When I stopped writing a few years ago to help my daughter during her breast cancer journey, I never expected it to evolve into a multi-year sabbatical. I love creating stories. I love my characters. I’ve missed them and their new adventures terribly. That said, I have absolutely NO REGRETS!
I am most fortunate to be able to make helping my daughters and their families, including all six of our grandchildren, a top priority as they transitioned into new schools, new work, new a lot of things. The wife and I have been adapting to new, too.
Probably, like many of you, our Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year holidays were abundant and full. We just returned from a family vacation at Granby Ranch, Colorado where we shared a lovely ski in/ski out home. Yep, all 12 of us (6 adults, 6 children all six and under). What a wild time. In the picture at left, I’m preparing to launch the first snowball of our epic snowball fight! Everyone, even the littles, had to get involved. Sadly, the king of the mountain group perched atop a huge volume of snow prevailed.
Here in the very beginnings of 2023, I am over the top THRILLED that NOW is the time to get back in the game. Today, my butt was in the chair, my head in the story, and I started putting words on the page. Much has changed in the writing and publishing world in the past few years. I’m on a learning curve using a new writing software. Writing about four hours a day has worked for me in the past. I should be back up to that level soon.
In celebration, I’m offering a FREE download of my second novel, Thin Places: Hawaii, for the next five days (Thursday, January 12th through Monday, January 16th). Click on this link: https://amzn.to/3vUuHMv
Thanks for your patience and continued interest in my books. I’ll keep you updated here and via email for those who have subscribed to my newsletter. Happy New Year!
I feel like celebrating! At long last, I’m back to writing. Yes, it’s a lot to wrap my head around getting back into the discipline and flow of creating stories. But I’ve done it before and I can do it again.
Over at my Facebook Page, I mentioned a little about authors revisiting their first book. Suffice to say, I’m not going back to make it better. Rather, I’m pressing forward to put more words on the page and hone my craft.
While I’m focused on the new, I’m offering my first novel as a free download through midnight Monday, November 14, 2022. Here’s the link:
Hope you enjoy the read! Feel free to share, too. Others might want to get to know Buck and Liz.
And now I have a word for you who brashly announce, “Today—at the latest, tomorrow—we’re off to such and such a city for the year. We’re going to start a business and make a lot of money.” You don’t know the first thing about tomorrow. You’re nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing. Instead, make it a habit to say, “If the Master wills it and we’re still alive, we’ll do this or that.”
James 4:13-15 MSG
At the airport hotel on May 23, 1976, about to depart on the big honeymoon, my wife and I awoke on our first day or marriage, played Bible roulette, and this is the verse that magically fell open. We glanced at each other a bit puzzled, but quickly hurried to finish the room service breakfast so we could make our flight. Bags checked, we rushed to the departure gate and learned, you guessed it, our scheduled departure was cancelled. Instantly, the words about being off to such and such city slammed into our present reality. That experience has stayed with us as we’ve navigated the many pathways of life over the past 46 years. And that’s exactly what happened since my last post here over a year ago.
Rather than a return to writing, finishing “Thin Places: Dallas” and launching into yet another novel, I never brought myself to the butt in chair, head in story, putting words on the page four hours a day reality as I had long planned to do. Instead, I took a year to thoroughly enjoy living in remote isolation in a log cabin at 9,400 feet altitude an hour-and-a-half west of Colorado Springs deep in the midst of the Rocky Mountains. Every time I thought about getting back into writing, I’d get distracted by the abundant wildlife up close and personal — bear, deer, bobcat, coyote, eagles, elk, and even a rare lynx. Becky would take long walks almost daily in the mountain meadow. Never did a month pass that various combinations of grandchildren would come to stay with us for a few days. Then such a wild thing called seasons happened — fall and winter — a phenomenon I didn’t grow up knowing much about in the Deep South. All in all, it was a glorious respite that oozed with opportunity for restoration and refreshing. And I did!
