Monday, May 30, 2011

THANK YOU for supporting our troops

Wow. And I mean WOW.
I'm posting this now, but technically, the Tour de Troops goes on until midnight, and I'll get e-mail codes out to those who posted closer to midnight tomorrow in the am [I've got to go to work early, and it is past my bedtime---dang, that makes me sound old]

If, for some reason, you had trouble with your coupon code or you didn't get an e-mail with the code--PLEASE e-mail me--- and I will take care of that IMMEDIATELY.  I did have three e-mails bounce back, but I think they have found their way to their destination now.

I don't have a final tally yet of how many books were given out, but a HUGE thank you to the Indie Book Collective. This was something really amazing that they did and I am humbled and blessed to have been a part of it.

So, once again, because we certainly don't say it enough. THANK YOU to our troops.
I wanted to close with this poem... I'm going to start a series here called Unexpected Inspiration---meaning that we sometimes find inspiration where we don't expect it. This is not just geared toward writers, but just anyone who wants to be inspired.

I confess, I never knew General Patton was a poet. Now, I know he was pretty controversial, and I'm not here to debate anything, but here is an excerpt from a poem he wrote. I thought it was really moving--and a source unexpected inspiration.

I thought it was a nice way to close out this weekend. So God bless y'all. And THANK YOU all.

Through a Glass, Darkly  by George Patton

Perhaps I stabbed our Savior

In His sacred helpless side.

Yet I've called His name in blessing

When in after times I died.

Through the travail of the ages,

Midst the pomp and toil of war,

Have I fought and strove and perished

Countless times upon this star

I have sinned and I have suffered

Played the hero and the knave

Fought for belly, shame or country

And for each have found a grave.

So as through a glass, and darkly

The age long strife I see

Where I fought in many guises,

Many names, but always me.

So forever in the future,

Shall I battle as of yore,

Dying to be born a fighter,

But to die again, once more.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

BLOG TOUR DE TROOPS--- Continues here!

As a part of this blog-hopping daisy chain, no doubt you have just arrived from Sonia's Rumizi's blog .She's got some very insightful posts (I loved her commentary on "My Sister's Keeper"), so I hope you took the time to click around. I also must say that Sonia looks incredibly better in a hat than I do---so props to Sonia for rocking that look. (

The next stop on the tour is Roy Finch. (I have no idea how he looks in a hat. ) But I know you'll love his wit. (

And--if you feel the need to go back to "home base" -- it is

Welcome! I'm joining 30 indie authors across the country to say a special THANK YOU to our troops this Memorial Day Weekend -- AND give away some FREE e-books to blog commenters AND soldiers.
 Because every commenter on my blog today gets the ebook of "Leaving the Comfort Cafe" FREE!

Leaving the Comfort Cafe is about a redneck chick who gets a 1600 on her SAT, a full scholarship to Cornell, but never goes. Instead she works as a waitress at the Comfort Cafe, a "mom and pop" restaurant in Eastern North Carolina. Austin, the new town manager, is determined to find out why she gave up on her Ivy League dreams.

In five words or less, it's about crazy Southern white people.

 But right now take time to THANK THE TROOPS with me as I talk about things I LOOOOVE about America --and how important it is to be grateful to our men and women who serve our country.

On Gratitude….a Memorial Day Weekend THANK YOU to our Troops

(a part of Blog Tour de Troops)

In the Bible, Jesus heals a group of ten lepers, and out of those ten, only one comes back to thank Him. Growing up and living in the “Bible Belt,” I’ve heard that story hundreds of times, and each time I hear it, I get really, really, pissed off.

I mean---- come ON you other nine lepers! What the *bleep* is the matter with you? You don’t even say THANK YOU?

Of course, I always envisioned myself as the one leper who came back to thank Jesus. Of course, I KNOW when to say THANK YOU.

Or do I?

It’s very easy to point to the ingratitude of others without look at the ingratitude we sometimes hide in our hearts, as I am much more anxious to get to the next meeting, movie, or chance update my Facebook status than to put my personal desires on hold long enough to say ‘thank you.’

And I think that most of us [self included] are much more like the 9 lepers than we are like the one who said THANK YOU.

I don’t say thank you often enough---particularly when it comes to the men and women in our military who are protecting our country. I don’t care if you’re a “hawk” or “dove,” liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat, these men and women deserve our THANKS and our GRATITUDE.

