Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Second Eye



The above one-eyed figure is a daruma doll. At some point today, I plan on blackening its other eye.
For those of you unfamiliar with a daruma doll, it is a good luck talisman used in Japanese culture. Meant to represent Daruma, the father of Zen Buddhism, the doll is purchased with two white eyes. One eye is filled in and a goal is set (or wish made). When the wish is realized, the second eye is filled in.
The daruma above is the second one I’ve purchased for my writing goals. I purchased my first one nine years ago and set my goal of “being published.” Though my thoughts at that time were of a full-length novel, I filled in the second eye of my first daruma when I had a novella published in a Christmas anthology in 2011.
Even with that, I maintained the dream of publishing a full-length novel. I purchased another daruma, blackened its eye, and kept it ready for the day. If I’d known then how long it would take me to finally add a second eye, I don’t know what I would have done.
I’m proud to say that the day has now come.
My first novel, The Samurai’s Heart, is now available. My blurb is below.
Japan, 1587. Sen must find a husband to marry into her family’s swordsmith business. She seeks a Christian husband, though Christianity is banned. Enter Nobuhiro. Third son of a high-level samurai, Nobuhiro fled his harsh father and apprenticed himself to a swordsmith. He yearns to prove his worth. They seem an ideal match. But for Sen, the choice is faith or family. For Nobuhiro, choosing a Christian ends any reconciliation with his family. Can love be forged from the impossible?
If interested, please click here to be taken to Amazon.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Samurai's Heart now up on Kindle Scout

I've taken the plunge on Amazon's Kindle Scout program, submitting my novel The Samurai's Heart for consideration. The novel will be up through March 20. Please take a moment to look at it and vote for me. If Amazon selects me, then all of those who voted for me receive a free copy. (You need to leave your vote in place until the end for it to count.)

The premise is below.

Japan, 1587. Sen must find a husband to marry into her family’s swordsmith business. She seeks a Christian husband, though Christianity is banned. Enter Nobuhiro. Third son of a high-level samurai, Nobuhiro fled his harsh father and apprenticed himself to a swordsmith. He yearns to prove his worth. They seem an ideal match. But for Sen, the choice is faith or family. For Nobuhiro, choosing a Christian ends any reconciliation with his family. Can love be forged from the impossible?

Please click here to be taken to the site.    

Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Littlest Actor

The story below happened when my now 14-y.o. son was only three years old. It's a family story we'll never forget. I'm reprinting it from a previous blog post. Hope you enjoy it.

Every Christmas Eve, my wife and I take our sons to the children’s service at our church. The service includes a kids’ pageant and our boys seem to pay closer attention than they do during the typical church service. Also, we feel that attending Mass on Christmas Eve provides a wonderful way to begin the holiday. After the service is over, we go out to dinner to the one place open on Christmas Eve, a Chinese restaurant.

While my wife and I believe every family Christmas is special, we cannot conceive that any will be more memorable than our last one. It was to be a big night as our older son, Andrew, was finally old enough to participate in the Christmas pageant. He enjoyed two rehearsals and getting into costume, admirably playing the role of a shepherd. Because church seating at Christmas is limited and we wanted to take pictures, we arrived almost an hour early to get a seat up front. We knew it would be difficult to keep our pre-school age son, Christopher, seated for the long service and the time before it. Therefore, my wife saved our seats while I played with Christopher and kept him entertained. When it was close to time, I corralled him and took him to our seats; he sat on my wife’s lap and anxiously looked for his older brother and the start of the show.

Just before the beginning of the pageant, the stuffy air in the crowded church became a little more unbearable than usual. As there were several babies in the immediate vicinity, my wife and I both thought one of them must have needed changing. Catching the odor, Christopher said aloud, “What’s that smell?” He turned around, looked at his Mom, and said, “That’s disgusting! Mommy, you stink! Mommy, go to the bathroom!” We did our best to quiet him down, while the people around us were suppressing their laughter. He continued on, repeating the words, “That’s disgusting! Mommy, you stink! Mommy, go to the bathroom!” Eventually, Christopher quieted down and the pageant began.

