Friday, February 24, 2017

The examples of my writing - persevere and overcome with tenacity, courage and understanding

I sometimes feel the need to explain myself, a bit, as a author. In fact, I did so, again, last night.  As in, why do I write?  Or, where did the ideas for my stories come from? Where was the inspiration for my seven books (plus more works in progress), including Playing the Baseball Card, which has the best reviews of all of my books?

Not easy questions to answer, really.  I suppose it was, initially, because I heard of some event, or tragedy, and I wished it had turned out differently.  In my mind, I wanted to change the way it turned out.  In real life, that cannot be done, of course.  But, in fiction, all things are possible.  As Paul Theroux has said, “Fiction gives us a second chance that life denies us.” In my writing, I can create anything I want, and give it a happy ending, and mostly I do that.  Along the way, there may be tragedy, or hurtful events, but I try to create success and triumph in the end.  Here are some things I would be happy to achieve:
  • If my stories help young people, by giving examples of kids persevering in difficult situations, then I will be very satisfied. 
  • If my stories help young people overcome their own challenges, and perhaps find some inspiration, then I will be happy. 
  • If my stories help young people find the tenacity and courage to succeed in their own lives, then I will be very pleased. 
  • If my stories help achieve some better understanding among friends and families, then I will consider myself fulfilled.
I have found that I really enjoy writing.  When I write, I imagine that I’m in the scene, or watching the action, and I want to describe it as fully as I can.  What’s more, I can change the scene, or the dialogue, or the action, as much as I want.  Most importantly, I write for myself.  I write what I want to read.  I like Jesse Stuart's quote,Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it.”

I feel very honored and humbled that over 23,000 copies of my books have been sold. If even one person (young or not-so-young) finds some example in one of my books that he or she can use in their own life, then I will consider that every moment I spent writing those books was the best possible way to spend that time.

Thanks for reading,


And, here's how to find my books...

Smashwords - seven of my eBooks are available here, in multiple formats including for Kindle, Nook, and regular PDF. The great thing about Smashwords is their worldwide selling, with no regional or country restrictions!

Barnes and Noble – seven of my eBooks are available here, for the Nook

Apple US iTunes Bookstore – seven of my eBooks are available here, for the iPad, with some very nice reviews for Playing the Baseball Card
Apple UK iTunes Bookstore – seven of my eBooks are available here, for the iPad

Kobo – six of my eBooks are available here, in ePub format

 Amazon – some of my print books are now available, with selected eBooks to be available at a future date

Goodreads  – where to find book ratings, including some of my books.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Royalty for real - A Sapphire Jubilee. Royalty as fiction - my "Prince David" series of books for any young person or adult who has ever wondered where they fit into this world or how they could make an impact

Today is an anniversary never before seen in British History. For the first time, ever, a monarch celebrates a "Sapphire Jubilee." Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne 65 years ago, on Feb. 6th, 1952. It is likely my grandparents and great-grandparents took note of the day. In the preceding 65 years, there had been 5 British monarchs: Victoria (1836-1901), Edward VII (1901-1910), George V (1910-1936), Edward VIII (1936), and George VI (1936-1952). It is truly incredible that 65 years have passed with only one. 

I had not intended to create a post, but have decided I cannot let this day pass without my recognition and comment. I do this because the British royalty is the fictional setting for my "Prince David" series of Young Adult novels, staring Zac Bolitho as the protagonist, and Prince David as his key friend and sidekick. As I state in the introduction to Book 1, this is a book providing inspiration for building lasting friendships, caring about family, seeking adventure, and overcoming the challenges we all face in life. 

This is a book, and a series of books, for any young person or adult who has ever wondered where they fit into this world or how they could make an impact.

the PRINCE DAVID series:

Zac and the Reluctant Prince, Book 1 of the Prince David series...  A contemporary story about keeping friendships, seeking adventure, overcoming challenges, and making history. This novel is set in the real-life world of modern day royalty.  Published in March 2012, the eBook is now available here.

Zac and the Prince's High Adventure, Book 2 of the Prince David series... The story of Zac, his family, and Prince David continues in Book 2, profiling Prince David's continuing adventures and increasing public attention.  Still being completed.  Expected release before the end of 2017, in recognition of the year of the real-life Sapphire Jubilee of the Queen.

