Wednesday, May 15, 2013

What makes Love last forever?

Today is my 15th anniversary and I’ve spent a good bit of the day pondering what made our marriage survive this long, and why I feel so confident it will last forever. I’ll start by telling you a little secret. My wife, Regina, and I met through a valentine personal ad. Shhhh, don’t tell anyone. These things aren’t supposed to lead to marriage, and definitely aren’t supposed to last, so what’s the trick, what have we done that so many others have failed at?

It could be that we don’t throw the D word (divorce) around like it could happen at any moment. We’ve argued, we’ve slammed doors, we’ve made each other furious—that’s bound to happen in fifteen years—but we ALWAYS meet back in the middle. Maybe we’ve just been lucky, if you believe in such a thing. Some might argue that it’s all just blind luck whether your marriage works or not. I like to think a higher power is in charge of it. My wife and I ardently believe God has his hand on our relationship. So what about other “faithful” followers who fall prey to the D word? It takes more than faith in God. You have to have that same faith in your relationship.

I know you’re wondering, Regina and I must be a perfect match, right? Sort of. Truth is, we are total opposites in personality. She’s aggressive, strong willed, says what’s on her mind. I was a very shy child and carried that into adulthood. I don’t like conflict, prefer instead to solve problems as quietly as possible. You could say I’m soft spoken. Or at least, I was. You see, over the past 15 years, something odd has happened; we’ve rubbed off on each other, in a very good way. Sometimes we are two peas in a pod, though. Like when we go to a restaurant and I’ll order the exact same thing she does. We never have to disagree about food, or movies, or travel. We love to get out and see the world. We can both compromise and get what we want at the same time.

My wife is an amazing woman, and I like to think she married an amazing man. What are the odds?

So I think I’ve figured out why we’ve made it this far. Are you ready for the secret? Here it is. It has worked for us so far.

Kiss each other good morning—no matter what—and kiss each other goodnight—no matter what.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013


 “Please hold while I connect you with your party.”

There’s a click then a booming male voice on the line.

“This is Father Time. How may I help you?”

“Uhhh . . . ,” I hesitate, feeling my resolve running into my shoes.

“Come on young man! I don’t have all day.” He chuckles at his own joke.

“Well, the thing is, I’d like to request, if it’s not too much trouble. Four extra hours in the day tomorrow!” There. I said it.

“Who is this?”

“It’s James Tate, sir. We’ve spoken before.”

Shuffling paper. “Yes. I see here where you called just two days ago. And now you are asking for another EOD?”

“A four hour Extend of Day, that’s correct. Just four hours.” I cross my fingers.

“You know we have a strict policy about how many EOD’s you can have in a year.” More paper shuffling. “Says here this is the fourth time this month. Not sure I can give you another. You can get addicted to these, you know?”

“But sir, you don’t understand. It’s not for me.”

“Well, who’s it for, Mr. Tate?”

I take a deep breath and just say it. “It’s for my wife, sir. She’s been very busy. I know she could use it and our anniversary is coming up and I just thought . . . “

“Whoa there. You know that is against policy. You are not authorized on your wife’s account. I don’t think I can help you without her consent.”

“Please, Mr. Time. Just this once?”

“I’m sorry. But there’s nothing I can do. What if I gave EOD’s to just anyone who called up? It wouldn’t be long until I wouldn’t have a job. She’ll have to call in herself.”

My heart sank. But then an Idea came to me.

“What if I give up four hours of mine?”

What do you do with your time? 



Sunday, April 21, 2013

Stephen King


My wife and I just came in from an evening at the movies. I talked her into seeing OBLIVIAN with Tom Cruise. I don’t want to go into a lot of detail here, but if you like SCI-FI, or seeing Mr. Cruise shirtless—a lot—spend the money and see it at the theatre.

What I really want to do is give a big shout-out to my favorite author; Mr. King. Saturday my sister and her husband were in town for a family event, so we spent our morning at a flea market. The ladies wanted to go see arts and crafts, but the brother-in-law and I wanted to go hunt bargains, in other words, sift through junk looking for a misplaced jewel.

While looking through a shelf lined with misc. books, I came across a copy of The Stand. I’ve read most of Stephen King’s books but wasn’t sure if I had read this one. Besides, I collect his hardbacks. I’ve got quite a collection going, including a first-edition of The Shining. So I spent three dollars and bought the book. I’m glad I did.

There is an interesting introduction in the front of the book from the author. He states that the original book published in 1978 had to be cut by some 500 pages to keep the price of the book down. In the copy I purchased—labeled “For the first time complete and uncut”—the last page carries the hefty number 1153.

I know what you’re thinking. That’s a lot of reading for one story. And here lies one of the reasons some say they don’t read Stephen King: His books are too long.

Here’s my take on the matter. Take it or leave it. I have yet to read one word written by Mr. King that came across as fluff, or filler. What I see is depth of color, setting, and character. I’ve read many of his stories and have been left wondering what happens next for the hero (if he lived). It’s like a trance. He pulls you in so quickly, you don’t know what hit you. Can his stories be told with fewer pages? Absolutely. But that’s not to say they should be. I love the winding road he takes me on. I can’t get enough of a writer who puts me smack dab in the middle of a different world every time I read one of his books, and has me believing every word of it. I am immersed in the workings of a master story teller. Besides, what’s the hurry? You can get back to the other garbage on your Kindle soon enough.