This past spring, Becky and I came down from the mountains and began settling into our new Colorado Springs digs. We traveled back to Dallas in May to deal with a storage unit we’d piled two decades of family treasures into. Finally, we’re beginning to find our new normal. And YES, I’m feeling the itch to get my butt in the chair, get my head into the story, and put words on the page again. My writing adventure continues…
In 45 days, if all goes as planned, my butt will be in a chair, my head in a story, and I will be putting words on a page. The time is fast approaching for me to pick up my pen and start writing again. I am excited… grateful… eager in anticipation.
It’s been a helluva year and a half — NOT in a good way! After moving across town in December, 2019, I became very sick the first of the New Year 2020. Pneumonia set in and it wasn’t until March that I began to feel normal again. Then, Covid-19 struck. Finally, I was able to get back into my writing groove in May. But that didn’t last long. In June, Rebecca’s and my youngest daughter, pregnant with their third son, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Further complicating matters, her husband, Kris, had just been given an out-of-state military reserve training assignment that was expected to last 9-12 months. They clearly needed help.
Our family has long heralded the “all for one, one for all” ideology. It was once again time to put flesh onto those words. Until a few weeks ago, we tag-teamed back and forth from Dallas to Colorado Springs to come alongside and help with all the things involved in running a household with young children and a sick parent who had what seemed an innumerable number of doctor visits, treatments, and therapies. I spent almost as much time in Colorado Springs the past 10 months as I have at home. Part of what I’m grateful for is that I was at a place and in a time of my life where I actually could be on the scene in every way, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, when one I love so dearly needed me. Multiple rounds of chemo, delivery of a healthy baby, and the double mastectomy are at long last behind us — another thing I’m grateful for!
Just before all of us rendezvoused in Colorado Springs for Christmas, our eldest daughter (who also delivered her third child, a boy, just two weeks ago) broached with us her long term dream of being in the same city as her sister. I cannot remember a time when Katherine didn’t espouse her deep desire to live near Margarett where their children could grow up together. Of course, this was not surprising to my wife or me. As she and her husband, Mark, began following that path, every potential obstacle to making the move revealed smooth sailing. All the lights were green lights. When they told us they were definitely moving, it was a no brainer that we would join them. Being together in the same city as our daughters, their families, and all six grandchildren had suddenly over the last months become even more important.
The first of several pods arrives in less than a month. After two decades, it’s finally time to deal with the burgeoning storage unit. I know we have a few personal treasures hidden away in there somewhere. What to take and what to donate? Decisions. Decisions. So much to do!
The new house is being built and will be completed in early 2022. So, where to live for the next six months? The wife has always had a deep affection for and desire to be in the mountains. Simultaneous to our move, she’s retiring from her RN home health care nursing career. It seems the perfect time we check off that bucket list box of hers. It’s a pretty sweet deal for me, too. Quiet and isolation is my writing happy place. Yep, we’re heading up into the Rocky Mountains… a place an hour or so out of The Springs where we can reset and embrace this new season in our lives. I can hardly imagine a more perfect writing venue for me. It’s going to be a blast this fall introducing Rebecca to a site I beheld for the first time last fall on a day-trip with Margarett — the aspens in all their magnificence.
“Thin Places: Dallas” is finally bubbling up in my mind again. I’ve even started dreaming about it. How I’ve missed my friends Buck, Elizabeth… all the characters. I’m determined to get this novel written and published. I do plan to continue my Thin Places series. That’s not all though. I’m eager and excited to explore new venues and tales.
Now on a more personal note~ many of YOU, my readers, are currently in or have experienced life-shattering moments in these past months just like my family and me. It’s been a rough season for quite a number of us. My heart goes out to YOU. I do understand better now. Receive my prayers for YOU for grace, peace, and the stamina to endure and persevere whatever the course of life throws your way. It’s not always a cake walk… rarely easy. Know with surety there is One who is always alongside us though, holding us up, imbuing us with His strength, power, and might. So, be encouraged. Blessings & love!
I spent my first decade growing up in the small Mississippi Delta town of Doddsville, population 304. Oxford, home of esteemed writers William Faulkner and John Grisham, was an hour-and-a-half northwest of our little farming community. Grisham and I are the same age. Later, I remember reading, then watching, The Firm, and thinking maybe someday I could write a novel just like Mr. Grisham did. He was an inspiration, one of many.
