Why Vote?

Okay, so this topic might seem more appropriate for this November rather than right now. But I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently and wanted to go ahead and express my thoughts. Who knows? Maybe I’ll re-post this again closer to November.

If you’re like many of us, you may be horrified at the available choices for our next president. I suspect that’s true regardless of your party affiliation.

The people have supposedly spoken in the primary elections, but since there are no consistent requirements for how the primaries are handled or what the results actually mean, who knows whether the majority of Americans are actually in favor of the  presumed candidates for each party?

That puts many of us in a quandary. If we don’t like either candidate, why vote at all?

I like what a friend of mine shared about the way elections are held in Colombia, a nation in South America. If neither candidate gets a clear majority, voters at the poll get to demand that they be given different candidates to consider.

If I recall correctly, voting in Australia is legally required. A bit extreme for America’s tastes, perhaps. Being free to make a choice also requires the freedom not to have to.

And too many Americans are convinced either that their votes won’t make a difference OR they refuse to support an undesirable candidate in the hopes of defeating an even more undesirable one.

I recently saw what struck me as a rather exaggerated excuse. Something like “I wouldn’t vote for Hitler, would I?”

I wonder whether the people of Germany would’ve voted overwhelmingly for Hitler if they’d had their eyes open. And I wonder whether that may be the situation with this November’s election as well.

Both of the presumed candidates appear dangerous to me and to a number of other Americans. I’m not writing here to advocate either party or either candidate.

What I do want to do is encourage everyone to vote in November, no matter how reluctantly. Vote against the candidate you consider least desirable. But don’t let other people make your decision for you just because you don’t want to make it for yourself. The future of this nation is at stake, whether you realize it or not.

Two remarkable quotes come to mind. One is from physicist Albert Einstein. “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.”

The other is from theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

It’s interesting that two such different men–men from such different backgrounds–should say essentially the same thing.

Maybe you don’t care what Einstein and Bonhoeffer have to say, and you may not care about my opinion, either.

But if we end up with a dangerous president–perhaps I should say “the more dangerous president”–in the White House as a result of this November’s election, it won’t be because I didn’t do the research to choose who I think will be the more desirable person and go to the polls and vote for him or her.

It will be because of the individual Americans who–with each vote not cast–allow others to make the decision for them. Please don’t be one of them.

Donn Taylor, an author friend of mine, just had this letter to the editor published in his local newspaper in Texas. “Several letters recently have asked whether to vote or refrain from voting in the 2016 presidential election. To answer the question, I recommend the following guideline: When there’s no Messiah running, and only Barrabas and Judas Iscariot are on the ballot, we vote for Barrabas. Failing to vote has the same effect as voting for Judas. From that point it’s just a matter of identification.”

Are you planning to vote? Why or why note? How about leaving a comment?


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Best regards,

What Book Have You Read More than Once?


I was attending a meeting of our local writers’ group recently, and our leader posed this question. “What book–other than the Bible–have you read more than once?”

Great question! Most of the group mentioned books I was unfamiliar with, but one fellow rereads Lord of the Rings every ten years or so. I’m afraid I was a little shy about admitting that I didn’t enjoy my one reading all that much, but at least I finished it.

My turn, huh?

Okay. I thought about those three bookcases that are chock full of novels. While there are some I ought to donate to Goodwill, many of them were good. Some were excellent. How to choose…

I’m currently reading The Life of Pi after watching the movie, but I doubt seriously I’ll ever read that again. It’s different, though.

What had I read last before that?

Oh, of course. Donn Taylor’s The Lazarus File. Although I have a print version of the book somewhere on one of those book cases, I also have a Kindle version, and that’s the one I read. This last reading was at LEAST the third time.

I would describe this novel as suspense. It’s about a fellow who had to be declared dead and be given a new identity. Not just to keep his enemies from killing him for real, but to allow him to continue working as an undercover agent for one of the intelligence branches of the government.

The title is based on the biblical story of Jesus raising his good friend Lazarus from death and restoring him to life. Rather clever to apply that to the title, I thought.

