Shameless Plug Time!

I am now taking orders for personal sales of my second book “Standing Next To A Miracle”.  If you want to buy it from me, it is $5.00 plus whatever it costs to mail it from my zip code to yours whether first class, library rate, or whatever else you like.  The same book on Amazon is $8.00 plus shipping and handling (unless of course you have Amazon Prime).  The ebook version on Amazon is $1.99.  Remember, if you don’t have a Kindle e-reader, Amazon has a free app that allows you to buy the book and download it to your computer, pad, or smartphone.

I also still have copies available of my first book, “Once Upon A Christmastime”, for $3.50 plus postage.  The ebook version on Amazon is $.99 and the paperback is $5.50 plus shipping and handling.

I do hope you not only enjoy the books but feel moved to leave a nice review and tell everybody you know they should take a look.

Where Did That Come From?

Someone asked me where I got my inspiration for some of my writing.  Sometimes it makes even me screw up my face and wonder.  One particular instance, however, was very clear and still makes me smile, although not in public, because people look at me funny.  My first book, “Once Upon A Christmastime”, began in the Walmart’s hardware department several years ago.  I am the director of Sunday School in my small church and give Christmas presents to the teachers every year.  I always give the same thing to everybody, which isn’t always the easiest thing in the world.  I was wandering around the store picking up necessities for the house while pondering gifts in my head.  As I often do, I appealed to the source of all wisdom.  “Give me a hint, God!” I begged.  I’m not fond of shopping at any time, and I preferred to get everything in one trip.

Much to my surprise, the answer was clear, immediate, and very detailed.  “Get one of those nightlights for each of them.”   I was looking directly at some very plain, ordinary nightlights to stick in an outlet and keep you from stubbing your toes during midnight bathroom breaks.  “How is that a gift?” I wondered.  As He usually does, He said, “Do now, question later!” So I did, and continued through the store.  Candy canes, Christmas star cookie cutters, some actual frankincense and myrrh incense, gold chains, and finally, in the arts and crafts department, I was directed to get some white feathers.  I was floored by now.  The gold chains I could understand; the teachers were all very classy ladies who could probably use a gold necklace.  The frankincense and myrrh I got .  The candy canes and Christmas star cookie cutters even made sense.   But fake feathers and nightlights?

I got a gift bag for each teacher and divvied up the selections, then sat back and said, “Okay, how do I explain this collection?”  He said, “Start typing!” and began to dictate.  I was intrigued as the story unfolded.  Usually I make a story up completely in my head, rumble it around for a while until I think it’s thoroughly digested, and then type it out.  But I didn’t have any idea about this one until I typed each word.  Weird, huh?  What do you call that? Ghostwriting for God, maybe?  I printed out the story, copied it for each teacher, and put a copy in each bag.  Every year since then, He has given me a story.  The gifts are always given on Christmas Eve after our community Christmas program, and sometimes He doesn’t inspire me until that morning, even though I had already gotten the gifts.

When I was going through chemo for breast cancer, I was too sick to go to the Christmas program, and I got no story.  I thought about just sending the gifts by themselves, but something told me to wait.  Sure enough, when I was able to get back to church, the story was suddenly there.  The last story in that book suddenly began during a sermon in October and I found myself (being unable to type, of course, and unable to leave, since I also lead the congregational singing) suddenly whipping out a notepad and writing notes furiously as our pastor continued.  I thought I was supposed to do that story that Christmas, but it would not work.  I could not get it on paper.  It took another six months before I could get it out.  Luckily, He came through with not a story, but a poem, for the gift I gave that year. When I finished that story, my sister nagged me into self publishing it on Amazon, and then the next book, “Standing Next To A Miracle”, began to unfold, not Christmas stories this time, although strangely enough, the first story ends with Christ’s birth and I couldn’t finish it until December.  I already have the gifts and the story for this year.  Someday I may publish another book of Christmas stories…

Whew!

Finally.  It’s amazing how long it took to finish three short stories.  It drove me nuts along the way.  First I hoped to get them done by Halloween.  Then by Thanksgiving, so I could ordered some printed books and give them as Christmas gifts.  (Some people give homemade fudge, I give homemade stories…) The last story changed completely and I got so caught up in it I was typing furiously through a major thunderstorm because I just had to see how the story came out.  Loading it to Kindle was a breeze.  Loading the print version was a pain in the rear.  Not sure how it went wrong, but it took a lot of work to make it load properly.

I am quite pleased with the results, though.  The stories are so  much more than I envisioned when I started them.  The characters took over and headed off to places I had not imagined.  I’ve found they are much more interesting when they do that, so I’m always happy to see it happen.  But I have to admit, it’s disconcerting to watch it happen as I type.  Where are these words coming from?

Now I just have to decide what to work on next.  I have a huge amount of story ideas jotted down on notepads, in notebooks, and a file container.  Do I stick with the Christian theme (it would be “Give Me A.I.D.! (Angelic Intervention Department)” about angels who are sent to help people in crisis.  They are not the “Fear not, I bring good tidings” angels.  They are more the “Somebody’s going to get it now!” type.  Your child kidnapped by demons for entertainment in a hellish nightclub? Been cursed by a voodoo queen for spite?  Satanic cult decide you’re needed to open the door to Hell? Somebody decide you need to see how your soul really looks?

I also have a strong love for science fiction and fantasy, especially with a twist of humor.  I have a group of stories called “The Bartenders’ Tales” about odd things in odd places.  There’s the interpreter whose last job drove him to retirement, the bikers who met the wrong trucker in a very strange bar, and a werewolf who just wanted a nice date.

There are also the full length novels I want to write.  They are not very humorous, more serious.  Some are series, like “Lunatic Tales” told by aliens who liked the name for themselves since their world had three moons.  Some are stand alone novels, like “Queen’s Curse” about a queen cursed to return over and over and over when her people needed her, because she was not willing when they first cried out for help.  There is “The King’s Niece” who was sent by her village to ask her uncle for a job.  There is “Monsters’ Walk” where four teenagers who consider themselves soulless monsters discover they are the heroes needed by a desperate people, and must accompany the local priestess on her trip to her death.

I have a wide ranging imagination, and keep coming up with story ideas.  Now I just have to get them in writing and ease my crowded mind.