Today’s Political Dirty Trick

I’m writing this post on September 26, the day before Judge Kavanaugh’s accuser is set to make her accusations in person. So I don’t know what the outcome will be. But I’m firmly convinced that the Democrats are making the most of this to throw substantial kinks in the midterm elections, especially if the Republicans do as I think they should and stand up for Judge Kavanaugh because the evidence is so weak and the timing of her coming forward and her accusation being made public was so intentionally last-minute.

Chances are you either strongly agree with me or are ready to lynch me for having an attitude you perceive as being unsupportive of women. That couldn’t be further from the truth, and here’s one reason I have the opinions I have.

A few months ago, I read a novel by Jim Callan called Political Dirty Trick, and I thought it rather strange until I realized how realistic it was.

The book is about what was supposed to be a minor crime, one that would keep the opposition candidate from winning when he was accused of committing it. From the beginning, it was to be a crime he would ultimately be found innocent of. But the exoneration wasn’t to happen until after the election, when the proof of his innocence would be too late to help him win the election.

 I’m not going to share any spoilers about Jim Callan’s book, but I would strongly urge you to get a copy on Amazon–look at it on Amazon here–and see if Jim didn’t accurately predict something similar to what’s happening with Judge Kavanaugh.

If Judge Kavanaugh is actually guilty, of course I wouldn’t want him to be appointed to the Supreme Court.

But he deserves due process as much as anyone else, especially since the Far Left is so determined to prevent his appointment. They know he stands for the Constitution, but they want to finish turning America upside down and he’ll stand directly in their way.

If you choose to comment on this post–and I hope you will–be thoughtful and polite. I can eliminate any comment I feel to be inappropriate, but I don’t want to have to. Even it says something I strongly disagree with.

I’ll be back again next Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,

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Are My Novels Autobiographical?

More than once I’ve been asked if my novels are autobiographical. A reasonable question from people who know me well and probably a reasonable one from people who don’t know me.

My first two published novels were written from a teen girl’s point of view and several of my unpublished manuscripts are written from a woman’s point of view. So let me hasten to emphasize that I am all male and have no inclination towards changing my gender. So from that perspective my novels are NOT autobiographical. Not in the least.

My novels do tend to reflect some of my characteristics, however. One of the fun things in a yet-unpublished manuscript is the female protagonist’s description of the male protagonist, whom she is growing to love:

That man was so cute about not wasting gas. I’d been with him when we were three or four cars back at the bank drive-thru. He turned the engine off whenever the line moved up one spot and started it again only when the front car moved on. As if that didn’t tickle me enough, he also turned the car off once he reached the window.

I finally convinced him it wasn’t safe to keep turning the engine off at red lights. Thank goodness he didn’t do it at stop signs.

Whenever I teased him about being so economical, he always responded the same way. “Starting the engine wastes less gas than leaving it running longer than a minute.”

I’d never heard that before, but it was one of those little rules Robbie lived by, and I couldn’t knock saving gas—and, consequently, money.

Although I’ve never turned off the engine at traffic lights or stop signs, the rest of that is a pretty accurate description of how economical I am about gas. Even now when the prices have dropped so amazingly.

Another thing I tend to do in my writing is to make the protagonist an only child–and frequently with deceased parents. Yep, those things are me, too.

Because I love to make puns and other word plays, that characteristic sometimes comes out in my characters. And even in my titles. As in Impractically Yours.

Divorce is part of both my past and my wife’s, and that plays an important part in several of my novels. Including one that’s about two couples trying to hide their pending divorces from one another. That part’s not autobiographical, though.

And then there’s my growing preference for using older characters, one or two as old as I am. Oh, and several involve PKs (preachers’ kids), and that’s definitely me. At least one of my characters is a guitarist and song writer, just like guess who.

And all of my stories are told from a Christian perspective. Because of the importance of my faith, I doubt I could write anything else if I tried.

So, to make a long story only slightly shorter, you’ll find a lot in my books that relates to me personally, but no one book is all about me. And I don’t expect to write one that does. Better to keep my readers guessing…

Do you have a favorite author you think or know writes fictitiously about himself or herself? How about leaving a comment?


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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,

Fact or Fiction?

Probably the most common piece of advice a new writer learns is “write what you know.”

I was thinking about that recently while working on my twentieth revision of a novel manuscript called Impractically Yours. It’s a love story about a middle aged man and woman who become best friends but are afraid of spoiling their friendship by actually falling in love. They both have trust issues, and Robbie nearly wrecks his relationship with Maria by playing an unfortunate practical joke she has promised to take well but fails to do.

