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Chickens in the Bathroom

You know you’re a hick if ….

Chicks in the bathroom. Click to enlarge.

Every year we lose a few hens to illness, hawks, or raccoons and need replacements. In years past we had a rooster named Colonel and he took care of that for me. I slept right through Colonel’s predawn crowing, but it drove my wife to distraction. One day she told me that the rooster had disappeared. Yeah, sure, Colonel just decided to move. I think she had him killed.

The chicken box. Click to enlarge.

Since hens lay eggs even without a rooster I decided not to make too much of a fuss, but since then we’ve had to buy chicks in the spring. This year we bought a mix of Gold Sex-Link, Orpington, Marans, Welsummer, and Barnevelder.

From the start, chicks need to be kept warm, at up to one-hundred degrees. One year we kept them in the garage under a heat lamp, but when the weather turned cold they nearly died. After that, we tried several places in the house and this year we decided on the guest bathroom. They’re all in a box, but we try to warn guests before they enter.

I told several of my friends about keeping chicks in the bathroom and they considered it rather routine. One of them said, “Let me tell you about the time I had a calf in my bathroom.”

Maybe I’m not such a hick.


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Click on the following links to read my author bio, or read more about my life on the farm.

A bestseller since its release!

This has been an exciting weekend!   

Even before it was released, Race to Refuge, my latest 16,000-word short story, had climbed onto the Amazon short story bestseller lists. On Friday morning, March fifteenth, when Amazon released the story I checked and was thrilled to see it at number seven on the Science Fiction & Fantasy Short Story List. But, it kept climbing all day. By evening it had reached the number two slot on the bestseller list.

Amazon list of March 16, 2019. Click to enlarge.

The next morning I checked again and discovered it had reached the number one position on the science fiction list and the number ten spot on the literature and fiction list. I’m writing this blogpost on Sunday and the story is still in the number three position.

All I can say is thank you, my readers!   

In this story, University of Washington students Ryan Palmer and Amy decide to bugout of Seattle when international tensions threaten to boil over into a world war. In normal times their journey to Ryan’s childhood home in rural Idaho would take less than a day. But these aren’t normal times. As they travel supplies become scarce, gasoline becomes impossible to buy, people panic and nuclear war erupts. Together they must confront their worst fears as they fight to reach home and refuge.


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Matt Redman’s 10,000 Reasons

I enjoy singing 10,000 Reasons.

I’ve sung the hymn in church for several years, but other than enjoying the music and lyrics, I’ve never given the song much thought.

Matt Redman

Matt Redman

Then my wife found this video of it being sung in a packed Royal Albert Hall in London. For me, the performance, setting, music, and words all blended together to create a spectacular event. I would have loved to have been in that crowd and joined in the singing. Since that didn’t happen I at least wanted to know more about the song.

In the video, the co-writer of 10,000 Reasons, Matt Redman, performs the song with a full orchestra. Born in England, Matt had a tough time growing up. His father committed suicide when he was just seven, and his abusive step-father landed in jail. Through it all Matt found both his talent and Christ.

Based on the opening verses of Psalm 103, the hymn reached number one on the Christian chart in 2011.

Bless the Lord oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship His Holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I'll worship Your Holy name

The sun comes up
It's a new day dawning
It's time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass
And whatever lies before me
Let me be singing
When the evening comes

You may have heard 10,000 Reasons before but, take a moment, and hear it again.


Click on the following links to read my author bio, or to read more about my faith

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A Conference with Carrie

On February 23rd I had the pleasure of speaking at the Oregon Christian Writers one-day winter conference in Salem, Oregon.

Carrie Stuart Parks delivers the keynote address

I arrived about thirty minutes late due to an accident on the freeway but, after checking in, I entered the main auditorium and listened to the keynote speaker, Carrie Stuart Parks. Carrie is an award-winning, internationally known forensic artist and author. I had read about her before the conference. She taught classes for the FBI, Secret Service, and Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Her awards include the Christy, Carol, and the INSPY.  

