Tag Archives: Buying Time

Happy New Year 2015!

Happy New Year everyone! I think I’ll do for 2015 what I did for 2014: I’ll post “a look back” this week…and “a look ahead” next week. WordPress provided me with an interesting report, but they’ve gussied it up so it’s more flair than substance this year. A few interesting tidbits from it though:

My most popular post for 2014 was The Origin of Hotty Toddy, a post I wrote in an attempt to poke fun at the obnoxious University of Mississippi football chant. I think what happens is that since they were winning this year, more people heard the chant and wanted to know a little something about it and my post turned up in the google search. Kinda funny.

The most popular day for my blog in 2014 was Oct 4, which was, probably not coincidentally the day after the Black Bears beat Alabama. Yeah, I post about other stuff (like this entry), but random googlers tend to find the Hotty Toddy post.

032714_2005_MegaCon20142.jpgMy top commenters are some pretty decent writers/bloggers, so I’m honored they visit AND comment on my page. Because of that, they get a shout out from me now! Krystol Diggs, who is a former student of mine from Full Sail. Kayla Dean, who I met when she attended the Hemingway Writers Retreat in Piggott, Arkansas. Freeda Baker Nichols, another writer I met at Hemingway and who is a far more consistent blogger than I am! Dot Hatfield, yet another writer I met at Hemingway! You see a trend, don’t you? Rounding out the top five is my mom—thanks, Mom! Show these writers some love and check out what they have to say since they’re often nice enough to leave comments for me here!

I did a handful of shows/appearances/speaking engagements again this year and had a blast at all of them. In March I returned to Memphis where I was the keynote Speaker at the Mid-South Christian Writers Conference. I met a small press publisher that expressed interest in my work. We’ve been talking for several months. Nothing hard and fast, but it’s promising.

In April, I returned to the Hemingway Writers Retreat where we had a great retreat. I was also a comic guest at MegaCon again this year. I moderated a panel “Break-in Stories” with a handful of really talented folks!

In September I got to go back to the Shoals Alabama area where I was a guest at the Geek Gathering in Sheffield. It was a fantastic little con and I sure wish they’d had something like that when I lived there. That area remains the only place I’d willingly go back to in a heartbeat! Then in October, I was a presenter at the Florida Writers Conference where I met a whole slew of new people.

Creatively, it’s been a decent year, too. I’ve been talking to a few artists not mentioned on this page before about projects, so hopefully something will come of those and you’ll see it here.

ArkansasReviewIn August, my short story “Broken Down Truck” was published by Arkansas Review (v.45 #2) and in September, my graphic novel adaptation of The Remaining was published.

With all the advances in digital media, I’m looking to release some of my older comic work digitally and possible make it available via print on demand.

My novel, Buying Time, was made available in print via Amazon and in Kindle format on Christmas day! So I hope you’ve picked up your copy! Autographs are free! J Oh! And if you’ve already read it, pop on over there and leave a review on Amazon. I hear they really help!

It’s cool to see technology advancing so quickly…cool, but a little scary. Hopefully you’ve all “liked” my author page on Facebook so you can keep up with all the new stuff.

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Why don’t I focus?

Some who’ve stopped by here have suggested I write more about writing. And I can appreciate that. I know that it can be frustrating to those of you who don’t know me that well to see me posting about my daughter’s tennis and college trials or my son’s band and baseball achievements. But I thought I’d take one of my blogs to explain my thinking…ya ain’t gotta like it, but at least I’ll try to make some sense for you.

When I first started blogging, my intentions were pretty simple: I wanted a way to keep my friends and family posted on the goings-on of me and mine. It seemed we were moving quite a bit, making some dear friends in each place. Keep in mind, too, that this was in the days before facebook became what it is today. I also wanted to use the blog as an outlet to continue to keep my writing muscles exercised and to feel like I had to do something. I’d enjoyed the weekly columns I’d gotten into the habit of writing for the Piggott paper (now the Rector paper) and the feedback I’d gotten from the community was favorable so it seemed like a good idea.

After some time I found myself without a job and in graduate school. It became a good opportunity to share some writing thoughts as well as some reviews of the books I’d read. I’m not big on reviews, but because I read a lot of superhero fiction, I thought those who had an interest in sci-fi and/or superhero books might get a little something out of the reviews.

Then, I had new work hitting the stands with Huckleberry Finn and Wizard of Oz graphic novels…and of course, my first novel. The blog became an opportunity to promote those things. I hate that idea on my blog, though, because I sometimes feel like I’m “pushing” my work to my friends and family…who would probably be interested in it anyway…but still. I know it’s one of those things that I have to do and I try to think that things like the recent blog hop is a necessity to get more people familiar with my work.

