We spend so much time glorifying the past, talking about the good old days, wanting to be great again, but we have selective memory. This is but one of several disturbing videos I have viewed lately depicting man’s propensity for injustices and atrocities. Slavery, Colonialism, Standing Rock, Aleppo. We don’t seem to learn from our past, but rather keep repeating it, while deliberately and deftly removing the worst of it from the official record. If my writing is too stark, then it is a mirror of humanity, capable of love and hate, tenderness and violence, reason and irrationality. The story of us.Read More →

Writing a book takes time and grit. Publishing a book takes courage and money. Marketing a book takes all four. If you don’t want to waste your time, your grit, your courage and your money, then put forth the best product you can. Edit. Great stories exist in both traditional and indie works. A good blurb and a few pages are enough to capture my attention, but dialogue that is difficult to follow, poor grammar and typographical errors detract from the overall reading experience. Too often, I have been disappointed to find poor editing in both traditional and independently published works. While I may haveRead More →

I was reminded this week why I wrote Sedahlia. More than a story, it is a call to examine our actions versus our beliefs. Do they line up? We are quick to look at others, but how often do we look at ourselves. As you read Sedahlia, ask some probing questions. It is easy to look back at history and think that was them, that was then, but if we are honest, we have our own issues, moral dilemmas and personal biases. Look at the past as a mirror to the present. What do you see?Read More →

I love to read and write historical fiction. I like looking back at a particular moment in time and wondering how people lived and why they did the things they did. Today I paused to look forward and wonder about those who one day will look back. Every day we live, we make new history. Someday our present will be someone else’s past. They will look back on our lives with curiosity, wondering how we ever managed to live without their modern conveniences, why we valued one thing over another, why we had this law or that law and not another, what formed our moralRead More →

This weekend I saw Free State of Jones, a dramatic and thought-provoking depiction of one man’s little known contribution to the Civil War. A controversial figure even among his own kin and understandably so – to some Newton Knight is a hero and unheralded example of civil disobedience, a Robin Hood of sorts standing up for the rights of poor whites and blacks in a war and its aftermath that pitted neighbor against neighbor and fueled sentiments of personal and states rights to preserve a way of life that benefited the privileged few. To others Knight was a traitor to the South, an outlaw, aRead More →

I left the land of freeways and sidewalks, reservoirs and bayous and entered a land of mountains and canyons, draws and washes. I traded flooded swollen rivers for dry streams that thirst for rain. Here the mountains have names and elevations as numerous and different as the people are sparse and eccentric. There are no sprawling subdivisions here, but signs that beckon the hardy, the adventurous, the solitary to buy a piece of this schizophrenic land, beautiful but harsh, its winters bitter, its summers boiling, its storms sudden and violent. And for a little while I walk its dusty trails, climb its mountains, drink inRead More →

As an author, I strive to create good story and characters that resonate truth. I can read lots of things in context if they make sense to the characters and the story. I approach my writing from the same mindset. My characters have diverse backgrounds, personalities, morals and motives. I try very hard to balance tastefulness with truth. The story and the characters are an organic undertaking. Each novel starts as a seed that germinates – takes root and with lots of patience and nurturing sprouts and takes shape. The Masters and Lindseys was just such a seed. Sedahlia is quite simply their story, aRead More →

Naming characters is no small task and writers are always on the lookout for inspiration. For Sedahlia, I didn’t have to look far. John Masters is my great-great grandfather’s name. Jessie is my beloved great grandmother’s name. While Sedahlia’s Jessie always seemed on the verge of wanting to slap somebody, the real Granny Jessie was the most peaceful woman I knew. Her favorite place was her rocking chair and when she took a quiet moment to sit there, she always had a Bible in her hand. That just goes to show there is more to character development than a name. Description, costume, dialogue, body language,Read More →

Sedahlia Take a Look! From the stories she told, Nanny had done many things – picked cotton, worked as a domestic and custodian, even owned her own cafe – and she did it all with a joy for life, a sense of humor and a feisty spirit. On holidays, the doorbell would ring and our family gathering would be interrupted by the white children she took care of long before I was born. Now grown, they always came with hugs and presents. Her smile genuine, Nanny greeted them warmly and never uttered a disparaging word even after they were gone. I was jealous of this other family that claimedRead More →

I have tried to capitalize on social media with my latest release. The jury is still out on what is and is not working for me. If you write Christian fiction or non-fiction I suggest you try the Book Club Network (TBCN). TBCN is a readers club that offers many outlets for authors to connect with readers.They have really trained their members to give fair reviews and to post them on several sites. I also tried a Goodreads giveaway. Again the goal was to get reviews. I offered two different novels on Goodreads. Goodreads readers tended to rate the book without posting a review. Most of my reviewsRead More →