Kyle Pratt, Cornelia Becker Seigneur, Carrie Stuart Parks. and Julie Zander

She talked about her progression from artist to writing books on drawing and on to her fiction novels. I enjoyed the way she mixed art and writing in a talk about growth. Evidently, I missed how she met Frank Peretti and came to be mentored by him. As a longtime fan of his novels, I would have taken eager notes on that.  

Fortunately, I wasn’t late for my class on Finding and Forming Critique Groups. I’ve attended critique groups for more than a decade and through them learned many valuable writing lessons and formed lasting friendships.

As authors, we spend many hours alone while writing, but sometimes we need the perspective of others. That’s where the critique group comes in handy. Getting out of our comfort zone and letting others read and comment on our work is hard, but that is what we do as published authors.

I hope to expand upon the talk and give it at other events.  


Click on the following links to read my author bio, or read more about current writing projects.

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Please don’t colonize me

Bill Maher thinks I’m angry.

I first heard of Bill Maher as the host of Politically Incorrect on Comedy Central. I watched a few shows but soon moved on. Like so many comedians, Bill struck me as someone who thinks they’re funny and knows for certain they are the smartest person in any room.

Bill Maher

Such people annoy me, but I’m not angry.

I would have happily continued to ignore Bill, like that pesky relative that says stupid and cringe-worthy things. But then, Bill had to go and make up things about me and my neighbors.

Recently on his HBO show Real Time, Bill said, “We have orchestras and theaters districts and world-class shopping. We have Chef Wolfgang Puck, they (red state America) have Chef Boyardee.”

However, Bill was just getting warmed up. Over the course of the next few minutes, he said, “The fly-over states have become the passed-over states, that’s why red state voters are so pissed off. They don’t hate us, they want to be us. They want to go to the party.” He concluded the tirade with, “If liberals are serious about winning elections, they have to recolonize the parts of the country they’ve abandoned.” You can view the entire rant on the embedded video. 

Bill, I know this will come as a surprise, but I don’t want to come to your party and I hope you don’t come and try to colonize my part of the country. I’m not pissed-off, as you put it, but clearly, we value different things.

You see, my home isn’t surrounded by buildings, pavement, and traffic. I have neighbors but I can’t see them from my house. All I see as I look out any window is grass and trees. If I look through the trees along the south side of my property I can just make out the nearest road. If I’m working outside, I tend to notice the occasional car that travels it. 

In the morning I wake up to the sounds of chickens, horses, and cows. A host of birds including hummingbirds, swallows, hawks and an occasional bald eagle frequent the nearby forest. Almost daily, deer stroll through my yard and as dusk falls they sometimes settle down for the night in a nearby meadow. When the snow is deep my wife will often leave them apples.

On warm summer nights, I usually leave the window open and fall asleep to the sound of frogs croaking in the nearby pond.

You’re right Bill, I don’t have access to world-class shopping or Wolfgang Puck, but those have never been high on my list of life’s perks. I appreciate orchestras and theaters but have given up being close to them for what I get in return—beauty, peace, and solitude.

I know all of that probably sounds horrible to someone born and raised in the New York City area, but I like it. So, please don’t colonize my area. I’ve lived in big cities and I left them.

I’m just a conservative, red state republican who loves the simple country life and doesn’t want to be like you. 


Click on the following links to read my author bio, or read more about my political views, or see more blogposts with video

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Five Signed Copies

I’m giving away five signed copies of Through Many Fires!

Click here to enter!

Click here to enter!

You could be one of the winners. Just click on the Rafflecopter graphic to enter and win. Enter your email address to open even more chances to win. It's all FREE!


Through Many Fires is the 72,000-word first book in the best-selling post-apocalyptic adventure series, Strengthen What Remains. 


America is under siege. 


Terrorists smuggle a nuclear bomb into Washington D.C. and detonate it during the State of the Union Address.


Army veteran and congressional staffer Caden Westmore is in nearby Bethesda and watches as a mushroom cloud grows over the capital.


The next day, as he drives away from the still burning city, he learns that another city has been destroyed and then another. America is under siege.