Any King diehards out there?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013



Okay fellow bloggers, I’m willing to admit I acted a little irrational the other day. It is NOT my blog keeping me from getting my writing accomplished. Seems like I made a vow not to make excuses. Didn’t work out so good. But back on the horse I go.

The new manuscript I’m working on deals a lot with the transition from life to death, and the spirit world beyond. The working title is THE DITCHMASTER.

Like a lot of people, I can’t say for sure exactly what happens the moment you pass on. There are those that were pronounced dead but were brought back, and returned to recount stories of bright lights and even touching the hand of God. Do I believe this? Well, I can’t NOT believe it if I haven’t experienced it myself. No one can prove it DIDN’T happen.

Do we pass through the tunnel of light? Or is it just the left over static in our brain leaching out?  

So what are your thoughts on the subject? I’ve been doing some research and have come across a few interesting stories. Do you have anything you could share-either direct or indirect knowledge?

Happy writing!

SUBNOTE-I have two short stories ready to submit and finally finished my BLURB for the Ditchmaster. Hope to have it plotted within the week and back to work on it!   

Monday, April 8, 2013


Gee! How many words might I have written if not for trying to keep up with my blog?

Anyone else out there trying to work full time, find time to do a blog, and work on their current WIP?

Yesterday I started asking myself, "Self? If I pressure you to write every day like the A-Z challenge does, how much could we accomplish on our current book, or short stories? Hmmmmmm.

The answer astounded me. I've written over three thousand words on this blog since the challenge started. That's a short story, or two or three flash pieces, or a chapter in a novel.

Just doesn't seem like I have time for everything, but desperately want to work on my stories.

Any thoughts? Am I alone in this thinking?

Saturday, April 6, 2013


To this day, at 48 years-129 days-and 42 seconds old, wait. . . 43 . . .44 . . .Oh! Never mind. My point is, to this day, one of my greatest accomplishments has been to finish my first novel. I even went so far as to spend a few years rolling it through edits, THEN even published it. Wohoooo! It was a great feeling. But that feeling has faded to black. I’m working on a new book now, and am failing miserably in getting to the finish line. As a matter of fact, I can’t even see the finish line.

So today, class, the lesson is about finishing.

Repeat after me: I WILL FINISH ____________

You fill in the blank with whatever project has you stuck.

And since the internet has taken us to an international scale, I’ve compiled a list of languages translating the above sentence. See if yours is in the list.

French—je vais finir

German—i wird beendet

Swedish—vag kommar att avsluta

Spanish—voy a terminar

Danish—jeg vil slutte

Swahili—i atamaliza

Redneck—git er done

If I didn’t include yours, it’s because I’m not intelligent enough to make my computer translate the different letter characters yet. Maybe next time.

Whatever you are working on, repeat the above phrase as often as necessary to do the job. Push forward. Use whatever motivation needed; rewards can’t hurt.

Translations provided by

*Except the last one which was provided by Larry the Cable Guy*




Friday, April 5, 2013



Tony flicked the cigarette lighter to life and held it under the spoon. The drug soon began to boil, beginning its new life as an escape pod from reality. He felt his heart racing, begging for the fix, wanting more than anything to feel the drug course through his veins, wanting more than anything to disappear. Sometimes, in the moment right before he jabbed the needle into his arm, he thought about death; maybe a self-imposed sentence of destruction by lethal dose, maybe just drive off a cliff. Something told him he was headed down the right path. He didn’t care.

He cinched the belt around his arm, pulling at the loose end with his teeth. The leather reminded him of the belt his father used, the one for removing the demons from his body, the ones still chasing him. It tasted like something old, like his mother’s bible cover, the one indented with an impression of his forehead. No matter how many times she hit him, God’s words stayed in the book. Tony found himself wishing they had found a home in his head, maybe in his heart. He thought a lot about the words written in red. What did they mean?

His heart felt empty. Drugs filter the blood, leaching out anything that is good, leaving only a dirty, rotting stench of rage, disgust, and self-loathing. Nothing could wash it away. He knew nothing could cleanse his soul. It was too late for that. Wasn’t it? The drug bubbling in his trembling fingers held the only truth he knew, the power to go somewhere else, to escape from here.

The drug had him now, the belt loose and forgotten, reality nothing but a hazy fog in the back of his brain. He saw his father working at the mill, his mother preparing a dinner of fried chicken and buttermilk biscuits. He could smell them in the oven even with his eyes closed, the fresh butter sitting on the table, tea brewing on the stove. The drug allowed him to forget about the stench of his own urine pooling in his lap, of the decay of dirty dishes in the sink. He ignored the snores of last night’s whore lying in the bed. Her name was Destiny. Destiny covered half the bed, face decorated like that of a circus clown. He doesn’t remember her, or last night, or last week.

He only remembers wanting.

Wanting the drug.

Wanting to escape.