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29th of June

2017 Writerly Happenings


Hi, folks!

Here are 3 more exciting “writerly” events happening this summer:

 

“If everybody read Wendell Berry, I believe we’d have a shot at being more decent.”

 

 

Hope to see you at one, or all of these times!

 

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10th of March

WHEELMAN gets a facelift


Hi all!

Following last month’s update about the release of my next novel, Swimming the Echo (5.30.17), I wanted to give another little update regarding the WHEELMAN paperback version. I’m currently in the works for finding a new cover design for it, and I’ll try to share that look (and its reprinting) soon!

In the meantime, the e-book version is alive and kicking OVER on Amazon FOR 2.99!!

Thanks for reading.

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18th of February

The Uncertainty of Travel, circa 2017.


Fun times abound.

If you travel somewhere, there’s about a gazillion warnings the CDC will throw at you. (I know they’re trying to do their job.)

And airports will inevitably warn you against bringing a contaminated fruit across the border. But, the list is crazy long now.

What was the last one you saw when you traveled abroad?

I think I was asked about 5 times one morning whether I had a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 in my pocket or not. I kept shaking my head and thinking about how much that company probably regrets going live with their product.

Flammable. Watch out! Everyone might die!

And I read signs before we boarded the plane about airborne contagions, and I saw about one hundred (all men) in line to board a plane to Las Vegas with face masks on – not making eye contact with a soul.

And I was asked if I knew whether I was headed to a country with Zika infestations. My wife and I, of course, were.

The cold shoulder of travel. A few lines were check marked by the customs lady. We went West, South, and then more West, unsure of whether a mosquito bit us or not.

The signs in the airport said to take precautions against birth defects, etc., if you came into contact with a disease.

(No wonder Orwell’s 1984 is the most downloaded book online today.)

I’m still unsure of what (if anything) bit me last Christmas. But, like any good American, I’ll wait for the inevitable – for question marks to become periods. For rest to come and end the worry.

They’ve all gone to bed in the beds of their choices. – Dr. Seuss

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20th of January

Slice of Nostalgia: How Many Do You Remember?


Searching for the band BareNaked Ladies on a school browser and immediately regretting it.

Discovering the face of Jesus in a slice of rectangular-shaped pizza in the school cafeteria.

Purchasing pencils, pens, & paper out of one of these:

Losing more oxen than you care to remember on The Oregon Trail.

Eating a nutritious pack of Gushers to curb your appetite before lunch.

Eating the other pack of Gushers before making it into the lunchroom.

Using your lunch money to buy Fruitopia out of the machine.

Playing Candystand & Nabisco World Mini-Golf in class.

Wearing JNCO jeans you got at Goody’s, because it was absurd not to. (Plugg Jeans were a nice backup.)

Metal choker necklace – check.

Hair glue – double check.

A worn in pair of Airwalk sneakers – always.

Forming a WINDBREAKER club afterschool.

 

 

 

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21st of October

Whatcha Reading?


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“It is impossible to read too much, but always keep before you why you read.” – Oswald Chambers

 

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17th of October

How one album can change your world


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Think about your favorite album of all-time.

From lyrics and liner notes to catchy choruses and amazing guitar solos.

Got it?

Now, think about the memories attached to each track on the album.

That road trip you wish never ended. The youth group church van. That one time you were grilling out with friends.

Kumbaya.

A lifetime of firsts took place with that revolution of ten to twelve tracks.

If you’re older, maybe it was vinyl (or eight-track). Slightly less old, a cassette tape deck with worn rewind buttons from playing the favorites again and again. Even newer folks, a compact disc with scratches all over the disc not because you weren’t careful with your favorite but loaning it to that one careless joker caused the disc harm and now it skips every time. Millenials & beyond, maybe the mp3s and iTunes and streaming gadgets have profiled your favorites as a result of playing the same album tracks so many freakin’ times. Regardless, we all have the album in mind and we know the track progression like we know our own souls.

For me, it was a small, Nashville-based band and a self-titled album with a couch on the front of it. My peers in school were immersed in this disc non-stop. I still remember picking it up from a Christian bookstore and sitting in a blue van on my birthday. Mom asking if it was the right one. Me telling her it was the only one.

That album got played to death. (I’ve replaced is more than twice.)

Fast forward to 2008, my wife walks down the aisle to the final track from that album, What Will Your Anthem Be?, done up in a beautiful piano rendition by a best friend.

Move on to present day, my church grants me access to create music playlists and of course the couch album is featured more than a couple of times on the intro and outro set list.