Lazarus is a good action story that keeps the reader turning pages, but it’s also a unique love story. Mark Daniel–the protagonist’s old name–has been grieving the death of his wife and child for years and has never considered the possibility of falling in love again.

But as Carlos Ortiz, he falls for a beautiful young woman, Sol, who is married to a much older man whose health is precarious. Although she and Mark/Carlos sense a mutual attraction, they behave in an entirely proper way, including one time when he could have taken advantage of her.

I won’t give away whether or how their relationship works out, but the ending of the book is very satisfactory.

Donn Taylor is ex-military, and his knowledge of guns, airplanes, and similar things helped him give The Lazarus File quite a bit of realism.

This isn’t actually the first book of Donn’s that I’ve read three or more times. I thoroughly enjoyed his newest novel, Lightning on a Quiet Night, which is a very different read from his mystery and suspense novels.

Donn, how much did you say you’re paying me to write good things about your books? Ah? A smile of appreciation is all I need.

Readers, what have you read more than once? How about sharing that with us in a comment?


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.

“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 new novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is available at Amazon.


Best regards,


Lightning on a Quiet Night

I hate to admit it, but finding fresh blog topics isn’t always easy. I normally write my posts for the following Sunday and Wednesday on the previous Wednesday, and I often already have decent ideas in mind. But not today.

Not until I finished my third reading of a novel called Lightning on a Quiet Night a few minutes ago. Due to be released in November, its author is a friend of mine, Donn Taylor.

Donn is quite a fellow. We’ve known one another from writing conferences for almost ten years now. He’s former military and also a retired college English professor. He is extremely literate and well spoken–a real gentleman–and his novels reflect that fact. He is a poet as well as a novelist.

You probably wondered about my choice to read Lightning on a Quiet Night three times, though. I would if I were you.

Donn originally asked me to endorse his book. You know, write that clever little bit that goes on the cover or front page meant to make potential readers see just how much they’ll enjoy the book. So I read an electronic copy. I was so well impressed I wrote this for my endorsement:

“A unique and intriguing story, expertly told, with compelling characters and an ending that left me sobbing with satisfaction. What more could any discriminating reader ask for?”

And I meant it!

A few months later, Donn was looking for Beta readers. If you’re unfamiliar with the publishing process–unless you need to, I’d recommend you not ever have to go through it yourself–a Beta reader reads a printed copy of the book, looking for mistakes that the book’s editor and proof reader missed. I found only a handful of mistakes.

What I didn’t realize (I didn’t have to go through the Beta process with my two novels from Barbour Publishing) was a second Beta reading would be required to make sure corrections from the first were made and to determine whether additional mistakes can be found. So when Donn approached me for a third read, I was happy to oblige. In fact, I would’ve been thrilled to help even if Donn hadn’t promised to help me the same way.

Interestingly–and this gives you an idea how thorough Donn is–when he read The Devil and Pastor Gus for endorsement purposes–he also made a list of corrections needed. A pre-Beta read, I suppose you could call it.

Lightning on a Quiet Night is quite different from Donn’s other novels. For one thing, it’s a historical novel, set early in the post-World War 2 years. I thought Donn did a wonderful job of reflecting life in that time period. Another difference is that it’s just as much a love story as it is a mystery/suspense. Finally, the town itself almost seems like one of the characters.

The townspeople believe their town to be perfect and good–until the first murder in memory takes place. Even then, they want to believe the murderer must be an outsider. By the end of the story, the residents recognize that their belief in the town’s virtue has blinded them to its faults.

Just as lightning on a quiet night revealed a dead body, so horrible circumstances can bring to light things that are not easily seen otherwise.

Donn’s book is available now for pre-order. Look for it here.

Please share your opinion of Donn’s book based on what I’ve said or leave a comment about whether you mind my writing about somebody’s book periodically.


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

“On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on “As I Come Singing”–check it out HERE. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

Be on the lookout for my next novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, which releases on November 25. It’s available for pre-order HERE.

Best regards,