Category Archives: writers

Who’s Your Hero?

Who’s your hero? I mean which author rocks your world and makes or has made a difference in your life.

From Shakespeare to King, Cormac McCarthy to J. K. Rowling who does IT for you?
Mine is Stephen King the Master Story Teller he does IT for me pun intended. He is prolific at a book-and-a-half per year over thirty-plus years and still finds time to read seventy books per year. The man knows how to tell a story that captures his readers and makes them late for work, dinner, and their dentist appointment. His best book for me was his memoir On Writing. But his fiction is what he’s known for, so I have to say The Stand was his best for me. Running a close second is The Dark Half and Alexis Machine as the ultimate anti-hero.

I think Cormac McCarthy is my hero for using minimal punctuation and getting a Pulitzer (I’m dashed off a cliff onto sharp rocks for missing a comma) and telling such a dark tale that not a pinprick of light is allowed in. It’s not gratuitous either the horror of it all. The characters situations go from bad to worse and then worse than that. If something good does happen like a guy falls in love, then he finds her on his stoop with a slit throat (as in All The Pretty Horses). And if the Brothers Grimm weren’t grim enough, Blood Meridian takes horrific antagonists to a level outside your… your… imagination.

I love my heroes dark or not. I have a thousand more for everything from music to faith to food and parenting. I love my heroes (I did say that didn’t I?)

Who’s Your Literary Hero? and Who is Their Hero?

I surely don’t mean your favorite writer even if they could be one in the same. What I intend is who sparks your creative ovens?

I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.

My Literary Hero is Stephen King, not as much for his subject matter as for his incredible gift and skill. The man can flat tell a story. No matter the topic or setting, he can hold your attention in the palm of his hand. On top of that, he’s as prolific as a rabbit on a typewriter producing more than 50 novels in the past 50 years, all the while reading up to 75 novels per year according to his book on the craft of writing named On Writing. That’s some amazing statistics.

Before I read his book on writing, I was already a rabid fan reading his work long before I was a published writer myself devouring Mr. King’s novels for their resident darkness resonating within my own dark soul. Even now that I’ve read nearly his entire bibliography, and my soul is fifty shades lighter, I still cannot put down his books or stories.

Now, when I admire a famous author, actor, or artist, I like to dig into their past and find out whose past the idolized or were inspired by.

Stephen King’s literary hero is the great Richard Matheson. Imagine that, we share the same last name.

Richard Burton Matheson is best known as the author of I Am Legend, a 1954 science fiction horror vampire novel that has been adapted for the screen four times, and you thought only Will Smith did the movie. The Will Smith version bears little resemblance to the novel. Matheson also wrote 16 episodes of The Twilight Zone for Rod Serling, including “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” and “Steel“. Also, Duel a movie directed by a young Stephen Spielberg.

I must admit that Matheson’s works were not unknown to me, but him as the author of same was nearly an unknown in my psyche. Matheson has penned many great works of American fiction, mostly Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror.

There you have it. Now show me yours.


Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky

Great thoughts on grace and the Gospel through the eyes of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. Kudos to the writer Tim Shey for his great depth of thoughts on these two writers and their stories. Worthy read.

The Road

Leo Tolstoy, 1828-1910

Dreams from the LORD 2007-2010
16 August 2010

An excerpt from The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey:

Pages 140-142: “A.N. Wilson, a biographer of Tolstoy, remarks that Tolstoy suffered from a ‘fundamental theological inability to understand the Incarnation. His religion was ultimately a thing of Law rather than of Grace, a scheme for human betterment rather than a vision of God penetrating a fallen world.’ With crystalline clarity Tolstoy could see his own inadequacy in the light of God’s Ideal. But he could not take the further step of trusting God’s grace to overcome that inadequacy.

“Shortly after reading Tolstoy I discovered his countryman Fyodor Dostoyevsky. These two, the most famous and accomplished of all Russian writers, lived and worked during the same period of history. Oddly, they never met, and perhaps it was just as well—they were opposites in every way. Where Tolstoy wrote…

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Writer’s Poem

I wrote this for a #7DaysofPoems challenge from a friend in a Facebook group I belong to. I’m aware it breaks most, if not all, technical rules of poetry, but as a friend once said,

Poetry is Fun with Words.”


Within your Tale
Embed the TRUTH
Write to Live
The TRUTH Unveil

And there you have it.

