What Easter Means to Me

The spring season brings the Easter Bunny, Easter Egg hunts, and a new dress or suit of clothes for a trip to church. 

For me, Easter means the death and resurrection of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Crucifixion was a ruthless and cruel way to die, but Jesus suffered much more than this on his way to the cross.

Jesus was tied around a post, pulling the skin and muscles on his back taught. He was beaten with a multi-tasseled whip containing sharp objects that were woven in to its tips. His back would have been shredded after receiving up to forty lashes.

His beard was ripped from his face. A sack was placed over his head, making him unable to brace for the numerous blows he would receive. The Bible tells us, and I paraphrase, looking upon Jesus you would not have known he was a human being. A crown of thorns was pressed into his scalp, and all this brutality before the first nail was driven.

Once on the cross, the painful process of attempting to breathe began. As bad as all of this was, I think the worse was yet to come. Fully man and fully God, Jesus knew no sin. Yet he bore the sin of all people past, present and future. Jesus paid for our sin, so we would not have to. This wonderful story strengthens me each day. It tells me I have nothing to fear, because Jesus paid it all. He has such love for us, I find it difficult to understand, but am oh so grateful.  I hope each of you had a wonderful Easter weekend and may God bless you and yours!

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I Would Read This With a Cow, I Would Read This With a Sow, I Would Read This on a Plow or I Would Read This Blog Right Now

I remember when I was but a wee lad falling in love with the written word. In the years prior, my parents would read the wonderful Dr. Seuss to keep me entertained. I still remember Green Eggs and Ham, Hop on Pop, The Cat in the Hat and many others too numerous to list. I believe the first book I read on my own was The Enormous Egg. This would help set the stage for my love of Science Fiction later in life. In the second grade, I fell in love with Charlotte’s Web and would read it nearly every day.

My first YA novel was The Red Planet by Robert Heinlein, which I read until the covers fell off. As I graduated to a more adult level of reading, Stephen King was the man. In fact, for me he still is. After I had read King for a while, I made a determination. With all the stuff, he has floating around in his head, had he not started writing, King would have become a serial killer or his head would have exploded. My favorite works by Stephen King are The Dark Tower series and Needful Things. Even though I have published four novels, my writing experience has yet to elevate me to the status of any of the authors I have mentioned, but you never know unless you try. So I guess I’ll keep on writing until the herd of turtles come home.   

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Sometimes Ya Just Gotta Let it All Hang Out

I had a newspaper interview yesterday. It’s fun to sit beside the interviewer and talk about yourself for an hour or so. Then, after the interview, there’s a photo session. It makes you feel good knowing that something you’ve done has brought pleasure to a stranger.

I’ve been fortunate to have been featured in a number of newspapers, several radio interviews (one of them national) and two television appearances.

The one that stands out (and when I say stands out, I mean stands out) was my second appearance on the silver screen. I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2006. I did the interview in question a few years later. I used a glorified walker known as a rollator. I was in the studio along with my wife, the interviewer, three camera men and probably another six people (male and female) milling about. I was required to climb upon a platform that was approximately six to eight inches higher than the floor to participate in the show.

Several people gathered around to steady me, while my wife knelt and helped raise my feet onto the platform. Well, wouldn’t you know it, my pants picked that particular time to fall to the floor. To make it worse, I went to the studio the way I went everywhere, and that was commando. I attempted to call my wife’s name as she was concentrating on lifting my legs. I could coerce no sound to leave my mouth. She finally looked up and we rectified the situation. No one said a word and the interview proceeded without a hitch, although I imagine the story was retold more than once.

You never know what’s going to happen as we pass through our day-to-day lives. But ain’t it fun to find out? It gives us plenty to laugh about after the fact.  

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If You’re Fortunate Enough to Get There, It Ain’t Gonna Happen Fast. So Get Ready For a Long Slow Ride

A thought entered my cranium this morning. If I could change anything over the years of writing, what would it be?

The many short stories I penned with the intention of submitting them to magazines? Having published works would give me more credence in the eyes of publishers and agents once I completed my first novel.

Learning how to write the perfect query, so my pitch would not be trashed before the first paragraph had been read?

Maybe the thousands of emails I sent to perspective agents, even though literary agents received thousands of queries each year, accepting less than 1% of what they choose to read?

