Category Archives: Basic blah, blah…

Calling The Curious

Good morning! Today is a shameless plug so I’ll make it short & sweet.

March 21 at 10 PM CST, yours truly will be interviewed for his FIRST blog talk radio show. (Cue raucous applause sfx.)

I’m flattered and humbled anyone would be interested in interviewing me or listen to what I have to say, so it should prove interesting on many fronts. And since I’m an old fart and I’m usually asleep at this time, the interview will be an exercise in willpower & caffeine consumption. 🙂

So…

If you’re wondering what I sound like (here’s a flashback post on the topic) or curious about my War of Whispers series or waging bets in Vegas on whether I can stay awake and attentive for that long, then I hope you’ll tune in.

If nothing else, wish me luck!

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To Be “That Guy”

I wanted to share one of my favorite short stories, The Window by G.W. Target.

This was the only online version I could find that wasn’t rewritten and that also captured the heart of Target’s story.  I’m still amazed at how much he packs into this short tale, the ole “less is more” adage, as well as how many applications it has, too.

Every time I read it, I come to the same conclusion: I want to be as selfless as the first man by the window. Unfortunately, I’m too much like the other fellow. Of course, we all have to start somewhere in regards to personal change and revelation which, hopefully, leads to life revolution. Besides, if I trumpet something to the effect that “I’m very much like that first guy,” well, it’s sorta like confiding that you’re a humble person, isn’t it??

Anyway, I hope you enjoy The Window and that it gets inside your psyche and makes you squirm…in a good way. 🙂


“Let’s Get Visible”-My Thoughts

Let's Get VisibleI’ve been following David Gaughran’s blog for some time, primarily because he is experienced, straightforward and insightful.

So when his marketing book came out, Let’s Get Visible, I grabbed it.

David’s writing style is crisp and conversational, making this book easy to read and comprehend.

As far as content, the book is packed with useful information and isn’t just re-prints of past blog posts. You’ll also get a good understanding of Amazon’s algorithms along with links to helpful sites/resources. My only gripe is that if you’re not planning on going with Amazon’s KDP, which I’m not, then there are sections that won’t be applicable.

Nevertheless, Let’s Get Visible is a great resource to have as an indie author. In fact, I’m excited to give some of his suggestions a whirl.

What have you tried to promote your books?


Thanksgiving Rescue

Truman after being rescued.

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I thought I’d share a story that began two years ago.

Months after we put down our dog, Macy, conversation swirled in our home around getting a new pet. My vote, spurred probably by an urge to reconnect with my childhood, was to get a dachshund. My wife became convinced as well, but we couldn’t afford a purebred, and you just don’t find one down at your local shelter. So we put the matter aside.

That Thanksgiving, we received this photo. It came from friends that lived out in the country who found this abandoned dachshund on their parent’s farm. They probably wouldn’t have discovered him if it hadn’t been for the cows. When they heard them moo and saw them dart across the field being chased by a flash of red, they assumed it was a fox. Racing to the rescue, they discovered this pup and assumed he’d chased the cows out of fear. I chuckled. Fear? Although small and wiener-like, dachshunds were bred to attack badgers. This pup was probably trying to kill them!

We decided to visit to make sure the dog would be a good fit for our family. Needless to say, he exemplified all the personality traits of a dachshund on crack. Yet despite the obvious trauma, we could tell there was a good dog inside.

We went home to discuss, and the next day, I called to make arrangements to bring him home.

He was a mess! Not only was he malnourished, but he had so many issues that stemmed from trying to survive. He’d bark incessantly at the ceiling fan. Was this due to an owl or hawk attack (he does have a scar)?  If the back door was ajar, he’d dart out despite the fact that our home kept him safe, warm and well-fed. Even after a good meal, he’d hop onto our dining room table to hunt for food.

With the help of a friend who is a trainer, I nursed him back to health and tried to correct his bad habits without breaking his spirit. Her best advice was using a squirt bottle. I’d flip on the fan, he’d bark, and I’d spray his nose. When he hopped up on the table I’d blast him. Going outside required a leash, and if he growled at someone, he’d get a firm yank with a squirt. When he charged an SUV to attack (dachshunds really do think they’re the size of rhinos!) I’d spray him.

Truman sunning, July 2011

Over time, the trauma issues disappeared and what emerged was a well-rounded dachshund. Well, as well-rounded as one can expect with this breed! He’s extremely gentle with our grandson, playful yet not overly aggressive, loves to burrow beneath blankets, and thinks I hung the moon.