As I started finding myself speaking at writer’s conferences and leading writing workshops more and more, the blog became a way to talk about those experiences, too. Then I was fortunate to land myself back in the classroom…even if it was virtual…where I talk about writing all the time. SO, hopefully you see where this is headed…I find that I spend a lot of time talking about writing so much that I don’t feel like blogging about it too much. Yeah, I’ll do it some when something really calls out to me that needs sayin’, but I spend so much of my time talking about writing that I’m not motivated to blog about it. I know that’ll irk some of you who come here for pearls of writing wisdom…but I’ll apologize to both of you profusely!

So…there it is. And see, I’ve broken yet another rule in that this blog is 521 words.

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The Next Big Thing Blog Hop part deux

Thanks for making it back to part two of my participation in The Next Big Thing Blog Hop.

What is a blog hop? Basically, it’s a way that readers can discover new authors, because with bookstores closing and publishers not promoting new authors as much, we need to find a way to introduce readers to authors they may not see in their local bookstore.

Here you have the chance to find many new authors. You’ll find information about me, my blog, and my book – Buying Time. But that’s not all! Click on the links at the bottom to other authors you might like to check out—they’re picked out by me!

I’d like to thank my friend and colleague, author Tom Lucas for tagging me to participate. Click this link to find out about his book, Leather to the Corinthians, and show him some internet love by leaving a snarky comment! http://readtomlucas.com/

In this particular hop, I and my fellow authors, in their respective blogs, have answered 10 questions where you get to learn about our current work as well as some insights into our process, from characters and inspirations to plotting and cover decisions. I hope you enjoy it!

Please feel free to comment and share your thoughts and questions. Here is my Next Big Thing!

1: What is the title of your book? Buying Time

2: Where did the idea come from for the book? It’s loosely based on a short story with the same title that I wrote back in my college days about a time traveling time salesman.

3: What genre does your book come under? Contemporary fiction. I tried calling it sci-fi for a bit…but a few hard core sci-fi readers complained there wasn’t enough sci-fi in the book…and they’re probably right. The sci-fi elements are very secondary to the story, which also has elements of faith and romance (yeah, I know—not exactly sure how that happened!).

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? This was actually probably the hardest question to answer because I didn’t visually actors when I wrote this (I sometimes do that when I write, but not for this work). I’d choose Alan Rickman to play Big Ben, the time salesman; Milo Ventimiglia as Tom Morgan; David Duchovny as Larry Pace; Sandra Bullock at Grace Pace.

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? Two completely different men are offered an opportunity to redo a part of their life. (One-sentences are hard!)

6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency? Small indy publisher out of Oxford, Miss.

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? About two years just for the first draft. After two polish and clean up edit rounds by me, I sent the word out to about a dozen first readers who gave me feedback. I went back in for a very healthy revision based on the collected notes I’d received. The entire process took about three years. Way too long, in my opinion.

8: How did the cover come about? I had a basic idea for the cover and communicated that to the designer, Emily Y. Kanalz who then proceeded to do a bang-up job on the final product. I love what she did!

9: Who or what inspired you to write this book? Lots of things combined, really. I love time travel stories (Buying Time is NOT a time travel story) and alternate histories. I also think, given the chance, that many of us would revisit some part of our life to fix it or do it differently. This story came about as a result of all those ideas colliding!

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? Like most of my work, it’s set in the South…the setting I use is the area of Florence, Alabama.

Below you will find authors who will be joining me by blog, next Wednesday. Do be sure to bookmark and add them to your calendars for updates and exciting developments.

Sidney Williams: http://sidneywilliams.blogspot.com

Sean Taylor: http://seanhtaylor.blogspot.com

Aaron Drown: www.achristopherdrown.com

Happy Writing and Reading

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The Next Big Thing Blog Hop hello

Hi there and welcome to my blog! For my regular readers, I beg your patience as I participate—for the first time ever—in a blog hop.

For those of you new here, you’re likely here thanks to a link provided to you by my friend and colleague, author Tom Lucas. I want to thank Tom for inviting me to participate and for encouraging all of you to check out my page.

I know that you’re getting a wide variety of authors as you make the hops. Honestly, I’m not how sure far up (or down) the string of hops I am…but I’m pretty sure you haven’t run across many like me. Good or bad? That decision is up to you. (The images on this page is a sampling of covers to things I’ve written).