We’ve heard enough about what is “wrong” with America – so let me just take this time to list [in no particular order] the things that are RIGHT with America—the things that I want to THANK our troops for making possible.

Things that I LOVE about America (with a HUGE THANK YOU to the troops)

* First Amendment. I can worship freely without fear of torture or arrest. Many in the world cannot (check out Voice of the Martyrs if you don’t believe me).

* Navy Seals. These guys are so tough they can eat glass. Seriously. I literally think they can.

NOTE: I’m not trying to leave anyone out--- I’m pretty sure the Rangers and Green Berets and Marines can eat glass as well, or at least chew on it for a long period of time. The training these elite fighting forces undergo boggles my mind. There’s a reason we have the best military in the world.

* Individuality. I don’t have to be a lawyer because my father was one. I can do what I want as long as my rights don’t hurt the rights of another person.

* The Founding Fathers. No, they weren’t perfect, but they were perfectly earnest in wanting the best for our country. That deserves some respect.

* America was a vital ally in bringing down Hitler, the Axis powers, the Cold War, the Berlin Wall and – most recently—Osama Bin Laden.

* Anyone else put a man on the moon ?

* As much as I hate politics, America has one of—if not THE--- most peaceful transition of power in the world. That’s pretty amazing when you think about it.

* Our flag. I mean, it even LOOKS cool, doesn’t it?

* Gene Kranz. (Check him out here)

* Where else can a Serbian immigrant with 7 cents in his pocket create/ discover alternating current and help utilize hydropower for Niagra Falls? (It was Nikola Tesla. Check him out here.)

* I can post on this blog without a government censor looking over my shoulder.

* The Grand Canyon, Key West, Rocky Mountains---some of the prettiest sights in the world.

* My Shake Weight. I don’t know why, but I felt I needed to mention it.

* Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, reserves---- I am convinced that, like cops, 98 percent of our soldiers are model soldiers and represent the best America has to offer. Sadly, we usually only hear about the 2 percent that are obviously from another planet or something.

I just want the 98 percent to know that WE HEAR YOU AND WE KNOW YOU ARE THERE, even if you don’t make the front page of the newspapers, AND WE THANK YOU!!!!!!!

So, what are some of your favorite things about America? And what's your favorite patriotic song? "America the Beautiful" was always a fave of mine.

To receive a FREE copy of my novel, “Leaving the Comfort Café” in electronic format, just leave a comment below, along with your e-mail address. (Because, seriously, I can't send you the coupon code unless you leave me an e-mail addy).

For every individual person who comments on my blog, a FREE copy will also be sent to a soldier. 

Thank you for helping me help our troops!

And your next stop is:  Roy Finch --- that's just in case the blog link isn't working. I've checked out his blog and I think you'll really enjoy his writing style. He's a hoot.

And BTW-- if you want to sample some FREE reads, just click on my picture on this blog or the links on the right.  You can even hear me READ from Leaving the Comfort Cafe on my website, . (Don't worry, I don't charge for the Eastern North Carolina accent).

So -- to recap---
America rocks.
Leave a comment (with your e-mail addy)
I'll send you a coupon code for a free copy of my book.
A copy of my book will be donated to a soldier [if you have a specific soldier in mind, let us know]
Check out Roy's site.
And say a prayer for our nation's troops.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Get a FREE ebook AND one will be donated to a soldier

What could be better than getting a free e-Book?
Why, giving one away to the men and women who protect this country!

Did you know that more than 300 soldiers have requested books? So I need your help to make it happen as I join with other indie authors across the country to participate in a virtual book tour—“Blog Tour de Troops.”

This Memorial Day Weekend, I am linking my blog to dozens of other author blogs to form a “blog hop” chain. Each author will give away a FREE e-book to each commenter AND for every person who leaves a comment, a FREE e-book will be sent to a soldier overseas so he/she can read it on a phone, laptop, or Kindle. In addition, the commenter can designate a specific soldier they would like their e-book to go to or we will select one for them.

But---and here’s the best part--- all participating authors have chipped in so that some soldiers will win a grand prize of their very own KINDLE.

But wait? You don’t have a Kindle?

