Wednesday, September 28, 2011 your heels and off we go!

...long time writer, first time on tour ;)

The bags are packed, the kids have been tucked in for the night, the wife's been kissed good-bye..."A Charming Endeavor" book tour is set for launch on Monday the 3rd, as I hit the road with little more than the clothes on my back, a full tank of gas, and copies of "South of Charm" crammed into my trunk.

On to the dates...(which are tentative, but close to within a day or two. And who's keeping score anyway? Afterall, we're writers, being flighty is part of the game ;)

Monday, October 3rd - Heading westward for a visit with fellow writer, KarenG.

Wednesday, October 5th - Stopping by "Sharp Pen/Dull Sword" and the lovely Lola Sharp.

Friday, October 7th - Cruising south to Carolina for some southern style gossip with Anne Gallagher at Piedmont Writer.

Monday, October 10th - Celebrating Columbus Day with Sarah Pearson at "Empty White Pages."

Thursday, October 13th - Off to the Windy City for some deep dish, a bottle of suds, and a chat with Michael Di Gesu.

Monday, October 17th - Heading northeast for a long awaited visit with Christine Danek , from "Christine's Journey."

Wednesday, October 19th - The Deep South awaits! Off to Georgia to soak up the sun and chat it up with Olivia J. Herrell, "That Rebel With a Blog."

Friday, October 21st - Headed north of the border for a visit with fellow storyteller, Wendy Tyler Ryan, talented author of "Fire's Daughter."

Monday, October 24th - Nicki Elson, an 80's historian, and the successful author of "Three Daves," takes a quick break during her own road trip to share war stories about life on the road.

Wednesday, October 26th - Talented book reviewer, The Golden Eagle, puts "South of Charm" under the microscope and reveals her thoughts.

Thursday, October 27th - Off to Cali for a second visit with talented writer and long time friend, Donna Hole.

Saturday, October 29th - Ending the road trip with a visit to Meilori's, and a much anticipated chat with Roland Yeomans, down in the Bayou.

And what's a tour without prizes along the way...

At month's end, I'll be giving away signed copies of my book, "South of Charm," two $25.00 gift cards from Barnes & Noble, and upon it's highly anticipated release, Stephen King's new thriller, "11/22/63," due out on November 8th.

and to win...

-All my current followers have already earned themselves 1 point.
-Any new followers I meet along the way will be awarded 1 point.
-All who comment on any of my blog stops in October will earn 2 points.
-Anyone who leaves reviews for "South of Charm" on either Amazon or GoodReads will earn 5 points.
-At months end, my most behaved foster child for that particular day will be choosing the winners, (trust me, that's a win/win for the entire family ;)

Thanks for reading,

and....we're off!


Monday, September 19, 2011

"A Charming Endeavor" - Blog Tour

...while I suspect it won't generate the type of following that an Eagles Reunion Tour would surely anticipate, we're hoping for the best.

Happy to announce that in October, I will be blazing a trail across BloggerLand, promoting "South of Charm," chatting it up with fellow storytellers and friends, while meeting new writers along the way.

Dutifully named, "A Charming Endeavor," the journey will begin at KarenG's on October 3rd, and running through the entire month before finishing up at Meilori's, and a much anticipated chat with my friend and yours, Roland Yeomans.

Along the way, there'll be signed copies of "South of Charm" up for grabs, Barnes & Noble gift cards, and even a copy or two from several of the greats, (courtesy of my editor, who owns a book store ;)

Contest details will be forthcoming. But until then...

"...none of us had seen the cat since returning from Washington. We'd thought perhaps he'd moved on, considering how we'd forgotten to leave him any food during our absence. Yet there he was, poised on weary haunches, considering my emotional state with calm reserve. I hadn't noticed him sitting there until that moment, never sensed his presence nearby.

Feeling the muscles in my arm growing stiff, I turned my back to the tabby and threw another pitch. Then another. Pop, bounce, breathe.

Now I did feel the cat's gaze. Ageless golden gems piercing holes into my back. I offered him a glance, then threw. Pop, bounce, breathe.

I'd always thought cats tended to follow movement. An insatiable desire to stalk anything considered a possible threat, or their next meal. Yet with every pitch, the tabby never once took interest in the ball's trajectory, choosing to focus its attention on me instead.

Unnerved, I finally turned and answered his stare with one of my own. A boy and a cat, caught up in a moment of solace. His face revealed no purpose driving its behavior. With the exception of an occasional twitch from a partially mangled ear, his expression was vacant.

My breathing slowed. My anger grew tolerant. The question left my mouth with little thought in advance. "Well, what am I supposed to do?"

Unblinking, he tilted his head as if to say, "Come on kid, be reasonable. I'm a cat."

When at last he sauntered off, I half expected him to do so on two legs, hunched over an ancient cane crafted from a downed hickory..."

"South of Charm"

Sunday, September 11, 2011

"When it Happened..."

...I was working the night shift in those days. Eleven to seven. The kind of lifestyle only a vampire or a night owl could fully appreciate.

My oldest was nearing his fifth birthday, his younger brother still in diapers, stumbling about on a set of knobby knees, and a belly that prevented him from seeing what his toes looked like.

