it. JK Rowling went from Harry Potter to detective stories. If you haven’t read them yet, check out the Cormoran Strike novels under her pen name, Robert Galbraith . They are amongst my favourite books out there right now. 

Another favourite, Margaret Atwood, is writing a graphic novel. One of my favourite writers in one of my favourite mediums? Yes please!

There are plenty of other things a writer can do to step out of their comfort zone; switch POVs, switch genres, or just write about something you normally wouldn’t. The important thing is to switch things up! You’ll find yourself a better writer for it in the long run. 

As always, the newest links to Running the Gauntlet and The Medal are up.  Read them and let me know what you think. I value all input. Don’t forget to vote. Both books are currently in the top 30 for jukepop and I’d really like to stay there, you know, for bragging rights. Until next week,


The Martian – A serial Success Story!

A while back I posted a short story on my Facebook page written by a relatively unknown writer named Andy Weir. The story is called The Egg, and I absolutely love it. It’s the story of a recently deceased man who encounters God and God teaches him the meaning of life. If you haven’t read it, read it now. Continue reading “The Martian – A serial Success Story!”

Put another dime in the jukepop, baby!

I’m Back! I’m sure you may have noticed that I haven’t posted a new blog post for awhile, 6 weeks to be precise. I haven’t lost interest or motivation in this endeavour. In fact, I’ve been writing since my self-imposed hiatus. I have several more chapters in the can and will now continue with updating weekly. Continue reading “Put another dime in the jukepop, baby!”

Chapter 6

      Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets.

-Arthur Miller, The Ride Down Mt. Morgan.


Emily wrapped one of her mother’s bone porcelain tea cups in paper and placed it with the matching set into a cardboard box. She sealed the top of the box with packer’s tape and wrote China with a black marker. “Here’s another one, Jake,” she called to her son.

“I’ll run it down to the car,” he said, coming out of the den. He had something under his arm.

“What’s that?” She asked him.

“It’s the rest of grandpa’s war medals,” he said. “I’m going to take them. They’ll look great in my apartment, a real conversation starter.” Emily didn’t say a word. She stared at the shadow box for a long moment, absent-mindedly chewing on her lip. A million thoughts flitted through her mind like the harried flight of a hummingbird on a summer day, seemingly random and chaotic. Her feelings were conflicted and complex. Continue reading “Chapter 6”