Two decades later and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight to my obsession with it. What about your playlist? What still provides goosebumps every time it’s cycled through and you’d never imagine hitting the ‘next’ button? Why is it so important to you?

Here are the lyrics to What Will Your Anthem Be?:

When the glitter fades, It fades so fast
What really lasts, what will the anthem be?
Did we sing of rock and roll?
Did we sing if sacred souls?
Has the heart and the harmony met pleasingly?

When the flicker fades, it fades so fast
Nothing is left. What will be legacies?
Cause guitars burn you see
Recollect no memories
Of the lights and the cheers and the human vanity

Should I give?
Should I sing some rust?
Pity me for my golden lust
This one’s for the lily
And this one’s for the rose

Here it is, let the truth be told
Here it is, we would like to know
Here it is, what will the anthem be

What will your anthem be?
What will our anthem be?
What will the anthem be?

 

 

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23rd of August

Meeting Kevin Costner: Renaissance Man


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Well, standing 500 feet away from him, I should say.

But who cares? We were in the SAME auditorium for a concert. His concert.

Did you know Kevin Costner even played music?

I didn’t either, but Leah said we had 2 tickets (to paradise) & a Kevin Costner concert – compliments of her workplace.

So, I did what any red-blooded, Tin Cup/Bull Durham/Waterworld/Dances with Wolves/Field of Dreams/The Untouchables/Robin Hood-watching guy would do: turned to Spotify for help.

I found Costner and his band Modern West. Of course, I dug the moniker. Kevin Costner was a living, breathing Western to me. Always had been. His name (like Eastwood’s) is synonymous with awesome. He’s Joe Cool. Pre-Camel cigarettes cool.

We got gussied up. My wife, me, and two friends. Saturday came, and we went to see Costner perform.

It was a black tie event. Naturally I wore a blue one. Kevin Costner wore boots, I think.

While I didn’t recognize his music, (none of the songs were household tunes) they weren’t half bad. Costner requested the reverb be cut waaaay down and the spotlight to be cut completely off him. And, he sang like a bird and eventually closed the set down with Dylan’s Tambourine Man.

All in all it was a delightful time. Even though Costner never came over to our table and signed anything, I’d like to think he would’ve if asked. There were baseballs stationed on each table, and I wanted mine signed by Billy Chapel pretty bad. Similarly, none of us on the back row received a Costner wink, but we still felt included in Modern West’s concert.

If you have the time, check out Costner when he’s not on the big screen. He’s Joe Cool, people. Here are some upcoming dates:

 

Tour

Date City Venue Country
08/24/16 Kevin Costner & Modern West in Alexandria, VA The Birchmere United States
Time: 7:30pm. Address: 3701 Mount Vernon Avenue. Buy tickets
08/26/16 Kevin Costner & Modern West in Poplarville, MS Brownstone Center United States
Time: 7:00pm. Address: 101 Hwy 11 N. Buy tickets
08/27/16 Kevin Costner & Modern West in Ocala, FL Circle Square Cultural Center United States
Time: 7:00pm. Address: 8395 SW 80th Street. Buy tickets
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4th of March

@ Star Line Books this Saturday…


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WHEELMAN signing ~ 3/5 (Saturday) 2-4pm ~

Bring a young adult reader with you. It’ll be fun. There should be donuts and coffee available, too.

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23rd of January

1 Thing I learned from The Revenant


revenantstill

I watched the Revenant recently.

Revenant – someone who returns after a long absence (believed to be dead).

Fitting title for the film, but there is so much beyond this single description in its 2hr 36min. run time.

It’s a brutal, harrowing tale of a man trying to survive. It’s a chain of events. His fortune seems to go from bad-to worse-to despair, and I was reminded of all kinds of biblical heroes who encountered just such odds in Old Testament events – especially Job.

I know. It’s not even remotely accurate to compare DiCaprio’s role in a film to a man of God, but this one stuck with me as I read today’ devotional about blessings.

Would you agree that for a follower of God one of the hardest principles is being blessed and not straying from God after the blessing has occurred?

Like being in the woods with a compass and suddenly throwing the compass away once we see something familiar. It’s a similar self-reliance in our spiritual walk.

While God says, “Look to me and be saved…” (Isaiah 45:22), our inclination is to turn tail and run for what we believe to be higher ground.

Much like DiCaprio’s character in Revenant, we travel through life’s seasons getting beat down on more than one occasion, and these scars can wound us beyond repair if we allow them to. But, opposite to the physical fight of man’s battle with nature, the spiritual requires us to simply stop tugging on our own.

To admit, God is more than capable of handling your, mine, and our issues, if we let him.

 

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15th of December

WHEELMAN (excerpt#1)


teaser1

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