Tag Archives: Oxford Mississippi

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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In the Spirit of Thankfulness part 1

All these posts going every day on Facebook got me a bit in the thankful mood…but there was no way I was going to keep up with that. So, I offer, here in its entirety, my 30 days of thankfulness! So, I’m thankful for…

30 life! I don’t know that I’ve ever taken it for granted, but the recent scare made me consider it all the more.

29 my wife! (and just for all you snarky folks looking at the numbers—it isn’t a countdown or a count UP, it’s supposed to represent the 30 days of November!) She’s better to me than I deserve! I love you, BJ!

28 my job. In this messed up economy which only looks to get worse, I’m glad to be doing something I enjoy: teaching creative writing to (mostly) pretty motivated students.

27 my daughter. Even though I’ve tried to convince her to stay OUT of the arts because it’s the pathway to a lot of potential heartbreak, she’s multi-talented and incredibly smart, too…if she’ll just apply herself I have no doubt she’ll be incredibly successful(on both counts!).

26 having a roof over my head. Even though I’d really like to sell my house in Oxford so that I can get my family all back under one roof all the time, I know we’re fortunate to have a home with electricity and running water.

25 my son. Also incredibly talented (can you say FIRST CHAIR bay-bee!) and smart, I appreciate the fact that he’s just as happy geeking out with me playing war games as he is doing anything else.

24 my doctor. When we first moved to Oxford, Dr. Will Dabbs was just the kooky doctor we took the kids to see. Over time, however, he’s become my doctor and my friend…and I DO trust him with my life!

23 facebook. Yeah, yeah, I know. I can hear all the groans now. But I’m of the age that I can remember life before social media and there are a lot of names on my facebook “friend list” that I didn’t speak with that much and that now I get to at least keep up with them now and again. For writer-types who dwell in caves, it’s nice. And even though I hid EVERYONE during the last election season—that’s over and I can now enjoy posts again.

22 technology. I’m a technogeek, I admit it. I love technology. And even though I’ve fought (and still do) the idea of me carrying around a cellphone, I LIKE what they are capable of…I just don’t want to have to carry it around.

21 my parents. I’m blessed to have the best set of parents in the world. How they managed to allow me to continue to live in their house when I was a smart-aleck teenager, I’ll never know. I’m thankful for the way they raised me and for the values they taught me.

20 my church. When you move around as much as BJ and I have, it’s difficult to get “settled” with a church family. We’ve been fortunate, though, in that every place to which our names have been on the roles, they’ve welcomed us with open arms: FBC Muscle Shoals, FBC Loretto, FBC Piggott, Yellow Leaf BC, and FBC Oxford.

19 my books. Yeah, I know this sounds like a very materialistic thing…and maybe it is, but I’m still thankful for them (and for BJ allowing me to surround myself with them). Maybe it’s a writer thing, but I do love to—when I’m in “thinking” mode—to just sit back and take in the surroundings of my books, looking at the titles and recalling the emotions of the read or the particulars of it.

18 BCW. Or Byhalia Christian Writers Group. I was shocked by the lack of anything remotely faith-based in Oxford (aside from the Churches, of course) and really expected to find multiple writers group in Oxford…I mean, it’s OXFORD, the home of Billy Faulkner. Byhalia, Mississippi was the closest group I could find…and they treated me like a long lost brother. I don’t get to go as often as I’d like (for various reasons—one of which it’s an hour drive one way), but I know they remember me in their prayers—and how can one NOT be thankful for that?

17 my bed. Traveling makes you realize just how much you appreciate “your” stuff. And while BJ made me buy a mattress for the apartment in Florida, it’s still not “my bed.” And being a reenactor, I sleep on the ground every now and again. Yes, I’m very thankful for my bed.

16 Spalding. Yeah, one of my alma maters makes this list. It’s not that I am NOT thankful for the others—I am—but Spalding has that special place in my heart, mostly because, I think, the admin and faculty there have embraced the idea of nurturing the writer. It’s the first “hall of higher learning” that did NOT scoff at the body of comic work I have.

15 Spalding peeps. So, yeah, I can’t mention Spalding without mentioning my classmates/colleagues who helped make the program what it is…and ALSO embraced my comic geekiness, some of them even sharing that. There are lots of names I could mention, but the Devil Dawgs (don’t ask—long story) are deserving of special call-out for my thankfulness: Marjetta Geerling, Kat Shehata, Karin Goodwin, Rebekah J Harris, Mary Knight (one of my favorite Yankees!).

(so this is longer than what I thought it would be…to be continued)

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The Big 7 Trip

So this coming school year will find Brett in the 7th grade. Uh…wow. When did THAT happen? As one of the coming of age rituals that FBC does, all the incoming 7th graders get to take a trip—thus, “The Big 7 Trip.” As a dad, I got to go, too! To be honest, I’d been working so much lately, that when BJ asked me and said that it was so I could go with Brett, I said yes automatically without even asking what it was. Truthfully, it probably wouldn’t have mattered—I would have wanted to go with him anyway.

When it came time to go, I finally asked what it was. We made our way to Stone Mountain, GA. and got to participate in the AtlantaFest, a three day long music festival. In between watching some cool shows, we got to go play around Stone Mountain. Needless to say, it was a lot of fun. Brett got to stay in a hotel room with his good buddy Bryce, chaperone free! Dangerous, yes? They did great…except for the fact that Bryce drank a 20 once Coke…and apparently that causes him to NOT sleep…and their air conditioner didn’t work the first night and the two of them burned up!

There were several acts, but the highlights were Toby Mac and Jeremy Camp. We got to see the Skit Guys live, and Coach Mark Richt was one of the speakers. I’m not really a Georgia fan, but I’m a big Mark Richt fan. Hearing him tell his story was pretty cool. He nearly converted me to a Georgia fan.

Okay, not really, but he was a good speaker.

The group of us rode the tram up to the top of Stone Mountain, played around a bit, then rode back down…except for me and Brett and Bryce. We decided to walk down and around the mountain to return to the park. On our way back, the three of us hid in the bushes when the tour train went by and we whooped and hollered like wild Indians. Pretty sure it didn’t fool any of the passengers, but it was pretty funny anyway. Brett and Bryce then did a high ropes course while I sat and watched.

Brett and I got to walk around some and snagged us some AtlantaFest swag. I discovered that Brittany can’t stand that I use that term. Seems she thinks her generation created it…or something. Whatever. We got to watch a short preview of the film Hellbound, picked up a free CD of B-SHOC, got a free bandana from Christian Connections and had our picture taken by them, then talked to Lauren Jones, the president of Reactiv Wear, a company that creates some spiffy designer apparel with the idea of challenging believers to rise above the situation and react as Christ would. Some pretty cool stuff, be sure to check out their website. And while the entire thing was new to me, I learned the AtlantaFest has been going on for over 20 years! Maybe next year they’ll invite one of my favorites, like Guardian or Petra. Brett even mentioned he’d want to return if Petra played!

I want to mention again the two upcoming conferences where I’ll be teaching. The first is Karitos at Wheaton Academy in the Chicago area. It’ll be July 12-14 and I’ll be teaching several sessions there in the literary track. This is the first year to be at Karitos, but my old college pal Justice Carmon will be there and I’m excited to see him and be a part of the conference. The second is the Gideon Media Festival. It’ll be August 11-16 and it’s my second year to be there. Added this year is a comic writer and artist contest and a comic gala. There were threats to try add a ComicCon there, but I think it was too much to try to add so quickly. Maybe next year. Anyway, check out the conferences and make plans to go if you can. You won’t regret it.

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