Welcome to my Blog!
I hope you enjoy the short stories posted here, as well as the news about my books and the selected quotes — some funny, some profound– you will find below. I’d love to hear your comments. Recently we posted our 140th story and zoomed past 18,000 views. Milestones!
Photos: The photo at the top of this page was taken near Banff National Park. The background photo is of a cherry tree in full bloom . My photo was taken in Palm Springs by friend Dave White.
While you’re here, please scroll down to a collection of quotes: some serious, some humorous, some profound.
Nice Things Happen
Just received word that an anthology with one of my short stories is due for release this Fall by a publisher in New Zealand. FEAR AND COURAGE contains a spectrum of stories about how individuals from around the world dealt with unexpected challenges.
It is available now on Amazon. I think you’ll agree that the cover is quite spectacular:
In Other News
It’s a great pleasure to let you know that my latest novel, SECRET SHEPHERD, released a few months ago by Solstice Publishing Inc., Farmington, MO. has been included by Solstice on it’s list of six recommended for Fall.
The novel is a gripping mystery/suspense novel tempered with lots of heart and soul. Tantalizing? Hope so!
Here’s a sneak peek:
A single act of kindness plunges young philanthropists Paul and Anne Winston into jeopardy. After rescuing a gifted youth from an international drug cartel, the gang retaliates with huge rewards for the murders of them and their two children.
And that was just the start of the wealthy couple’s troubles: Paul has discovered the drug boss is having an affair with Anne’s mother. Then it gets even worse … police forbid him from telling newly pregnant Anne about it, forcing Paul to break a solemn vow.
Reviews have been both flattering and extremely gratifying:
An editor and publisher in New York, Lois W. Stern, had this to say: “Above all, SECRET SHEPHERD is a magnificent story of love and hope prevailing in a world under siege.”
Another wonderful review came from James Murray, of San Antonio, TX, author of IMPERFECT MURDER. He said, “SECRET SHEPHERD is a love story, a story of sacrifice for the greater good, a story of hope for a world with a better future, and it’s a spellbinding tale of deceit and greed all rolled into one brillian work of fiction.”
SECRET SHEPHERD is the second in a series that began with THE MAIDSTONE CONSPIRACY, a gripping mystery awarded first place in an international reader’s competition sponsored by McGrath House in London, UK.
It was selected by a panel of judges from among novels published around the world, to be among five finalists in the Contemporary Fiction category.
Then the sponsor, McGrath House, invited the public to choose winners in each of nine categories and THE MAIDSTONE CONSPIRACY was chosen as the Best Contemporary Fiction novel in their 2017 contest.
That was pretty awesome!
More Good News:
My debut novel, THE ULTIMATE THREAT, enjoys the rare privilege of being an Amazon bestseller twice. It first achieved that distinction when it was released in June 2015, and then made an encore as a #1 bestseller in early December, 2017. We’re not sure how that happened, but we’re delighted.
The novel is about that scourge upon humanity called ISIS. It will be scary to some — hey it’s a thriller about those psychopaths — but the sales and the wonderful reviews have been heartwarming. You can check it out here: The Ultimate Threat. I’m delighted that it also placed second as Best Thriller of 2015 in an international readers poll in early 2016.
Back to The Maidstone Conspiracy for a minute. It’s a story of passion and intrigue spanning the world, from the graceful beauty of the English countryside to the rugged grandure of the Colorado foothills. Writing this novel was great fun! Here’s the link, hope you’ll check it out: The Maidstone Conspiracy It also tied for third as Best Mystery of 2015 in the P&E poll.
In between my first two novels, a collection of short stories called, ENCOUNTERS WITH LIFE — TALES OF LIVING, LOVING & LAUGHTER, was named Best Short Story Collection of 2015 in the open category in that P&E readers’ poll.
It contains 34 of my short stories that I hope will inspire and amuse you, and warm your heart.
Here’s the link to Amazon: Encounters With Life.com.
Even More Good News!
I’m delighted to also tell you about a great anthology to raise funds for a foundation helping families disrupted by war to get re-established. All proceeds from “Limitless” will go to the AMAR Foundation based in London, UK, under the patronage of Prince Charles.
Two of my short stories were selected by the publisher and project sponsor, McGrth House, to be among 39 poems and stories from around the world included in “Limitless”. Here’s the link. The anthology was released in print and ebook formats in October. All poets and authors donated their stories.
One of my stories is a personal favorite, Dragonflies and The Great Blue Heron, which is making its third appearance in an anthology. The other story is called Rein of Error, a never before published story about a tyrannical school teacher’s intolerance of a left-handed second grader.
Dragonflies and The Great Blue Heron also made an appearance in a charitable anthology to raise funds for Canada’s branch of Doctors Without Borders. Voices From The Valleys is a collection of 50 short stories, edited by Jodie Renner of Penticton, BC, an internationally acclaimed author and teacher.
Here’s the link: Voices from the Valleys.
It’s encouraging to realize that my short stories now have been included in a total of nine print anthologies published in Canada, the Unites States and Britain, as well as numerous online anthologies and ezines.
Another delightful short story I enjoyed writing, Pantomine Hunter, was chosen for the anthology Tales2Inspire-The Crystal Collection, created by New York editor Lois Stern. It has received a gratifying response from readers: Tales2Inspire-TheCrystal Collection
And just in case you need inspiration for next Halloween check out the scary anthology, Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, from Solstice Publishing, which ironically accepted one of my funny stories about a Halloween prank that backfired: http://amzn.com/1625262728.
