Friday, February 26, 2016

Scout's Honor Character Introduction: Rob Caralessi


Rob Caralessi is one of the narrators in Scout's Honor. Rob enters the story in November 1987, which is the start of Part II of the story. He first comes into Scout's life while she is waitressing at a small Raleigh restaurant not too far from the North Carolina State University campus. Rob is an insurance salesman and a long time married father of two. He lives with his wife Rita and two children, Chase and Samantha, in Rocky Mount, about an hour from Raleigh.

Rob is a hard working and faithful man. He loves his wife and family and believes he is in strong and solid marriage. He is aware that he has been blessed with a great life. He works very hard to support his family, is an active and involved father and husband, and is genuinely a nice guy. Women find him charming and very good looking (he looks like Mickey Rourke - 1980s version), and he uses his gifts to his advantage in life and in work. It helps him be a good salesman. He is not a philanderer, and does not seek out the company of other women. Rob is a gentleman.

But there was something about the young and damaged Scout, a connection and attraction of sorts, that made him forget all of this and do whatever he could to see her again. 

Rob is a main character in the story and his narrations take place in both parts I and II. He is meant to bring to into the discussion the kinds of issues men face as they age: the ones that destroy lives and break hearts and how one huge personal failing can ultimately define the entire life of an otherwise good, honest and decent man - as well as change the course of the lives in those around him. 

Read Scout's Honor on April 14th to learn more about Rob and his part in Scout's story. Pre Sale for Kindle is live now at: 

-Happy Reading,


Friday, February 19, 2016

Scout's Honor Character: Doug DeHaan


One of my narrators in Part 1 of Scout's Honor is named Doug DeHaan. Doug is a gym teacher and coach, and during the summers, he lifeguards at Camp Judah. He has a wife named Cammy and a toddler son named Paul.

I created Doug to be a regular, charming, super nice guy, who despite his 32 years and life responsibilities, remains a big kid at heart. He works with children, has a passion for their well being, enjoys serving in his church and at the camp as a leader and example to young people. Students and players and campers all look up to Doug. Young teen girls have a crush on Doug. Other counselors have a crush on Doug. Doug is the kind of guy that women like and dream about, even though he doesn't make much money in his careers. He is the kind of guy who attracts others because of his fun and outgoing personality, his handsome good looks and how he treats people.

But Doug is also at a point in his marriage to Cammy where things are a lot more challenging than they used to be. He is too busy and overworked at Camp Judah. She is busy and overworked at her shift position as a nurse. They work opposite schedules and so they do not spend much time together. They have a toddler aged son who takes a lot out of Cammy, mostly because she has to care for a baby all day and work all night, with little help from her husband.

Since a part of Doug still yearns to be young and free, it is hard for him to reconcile that his wife's attention has gone toward the needs of her baby, rather than the needs of her husband. This alienates Doug. They both blame each other for the lack of communication in the relationship. Their mutual alienation and inability to be on the same page in dealing in a healthy and mature way with this huge (but normal) change to a couple's marriage, relationship and home, affects them both in different ways.

How does Doug ultimately deal with his crumbling marriage and life? Read the first part of Scout's Honor to learn how.

PREORDER of Scout's Honor now available through Amazon Kindle! Other PREORDER outlets will be live on March 1st! Scout's Honor is now on Good Reads.


Friday, February 12, 2016

#funfriday #bookreview

Eight Days by Scott Thompson

Clive Kinsella dies one day, just as he is about to go somewhere and see more of the world he gave up long ago. Isn't that the kind of thing that happens to people? You work your whole life and raise your children, get them off into the world, start to be able to save some money, start to maybe see the light at the end of the "responsibilities" tunnel, putting dream after dream on the back burner until "one day" when you'll be able to finally do and see things you always wanted to do and see. And instead, you drop dead. Or, you get diagnosed with Stage 3C colon cancer on the day before your 47th birthday when all the doctors thought you had was a bad case of diverticulitis.

Clive dies and goes along with his long ago dead grandfather on a journey called "Reckoning." Reckoning is where individuals face the events in their lives that defined them, the things that they held onto, the things that they never quite got over. In Clive's case, he had eight days worth of Reckoning, and the reader gets to follow him on this pre-Heaven "life" experience. We learn why Clive made the choices he made, the struggles he faced, the pain he carried within, and what makes life worth living.

This spiritual story and Scott Thompson's humble, tender and thoughtful writing style remind me of Mitch Albom's work. You feel soothed when you read it, even though you are talking about a man's regrets and pain after his death. You identify with Clive because we all know what it's like to sacrifice our own goals and dreams for love - at least on some level. You appreciate Clive because even if you are not him, you know someone like him. You can understand his unwillingness to let certain things go, and you too hope that your own un-fabulous, unremarkable and simple life was indeed well lived.

Scott Thompson gives us a glimpse into the afterworld, allows us to share his window into the eternal and then later into Heaven, which is a place of hope and love - and in the end, aren't those the things we all most cherish? The things we hold dearest to us? It's why we cry and grieve and suffer when we lose those we love, and why we cling on to the promises of religion or spirituality that we will be with them again in some other realm.