No problem. My free e-book will be given away through SmashWords, which basically converts the book into an electronic format that will work with pretty much anything---Nook, laptops, cell phones, Sony Readers, Apple, etc. (I’m hoping the formatting doesn’t turn out all squirrely ). I’ll basically e-mail you a coupon code and you just punch that in when you download the book and you’ll get it for free.
What type of books will be given away?

Well, from what I’ve seen, the genres span all over the map--- mystery, romance, paranormal, paranormal romance, historical fiction, chick lit and thriller ( and um…I think there was even some erotica thrown in there.)

So if my writing isn’t exactly your cup of tea, I’m sure there’s something that will capture your attention. Heck, it’s all free. Check it out at: Blog Tour De Troops . I sent in my cover art a bit late, so if you don’t see my cover art, don’t worry, I’m still a participant.

Does this cost me to participate?

No. Not one dime. Just your time.

Which of your books will you be giving away?

Leaving the Comfort Café. I chose that one because it has more humor than my other books.

What’s Leaving the Comfort Café about? In five words or less?

Crazy Southern white people.

Okay, so what do I do?

Go to my blog: The Year of Writing Dangerously [] and leave a comment during Memorial Day Weekend. Be sure to put your e-mail address so I can send you a coupon code. That’s all. You’ve just earned a copy of my book and sent one to a soldier. Check out the other authors, too. There’s some pretty interesting titles up there.

For more information, go to
And if you want to follow my blog, all the better. Like most authors, I’m horribly insecure, and need validation.

But isn’t Jesus scheduled to return on Saturday, May 21?

I’m letting Matthew 24:36 handle that one.

But if you’re “left behind” on Memorial Day Weekend, enjoy some post-apocalyptic reading.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Comfort Cafe now on Smashwords! E-pubbing a must for out of print books

Just uploaded "Leaving the Comfort Cafe" and "Saint Jude" to Smashwords.

And, with very little promo, to give an idea of the $$ I've made via electronic publishing of these out-of-print books:
First quarter-- about $14 . Just some good latte money. Maybe pizza money if I get a special.
THUS far this quarter [which I think is April / May / June] I've made $58.

To recap--last year my royalties were $22 for Cafe and $15 for St. Jude. That's not cracking on anyone, that's just the way things go.

I'm hoping to concentrate more on the writing life in the rest of my posts this year---mainly a series called "Sources of Inspiration."

Friday, May 13, 2011

Streets of Wilmington and Battle Echo

I went on a brief tour of the cobblestoned streets of Wilmington, allowing myself the guilty pleasure of being a tourist, and I went with two people very dear to me. We missed the showers that morning and were able to tour the Battleship North Carolina. The huge gun turret was open, and I was able to climb up into it.

It was cramped, claustrophobic, and all I could think of was the men of that greatest generation huddled inside in the South Pacific heat and humidity, launching volley after volley. Then something occurred to me---the noise! I mean, dear God, the NOISE of this huge gun that was used to shoot down airplanes, I couldn't get over it.

I think the problem with the world, and with myself included, is that we mistake the white noise of prattles and whines of everyday with the NOISE that is the call to something important, the call to make a difference.

Makes me wonder what could be said about me when I'm gone? Will anything echo behind me?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Latte Money to Pizza Money-- and back into the swing of things

Yesterday I heard from one of my students. She is doing exceptionally well and has really taken what she has learned, and I'm proud of her for doing so. I've been out of touch with this blog for far too long, bur rightnow, I feel a sense of relief and purpose for the first time in a long while. It is always an incredible difference when you learn that God has allowed you to play a small part in helping someone.

Now I'm at B's for a writing retreat and I'm loving it. Her cat, Keats, has already curled up on my bed in the guest room and I'm debating how to shuffle her to the side to get into bed.

This weekend I'm hoping to upload some things on Nook and continue with that. It feels good to be back to writing creatively. It feels good knowing e-books is opening the door for many writers---and well, allow us to WRITE.

At any rate, I mentioned earlier that putting out of print books on Kindle shoudl be a no-brainer. I think I reported earlier that I was making latte money [i.e.enough to treat myself to two lattes]. That latte money has grown to pizza money.

For comparison, last YEAR my royalties for "Leaving the Comfort Cafe" were $22. It was out of print, and while I believe the publisher I worked with was wonderful, I wasn't getting a lot from the electronic sales.

I put it up on Kindle.

