Taking a Break

It’s hard to define what “taking a break” means when you’re a retired businessman- turned-writer, but that’s what I’ve done the past several weeks.  After wrapping up my recent novel, At the River’s Edge, and self-publishing it on August 15th, I’ve taken a break from writing.

I missed the September posts to the two monthly writers’ blog hops where I regularly participate, and I haven’t written a single word on my next murder mystery (working title Butchers Road).

What I have done is visited family and taken a New England/Canada cruise with my wife, Claudia, and two longtime friends.   It was the longest I’ve been away from writing and our dog, Milo, in years.  Milo acts as if I’ve never left, but I still haven’t gotten back into full writing mode, as yet.

Claudia and I were very impressed with the towns and scenery in Maine and Nova Scotia.  There were too many people on the cruise ship to our liking, but once ashore, we were able to relax and soak in the cool sea air, visit with friendly natives,  and hike the picturesque countryside.

I’ll get back into writing and return to my blog in October, but until then, here are a few snapshots of our trip and one of Milo begging me to get up from my desk.

IMG_0040   IMG_E0051





Quality Comes First: IWSG

It’s time for my September contribution to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog. I decided to make a slight variation from this month’s IWSG question, What publishing route did you take and why? Instead I plan to discuss writing as a self-published author.

Be sure to click on the #IWSG icon at the end of my post and check out the responses from dozens of interesting writers.

There are those who believe the advent of self-publishing has given rise to the rampant publishing of books lacking the editing, substance, and quality that has traditionally come from “published” authors. While there may be examples where this is the case, my experience as a self-published author and my familiarity with other self-published authors convinces me this is not the norm.

If book sales are any indication of the quality produced by self-published authors, there are many examples of authors who have broken through the best-selling barrier without the aid of a big publishing company. Here is just one of many articles that makes this case:  https://publishdrive.com/self-publishing-success-stories/

Most self-published authors engage the skills of editors and beta-readers to hone their manuscripts. The complex and detailed process of producing a quality novel is not limited to published writers. I have one personal example that illustrates my point.


Uninvited Visions was my second book and my first and only attempt at a YA fantasy novel. It was about Midwest teens in the 1970s having unexplained premonitions of frightful events. After discovering they were not alone with these powers, they worked together in desperation to stop their deadly images from coming true and to rid themselves of their uninvited visions. Sounds like it might have possibilities, doesn’t it?

I spent over ten months writing the manuscript. Claudia, my wife and editor, tried her best to help make the story work. In the end, it just didn’t measure up to what I had planned, nor did it fit into the genre I had selected to write–suspense/crime novels. At over 300 pages, the book still sits on my laptop’s hard drive with only one proof copy ever printed. At times, I think about revisiting the book, but I have instead moved on to other novels.

While the self-publishing process may have few checks on the quality of the books produced, most writers going this route know that quality counts. Writing, publishing, and marketing your own books has many benefits over traditional publishing, but taking shortcuts on editing and settling on inferior results are not among them. It’s a lesson I spent nearly a year learning.

Many thanks to Toi Thomas, T. Powell Coltrin, M.J. Fifield, and Tara Tyler for hosting this month’s blog hop.  To follow nearly 200 writers participating in this week’s IWSG blog hop, click on the icon below.  You can also follow on twitter @TheIWSG  or #IWSG.

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

While you’re here, please check out my new release, At the River’s Edge The unsolved murder of Mayor Hank Richards and rumors of moonshine money buried in the foothills of the North Carolina mountains take center stage in this thriller.

Headsone in Creepy Cemetery with Bridge in background


Times Like This


It’s times like this past month that encourage me to continue writing. Leading up to and during the first book signing of At the River’s Edge, I met dozens of people with active interests in reading, writing, and my new book.

Best-seller status is the ultimate reward for an author, but there are many events that occur along the way to make writing fulfilling. One such event happened at a recent book signing.

Her name was Lisa and she came with her young son. She told me she’d been waiting a week to pick up a signed copy of my new novel. She’d recently read my first book, Corrupt Connection, which she’d checked out of the library. I usually bring a few copies of all my books to signings but don’t feature them. Seeing Lisa’s interest and enthusiasm, I had to offer her a signed copy of my first novel. She was overjoyed as she departed the library.

Several minutes later, Lisa returned with a small stuffed bear under her arm. “Would you take a picture with me and my friend?” she asked. I was a little perplexed as she took out her phone and pulled up several snapshots. The photos were of her and her bear with other writers, including the likes of Nora Roberts.

I proudly posed for the picture.

** Photo from Pixabay.com