After Mass ended, we walked to the car, buckled the kids in, and drove away. On the way to the Chinese restaurant, my wife and I discussed the incident. She realized that the words Christopher used in church were the same ones she had used with him during his potty training. Also, we were convinced one of the babies close to us during the service must have had a poopy diaper or probably just passed gas. We chuckled about it. However, our little guy provided the last laugh. Overhearing the discussion, Christopher, with the smile that only a young child can produce, piped up with one more comment, “Oh, in church? That was me.”

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Last Holidays


A few years ago, my younger son (now a few weeks shy of 14) was approaching his likely last year of believing in Santa Claus. We’d spent most of the day following Santa on the Norad website. We tracked his every move, listened to the on-line messages, and did our best to figure out how long it would be before Santa hit the Atlanta area. With Santa en route to the east coast of the U.S., my wife and I put our younger son to bed, waited until we thought he was asleep, then put the gifts in place. My younger son chose that moment to wake up, saw me moving the gift, and ran crying to his room.

I tried to console him, saying I was just moving the gift for Santa. But childhood had been shattered and Santa was a lie. “Let’s pull out Norad,” I finally said. We opened the website and I got a blessing. The site announced that Santa had just left the Atlanta area. My son accepted my explanation of my moving the gift and held to his beliefs for one more year.



Now, though, I face holidays of a different kind. My older son, now a high school senior, is focused on finishing school and college. He’s down to two choices: Mississippi State and Georgia Southern. We’ve visited both so far. Wherever he chooses, I know he will do great.

However, I also know that life will now change. A band member throughout high school, my son plans to play in the band in college. If he attends MSU, he’ll spend every Thanksgiving at school, preparing for the annual clash with Ole Miss. Georgia Southern always plays football on Thanksgiving week. From either school, it is difficult to get him home and back with holiday traffic and not be concerned about his safety and being worn out. More likely, we’ll travel to where he is to celebrate Thanksgiving. Will Christmas be the same? Both MSU and GSU are in bowl games this year and may see that experience going forward. My son might make it home for Christmas or he might have a pre-Christmas bowl game to attend as a band member. Might we have to go to him for Christmas as well?

I only know one thing. We’ll do whatever it takes to celebrate as a family.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Letting Go




My older son got his license recently. 

We made him wait long enough for it. We’d held him back since he received his permit, seeing numerous mistakes (like thinking he could turn left on red if the road was clear). However, when his permit neared the expiry date, we decided it was time.

We were nervous. I guess every parent is. But for my wife and I, we’ve always thought it to be a little more.

Our older son has a language disability. He processes speech slowly. Math and science give him very little trouble and he’s gotten to where he can handle History. Language Arts, though, is a class he’d like to avoid.  It’s the way his mind works. He doesn’t make decisions quickly. He doesn’t process information quickly.Also, he processes without nuance. Doesn't affect him most subjects, except Language Arts.

We’d seen something similar in his driving habits. A steady drive he can handle. A drive in dense traffic left us nervous. Another driver being stupid scares the daylights out of us. Given how our son reacts, we worried he would make decisions too slow. Even after he got his license, we wouldn’t let him drive alone. 

Yet, after a while, and with my older son’s pleadings, my wife and I hit a point where we knew it was time. Our son is a responsible young man. He would do his best. 

We let him drive to his Boy Scout meeting first. Had him call us when he got there and call us when he left. Then we let him go to the library, pick up take-out, have him meet us somewhere. Short distances. 

No problem. 

Then, on the last day of school, he was helping out with graduation due to him being a junior marshal. He wouldn’t be getting home until late. He’d been up since 5:00 a.m. I worried that he might be too tired to drive home. He phoned to say he was leaving and I waited in the garage until I saw the lights hit the driveway…and heaved a sigh of relief.

As for my son, he thought he worried about nothing. For him, he only wondered what took us so long to finally let him be on his own. He’d been embarrassed, waiting for his parents to pick him up at school events while his friends could drive themselves home. Being able to drive himself meant something to him. 

Now he’s asking for a parking permit for senior year, saying every kid in his class drives to school. I told him we needed to wait until we got another car.

One of these days, I may be able to let go. 

One thing at a time.


Picture from www.mycutegraphics.com.