I spent a little more than ten years in the comic book industry (graphic novels to you more literary types) mostly as a writer, but some of that time as an editor…and some of that time as a Marvel editor. I quit writing for a few years to take up my second career: teaching! That career led me to a side-career of speaking (at writer conferences and the like), which I never thought I’d like…and yes, the introvert in me still gets nervous. Once I got going with the teaching, I dove back into writing, this time my focus was prose. I still write comics and have several graphic novel projects in the works that I’ll be talking about on this page soon. I’ve got an agent trying to sell my YA novel, The Intern, but next week I’ll be answering my ten questions about my first novel, Buying Time, which is a contemporary fiction work…with a smattering of romance (completely unintentional on my part!), a tiny sprinkle of sci-fi (completely intentional on my part!), and a coating of faith (a natural extension on my part!).

I blog about once a week where I break all the “rules” of blogging in that I pretty much write about what I want to write about (y’know—if you’re going to “do” a blog, you need a FOCUS!). I write about writing, review the occasional book, write a little about my family, rarely politics (though those seem generate the most comments!) and whatever else strikes my fancy.

So, I hope to see you next week where I’ll also point you to five more unique writers!

Thanks for stopping by.

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Nashville this week, Southern Expressions in October

I’m excited about this week…and about a week still several months away. This week will be my first ever signing/appearance in the Nashville, Tenn., area. I know, can you believe it? All these years so close and I’ve never been there for an appearance, not once.

So, if you’re in the Nashville area, I’d love for you to come out and see me: it’s FREE! On Wednesday (March 23), from 4:30 until 5:30, I will be at the Madison Branch of the Nashville Public Library and will be talking about how to have a Career in comics. I’ve created “event notices” on both Facebook and Goodreads. Click the links and tell me you’ll be there! Then, on Thursday (March 24, of course), at the Goodlettsville branch, I’ll lead a limited space workshop for teens from 4:30 until 6, then will give a general public talk Creating a Comic Book from Idea to Publication. Most folks don’t know, thinking the “comic art fairies” show up at night and do the work—kinda like the elves did for that shoemaker dude. Again, click the links: Facebook, Goodreads. If you’ve got questions about anything, contact the library there in Nashville. ßlink is right there. Also, if you visit the link, you’ll see that my sessions are the #3 ad in the rolling ads. My public thanks to Jennifer Hunsicker who worked hard to make this happen. Yes, of course, pictures to follow.

Also, I’ll be signing comics at Rick’s City Comics from 12-2 on Thursday. Dig into those collections and bring your copies out for me to sign. Rick is even digging around to see what he’s got in the backstock!

While in Nashville, I’m hoping to catch up with artist Sam Payne, a talented guy who did some work for me when I was editor at Malibu. I’d give you a link to his site, or some of his work, but Sam is horribly absent from the web, something I’ve been on him to correct—I mean, folks need to be able to see his art! I’ve been trying to twist Sam’s arm to work on a project with me—and yes, I’m hoping putting it out here in public like this will help convince him it’s the thing to do! I’ll stop short of giving you his email address and telling you to bomb his email with messages of “do the project with Roland!”

But I’ll keep that thought in the back of my head.

I was made aware, too, of something pretty cool. You all have heard me talk about Imagicopter before. Well, one of the many authors I’ve met through Imagicopter is Glen Stripling. I was just made aware that he said some pretty nice things about Buying Time on his own website. Go check it out—and check out his work while you’re at it.

My other big news is that I’ve been invited to be a speaker at the Southern Expressions Authors Conference 2011 to be held in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, this coming October. I must say, I’m very excited about this and it looks to be a very cool conference. I want to encourage writers in the area to mark it on your calendars and plan to come.

I’ll be coaching Brett in baseball again this year…we start practices this week! Looks to be a fast and fun summer!

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Promoting away!

These past several months I’ve been doing what I could to promote, sell and sign copies of Buying Time. Today’s economy mixed with ever changing technology creating fewer actual readers makes selling words printed on paper harder than ever. The fun thing about my efforts is the variety of venues I’ve tried.

I’ve already mentioned Imagicopter on this page and if you’ve read that blog, you know how hyped I am about it. I won’t repeat that blog except to say that Imagicopter is a loose conglomeration of independent authors, cartoonists and artists who join together for mutual promotional efforts. In general, Imagicopter events are at libraries and indy-minded bookstores (like DK Books in Memphis). Some events have been at comic and sci-fi conventions. Imagicopter has helped me to go places I probably wouldn’t have been able to get to do alone.

