Wednesday, September 17, 2014


[ath-uh-ney-zhuh] Spell Syllables
1. deathlessness; immortality.

Cooking Athanasia is a story about a culinary arts student who unwittingly concocts a spell for immortality. This leads to evildoers finding out about the spell, and trying to get their hands on it for their own selfish purposes.

This is the first book in a trilogy, and I have already begun work on the second book, Echoes of Enchantment. Something has bothered me since I started working on the second book though. The two book titles did not mesh or easily identify the works as part of a set. Therefore, I made the decision to change the title, Cooking Athanasia, to Echoes of Immortality. In doing so, I also discovered the title for the third book (so far it is only in my mind).

I introduce the Echoes trilogy:

Echoes of Immortality
Echoes of Enchantment
Echoes of Destiny

Echoes of Immortality set for release on September 25th (which is coincidentally my wife's birthday). It is currently available for pre-order from Amazon. Please take a second to visit and like my author's page on Facebook as well to get updates on the print version of Echoes of Immortality and progress reports on Echoes of Enchantment.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Excerpt: Echoes of Athanasia

This month finds me in the throes of Camp Nano, barely keeping my head above water against the paltry 30K word count goal I gave myself. I am working on the second book in the Athanasia Trilogy, Echoes of Athanasia. Set in the mid-1800s, the book is a look at Jenna's ancestry, particularly that of her great-great grandmother, Jennabel. Below is an excerpt from the book where Jennabel has just met the blacksmith's apprentice, Patrick, and thinks she may be quite fond of him.