Panic ensues and society starts to unravel.


Click on the following links to read my author bio, or read more about contests and giveaways.

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Race to Refuge Available for Pre-order

My first book of 2019 is available now!

Pundits say that the second-best promotion an author can have is finishing their next book. Well, the graphic design and editing of Race to Refuge flew by and my first release of 2019 is now available for pre-order for only 99 cents.

I’ve agreed to give Amazon the exclusive right to sell the book for ninety days. After that, I plan to offer the book on all the major platforms.

In Race to Refuge, college student Ryan Palmer wakes up to his girlfriend Amy pounding on the door. She snaps on the television and he learns that the tense world situation is spiraling toward war. As the news grows worse, they decide to bugout of Seattle and go to his parent’s home in Idaho. But panic buying makes finding gasoline impossible and chaos soon follows.

The best promotion an author can have is readers that tell other readers. Please, click on the book cover and order Race to Refuge and, when you’re done reading, please leave a review!


Click on the following links to read my author bio, or read more about current writing projects.

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Race to Refuge Cover Reveal

Race to Refuge will be released in March.

I received the cover back from the graphic designer, Domi, of Inspired Cover Designs, yesterday and I’m showing it here first.

In this story, University of Washington students Ryan Palmer and Amy decide to bugout of Seattle when world tensions threaten to boil over into world war. In normal times their journey to Ryan’s childhood home in rural Idaho would take less than a day. But these aren’t normal times. As they travel supplies become scarce, gasoline becomes impossible to buy, people panic and nuclear war erupts. Together they must confront their worst fears as they fight to reach home and refuge.

Race to Refuge is in final editing. The exact release date hasn’t been set but this standalone novella will be available as a 99 cent ebook on Amazon in March. In the summer the story will be released on other platforms.


Click on the following links to read my author bio, or read more about current writing projects.

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New Year Resolutions

I believe in setting goals at the beginning of the year.

The SMART method of goal setting works for me. I make my goals Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. I also believe in making goals public so that friends can hold me accountable and motivate me toward achieving them. I admit that sometimes when they do this I think of their encouragement more as nagging, but it does help. So, with that in mind here are my goals for 2019 and a look back at how I did on my goals for 2018.

We don’t have a cover yet for Facing the Storm.

 The Solar Storms Saga

My 2018 goal for the Solar Storms Saga had been to release both a novella and a full-length novel. I released the novella as The Storm Rises, in September of 2018. However, time ran short for completing the next full-length book in the series. That next book, Facing the Storm is now my primary novel to complete in 2019.

 At the end of 2019, this is how I want the series to stand.

The Storm Rises, book 0, released 2018

Through the Storm, book 1, released 2017

Facing the Storm, book 2, scheduled for 2019

You can read more about the next book in the Solar Storms Saga on the projects page of my website.

 The Guardian Knights series.

As 2017 began I had completed the first novel in this series Seekers of Earth, a 39,000-word novella that ends in a cliffhanger. I wanted to finish the second, longer, book, Recall the Earth, and have both available near the same time. I succeeded in this goal. Seekers of Earth was released in March of 2017, and Recall the Earth was released with much fanfare and marketing in April of that year. While both books have had good reviews, sales have been slow.

Then in 2018, the Solar Storm Saga books did very well and this drove me to allocate time and effort to writing and marketing of that series. I had to push back the third book in the Guardian Knights series to 2019, but this is the year that I will finish Return to Earth.

I planned the Guardian Knights as a five-book series and this is my plan for completion.

Seekers of Earth, book 1, released 2017

Recall the Earth, book 2, released 2017

Return to Earth, book 3, scheduled for 2019

War for Earth, book 4, scheduled for 2020

Farewell to Earth, book 5, scheduled for 2021

You can read more about Return to Earth on the projects page of my website.

 Completing both Facing the Storm and Return to Earth will mean writing over 110,000 words. That’s a significant, but achievable goal for 2019.


Click on the following links to read my author bio, or read more about current writing projects.

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