Speak of the Devil: A Day In The Life Of A Dog

"Come on, cat, why can’t you and I just let bygones be bygones and be buddies?"

Speak of the Devil: A Day In The Life Of A Dog: Some links before getting started today. Yesterday having had been a Friday, Parsnip had a  Square Dog Friday.  Krisztina had ideas for  E...

Teams Needed for Relay For LIfe of Noble County (Indiana)

Teams are needed for the Relay For Life of Noble County, which has set a fund raising goal of $45,000 for their 2015 effort to fight cancer. As of late March 17 teams have signed up for the Relay, which is being held May 16-17 at the West Noble High School, south of Ligonier along US 33.

At least 15 more teams are needed, and the Relay is also looking to honor and celebrate cancer survivors. The Relay For Life movement unites communities across the globe, with community based events that raise funds for local programs, services, and research in the fight against cancer. Teams and individuals walk or run around the West Noble track and can stay overnight, participating in various activities and entertainment along the way.
For more information, Please contact Mike White at michaelwhite8@hotmail.com or Tammy Taylor at tamera.taylor@cancer.org

7 things about my writing life

I was tagged on Facebook by Lorelei Bell to reveal seven things about my writing life. I’m not going to tag anyone (‘cause I don’t do that), but I think I can come up with seven little known, if not terribly interesting, things:

            I was diagnosed as a kid as being dyslexic—and never knew it. My mother apparently assumed I remembered, and dropped that bombshell on me in an off the cuff remark just a few weeks ago. It must have been a mild case, and the teachers worked me through it; but I do occasionally transpose numbers and letters, something I’d just assumed were normal mistakes.

I wasn’t yet old enough to write when I composed my first story, a fanfiction about my trip to Oz. My mother typed it out for me until I lost interest, and never completed it.

My first completed story was a few years later, when I wrote down a dream I had about being taken into the sky on a UFO made of books (!) My brother refused to believe I’d dreamed that. Like my conscious mind could have thought it up!

In 2003 I sent a manuscript (Radio Red, as I recall) to a publisher, and after not hearing from them for a year I learned that they’d gone out of business. I sent a follow-up query to be sure, and got a phone call from the former publisher—who’d decided to try being an agent, and offered to take me on as a client. I had an agent! Yay!
Three years later, after a few bites here and there, he decided to quit the business.

To add insult to injury, in 2009 Mark Hunter signed a contract to get his new novel published … Mark Hunter of Great Britain. Even Mark Hunter was having more publishing success than Mark Hunter.

In June, 2010, my grandson was rushed to the emergency room, and my car was totaled when a hit and run driver crashed into my daughter. I’d been up 24 hours and was physically and emotionally exhausted when I checked my e-mail and found an acceptance letter from Whiskey Creek Press, for Storm Chaser—my first book contract. I printed it out and went to sleep. It was all very anticlimactic.

 My wife and I met on a writer’s website (Well, she wasn’t my wife then). She thought, based on my writing style, that I was female.

A good week writing

I started out to add a short scene to my space opera story, and ended up creating a new character and writing 1,850 words. Sometimes my mind just runs with it.

Fifty Authors from Fifty States: Idaho: A Hidden Gem with Beth Hanggeli

Fifty Authors from Fifty States: Idaho: A Hidden Gem with Beth Hanggeli: Idaho. Yes, the Potato State. It’s even on our license plates: Famous Potatoes. Although truth be told, the famous ones are grown nine ...

Proof is in the pages

We’ve sent for a proof copy of “Slightly Off the Mark”, which should arrive around the end of the month. Another run-through to come, and hopefully no major problems in formatting—then one step closer to a print run. Next will be to decide how many to order.

We’ve Got You Covered

Here’s the proposed cover Emily did for Slightly Off the Mark, which we hope to have out in print and e-book in April. Let me know what you think!

A Good Day Having Written

(You might be hearing something new from my column soon, thanks to Kendallville Mall. Stay tuned!)


It was mid-August, 2014 when I first learned about a great opportunity to sign with a big, nation-wide traditional publisher.

Six months ago. The beginning of my half year long nightmare.

No, not writing the book itself. Writing is a joy, and sometimes the only thing that gets me through horrible life events like illness, election campaigns, and winter. But I made a major mistake, back in August. When I first started corresponding with the editors of Arcadia Publishing, I made a joke about how a February deadline was plenty of time, as long as nothing went wrong.

You don’t make fun of Batman’s tights. You don’t kick Chuck Norris’ pickup truck. And you don’t spit in the face of Murphy’s Law.

It’s a miracle that we were only four days late delivering the first draft, after which my wife and I collapsed into mutual balls of physical and mental exhaustion. The dog was fine, though.

Images of America: Albion and Noble County is a book by both of us (me and Emily, not me and the dog). It required tracking down old photos about—well, the title should tell you—(the collecting was done by both of us), and a whole lot of time scanning the photos into a computer under very exacting standards (by her), followed by research and writing (by me). I probably spent the most hours on it, but she did the hardest work. Researching history and writing stuff isn’t exactly work to me. I mean, it can be hard, and time consuming, and frustrating, and exhausting … okay, I guess it is work. But it’s work I like to do.

All would have been well except for Murphy’s Law, which quite clearly states: “Anything that possibly could go wrong, will”. Ah, that crazy Murphy, the eternal optimist.

In one of the very first e-mails I sent to William Wallace of Arcadia, I mentioned that my wife had caught one of those nasty summer colds. (You know William Wallace from Braveheart, of course.) It should have served as a warning. By the time I was handed off to the regional editor, Maggie Bullwinkel, I had to tell her things were getting rocky.

This would be a good time to point out that working with the people of Arcadia was great. They were nothing but helpful and encouraging, and even when I missed the deadline and had cover problems, they never yelled at me. (I mean, book cover problems, although I landed under the covers at home several times.) The problem is, for the first time I got a book contract before the book was finished.

Over the course of the next six months, one of my daughters landed in the hospital multiple times and was diagnosed with a serious ongoing illness; my grandmother was rushed to the hospital in the middle of a snowstorm; I took my other daughter and one of my grandkids to the doctor, not to mention my wife and I showing up there ourselves multiple times …

Well, let’s just boil it down: In a six month period, every single person I know was either hospitalized, injured, in an accident, or became seriously ill. Or all of the above, and sometimes more than once. The only exceptions were the couple of people who are going to write and say, “Hey, you know me and I was fine that whole time!” That’s because they suffered head injuries and lost their memories.

Of course, it’s just as possible that I missed someone being well because of the two month long sinus infection that made me feel like the Alien alien was trying to force is way out of my face.

It was also during this time that the springs on my garage door broke while I was holding the door handle, slamming me down into the concrete like a crash test dummy. You’d think that kind of force would clear my sinuses. This was before the freezing rain incidents and the snowstorms.

It was also during this time that I lost my writing job of twenty-five years, and picked up a new one, which took a little adjustment time. There were holidays too, I think, around December or so. I’ll have to get back to you on that.

It was, in short, a nightmarish time of illness, pain, rushing around, stress, and did I mention winter? Still, in the end, we finished the book and got it sent in. So … was it worth it?


Maybe I’ll go into detail on that another time. But it’s one of those funny things about writers: The “having written” part seems to make up for everything else.