So, when I read that he said this “is the most important book I have ever written,” I was compelled to download it. I was surprised when it was FREE!
It’s a quick read and like the title says, non-legal. Grisham uses his storytelling brilliance to convey facts — facts about brain tumors. As some of you know, I had my own tumor scare in 2001. Fortunately, it had not invaded my brain. Despite trying to stay current on all things tumors, I was not aware of the developing new treatment described in the book.
I love it when influential people use their talents for good. In this story, John Grisham does that as an advocate and call to action for funding this new treatment for tumors.
I recommend to all my readers and friends downloading and reading The Tumor. You never know if or when YOU or someone you love will be impacted directly or indirectly by something like this. Together, each doing just a little something, we can make a difference.
Just a little over a year and a half seems like a lifetime ago when my wife, Rebecca, and I were in Maui celebrating a job well done with our eldest daughter and her family. Rebecca and I had just completed caring for our granddaughter weekdays during her first year when her parents had to return to work following her birth. As I have often mentioned, it was one of the most glorious and wonderful things I’ve ever been a part of. Yes, EVER!
While sipping Mai Tai’s poolside one afternoon, said eldest daughter arrived at our cabana. Her face bespoke of surprise, perhaps even shock. Katherine had been feeling a little off with symptoms that seemed somewhat familiar. Secretly snagging a test kit when we were all at the local store, the results were in. PREGNANT!
Genevieve Garrett joined the family a year ago in January, 2019. Rebecca and I knew then we desired to do for her the same thing we did for her older sister. It’s been another magical year, two in the last three now, with the responsibilities and joy of caring for an infant 10 hours a day, 5 days a week.
After doing it once, I had the grandiose notion that I could write when she napped. WRONG! Parents, grandparents, nannies, and others who care for little babies know what I’m talking about. Doing it well is work. And it’s exhausting. When it came time for me to write, the ole brain was tired and fried. Putting even two words together that made any sense whatsoever eluded me. Consequently, I made the decision to give writing another rest, like I did before, and dedicate myself to providing this baby the best care I could possibly offer.
So, that’s where in the world Ben Coleman has been for the last while. Now, our little bundle of joy has transitioned into full-time daycare. And I’m back, back to doing what makes me come alive. Writing.
Initially, I’m refreshing myself on the plot, characters, and what was already written. After making a few adjustments, it will be back to butt in chair, head in story, putting words on the page. I’m looking forward to an awesome 2020 and hope YOU have the best New Year yet!
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I thought I’d share about how my latest release,Madeleine’s Midday Updates, came about. But I’ve already done that in the Introduction. So, here it is:
When our daughter and son-in-law had to return to work following the birth of their first child, my wife, Rebecca, andI offered to keep our granddaughter. I had no clue what I was getting into, but my wife was sure this would be a wonderful thing, not only for the baby, but also for her parents and us. She was spot on!
Having Madeleine with us for so many days this past year hasbeen one of the delights of my life. Exhausting? YES! I’m sure glad we had our children when wewere in our 20’s. I completelyunderstand and sympathize more than ever now with older parents. Still, it’s worth it.
I was on duty in the mornings, my wife afternoons. Madeleine arrived at 8:30am and left around5:45pm each weekday. What follows is acompilation of text messages I sent to her parents most days. Where you see breaks means we didn’t haveMadeleine. I took some time to visit myother daughter (referred to in these messages as Aunt Margarett) and her familyon the East Coast. Madeleine, becauseshe was breastfeeding, accompanied her mother to New York City on multiple businesstrips.
This idea evolved after getting several telephone calls eachday inquiring about the status of their little Miss M. Babies require a lot of attention, in caseyou didn’t know. Truth be told, I didn’trealize how much. But I sure do now. Invariably, those calls would come during adiaper change, feeding, or some other necessary task. It sure is challenging holding a phone anddoing any of those things simultaneously. So, I had this idea of sharing about our day.
