Monday, October 26, 2009


Just stumbled upon NaNoWriMo. That weird acronym stands for National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write a FIRST DRAFT of a 50,000 word novel. Sounds obscene, but I have determined to do it. My thought is that it is one way to prove that I can actually accomplish pushing out a full-length draft in 30 days.

Contest participants from all over the world enter--last year they logged 1.6 BILLION words! Each author can enter regions they want to represent and choose a "home" region. They enter the # of words they have written periodically, and when they finish the novel, they submit it for verification. Pretty awesome.

If you are interested in neglecting all you hold dear in November, think about joining in. I entered today and am working on an outline and some research to get the thing going. I am actually considering two books--Dark Mountain Mean, a thriller/suspense set in Arkansas and Vengeance Sisters, a fantasy novel. I am leaning toward Dark Mountain Mean, but we will see how the outline goes. I can't actually write the novel until November 1, but am looking forward to getting started.

If I really commit to this, then I guess I will have to put off finishing Corruption in Colombia until January--I had a goal of finishing the first draft by Christmas. Maybe this exercise will embolden me. Then, when I am finished polishing off Corruption in Colombia, I can work the NaNoWriMo novel into something publishable and I'll have TWO books to take to agents with another idea or two up my sleeve.

I am praying now and need more prayers daily to help me do these things and be successful.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

At Forty, a Lump of Coal

Ok, so I turn 40 today. Big deal. Just another day. Just another decade.

Part of me wants to celebrate--I have a son that just turned 18, I have 4 wonderful children, a beautiful and caring wife, and we all are healthy and happy. Except, part of me wants to lounge in the duldrums of my mediocrity and misadventures. I am not where I want to be, not nearly--as a Christian, as a father, as a husband, as an employee, as a writer, or as a citizen, a friend, a son, a brother or a reader of fine literature.

Are my expectations realistic? Probably not. Am I being hard on myself, maybe exhibiting a little too much self-loathing? Is it common to feel angst again at 40? I am, after all, just unhappy with MYSELF. I do not blame God, or my family or any external influences for my uneasiness with where I am or where I should be.

God puts these ambitions on my heart to spur me to action, not self-pity. But, perhaps, just like being converted, before we move forward, we have to realize how in NEED we are. Perhaps this feeling of inadequacy is the refining fire, the external pressure I need to turn from the lump of coal I feel I am to the diamond that God wants me to be.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize

Alright, right off the bat, politics. Ok, I just read the BBC version of this story. I cannot say that awarding the prize to Obama was a wise choice. Granted, his contenders have as many clear problems (and maybe more) than he does. Morgan Tsvangirai of Zimbabwe was actually considered the favorite to win the award. He has risen from a nickel mine foreman to be Prime Minister (at least a share of the title). He joins Robert Mugabi, the incumbent PM who has ruled with violence and has completely torched the Zimbabwe economy--one of the world's worst. However, despite his rise to share in governing his country, Mr. Tsvangirai was taped in 2002 discussing with Canadian media sources ways in which someone could carry out an assasination attempt on Mugabi. He was cleared of treason twice, once acquitted and once the charges were deemed "unconstitutional."

OK, maybe not the stiffest competition. It seems to me that the underlying problem is that when you are awarding a "peace" award, the candidates must exhibit traits that are peaceful or act in ways that bring about peace. Although I do not deny that Mr. Obama does desire peace, talks about peace and has met with world leaders to discuss peace, our world is no safer, no more peaceful than we were two or three years ago. I know. Give him time. But the award should be for doing something that promotes or creates peace, not just thinking about it or passionately supporting it.

I suppose what I am thinking is that Obama may turn things around in Iran, Afganistan, Iraq, Jerusalem, or even Mexico or right here in the good 'ole US of A. He may get a college football playoff, Major League Baseball players to stop taking growth hormones, or get the Mexican cartels to turn themselves and all their drugs over or maybe erect a wall to prevent illegal immigrants from being "mules" and allowing the drugs to even touch our soil in the first place. Maybe Mr. Obama will get Russia to actually completely de-arm their nuclear arsenal and we can do the same.

And if Obama does any one of these things (except the playoff, maybe), he will deserve to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. And even win it, if he manages more than one of those assignments, as daunting as they are. But, so far, his choice for the Nobel Peace Prize was about as inappropriate and premature as awarding Tim Tebow the Heisman trophy before the season started. Let it play out. Let us see how this all pans out. Is it good that world leaders support Obama? Of course. Is it nice that America is actually getting begruding respect where once it was glaring ridicule and hatred? Why, yes, it is nice.

Let it be known that I am a republican. I am conservative. But, above all that, I am a patriot. I love America. And, I want to see her succeed. There is a bit of pride that an American won. It seems we have been shut out since 1993 for the Nobel Peace Prize in literature and that galls me. So, Obama won. Prematurely, to be sure, but in my mind it is an American "win," whether it is deserved or not. Hooray. Now go out and do something to deserve it, I guess. And that does not mean pushing a national health care plan through or allowing gays to get married. Do something in areas where you are strong--global PR, bringing people together and galvanizing peace. That will be your victory, Mr. President.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

First Blog

This is the first of many blogs to come. Topics will be all over the map: writing, fishing, reading, Bible, kids, homeschooling, politics, current events, sports, etc.

I am writing several novels (not all at once, but close). The one on which I am currently working is at 1/3 of the rough draft. I know that sounds boring, but as I get the draft finished, I am going to need volunteers to read it. It falls into either "literary fiction," or "commercial fiction." These labels are vague and ambiguous, but basically, the novel will not be genre fiction (mystery, suspense, thriller, fantasy, romance, etc.).

This novel takes place in the cartel-infested country of Colombia (yes, an alliteration). I have the chapter outline finished, but know that it will probably change again. It has changed four times already. But I remain excited and hungry to get this published. I know it is a good story and I feel strongly that I am doing a fine job writing it.

My other novels include a fantasy novel and a historical fiction story about Blennerhassett Island and the legend surrounding Aaron Burr and his attempt to secede from the United States during Thomas Jefferson's presidency. This was AFTER he gunned down Alexander Hamilton in their infamous duel--which has a fascinating history, by the way.

I realize my writing is technically very spread out, but it reflects my interests. History, fantasy, and getting published. That is why I am writing Corruption in Colombia (working title), to get published. It is the most commmercially viable and ready-to-go idea I have in the works. Other ideas present themselves from time-to-time, but I haven't really reacted to them yet.

This blog will be where I will keep everyone updated, market my work, leave my thoughts, information about research I am doing and general "stuff" as it interests me. Hope you enjoy! Tell your friends!