Many non-writers are familiar with “write what you know” as well. No wonder they sometimes ask whether I’m the protagonist in my novels.

The answer is no. Not really. Or at least not completely. But Robbie and I do have some characteristics in common:

  • Robbie is a Christian–and a Baptist; me, too
  • He’s middle-aged; I was middle-aged when I wrote the original version of this novel
  • Robbie considers himself average-looking, and even Maria describes him as nondescript; that’s how I see myself
  • Robbie has played guitar for many years and has at least a passing familiarity with some other instruments; me, too
  • Robbie has a beautiful old Martin guitar; I have a lesser, more recent one
  • Robbie’s musical style dates back to the folk fad of the 1960s and he’s never outgrown it; boy, is that me!
  • Robbie writes Christian songs; I do, too
  • Robbie is big on home recording and happy to make the move from analog to digital recording; that’s me to a T
  • Robbie is a practical joker, a joker, and a punster; I’m a punster and joker, but definitely not a practical joker
  • Robbie had a very limited social life in high school; ditto!
  • Robbie and I prefer for a woman to have long, straight, naturally colored hair and almost no makeup–especially not the heavy eye makeup that he and I describe as “the raccoon look”
  • Robbie overcomes his fear of old people and visits a local nursing home regularly; I’m part of a weekly nursing home ministry

I could probably go on for pages, but no need to bore you unnecessarily. The point is Robbie and I are similar in many ways, but we’re not the same person at all.

There are similarities in my other novels as well. Several are about Preacher’s Kids who would rather have fathers with “normal” vocations. Several take place in Virginia and at least one is in an actual Richmond suburb. One is about fighting a weight problem and part of it takes place in a Target store. All of those relate in some way to my background.

If anything, I hope this blog post will make you curious about the next novel you pick up. Is it totally autobiographical or at least partially so? Or does it bare no resemblance to the author’s life circumstances?

Is it fact or is it fiction?

What do you think? How about leaving a comment.


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Best regards,

I Cannot Live without Books


I think Thomas Jefferson said it for many of us when he said, “I cannot live without books.” He owned one of the most extensive private libraries in the United States and read every book he owned. Then he contributed his entire collection to get the University of Virginia library off to a good start. After that, he started building his own home library all over again. No wonder the souvenir shop at Jefferson’s home, Monticello, sells t-shirts with that saying on it.

I can still picture several of the children’s books I read at a very early age. And I’ll never forget favorites like Ben & Me and the multiple books in the Doctor Doolittle series. And later when I fell in love with Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, and Alice in Wonderland. As a preteen I started reading science fiction.

When my grandmother died, I had the pick of some of the books in her collection. Even though Tom Swift was out of fashion by then, he still fascinated me.

One of the most astounding things about my childhood and teen reading is the fact that I was never introduced to Charlotte’s Web or any of C. S. Lewis’s Narnia series. Fortunately, adulthood has made up for those lacks.

In college I had to do so much reading for my classes that I didn’t have time to read for pleasure, but when I started teaching school and got involved in handling book orders for my students, I fell in love with some of the books they were reading. The Pigman is one of the most interesting of those.

As a senior in college, I’d taken a contemporary fiction class that introduced me to John Barth’s The Floating Opera. Little did I know I’d end up living and teaching in the town that book takes place in, much less the same neighborhood.

I had several favorite authors in my mid-adult years (in addition to John Barth). Especially James Michener, who lived in the area while writing Chesapeake. My ex- got to meet him (at his home at that!),  but at least she was able to introduce me to Mrs. Michener once while out shopping. Nice, but not the same.

I still own nearly all of his books. I have no desire to reread any of them, but I can’t bare to part with my collection, either.

Another favorite was Nevil Shute, who was best known for On the Beach and A Town Like Alice.

I’d be hard-pressed to tell you my favorite authors and books now. I have too many. Not only do we have three or four bookcases filled mostly with fiction, the one in the living room is double-stacked (i.e., one row in front of another).

You said it, Mr. Jefferson. I cannot live without books.

What are your favorites, past or present? How about leaving a comment?

NOTE: I’ve only talked about fiction today. But the Bible is by far the most important book I’ve read and continue to read.


I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” is only one of my two blogs. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on  “As I Come Singing.” Check it out HERE if you’re interested.  Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

If you enjoy my writing, you’ll find a number of things to read on my website.  Also music to listen to and music-related videos to watch.

My newest novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Go HERE for links to those places.
Best regards,