The endless search for a small press, who would accept unsolicited manuscripts?

Perhaps the writing of a novel along with the endless rewrites and edits taking more time than the writing of the original manuscript?

Then there are several rounds of rewrites and edits once it reaches the publisher.

There’s artwork to consider, back matter, acknowledgements, dedications and finally a finished product.

And now the work begins and I can sum it up in one word: Marketing! This, in and of itself will require your constant attention as long as you continue to write.

Looking back, is there anything I would change? . . . Nah!

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The Saying Used to go “If you want to write, write.” Not If You Want to Write, Write, Re-write, Edit, Market, Market, Market

As I begin my blog, we are experiencing sustained winds of 30 mph gusting to 50 mph. Trees are falling and power outages occurring around a good part of the state. In case you’re wondering, I live in Virginia. Fortunately, my power is still on, and no, I didn’t knock on wood. I hold a firm belief that if rapping my knuckles against a slab of tree (albeit finished) makes one iota of difference in my life, then I need to rethink my entire existence.

I’m working on a new science fiction/fantasy hybrid that is becoming extremely frustrating. Not because of the manuscript, but my inability to spend time working on it. Here’s where the irony rears its ugly head.

The time I need to write the book is spent on another necessary aspect of the writing biz, namely marketing. It’s not my intention to sound like a broken record or beat a dead horse, but something must be done about this travesty. I have spent many sleepless nights and grueling days pondering this conundrum. After many years of searching, I now have the perfect solution.

All we need do is lengthen our days. It would be a simple task. Change our present calendar to reflect six months instead of twelve, forty-eight hour days and a ten-day workweek. Aside from a few minor tweaks, I believe this would solve all of our problems. Just think, finally enough time to finish manuscript after manuscript, without the marketing beast hoarding every minute . . . at least I think so. What if marketing expands to meet or even exceed the percentage of time it demanded before the change? If this occurs, we’re right back where we started, only with twice the marketing.

Best leave bad enough alone; I don’t want to experience worse.

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Deadly Reign Outline

Ben, Eve and Pete continue to push through this new Earth as the world sinks deeper into corruption. They gain new allies, including an intellectual animal equipped with the gift of speech. They are forced to battle six aberrations (beasts and riders) deemed nearly indestructible. The environment has manifested into a frigid terrain with the sun lost in the ice filled cloud cover. Swords forged especially for the riders by the riders offer another layer of defense to an already superior force. The humans have deduced that water may possibly be a weapon, but a weapon that even now is freezing at an accelerated rate.

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Occasionally Something Will Take a Long Time. I Don’t Mean a Long Time, I Mean a Looooong Time

Once I completed and published my first novel, Rising Tide, I decided the ending left a question  the reader could use their imagination to determine. This would leave an air of mystique surrounding the book’s conclusion and therefore, not be a good candidate for a sequel.

After being asked if there would be a follow-up to Rising Tide, I was hit with “A light bulb moment.” It took four months to complete the rough draft of book two titled, Eden’s Wake. Without a break, I  began the first re-write. It went fairly well, but I knew I needed some time away from the book. I obeyed my “time away” inclination and turned to work on other projects. Needless to say, this new path didn’t last long and I found myself working on Eden’s Wake’s third re-write. After completing this stage of what was becoming the abyss known as Eden’s Wake, I began to pen the third book in the series, Deadly Reign. The new manuscript went surprisingly well and I found myself pleased with the first draft.

From time to time I would delve into my dark side for a good dose of self-abuse and pull out Eden’s Wake for yet another re-write. During this time of back and forth I completed Deadly Reign, including re-writes. I was satisfied the third manuscript in the series was ready for submission; however, (and this is important) when you are writing a series, the books are normally numbered 1,2,3 and so on; therefore, you can see my conundrum.

After another re-write or two with my parasitic twin, Eden’s Wake, I began a stand-alone science fiction manuscript titled, Terminal Core. As I wrote this new offering, I continued to work on Eden’s Wake. I finally made a decision that surprised even me. Being too hardheaded to trash the troublesome manuscript and having invested years, I made major changes. My new mantra was, gut, re-write, gut, re-write. This worked and seven years after Eden’s Wake’s conception, it was published, April 27, 2015 and I was finally satisfied.

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