Everything I’ve learned about writing has grown from my love of reading. I began my writing career at the tender age of seven, when I wrote a play for my third-grade class. It was not an assignment; I did it because I discovered I loved creative writing as much as I loved reading. I received a children’s typewriter the next year, and countless short stories followed. I wrote some awful poetry during my teen years, then some not-so-awful short stories over the next two decades. I became serious about writing books ten years ago. The timing felt right, and I created the world-altering habit of writing every day. My first published novel, Secrets Under the Mesa, began as a short story. I decided it had some legs and went with it. The inspiration for The Troop of Shadows Chronicles emerged from two directions: my love of post-apocalyptic fiction and a recent interest in disaster preparedness. Stephen King says, “Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” The hard work is worth it. I hope you enjoy my novels. I wrote them for fellow book lovers just like you.
You might get hit by a bus. People have been hit by busses in the past. Does that mean you should never cross a road? Should you stay indoors? Move to the wilderness where bus service is nonexistent? Of course not, because you’re smart enough to understand you probably won’t be hit by a bus. If you’re still afraid of homicidal buses, even knowing how rare they are, that’s called an irrational fear. As a pedestrian, your odds of being hit by a moving vehicle are one in 47,000. Rational people don’t let odds like that scare them. Rational people saunter out into their bus-filled world and carry on with the business of enjoying life.
Now for more about irrational fears.
I think we all have one or two of those fanged, squirming things locked away in our brain’s equivalent of a closet under the stairs. Most of us ignore the clawing and scratching at the door, but sometimes we listen; sometimes, the morbid fascination is too compelling, and we let the nasty beast out to wreak havoc with our peace of mind.
Nothing good ever comes of this.
Lately I’ve been reading about bathrooms and the boogeymen who frequent them. Rational people know that boogeymen are rarely found in bathrooms. Rational people know boogeymen prefer cobwebbed attics, dank basements, and foggy alleyways.
So why are people so frightened, so freaked out, so irrationally afraid of boogeymen in public restrooms? Because they’re being manipulated by politicians with agendas that have nothing to do with boogeymen, and everything to do with misdirection and manipulation. There’s a lot of important stuff not getting done in our state and federal buildings while we’re talking about bathrooms.
I don’t know about you, but I have my hands full ignoring the scratching and clawing at the closet door of my own irrational fears. I don’t intend to let politicians add to that menagerie.
I’ve been thinking about friendship lately.
As a chicken whose memories of spring are hazy and make me feel vaguely uncomfortable, I’m finding myself more selective of those with whom I spend my precious time. It’s precious because I could get hit by a bus at any moment; doesn’t matter that I live in the suburbs where mass transit is essentially unknown. Buses are sneaky. I don’t trust them any farther than I can throw them.
Anyway, knowing that I could be on some bus hit list has prompted me to ponder friendships. Unlike family, we get to choose our friends, so it’s an important job selecting ones who will give us the most bang for our buck. Are they supportive of our goals? Do they listen when we talk about the crappy day we’re having, or do they interrupt so they can tell us about theirs? Are they interesting? Fun to be with? Kind? Are we eager to be in their company or do we sometimes dread the inevitable drama they bring with them?
These are questions we should ask ourselves, but some even more important questions are these: Are we the kind of friend we would choose for ourselves? Are we asking for more than we’re giving in return? We can’t expect our friends to be loving, compassionate, and supportive, unless we are all those things to them.
So that’s what I’ve been thinking about lately — making sure the friendship scales are balanced and that one person isn’t doing most of the heavy lifting. Give and take, brothers and sisters. The clock is ticking. That bus could be lurking around the corner with its engine running and a scrolling LED message just for you: FINAL DESTINATION.
Beauty and Dread (Book 2 in the Troop of Shadows Chronicles)
Resuming immediately where the first book in the series ended, Beauty and Dread continues the saga of a small group of extraordinary people. Their unique genetic code allowed them to survive a devastating global pandemic. Now they must continue to fight for their lives, their humanity, and their town’s enviable progress toward rebooting civilization.
The tiny population of Liberty, Kansas, has weathered disease, starvation, marauders from without, and dissension from within. Still, it is a shining star of hope in an otherwise bleak and desolate land.
But a madman approaches with an army at his heels, spurred by bloodlust and fantasies of revenge. Will he prevail, usurping the town and murdering its citizens? How will this eclectic group of geniuses and misfits fight back?
Intricately plotted, superbly paced, and brought to life by fully-developed protagonists, quirky supporting characters, and charming villains, the Troop of Shadows Chronicles is a tour de force. It is the unfolding story of the greatest threat humankind has ever faced and is populated with some of the most entertaining people you’ll ever meet.