On this particular morning, a day playing host to a cloudless sky so blue, its beauty boasted the strength to cause even the most disgruntled of my coworkers to pause in wonder, I was asked to stay over an hour or two in order to catch up on the day's workload. I grudgingly agreed.

The drive home proved uneventful. Indian Summer was in full swing, the sun's glare squeezing tears from a set of eyes that were desperate for a warm bed in a dark room, a rarity at the time.

A flock of geese flew overhead, their 'V' formation pointed toward South Beach. I figured they probably had a month to spare before the winds grew wicked, and they'd be forced to ride out the inevitable winter storm.

I can remember the steady flow of traffic in my exhausted state. A young mother pushing her toddler on the sidewalk, a set of tiny velcro-strapped shoes poking out of a hooded stroller.

I remember sitting at a red light, and despite my fatigue, rather enjoying the morning commute.

And I remember turning on the radio, listening to the a.m. headlines...

The television was already on when I burst through the front door. My wife, who rarely watches much TV to this day, was standing before the screen, her mouth agape. She offered me a glance, an index finger drawing my attention to the source of her shocked expression. I joined her in the living room, the two of us standing before the television, watching as billowing smoke and plumes of fire burst from a building in New York City.

At our feet, the boys had awakened, one of them already whining for breakfast, the other simply concentrating on placing one foot in front of the other without losing his balance. On this day however, their needs were not tended to with the normal promptness that they'd grown accustomed to receiving.

"They're not sure what happened," my wife said. "Maybe a bomb or something."

"It's all over the radio," I said.

"It's all over everywhere," she said.

And as we watched, standing before our television on that sun-filled autumn morning, an airplane entered the corner of our screen. There was a moment of confusion, no more than a second at most, as the jetliner angled its descent, pointing its nose at the second building.

I sucked in a breath, and by then it was over.

A tug on my pant leg caused me to glance down at my son, using my frozen posture as his support beam. He considered my shocked expression, giggled as if the world had not changed forever only a moment earlier, and then continued on his way, one step at a time...

That's where I was when it happened. Where were you?


Sunday, September 4, 2011

And "Dog" spelled backward is... I sit here at my desk, fingers drumming over keys, Prince, my trusted Weimaraner, rests at my feet. Using the monotonous drone of a ticking keyboard as white noise, the occasional snort escapes through a set of dangling lips that only a mother could love...or his best pal ;)

When my fingers hover over the keys, thoughts wandering, an eye the color of a diamond studies me from the floor, one loppy ear lifted in question. And if he could talk, I can only assume that he'd be asking, "Hey, think you can keep writing so I can finish my siesta down here?"

Prince, now six years young, was rescued from a Weimaraner puppy mill in North Carolina while barely old enough to amble along on four over sized paws. His fur the color of smoke, gifted with the demeanor of an old friend, we've remained attached through thick and thin since the day we met. Birthed from a set of malnourished and beaten parents, whose sole purpose was to generate offspring, Prince is not without his issues. But we work through them together, and we struggle onward as best we can.

I unfortunately failed to check in until after Pedigree's mid-night deadline, but will nonetheless spread the news of their quest, a spirited march toward canine longevity.

Please read below and if possible, donate to Pedigree's effort. Afterall, as we all know, in this day and age, friends and loved ones may come and go, but that pup trotting along at your side, its nails clicking over concrete like fingers over a keyboard, will remain loyal throughout its life.

Treat them well ;)

Pedigree is resurrecting its insanely successful Write a Post, Help a Dog program. In 2010, 391 bloggers wrote about the program and with each post, Pedigree donated 20 pounds of its Healthy Longevity dog food to shelter animals. In all, 7,820 pounds of food was donated to two shelters renowned for their care of senior dogs: Muttville Senior Dog Rescue in San Francisco and Castaway Critters in Harrisburg, Pa.

How you can help in 2011

Simply spread the word about Write a Post, Help a Dog 2011 and once again Pedigree will donate 20 pounds of food for each blogger's post. Here's all you need to include in your post:

The Write a Post, Help a Dog program is aimed at raising awareness and food for the more than four million dogs that wind up in shelters and breed rescues each year.
For each blog post mentioning the Pedigree Foundation from now until midnight ET on September 3, Pedigree will donate 20 pounds of its new dry Pedigree recipe food for dogs -- its best recipe ever -- to a shelter, because every dog deserves leading nutrition.

The Pedigree Foundation -- a 501 (C)(3) nonprofit organization is committed to helping dogs by providing grants to shelters and rescues and encouraging dog adoption. This year the Foundation has already raised more than $376,570 against its goal of $1.5 million to carry out its work to fund grants that not only help shelters operate, but to further shelter innovations.
The Pedigree Foundation depends on charitable contributions from individuals to carry out its mission to help dogs find loving homes. In addition to writing a blog post, here's how you can help:

Donate online at
Apply for a shelter grant from the Pedigree Foundation by completing a form at
Purchase Dogs Rule Gear at where the proceeds go to the Pedigree Foundation to help loving dogs find a home. SPECIAL OFFER: Get 10 percent off Dogs Rule Gear by using the promo code BlogPaws10 from August 22 - September 30.