The messages were originally written as text messages via telephoneand sent to our little group of four. Theyare written in Madeleine’s voice and there is a lot of repetition. Even so, most people we shared them withloved the idea. More than one suggestedthey should be compiled and published. That was never my intent when I started. Now, however, with her parents’ permission, that is what I’ve done.
In the back of this book, you’ll find a resource page. Occasionally, someone asked what a certainitem was that I mentioned. Kids thingsare a lot different than forty years ago. That section describes many of the items and provides links if you’reinterested in learning more.
This book’s cover design is inspired by the white boarddrawing my wife did for Madeleine that is mentioned in various updates. I’m grateful to my mother and Madeleine’sgreat-grandmother, Bonnie Bailey Hall, for her careful proofreading.
Now, I hope every time you pick up this book and read a fewpages, it brings a smile.
Looking back, these last twelve months have been among the most magical of my life. When the parents of the newborn little girl in our life had to return to work, my wife and I decided we wanted to help. So, beginning in July Miss Madeleine spent five days a week with Granmama (spelling intentional) and Daddy Ben. And let me tell you, I now completely understand why we’re designed to have babies when we’re young.
I had morning duty. My wife held down afternoons, since that is my most productive writing time. After the first few days, I got back to writing. It was then I realized after numerous head-banging sessions, that I was simply too mentally and physically exhausted to turn out a great story. It just wasn’t working. This mid-60’s man learned first hand that taking care of a little baby is WORK! (I know. I know. You moms already know that.)
We made the decision to set writing aside for this season. My wife emphasized how special this time was for us and how quickly babies grow up. Goodness, how right she was. That season has ended. Baby Girl is in day care three days a week and we are helping with that transition keeping her just two days for now. I’m soon to be back to writing.
BUT, I will not be finishing “Thin Places: Dallas” as a first project. Despite being nearly complete, I don’t like where the plot took the story. It needs work. I hope to revisit Buck and Liz soon. Something else has captured my attention more — children’s books.
Following a trip with Miss M and her parents to Maui to celebrate our year, my birthday, and the wife’s and my 42nd wedding anniversary, I will be working on the first project. My wife, Rebecca, and I have ideas for more, too. But right now, the direction is to get the first one done.
We enjoyed so many incredible moments with our granddaughter this past year. I wouldn’t trade that time for anything. Now it’s time to share some of the magic. More about that soon.
I’m excited to soon be publishing the first three books of my Thin Places series as a box set. It will be available as an e-book download exclusively through Amazon. The $6.99 price will save readers who purchase the set almost $2.00 were they to buy each individual title.
Currently, I’m in the formatting stage. Recently, a fellow Indie-author and publisher turned me on to a new Apple app geared toward formatting from a document file. I like what Vellum does so much that I am busy learning how it works. Hopefully, the Udemy course I found will help on that front, too.
Once formatted, my launch team will have a first-look. We’ll then publish two weeks later.
We just wrapped up a two-day promotion of Thin Places: Santa Fe. I’m WOWed by all the hundreds of new readers who downloaded it. THANK YOU! I hope you thoroughly enjoy meeting Buck and Liz… the story, too. And, by the way, WELCOME to my website.
Now it’s back to pushing through writing of Thin Places: Dallas. Honestly, it’s taking longer than I planned. Life happens. I choose to make the best of it and not conjure up a bunch of excuses. It is what it is. I’m reminded of a song my Mom used to sing at challenging times: Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries.
Hmmm? I’m dedicating this novel in her memory. I wonder if there’s a connection?
One of the joys in writing this current tale has been bringing in my daughters and their husbands to collaborate. When it was time to flesh out Liz’s best friend, Anna, and her husband Britt St. Claire, I decided to seek their input. The two people are essentially the creation of Katherine & Mark and Margarett & Kris. Anna and Britt will be making regular appearances, along with the other cast of characters, in future books in the series.
Over on Facebook and Twitter, I post more regularly. Writing, however, is my top priority! You can click the links to the right if that’s part of your gig. Please know how thankful I am for YOU, my readers.