I’ve also done some local craft shows and community festivals. Those may be among some of my most interesting experiences as the people who attend these events run the full scale of characters. Truthfully, it was one such event which inspired this blog. In general, most of the people who attend this type of show didn’t come to see a writer or buy a book. Many of them are just out killing a Saturday afternoon (or morning). What’s funny, though, are the responses I get when I try to speak with them as they meander past my table. This is certainly not a scientific study, so don’t hold me to these numbers. But roughly half of the people walk by my table or booth without even stopping. Most of them with nod at me, say hello, or smile as they continue their trek. A few refuse to make eye contact. Of the ones who stop, a little more than half of them ask me what I’m doing. I accept that as an honest inquiry and tell them about my book. Of the ones who don’t speak (yes, I generally try to speak first!), some of them pick the book up and read the back cover copy. Some of them tap the book as they walk by. Most of them make some kind of comment about the title. Because of the book’s title, I get many many comments about “killing time” and the like. A few find out what I’m doing and then want to tell me about their own great idea for a book.

Some of my favorite comments are:

*I’ll have to tell my friend about this book. She likes to read.

*I had an idea like this once. I just never wrote it down.

*You should get this book into Books-A-Million (or Amazon, or Barnes & Noble, etc).

*Do you believe in time travel?

*I traveled back in time once. Do you believe that?

*My son (or daughter or cousin or etc) is a great writer. I bet if they did this book they’d make millions. (my follow up is usually something like: “Really? That’s great. What have they written?” “Oh, nothing. But they’re a great writer.”)

*I’ve got an idea for a book…you want to hear it?

And, probably my favorite…

*If I have any money left at the end of the day, I’ll have to buy one.

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The absent blogger

I’m afraid to look at the date before I “publish” this one…but I know it was sometime in July. Where oh where has the time gone? Well, for me personally, mostly school. Trying to balance my school with a busy summer schedule was hectic! With a capital WOW! There’s so much to catch up on, I hardly know where to start.

But I gotta start somewhere so I’ll start with Brittany having a go at American Idol. When we learned they lowered the age to 15 this year AND that there were auditions in Nashville AND it was conveniently placed next to Camp Electric on the calendar…well, we decided to do it. Brittany and I went to stand in line around 4 that morning and found the line already formed. However, once it was all said and done, we were in the first ¼ of the entire line. While she didn’t make it past the first round, it was a great experience for her. I was impressed by how efficient they were in their organization. Those guys know what they’re doing.

Brittany has been offered a contract/representation by CTA and we’re still examining those possibilities and praying about it. It sounds very good, but we don’t want to jump into it blind and make a bad decision that she’ll be stuck with. She’s competing in a contest that I’d encourage you to go vote for her here.

She’ll also be competing at the MidSouth Talent Fair Thursday, September 30. This will be her fourth year to compete there, her third in the “senior” category (which is ages 13-21). Come out if you can, and cheer her on.

Brett’s big event is his braces—which he didn’t want. He’s only had them on for two weeks, but we can already see major movement in his teeth!

I’ve had a busy summer also signing copies of Buying Time and working to promote it. I wish I’d had more time—maybe I should “buy” some, huh? Ha. Davis-Kidd Booksellers in Memphis had me up for a reading and a signing and I was happy to have several family members and friends come out to support me. I can’t mention all of you, but if you were there, thank you for coming. If you couldn’t make it, DK graciously put some copies on their shelves, so go in and ask for it and pick up a copy!

This summer, I’ve managed to get myself some podcasting interviews. While I’ve been interviewed on television and for the paper and such before, this was a completely new experience for me—and I had a lot of fun. The first time I went on was with the Imagicopter folks. Next I went on with Andy Childress of bubbaworldcomix.com when we were at SFCC in Jackson. We were interviewed by Cody Shedd and Danny Rushing and had a blast. I’m hoping they’ll holler at me again for a follow up! And then, I had a very cool conversation with John Wilkerson, Jesus Geek. We had such a good time John had to split it into two parts: Part 1 and Part 2. In fact, we talked for another 20 minutes off air as we figured out that we knew some of the same folks out in Killeen, Texas! You should go listen to them—drive up the hits if nothing else! J

This coming Saturday, September 25, while the Razorbacks are beating Alabama, I’ll be at the Winston County Library in Louisville, Mississippi from 9 a.m. until that afternoon. I’ll be there with a handful of authors and artists, so if you’re in the area, come out and see us! You already know about Buying Time, Wizard of Oz, Huck Finn, but I’m also able to promote now Martyrs, an anthology of the early Christian Martyrs in which I wrote a 12 page story of Polycarp.

On October 2, I’ll be the keynote speaker for a Writing Retreat in Byhalia. I’ll be in Coffeeville, Mississippi the next Saturday, October 9. And then, I’ll blink my eyes and it’ll be November and I’ll lead the Hemingway Writers Retreat in Piggott, Arkansas. So, for those of you who read this blog regularly (thank you!), I apologize if I don’t get here as often the next several weeks!

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