It’s an annual pilgrimage for me—October, Skyline Drive, a cabin in Shenandoah National Park. I hike until I feel like my legs are about to fall off, then sit in my cabin or in the lodge tap room and write. There’s no internet (at the lodge, but it’s spotty) and cell signals are pretty much nonexistent, so I get a lot done. But it’s not just about work, it’s about getting out in the fall air, seeing some breathtaking vistas, and hopefully a bear or two.
Yeah, a bear. Last year I saw one at about mile 40, unconcerned as he munched on vegetation along the side of the road. There was a back-up of cars making their careful way around him, snapping a few pictures. On the way back home last year I also caught a rare glimpse of a bobcat dashing across the road in the morning fog and pausing to eye me before dashing off into the woods.
So I arrived, hoping I’d get another bear sighting this year. I unloaded my bags into my cabin, sat outside with some summer sausage, cheese, and a beer, and eyed the enormous groundhog hole under the section of the cabin that housed the bathroom.
This year was colder than normal. That first night, the heater shut off around 10pm and never came on again. Around midnight I realize it had dropped to about 55 degrees in the cabin. By morning I figured it had to be upper 40’s and I don’t want to get out of bed.
I’m used to winter camping, but that was thirty years ago and I’m a bit of a wuss now. So I get up, fix a pot of coffee (priorities) and find the remote for the heater. Then I proceed to push every damned button on the thing but I can’t make the heater come on. Giving up, I crawl back in bed to drink my coffee, then get dressed and go to the lodge for breakfast, telling them to send maintenance for the heater. By the time I get back to my cabin, I see the heater seems to be working and is set on 68. It’s still cold, but I figure give it time while I go for a hike. Continue reading
It’s here! Bum’s Rush, White Lightning Book 2 is now available at all retailers. Make sure you grab it now because in a few weeks, it will go exclusive to Amazon into their Kindle Unlimited Program.
When their moonshine-running enterprise is arbitrarily shut down, Hattie attempts a spectacular illusion to save the business…and fails to pull it off. Now everyone who’s anyone knows that Vincent isn’t the only magic user in the city of Baltimore.
With her cover blown Hattie finds herself targeted by the local mob, with Vincent specifically tasked to bring her in. Can Hattie stay one step ahead of the only man she thought she could trust with her secrets? In a world filled with magic, where every promise can be broken, Hattie will need to gamble on the only thing she can truly count on: herself.
First off, there is now an Imp Series Complete Collection for those who want all 10 of Sam’s novels in one handy-dandy file. You can get it on Apple, and on Kobo, but nowhere else because it’s a big honking file and some pricing considerations due to that. And yes, that’s a chicken wand in her left hand.
Secondly, Wooden Nickels is now available on Kindle Unlimited at Amazon. Amazon requires exclusive content for inclusion into this program, so if you’re a reader on Nook, Apple, Kobo, or Google, make sure you’re buying the White Lightning books either on preorder or the first week of release, because I’ll have to pull them to enroll them into Kindle Unlimited.
Thirdly, I’ll be giving away a paperback each Facebook Live event on my What’s On Sam’s Playlist contest, so watch my PAGE for details.
Lastly-but-not-leastly, how would you guys like a Sam Christmas short story or novella? Something to tide you all over until the next Imp World books? I’m going to write like a crazy mo-fo this month and see if I can’t get you something to make your holiday spirits rise. Ho Ho Ho, and read on!
I had dreams all last night of 9.11
Not horrific dreams of the actual event, but sad dreams of the aftermath, like seeing where UA 93 crashed and thinking not only of those passengers but of the two fighter pilots who were on a suicide mission to take that plane down if need be.
I remembered the heavy silence that afternoon as I did a training run, a moment in time where there wasn’t the drone of planes overhead descending for BWI, National, or Dulles.
I remember thinking of all the work colleagues and friends in NY who were in a state of shock and mourning.
I remember running the Marine Corps Marathon six weeks after the tragedy and stopping, gut-wrenched, to see the gaping hole in the Pentagon, very aware of the fighter jets up and down the airspace over the Potomac and the armed Marines along the race route.
That was the start of my secret love affair with the Marines. Events all over were being cancelled, rightly so, because of concerns over security. Thirty thousand people gather each year to run the Marine Corps Marathon. It’s such a popular event that there’s a lottery system to get a race bib to run. I expected them to cancel. It was too soon after the most horrendous terrorist act on American soil for the race organizers to pull together the needed procedures and security to keep thirty thousand runners plus staff safe. We’d be too big a target in the nation’s capital that had just seen our Pentagon hit.
Clearly I underestimated the Marines. They held their race. And for the first time since those planes hit the Twin Towers, I felt safe. These guys were dedicated and ready to ensure our Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. And that included being safe to do the seemingly little things like run 26.2 miles around the Capitol.
Mixed in with those were dreams of how one act of kindness can set in motion events that can change the world, how one person can make a difference, if not on a global scale, then through one individual at a time. Mourn. Remember. Enjoy the little things that make life worth living. And resolve to be a light in this world.
Book 1 in the White Lightning Series releases in one month! Get ready for Moonshine, Mobsters, and Magic Users, but to hold you until September 18th, here’s a sample:
The tall man peered over the bed of the truck, and with the subtlest of gestures, Hattie pinched the light around the brandy cases. She wasn’t as close to the cases as she’d like to be. Every inch of distance between her and her illusions meant more effort. Which meant more sickness once it was over. It was too late to close in now. Any motion toward those bottles could be construed as ill intent, and might even draw a gun from the G-men’s holsters.
The man’s eyes swept along the bed of the truck. She could feel his gaze on her illusion, rolling like a ball up and down the fabric of the pinched light. Just as the nausea began to swell inside her belly, the tall man scribbled something on his pad and turned away.
“Looks in order,” he declared as he took a step back.
Hattie released a breath and waited for the right moment to drop the illusion.
“Hang on,” the double-chin blurted. “What kind of oil?”
The tall man shook his head a couple times, then turned with a lifted brow.
“Olive oil. You know. For cooking?” Hattie told him.
Short and ruddy took a step toward the truck, reaching for the crates. Hattie redoubled her light pinch, hoping he didn’t pull the bottle fully out of the crate. Continue reading