And yet, a week doesn’t go by when our home reverberates from a scolding, “TRUMAN!”

But considering where he’s come from, I’d say that’s just par for the course.

After all, he is a dachshund!


When I Learned That Harm Can Be Love

While painting some gutters,  a baby bird’s chirp caught my attention.  Not wanting to alarm him, I looked high and low for the nest but was unable to find it.

Repositioning my ladder, the chirps increased in volume and intensity.  Peering cautiously into the bush, I searched the shadows for him.  But what I meant as cautionary he perceived as a tactical threat.  Launching himself from his hiding place, and giving me a scare, the young sparrow flew away.

Only he was too young to fly.  So instead of reaching another bush and safety, he landed in the yard.  Dazed, he chirped repeatedly, no doubt calling to his parents for help.

Standing high on my ladder, I had the perfect assessment of his situation.  Not only was he out in the open and easy prey for the neighborhood cats, but he sat only a few feet away from a busy street.  I knew he couldn’t escape danger, and that it was impossible for his parents to help him, so I decided to make the rescue.

Hopping off my ladder, I grabbed an empty 1 gallon bucket to trap him, scoop him up and then set him free.  At least that was the plan.

But as I neared, he chirped and flapped and flitted away.  Once more, he presumed that my intention was harm when in reality I only wanted to rescue him.  And in fact, his efforts to escape were not only moving him toward the street, but were alerting the prowling cats.

Desperate, I crouched and crept closer.  And as quickly as I could, I dropped the bucket over him.

I could hear his wings fluttering against the bucket and his frantic chirps echoing within.  My heart broke.  I wished that I could speak “sparrow” and tell him that I had no intention of hurting him, and that this was the only way to rescue him, and that he was going to live, and that I would set him free in an even better place.

And it was at that moment that I better understood how God must “feel” trying to love me.  It’s not a perfect picture, but like the sparrow, in my attempts to find freedom apart from God, I’ve discovered gravity’s ruling hand and have landed in the middle of danger.  Likewise, I too interpreted his scooping “hand” as being hurtful and cruel.  But looking back, perhaps standing on a rung of life’s ladder, I see that it was the only way out, and what I defined as harm was in fact the most loving thing he could have done.


“Why’d You Shoot My Dog?”

Rounding the bend, I saw the sign and slowed my bike for a better look.  It was staked in the front yard of a gorgeous country home.  I often pass this idyllic neighborhood when cycling and dream of one day living out here.  A peaceful river gurgles on one side of the road; expensive homes sit on ten acre lots; Tennessee’s rolling hills paint a serene backdrop.

But then there was the sign.  Professionally made, it said something to the effect of, “To the person that shot my dog, could you please tell me why?”

My image of the perfect neighborhood was shattered.  Violence like this doesn’t…shouldn’t happen out in the country! This sorta thing happens in low-rent districts or trailer parks, NOT here.

But it did.  And judging by the tone of the sign, I imagined this dog to be a gentle creature, one that would wag his tail and lick you incessantly.  Sure, like many country dogs, he probably wandered off a bit too much.  But is that any reason to shoot him?

I biked past the same area yesterday.  The sign was gone.  But in reality, you can never remove a sign like this.  It will forever tarnish this quaint neighborhood with the image of a bullet, a dog, and the answer to its lingering question…

Evil lurks everywhere, even in pastoral settings like this.


Lemonade? Anyone?

Photo courtesy of Microsoft

You know the saying: “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

It’s a great saying with a lot of truth and pizazz to staying positive, but there are times I want to pitch it (usually in someone’s face!)

To be honest, this week is one of those times.  I feel like I’ve got gallons of the citrus stuff but no one interested in sampling or buying.  By the way, I’m not just talking about my books.

Yes, my cynical nature is particularly tart today, and being exhausted isn’t helping me either.

And like you, I have choices.  I can continue to squeeze out lemonade or I can take a bath in it and really get bitter (something my family LOVES!)

So I’ll press on… I’ll acknowledge my dire attitude, do my best to adjust and realign, and start to count the many blessing I do have.   Let’s call this honest hope.

It’s also times like these I’m thankful I’m married to a very positive person who takes my “Eeyoreisms” with much grace…and glasses of lemonade.


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