It’s a pleasure also to let you know that two of my short stories have been published in another anthology called, Never Light a Match in the Outhouse: Funny Stories from Cottage Country. The book was published by Summit Studios and is available on Amazon: http://amzn.com/0986685666.
Another of my short stories, The Salt Lick, published on this blog, was the runner up for first prize in a contest observing the 10th anniversary of the Word on the Lake writers’ festival. The Salt Lick was included in an anthology honoring the Festival sponsored by the Shuswap Association of Writers.
Yes, we’ve enjoyed lots of good luck, and are very grateful! For example, Dragonflies and The Great Blue Heron
was a finalist in a competition sponsored by Tales2Inspire. Another short story entered in the same competition, Barbara’s Story, an intimate true life love story, received an honorable mention from the Tales2Inspire judges.
Here’s how to reach:
My working career began in journalism and then teaching journalism, after which I took a detour through the corporate world before returning to writing. That detour included becoming vice-president of a Fortune 500 company — a mixed blessing — and then president of a management consulting firm for 10 years. Those experiences made clear that a varied life, filled with a diversity of mostly good and occasionally not-so-good experiences, provides a huge resource for creative writing.
Have a terrific day. You deserve it!
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Whenever anyone has offended me, I try to raise my soul so high that no offence can reach it.
Native American Proverb
They are not gone who live in the hearts of others.
Frank Lloyd Wright (1869-1959)
I believe in God, only I spell it Nature.
Matthew Kelly, author, “The Rythm of Life”
“We all need people in our lives who raise our standards, remind us of our essential purpose, and challenge us to become the best version of ourselves.
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.
In memory of Judi Osborne (1948-2004):
She had the soul of a mermaid, the fire of a lioness, the heart of a hippie, and the spirit of a butterfly. (Credit: @butterfliesandpebbles)
Indian Mystic, Sadhguru
Religion is the arrogance of assuming things that you do not know.
It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you in trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.
“Life is fraught with opportunities to keep your mouth shut.”
Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
Other Quotes of Note
Fiction is a lie that tells us true things, over and over.
Mary Torrans Luthrop (1838-1895)
Take the time to walk a mile in his moccasins.
Pierre Elliott Trudeau, former prime minister of Canada
A society that emphasizes uniformity is one that creates intolerance and hate. A society that eulogizes the average citizen is one that breeds mediocrity. What the world should be seeking, and what in Canada we much continue to cherish, are not concepts of uniformity but human values: compassion, love, and understanding.
Liu Xiaobo (Nobel Prize winner who died while a political prisoner in China)
To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.
“Hatred can rot a person’s wisdom and conscience. An enemy mentality will poison the spirit of a nation and inflame brutal life and death struggles, destroy a society’s tolerance and humanity, and hinder a country’s advance toward freedom and democracy.”
The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while Nature cures the disease.
On Grief: Most people understand grief as an event, not as the permanent alteration to life that it is, and so they stay until the funeral and imagine that when the service ends, somehow you too can move ahead; that there is some finishing to your mourning.
John Heywood, 1546
There are none so blind as those who will not see.
(His quote is a paraphrase of the biblical proverb: Jeremiah 5-21)
If you have been brutally broken but still have the courage to be gentle to other living things, you’re a badass with the heart of an angel.
John Wooden (American basketball player and coach)
Your reputation is what you’re perceived to be. Your character is what you really are.
Survival of the fittest has less to do with being the strongest or the most intelligent, and almost everything to do with being able to adapt to change.
No one ever drowned in their own sweat
I feel no need to be what you think that I am.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.
My choices in life were either to be a piano player in a whore house or a politician. And to tell the truth, there’s hardly any difference!
The secret to a good sermon is a good beginning and a good end, and as little between the two as possible.
One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.
O would some power the gift to give us, to see ourselves as others see us.
Bishop Desmond Tutu
When the white missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said ‘Let us pray.’ We closed our eyes. When we opened them, we had the Bible and they had the land.
Bozone — A layer surrounding stupid people that prevents intelligent thoughts from coming through. (Source: Washington Post annual Mensa create-a-word competition.)
1. Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all that we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.
2. The significant problems that we have cannot be solved at the same level of consciousness with which we created them.
3. The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch and do nothing.
Einstein once defined genius as the ability to recognize the obvious. It’s not hard to see why …
Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
Only the closed mind is certain
Writing is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling it to the public.
Mel Hinds, A Former Mentor
The very best writing invites you in so completely that you become unaware you are reading it.
It’s better to remain silent and thought a fool, than to speak up and remove all doubt. (Adapted from a comment by Samuel Clement, aka, Mark Twain)
If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter
Attributed to an RC Bishop (Name Unknown)
Religions that are mad or sad and not glad, are bad.
To My Children and Grandchildren
Everyone is born with certain abilities, but it is with the ‘nourishment’ of parental guidance first, and then of other life experiences, that these inate endowments will flourish.
— James Osborne
Some of Mine
On Getting Published
Literary Agent Sara Megibow once worked for an agency that in one year received 36,000 queries from aspiring authors. From among those, the agency requested 839 partial manuscripts, considered 98 full manuscripts, and from all of those signed just nine new clients. Evidently, huge odds are not confined to lotteries.