No matter your personal views on those matters of "forever," the truth is, it is up to all of us to Reckon within ourselves - either while here on Earth or perhaps somewhere else in between with our own grandfather guide: the choices we have made and the lives we have led. And then be okay with it as it was. Just because you didn't go to outer space or write for a large newspaper in New York or claim a Nobel Prize doesn't mean that the small delicacies of finding someone to love, raising a family, going fishing instead of traveling to Paris, helping an elderly parent die, holding your wife after she has just told you her deepest darkest secret, providing for your family, forgiving your repentant son, reading to your grandchild...aren't actually even more meaningful.

The moral of this beautiful story is to embrace who and what you are, the things that led you there, and who and what you have right now. Reckon it now. That is how you live with no regrets. And that is how you die with no regrets.  


Friday, February 5, 2016

When Life Hands You a Lemon by Mike Hansen

#funfriday #bookreview

Today, I am doing a book review of When Life Hands You a Lemon by Mike Hansen.  

Mike's debut novel is a fast paced and excellent read. Dan Lemon is a modern man of simplicity, routine and the kind of person who just does what everyone thinks he should do. He follows the rules of life: go to work every day, take care of your family, be on time, don't do anything wrong. There is comfort in that for a lot of people, but at what price? 

During his work day, when he actually goes out for lunch with coworkers - which is a break from routine - and then comes back to work to discover he is being kidnapped by criminals, this event makes him face the deep seated fears that have kept him imprisoned within his own mind. The story gives your brain a good philosophical work out and many of us in middle age can completely identify with Dan Lemon - going through the motions of life. At some point, many of us do face a crisis in our lives and we are forced to confront what we believe, why we do what we do, and what makes life worth living. Whether it be a health crisis, a personal one or getting kidnapped by criminals...middle age comes for us all and we hit those "two roads in the wood." 

Everyone has a piece of Dan Lemon in him or her, and if they say they don't they're lying. Mike's debut has quick, sharp dialog with interesting male perspectives about life then and life now mixed with deep thinking and flashback storytelling...and there is a side of sweetness. 

I recommend that you give this indie author a try! His book is sold at all the major places you buy your books and can be ordered through the publisher (link above) in paperback. 


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Hero Worship

#writingwednesday #WWWBlogs #inspiration

Writing a hero is easy to me. We are a society based in hero worship, always looking for a hero to save us. Whether it be in politics, sports, cultural, social, fictional heroes, our entire society is based on some kind of hero worship.

When you choose a grocery store, what do advertizers use to identify a hero? You think...a hero for grocery shopping? Yes. The hero for grocery shopping is that all important hero...Mom. Mom clips coupons, chooses the best peanut butter for their precious children "Choosey moms choose Jiff," stretches every dollar, has a highly detailed list - written in the order of the aisles, ensures that the cold food is bagged with the cold food, and so on. Hero Mom brings all the food home and cooks all the food and serves all the food to her family. (Somewhere, my hus
band is laughing about that cooking part...) Sometimes they will throw in the Hero Mom who is also a career woman, so she is heroing all over the store in her Wall Street outfit.

Every story needs a hero and it doesn't even have to be your protagonist. In my book, I told a story about a girl who really needs to become her own hero. But it takes her a long time to figure that out. However, there is a hero throughout the story, and it was easy to come up with him.

I blogged about Charlie Porter, the hero of my story, a couple of times now in my post about muses and my post about him as a character. He is that important of a fixture in Scout's Honor that I hope the reader sees him as I tried to present him.

Sports "hero" from the 2004 Boston Red Sox World Series team
I used the military pieces in Charlie's story to show how he is heroic. I chose his later profession to be one in law enforcement. These are both traditionally heroic career fields. He is strong, loyal, unfailing, kind, thoughtful, sincere. These are heroic traits, meant to inspire the same in others. It doesn't mean that the hero is less complex of a human being and doesn't have his own demons or struggles, but what moves him or her is at the base is the goodness within humanity.

Who are the heroes in your life? Who are the heroes in your stories? 

Happy Writing,




Monday, February 1, 2016

Storytelling with Narrators

#manuscriptmonday #storytelling

I wrote my first novel. It's getting published. Yay me. I guess that makes me an author now. A published one. Cool.

But before I was ever a writer, I was a reader. It was reading that made me into a storyteller, whether I told verbal stories, drew cartoons or painted pictures, wrote poems and short stories or took pictures. And like most readers, I like stories told well and even have preferences as to how I like to "hear" them.

Personally, I enjoy the stories from the narrator's perspective. There is a cliche that says "there are three sides to every story: his, hers, the truth." There is another one that says: "The truth lies somewhere in the middle." The totality of any story is told when you hear all perspectives of the truth. Cliche: "Perception is reality."

In my first novel, I decided to tell a long story through the lenses of several narrators. I believe this to be an important way to present each character as well. How does the narrator see herself? How does the narrator see another character? How does the narrator view the other narrator? How does the narrator experience the same scene as an other narrator? How are they the are the different?

In a criminal court room, you have a prosecutor and a defendant. They present to you two different narrations of a crime. Some things may be the same...some are not. The "finders of fact" is the Jury. The Jury is "truth" - even if what they find is not actually the truth, in a court of is. This is why lawyers are so important - they need to tell a strong narration of their side. This is why juries are so important. What they say, goes. What they determine is true, is therefore true.  Mind bent around yet?
10 different kids doing the same thing, 10 different narrations of the same event!.

When telling a story with multiple narrators, like I have with Scout's Honor, it is important to let the reader be the jury or the "finder of fact" in order to determine the truth. This engages the reader actively in the story, rather than just serving as an outside observer.

Happy Manuscripting,