What are the odds

After inhaling All Around the Town, a novel by Mary Higgins Clark, in one weekend, I decided to try another of her mystery-suspense stories and pulled the only available audiobook out of the local library: No Place Like Home.

I was immediately put off by the book’s outlandish premise: A woman who killed her mother accidentally at age 10 while protecting her from her brutal stepfather has pledged to her dying first husband not to reveal her past to anyone again – and her second husband just happens to buy her a new house for her birthday that just happens to be the childhood home where her mother died.

The monstrous coincidence – which I presumed would turn out not to be a coincidence – and the character’s reticence to tell her husband the truth (her husband!!!), almost put me off to continuing the story.

But then the narrator explained where the story is set: It all comes down in Mendham, New Jersey, less than five miles from where I spent the second half of my childhood. What are the odds, of all the books in the world, I would randomly pick up one that was set in my hometown?

If that kind of coincidence is possible in the real world, why not the crazy coincidence Clark asks me to accept in hers? So off we went …

Dandelions again

4df62-img_35182bcrop

I am “reading” Dandelion Wine again, this time while flying down the highway, with tears in my eyes loving the images and the words and the turns of phrase of my yes-I-have-a-favorite favorite book.

I realize I don’t want exactly to share the book with you – although I do – as much as I want you to experience the feeling this book gives me. I hope, if not this book – and probably not because the effect Dandelion Wine has on me is as much a product of my life I have lived and the words can never strike you quite the way they struck me – I hope that somewhere in your experience you find a book that touches you to the core the way Dandelion Wine touches me, because oh, what a joy it is, and I would be a callous and selfish man indeed to hold this feeling close to my heart and never share it.

I hope there is a book somewhere that will bring you to joyous tears as this book does so often to me.

The rebirth of Myke Phoenix

Myke Phoenix Novelettes

The “director’s cut” is done. And here’s a new freebie for you.

For the past four months or so, I have been (for the most part) quietly repackaging and rebooting the Myke Phoenix Novelettes into what I am aribitrarily declaring their final form. Let’s face it, from now until my last breath I could constantly tinker around the edges, add deleted scenes, and update the special effects ad nauseum, but at some point you move on. Continue reading The rebirth of Myke Phoenix

The power of validation

Destroyer-of-Worlds-CoverInternational Thriller Writers have nominated Joanna Penn for a writing award – Best Ebook Original. Although she’s an internationally known podcaster and author mentor, this is the first time she’s received a nomination for her fiction writing as J.F. Penn.

Her pleasure over this recognition is obvious. She sounds charmingly giddy talking about it during her weekly podcast, The Creative Penn. Continue reading The power of validation

First-quarter report to the readers

Author and Atomic Duck

A few days after the first of the year, I posted “My 5 goals for 2017.” How’s that going for me, three months into this latest 12-month adventure? Continue reading First-quarter report to the readers

Myke Phoenix sale through Thursday

puzzle-of-the-talking-dinosaur-bI have been quietly rebooting the Myke Phoenix superhero adventures series for the last three months, with the five earliest Myke stories now available in all their revised glory. You can find links to the ebooks and paperbacks here.

Now, for a couple of days at least, Lulu.com has made it even more tempting to add some of these little books to your collection, and this page assembles all of my print products in one spot for you.

Order Myke paperbacks, type in WINTERSHIP at checkout, and get 15% off and free mail shipping if you act before midnight Thursday. (That’s $2.49 for #1, $4.99 for #2 and up, minus 15%.) Operators are standing by! (Or at least an automated website is …)

 

My 5 goals for 2017

obstacle-course
One thing holding up my writing career is the obstacle course I must negotiate to get into my home office.

Exactly one year ago today, I pledged to deliver a trilogy of novels about a huge beast from the sea, with the first one due May 11. I was later forced by my wiser nature to walk that beast back to the sea whence it came. I wish I could say “I didn’t say May 11 of what year,” but you can see I plainly intended to deliver the whole trilogy by July 1, 2016.

Wiser men than I have spoken of SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and within a certain Time line. The goal of writing a novel by May 11, 2016, and two more by July 1 was clearly SMT but not so AR. Continue reading My 5 goals for 2017