Prince David, Book 3: Zac and the Prince's High Impact - outline complete, but subject to change

Prince David, Book 4: A Profile in Courage - being written
I've enjoyed writing the books, and I hope some will appreciate the story and my fictional view of what might take place in the coming years.

Happy Reading, 


Thursday, February 2, 2017

Celebrating the life of Douglas Reeman (who also wrote as Alexander Kent), 1924-2017

With this post, I regretfully take note of the passing, last week, of the renowned and prolific author Douglas Reeman, who also wrote as Alexander Kent.

This is an unusual post for me. I haven’t created this kind of post before, but then I’m not sure when a fellow author has had as much influence on me, my life, and my writing. I want to celebrate his life, and honor his work.

Douglas Reeman's first published book was "A Prayer for the Ship," in 1958.

As The Telegraph (London, UK) states in the obituary, Douglas Reeman’s book sales exceeded 34 million worldwide. The Telegraph goes on to state that, “The typical hero of a Reeman novel is an amiable but bloody-minded sailor who sidesteps attempts by his bungling superiors to prevent him from engaging with the enemy on his own terms, and scores a famous victory against the odds.” 

Lieutenant-Commander (Royal Naval Reserve) Douglas Reeman was a sailor himself, serving in World War II and the Korean War. His pseudonym of Alexander Kent was apparently the name of a friend and fellow naval officer who died during the Second World War. One does not have to speculate where he got the material and inspiration for much of his work; he lived it. Some of the best advice for an author is to write what you know. Douglas Reeman certainly did just that.

As a sailor and small ship captain myself, I had taken note and read some of Douglas Reeman’s books. But, it was discovering the books he wrote (1968-2011) as Alexander Kent that really woke me to his writing. I have to admit that I read Alexander Kent’s books voraciously.

Douglas Reeman's first book written(1968) as Alexander Kent was  "To Glory We Steer." This book, and a number of others, take the title from the lyrics of "Heart of Oak," the Royal Navy march, also adopted by the Royal Canadian Navy.

I had read books by other ‘tall ship’ and seagoing authors, but the Richard Bolitho series really resonated with me. I like that Alexander Kent wrote about the humanity of his characters. As a reader, I really got to know, and to like, Richard Bolitho. What I most liked about the protagonist was that he was a decent human being, a good and loyal friend, and an effective and enlightened leader. In reading about Richard Bolitho and his times, one soon realized that there were many tyrants and bullies in the Navy and the society of his time. The same could be said about our societies in the more recent era. There were life lessons in those books, and many of them still apply in today’s world. 
When asked about Richard Bolitho, the author Douglas Reeman said, “I always feel that he was already there, that he discovered me. I have come to know and recognize him as a friend, and am often moved by the views and beliefs he expresses.” To paraphrase Douglas Reemans’ further words, Bolitho refused to accept injustice towards those he was leading. He was a man without conceit.

I personally have visited HMS Victory, the flagship of Lord Nelson, in its current stationary location at Portsmouth, England. I have wondered at the men who sailed her, and those who lead and commanded her. In writing of the lives and times of those ‘tall ships’, Douglas Reeman has helped me with my life. His words helped me in my dealings with difficult people, and inspired me in my efforts to be a true and loyal friend (and relative). His writings eventually encouraged my own writing, and I can only aspire to a small fraction of his skills and talent.

"In the King's Name, " written under the pen name of Alexander Kent, was the final book published by Douglas Reeman, in 2011. 

These past few days, after learning of his passing, I re-read the first three books of the chronological Bolitho series. I have re-learned to appreciate those books as much as I did in the first and second and additional readings of years past.

I have also come to think, again, about those life lessons. We could only hope and wish that some of the leaders in today’s world might have some of those same qualities of humility, sensitivity, compassion, bravery, honor and a lack of conceit  as those brought to life by Douglas Reeman in his character of Richard Bolitho.
I close this post about Douglas Reeman by paying tribute to his life, and his writing, and the thankfulness that I was able to discover those books. I commend them to you. You can start the search to find them here…  

Whether you read my books, or Douglas Reeman's, or the books attributed to Alexander Kent, I wish you

Happy Reading,