Peace for you today,



Life Better Lived Dead

Life Better Lived Dead, that’s the tagline of my second novel twisting in the grinder of the editing and revision process. I can’t recall how those words first emerged from the loamy earth, but I immediately liked the taste, smell and sound. That short phrase encapsulated the message of, ‘FLATLINE’.

It’s a crime novel, a fun little read, 90,000 words plus of bullets, blood, splattered brains, and big – make that – HUGE knives slipped from hidden sheaths between the shoulder blades of Goliath-sized cartel soldiers.

Can a book like that have a message to edify one’s soul?

All books and stories have a lesson, moral or message – for someone. I’m a believer. Every book I’ve read had something to say.

Stories, like primeval notes stuffed in bottles, are penned, corked and set adrift upon stormy seas just waiting to land on some foreign shore in the hands of its next reader. This happens by chance and providence alone. Or, how else would they find us? Or, we find them?

Every year for Christmas, Nichole, one of my five daughters, has given me a book. Not a one of those has failed to spark some big shift in my psyche. They arrived exactly on time. She had no idea what was swimming in my soul at the time, and we never discuss books since she is not a big reader. Even our tastes and styles run divergently to one another.

Asked how she picked them, she responded, “Oh, it just looked like something you would like.”

By the same process, ‘Life Better Lived Dead’ came to life. If I were to think on it much longer, I might wonder if it would stir some controversy, but then again, it may drive some people away. Perhaps it was not in the stars for them to read this book.

How do those words strike you? What do you think of me as an author for penning “Life Better Lived Dead?” Does it bring up thoughts of suicide or vampires, or a biblical verse you once read or heard?

Do I think suicide would be a better option than a living breathing above ground existence?
Not on most days, no. This story and that line are not a lead into a discussion on assisted suicide. I have strong thoughts on that, but would rather leave them where they’re at for right now.

Vampires and the Undead:
Am I a vampire or am I promoting the life of the undead as some better option than what most of us have here? Or, on the other side of the same coin, do I have something against the undead or a vampire’s lifestyle?
I’ve enjoyed reading vampire tales, but it doesn’t stir a belief in them. The original Dracula tale might come close, but is definitely more Christian than my story. Dracula was chock full of Christian truths in a metaphorical battle of good against evil.

Looking for the correct words to describe my experience with Dracula, I searched the internet and found Mike Duran’s tremendous blog and comments. His well-worded explanation for what I found during my read of the original Dracula was better than I could have come up with.

“For one, Christianity is portrayed in a positive light throughout Dracula. The protagonists pray, quote Scripture, seek God’s guidance, and ultimately prevail. If Count Dracula is meant to symbolize the devil, then it is clearly Stoker’s intent to show that the evil one is resisted through the power of God. And unlike much contemporary vampire fiction, Christianity is not minimized or mocked. Rather, our heroes display an unabashed reliance upon the God of Scripture and His Son, Jesus Christ.”

“Life Better Lived Dead,” should be better explained…

In my novel ‘Flatline,’ Troy Bittles is retired from decades as an enforcer for the world’s most notorious motorcycle gang. He sees his best years behind him. Life was once a constant flow of blood, bullets, and fists which never stopped flying. But those wild times have slowed to a nonexistent trickle. He and Sam, his Bulldog, go from one day to the next in a snails-paced progression towards the end…

All in one day, Troy moves from bemoaning his flatlined existence to tumbling headlong into a mad dash of crime and murder across two states and three countries. Troy is strong-armed into using his former skills in the killing arts to perform for a mystery organization. These deeds run counter to his newly formed set of values, but his only choice is kill or be killed. The only reason Troy finds to go through with it is one faint sliver of hope that he can redeem himself from an old dark regret that looms over his life.

He pours his life into that purpose rather than keep his life to himself. And, in that sense, his life is better lived dead.

“If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.” (Matthew 10:39 NLT)

When Jesus said this, there were no churches, so he meant more than church attendance and missions service. What he meant was, if you pour your life into his cause, you will find your life.

Jesus’ cause was people, not necessarily their comfort, but their life.
Our lives scream for a purpose, a cause to throw ourselves into, a cause outside of our own small world. When we chase that cause, it brings us life. Hence, our life is better lived dead.

You could read Flatline, ignore its message, and still enjoy it, but, why the hell would you waste your time like that?

I’m on my second pass of revisions. My next pass is to print it and read it aloud to the cat before turning it over to an editor.
Hopefully, it will be done by the end of 2015.