Jennabel enjoyed her solitude while she rode into town because just not thinking about spells and schedules, if even for a short while, felt good. The new leaves on the trees shone a bright green and the smell of new life permeated the air as she rode through the thick canopy of foliage. She was a little disappointed the ride was so short when she arrived in town. She sighed, dismounted and tied up the horse, and then got right to business.
Several tables and wagons belonging to local farmers lined the town square, which together made the weekly farmer’s market, held every Friday. Items for purchase ranged from fresh fruits and vegetables from local fields, to crafts such as handmade quilts and candles, all available for a price. Jennabel started at one corner of the market, sniffing and squeezing vegetables and placing properly ripened items in the basket she brought along for the shopping trip. The farmer’s wife manning the cart nodded and smiled in greeting to Jennabel.
Jennabel replied in kind and commented, “The produce looks very fresh today.”
“Thank you,” The farmer’s wife replied. “Did you see those shallots yet dear? They were gathered just this mornin’.”
“I did indeed, and they look splendid  But I am not in need of any today.” Jennabel took some coins from a small leather pouch and paid for the items in her basket. “Thank you ma’am.”
The farmer’s wife took the coins and replied, “You are most welcome dear.” She gave Jennabel a sidelong glance as she walked away. Some of the townspeople didn’t necessarily approve of the coven lifestyle and sometimes demonstrated their opinions verbally or even physically in extreme cases.
Jennabel was thankful that exchange was civil and moved to the next booth. She eventually made her way through the entire market and her basket was full of vegetables and herbs needed back at the coven. The townspeople had been friendly this time, for the most part, but she could tell who the disapprovers were by their brisk responses. Her last stop of the day was the blacksmith to get a shoe checked on Elder’s horse.
The shop was half a block from the market so she carried her basket with her and peered through the double barn door that was open a crack. She could not see anyone, but it was dark so she entered the shop thinking someone might be working in the shadows. Once inside, she realized she was still alone. Frustrated, she called out, “Hello? Is anyone around?”
The blacksmith's apprentice, Patrick Miller, was on the side of the building cleaning some tools when he watched Jennabel enter the shop. He was struck by the beauty of her long blond hair that fell across her shoulders in intricate curls, which bounced as she walked. He walked around the building and followed her inside through the double barn doors. “May I help you Miss?
Startled, Jennabel emitted a high-pitched yelp and spun around, dropping her basket in the process. Patrick did his best to stifle a chuckle. “You should not be sneaking up behind people sir!” Her face wrinkled in an angry scowl. “ is just not polite!”
His amusement quickly turned into embarrassment when he realized how angry she was. “My sincerest apologies Miss. It was not my intent to frighten you.”
Her ire softened once she took in Patrick's chiseled features, contrasted by his soft brown eyes. Still wanting to appear cross, she looked away and half-closed her eyes. “Fine sir. You did not frighten me. And I need the assistance of the blacksmith.”
“Of course not. I am Patrick. Uh...Miller. Patrick Miller.” Trying to get in her good graces, he squatted to gather her purchases that currently littered the shop floor. His gaze wandered up to her piercing emerald green eyes, which caused him to stammer, “Maybe…perhaps I can offer some sort of assistance.” He placed the last of her purchases back into the basket that she still held.
Still cold, she replied, “You could help me by fetching the blacksmith for me Patrick Miller.” She offered him a contrived smile.
“Yes Miss. I mean no-”
Amused with his nervousness, Jennabel cut him off, “No? No! May I ask why not Patrick Miller?”
Patrick stood back up and their eyes locked. “Perhaps we could start again Miss? I am Patrick Miller, the blacksmith’s apprentice. How may I be of assistance to you Ma’am?” A benevolent smile crossed his face, which caused Jennabel to flush and look away.
“It is one of the shoes on, er, my horse.” She thought it best to avoid the explanation of why she was riding someone else’s horse and who Elder Golden was for now.
“I think I can help you with that Miss, but I will need one thing from you first.”
Her gaze met his again and she felt her heart pounding in her chest, “Yes Mr. Miller?” she asked softly.
“Your name Miss. I need your name.”
“It is Jennabel. Procter.” She bit her bottom lip.
“Well Miss. It is Miss, yes?”
His smile grew just a fraction wider. “It is indeed a pleasure to meet you Miss Procter. Let us see about that horse.”
Jennabel didn’t answer right away. She was lost in the moment wondering if he was feeling the same sense of arousal. Instead, she just stood in front of him studying the angular features of his face, the stubble of beard growing on his chin, the kindness in his eyes, and his brown hair spilling from beneath his black planter hat.
Patrick drank in Jennabel’s beauty too, but was first to recognize the awkwardness of the silence. “Um…the horse?”
She snapped out of her trance and blurted, “Oh, yes of course.” Her face blushed again and she was thankful she had to turn away to exit the shop. “He is tied off to the post opposite the square.”
“Please lead the way.” He gestured toward the barn doors.
“Thank you kind sir.”
They engaged in small talk during the short walk. “Tell me Miss Procter, why is it that I have never seen you before?”
“I really do not come into town very much.” She thought for a moment. “And I have never required the services of a blacksmith,” she looked in his eyes and cracked a half-smile, “or his apprentice until this very day.”
He returned the smile and parried her playful quip, “I suppose your need for a blacksmith’s apprentice on this very day is my good fortune.”
“I suppose. Now you tell me something Mr. Miller.” She feigned anger once again, and with slit-eyes asked, “Do you make a habit of skulking about your shop grounds? Startling unsuspecting customers?”
Suddenly embarrassed, Patrick defended, “I was not. I merely-”
Jennabel could not continue the charade and burst out laughing.
“Oh. I see.” He joined in her merriment.
They arrived at the hitching post where Elder’s horse was tied. “Here he is. It is this hoof.” She pointed to the hind leg closest to them.
“Let us have a look, shall we?” He first walked to the front of the horse and calmed him by stroking his nose and speaking to him softly. Once the horse seemed comfortable with him, Patrick walked back to the offending leg and gently picked it up and held it between his legs. “Here is the problem.” He held two of his fingers on holes where nails should have been. “These nails are missing.” He reached in his apron and pulled out a nail and tapped it in the hole with a hammer. Once the tip of the nail protruded from the hoof, he took a cincher and bent it until it was almost flush with the hoof. He then pulled out a rasp and filed off the sharp edge of the nail, as well as the head where it met with the shoe. He repeated the process for the other missing nail and then gently placed the hoof back on the ground. Jennabel watched him work and was amazed with his dexterity that was combined with gentleness, which she thought revealed him to be a caring person.
He patted the horse’s hindquarter and said, “There. That was not so bad was it?” Then to Jennabel, “That should fix it for now, but he will need to be shoed again very soon.”
“Thank you Mr. Proctor. I will take that under advisement.” She paid him for his services and mounted the horse. “It was a pleasure meeting you.”
“Likewise Miss Proctor.” He untied the horse and handed her the reigns. “The spring fair is soon. Will you be attending?”
“I might just. Perhaps I will see you there?”
“I would like that. I would like that very much Miss Proctor.”
They exchanged smiles and she rode out of town. During the entire trip home, she wondered if she might just be smitten with Patrick Miller, the blacksmith’s apprentice. 

Thanks for reading!