For the last six WEEKS on Kindle I have made $24 on Comfort Cafe, NOT including 4 copies I have just sold THIS WEEK. And the cool thing is, I've noticed when one sells, the other books I have up there sell. This week, someone bought my Shangri-La short story collection.

Yikes, Ijust realize I need to put cover art and a link on cafe to the sidebar on this blog. I'll probably do that this week.
I also realized that Target now sells a wine CUBE. I bought one for $8 ---supposedly has 2 bottles in it---and the red sangria is surprisingly good.

Though I think we all know that my palette isn't that sophisticated.

Don't stop following me on this blog!---- I'm hoping to post some information on a promo I'm planning to enter and info on how to WIN a Kindle....More info coming....

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Last Lecture I give my students: You will fail.

Randy Pausch, a professor who was struggling with cancer, wrote a book called The Last Lecture that was taken from...well, his last series of lectures.

 Since then, I’ve really been thinking about the messages we send to our students, particularly the “last lecture” we give them at the end of a semester, and I wonder, what are they taking with them from our classes? We are often so unaware of the huge impact our words have on others.

I teach writing part-time at a community college. I wanted to share this, which kind of summarizes the last lecture I give my students:

“We’ve covered a lot of stuff in this class, and I’m sure there’s a lot of it you won’t remember. No problems. But please, please, if you do not remember anything else, please remember this:

Many people are going to tell you that you are going to be a success. That everything is going to be great and if you simple work hard, you will be successful. But I’m going to tell you something different. I’m going to tell you something different. You are going to fail. All of you, at some time, are going to fail at something. I have. Everyone I know –including myself—has fallen flat on his/ her face at some point.

Therefore, success has very little to do with success itself, but it has to do with whether or not you pick yourself up, learn from your mistakes, and go on.

For inspiration, please take this case in point: two men---and I doubt you’ve ever even heard of them.

The first is George Dantzig---and I’m pasting this information from You see, the story was so awesome, I wanted to be sure it wasn’t an urban legened before I posted it.


George Dantzig recounted his feat in a 1986 interview for the College Mathematics Journal:

“It happened because during my first year at Berkeley I arrived late one day at one of [Jerzy] Neyman's classes. On the blackboard there were two problems that I assumed had been assigned for homework. I copied them down. A few days later I apologized to Neyman for taking so long to do the homework theproblems seemed to be a little harder than usual. I asked him if he still wanted it. He told me to throw it on his desk. I did so reluctantly because his desk was covered with such a heap of papers that I feared my homework would be lost there forever.

About six weeks later, one Sunday morning about eight o'clock, [my wife] Anne and I were awakened by someone banging on our front door. It was Neyman. He rushed in with papers in hand, all excited: "I've just written an introduction to one of your papers. Read it so I can send it out right away for publication." For a minute I had no idea what he was talking about. To make a long story short, the problems on the blackboard that I had solved thinking they were homework were in fact two famous unsolved problems in statistics. That was the first inkling I had that there was anything special about them.”

Dantzig wonders if he would have even attempted the problems had he known that they were “unsolvable.”

The second is a poet called William Cowper. You may study some of his work in later classes. An English poet, he is perhaps best known for a well-known hymn, “There is a Fountain Filled with Blood” that is still sung in some churches.

What many do NOT know about Cowper is that he went through a serious, debilitating period of depression. In fact, in one night, he tried to kill himself several times. After his recovery, he wrote that hymn, and several other well-known poems. More information on him can be found out at (a useful site if you take some of the upcoming literature classes.)

So that’s what I want you to take from this class: that throughout life, ALL of us are going to fail. It is a certainty. What makes the difference is HOW we fail. Do we allow failure to extinguish our spirit? Do we allow failure to determine how we see ourselves? Do we allow failure to deaden our dreams?

Here’s a nifty link to some of these success stories, courtesy of Emory University:

Baseball fans know of Hank Aaron. Not only did he break Babe Ruth’s homerun record, but he stood as a voice and inspiration for African-Americans during a time that America was locked in a severe struggle of the Civil Rights movement. Hank Aaron’s record of 714 home runs stayed a record until fairly recently.

Want to know one reason he was able to hit 714 homeruns?

He didn’t dwell on the 1,330 times he struck out.

Good luck and Godspeed, guys. The world is waiting.