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Editing Athanasia

Before providing a progress update on Cooking Athanasia, I should probably explain my editing process to provide some context. As most of you know, I wrote the final sentence in the book on April 5th of this year. I shelved the book for three weeks before beginning any editing to give myself a little distance, which I’m hoping provides more objectivity. After the three weeks elapsed, I began editing with chapter 7 because the first six chapters had already received a precursory pass before being published in this blog.
While writing, I print each chapter when I finish it so I have a hard copy for backup, and to make editing notes as I think of them. I take the binder with my hard copy novel with me everywhere so I can do mark ups whenever I find some idle time. As such, my editing process has two steps. The first is the markup for changes on the hardcopy and any significant additions are handwritten on a sticky note and stuck on the appropriate page. The second step is making the changes on the electronic copy where I also rewrite items not identified during the markup phase.
Marked up page complete with sticky note.
Although I had been doing some of the rewriting when I was at home (it has to be done on my desktop (this is another plea for Scrivener to release the IOS app, please!)), and doing the markups when I found spare time away from home, I finished the markups this past Sunday. This means only rewrites left for this editing iteration and I am on chapter 12 now, which was a monster chapter that I divided into three chapters during the rewrite. Another ancillary benefit to finishing the markups is that I am able to pick up work again on the sequel, Echoes of Enchantment, when I am away from home. I really don’t want to forecast when I might finish the rewriting phase on this pass of editing, but I think it will be close enough to done a the end of July so I can pitch it at the Northwest Writers Association Conference, which I hope to attend.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Versatile Blogger Award

I was nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by Julie at Rogue MissionI was thrilled since I have never been nominated for anything in the past. Thank you very much for the award Julie! 

The Rules for the Award are as Follows:
  1. Add the Versatile Blogger Award badge to a post.
  2. Thank the person who presented you with the award and link back to him or her in you post.
  3. Share seven things about yourself.
  4. Pass the award to 15 other bloggers. Contact the chosen bloggers to let them know about the award.


I knew my wife was special from the moment we met. We spent every day together after our first date and I asked her to marry me about a month and a half after we met. Of course nay sayers cautioned against the union, “do you really know her?” they said, or “you know it won’t last.” We were married about eight months after our first date and twenty-six years later, she’s still the love of my life and best friend, and I believe we have passed the test of time.

We found out my wife was pregnant four months before I left for a year-long tour in South Korea. My only son was born in October that year and I met him three months later when I came home on my mid-tour leave. He was a beautiful baby then, and is a handsome and caring man now. He amazes me every day and I have a great time just hanging out with him.

At the tail end of the summer in 1989, Iraq invaded Kuwait. I was stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, at the time as a member of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. I was a gunner on a Bradley Fighting Vehicle and I was very proficient at my job. I knew that if the United States became involved in this conflict, my unit would definitely deploy, as it did. I think the defining moment for me during the conflict was preparing to cross the Iraqi border from Saudi Arabia because of the paralyzing fear of the unknown clashing with the desire to do my job because it was what I had trained for four years at the time. I haven’t experienced another internal paradox like this one in my life since.

Strong student was not a term used to describe me during my high school years. A better description might have been absent. However, shortly after the turn of the millennium, I realized that military retirement was inching closer and I needed some type of higher education to be competitive in the civilian workplace. I started my bachelor’s degree in 2002 and found that I actually enjoyed school. I drank in the knowledge and loved it so much that I started my master’s degree 37 days after finishing the coursework for my undergraduate degree. I graduated with my MBA in 2007 and am now happy to be done with school.

I lived the Army life for 23 years, starting as a Private and working my way through the enlisted ranks until I reached First Sergeant, which was my goal. During that time, I gave my life to the Army spending countless hours away from home in support of national defense. I enjoyed the camaraderie as I shared laughter and tears with my fellow Soldiers but in 2008, it was time to hang up the pistol belt. At times, I miss that cohesiveness that is unique to the military. But I am older now and the military is more suited to the young not to mention that I get to go home at the end of each work day.

After retiring from the military, I took a job as a recruiter for the university I attended for my bachelor’s and master’s degrees. I worked for that institution for a couple of years until I was approached by another university to do a similar job at a significantly higher salary. At the end of 2011, the group I was working for at the new university was determined to be cost prohibitive and I was laid off. For the first time since I was a teenager, I had to do some soul-searching to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. During my Army years, that was the career I wanted and I established and achieved the goals set within that organization. I had not thought much past the Army and college recruiting was just something I was able to do, but it was not necessarily an aspiration. I had always known I enjoyed writing and I thought it was something I wanted to do someday. After the layoff, I decided someday had arrived and it was time to get serious about writing. Had I not been laid off, I may have never discovered my true passion.

I wrote a couple of short stories to see if writing was really what I wanted to do. I enjoyed crafting those stories and received positive feedback so I thought it was time to start a novel. On December 8th, 2011, I began writing the outline for Cooking Athanasia. Throughout the entire process, I never tired of the story and looked forward to developing my characters who eventually seemed to take on a life of their own. I wrote the last sentence of the book on April 5th, 2013. At present, I am editing the story and have started work on Echoes of Enchantment, the second book in the Athanasia trilogy. Now I can’t imagine a life where I don’t write. 

My Nominees:
  1. Art in the Life – Darcy Kline
  2. Stormcalling – Christopher Storm
  3. Thinking Aloud – Jaspreet Taunque
  4. Butterfly on a Broomstick – LinzĂ© Brandon
  5. Gemini Rising Series – Gemini
  6. T-Rytes – Tineeka De Silva
  7. Neurotic Novelists of the World Unite! - Robert Evert
  8. Janie Fox Oil Portraits – Janie Fox
  9. Suteko's Blog – Lisa Williamson
  10. Still working on list

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Successful Failure

Many magazine articles are geared toward managing a large project. Additionally, a myriad of software programs are available to help writers keep their thoughts in order and aid in managing long-term projects. Although the articles contain very useful information and the available software makes lengthy projects less daunting, managing my novel was not a concern when I began writing Cooking Athanasia a little over a year ago.
I owe the ability to manage my novel over the long haul to my failed attempt at earning a doctoral degree, from which I withdrew last summer. I spent five years in the program and wrote a proposal for my research project during that time, but had to quit because it became cost prohibitive. However, I have no regrets because the information gleaned during that time is still mine, and the system I developed to manage my dissertation was easily adaptable to my true love of writing fiction.
I still take a pragmatic approach regarding my system and implement improvements as I see fit. In fact, I purchased Scrivener earlier this year because I can see the power of the program. I have not used it as of yet because I have no way to easily synch between my desktop and iPad as of yet, and I do a lion’s share of my writing away from my desk (hint, hint Scrivener). The bottom line is that some might view dropping out of my doctoral program as failure, but I see it from the positive vantage point: Everything I have done in my life thus far has a purpose to bring me where I am right now. It’s up to me to decide how to use it.
Thanks for reading!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Multitasking or Aimless Wandering?

Last Friday afternoon, at precisely 4:00 pm Pacific Daylight Time, the alarm on my iPhone sounded, indicating the moratorium on Cooking Athanasia was over. I did not officially start editing until Saturday morning because I had finally wrapped m head around the new project, Echoes of Enchantment, and had built up a full head of steam by Friday, which resulted in the completion of Chapter 3.

So I blew three weeks of dust from the manuscript Saturday morning and, armed with a purple pen, started the markup process on the manuscript. Because splitting my time between two projects felt odd, on Sunday, during confessional, I asked my support group if any of them had ever written on one project while editing another. The overwhelming answer was to the negative, that they had never split their time between projects in such a manner. That answer was somewhat of a relief to me because it validated my instinct that I should probably commit to editing or writing. Sadly, that means Echoes goes to the back burner once again while I try to get through editing as quickly and painlessly as possible.

Just as a reminder for people who don’t know, Echoes of Enchantment is the second book in the Athanasia Trilogy, and the back story to Cooking Athanasia. The tale is already written, but in screenplay format as per the rules for Script Frenzy, which I won last year. If you would like a taste of Echoes, I invite to take a peek at one of my old blogs introducing the story that I wrote last year during the throes of Screnzy.

Link to old Slayer blog:

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Other Projects

This week finds me in a period of transition. Cooking Athanasia is presently on ice, waiting for editing. Despite trying to distance myself from the story for more objective editing, I still find myself ‘what if-ing’ various scenes in the book and Jonesing for some Jenna interaction. In effort to shift gears, I have started the second book in the Athanasia Trilogy, Echoes of Enchantment.

The really big news for this week however, is the upcoming release of Reflections of the End, which is an anthology of short stories and poems contributed by writers in the Author’s Choice – Select Anthologies groups of Facebook and Google+. The anthology is themed ‘Apocalypse’ and should be available in a few short weeks.

Although the contributing to the book, and its imminent release is exciting, the truly enriching experience for me is belonging to these communities. The icing on the magic whichever flavor you wish for cake is interacting with a multinational group of people on a daily basis who share my same passion for writing. Aside from collaborating on the anthology, members of the group share their successes and challenges on other projects with each other as well as just having fun with writing. I hope all the members of these communities who read this know how much they mean to me and how much they have helped with some of my challenges, which makes me happy to celebrate my successes with them.

Now for the shameless plug: We are putting on a book launch event for Reflections of the End this coming Saturday, which is open to the public. Links for the two events are pasted below so please take a look and feel free to attend. I have also posted a link to both of the groups if you just want to poke around. Just FYI: The groups’ consensus for the theme of the next anthology was 'Secrets', and you have at least two months to prepare you short story and poem submissions.

Google+ Launch Event:

Facebook Launch Event:

Author’s Choice – Select Anthologies Groups:

Thanks for reading!