Sunday Evening Ramblings – 1/29/17

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Here is another update on book five. I’m about halfway through chapter 14, and so far, I’m pretty pleased with it. I’m hoping to have this chapter finished in the next week or so, and then all that’s left is the epilogue. So far, this manuscript is the longest of the series. I haven’t done a total word count yet, but my guess is somewhere in the neighborhood of 100k. There will probably be a little trimming in the middle, but this book will be the most substantial of the five. The first couple of chapters have already been sent to the editor, so that process is underway as well. Also, the artist and I have begun the process of putting together the cover. Exciting days are ahead for fans of the series, so stay tuned.

Tuesday Night Ramblings – 1/25/17

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I was asked by a fan to put together a list of the top 5 things that inspire my writing, so here goes:

5) Movies/TV Shows – At heart I’m a sucker for a good story, so movies and shows that offer a solid plot and compelling characters inspire me to work harder at my craft. My favorite TV series of all time is probably Breaking Bad. I love the way Hank and Walt evolve through the course of the story arc. House was another show that inspired me. The witty dialogue and parallel plots of each episode, along with the seasonal and full series story arcs, are clinics on how to write a serial. I love far too many movies to narrow it down to one or two, but I will say here (and might retell the story soon of how) that The Two Towers actually inspired me to begin work on The Brotherhood of Dwarves series. Most recently, Rogue One stirred me deeply. It was everything I had been wanting in a Star Wars movie since A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back.

4) Books – I could do a dozen lists on the books that have inspired me, but for the sake of space, I’ll limit it to the one book that has inspired me more than any other in the last couple of years. Once and Eagle by Anton Myrer is quite simply one of the most powerful books I’ve ever read. It follows the career of Sam Damon, a career American soldier who serves in both of the world wars and then during the early days of Vietnam. The writing in this book is superb–colorful descriptions, provocative metaphors and similes, exquisite use of POV, and memorable dialogue. His depictions of battle (drawn from his own experience as a Marine in WW II) are hands down the best I’ve ever read, invoking all of the senses to immerse the reader into hellish landscapes that show the horrors of war. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

3) Nature – Anyone who knows me knows that I love the outdoors. If I had unlimited income, my life would be spent finding outdoor activities to be involved in. I love little more than the feel of my hands in the earth and sweat on my brow. Working outdoors, whether it be cutting wood for my stove or tending a garden or clearing brush, recharges my creative batteries and allows my mind to forget the day-to-day distractions that hinder my focus on composition.

2) Music – I love music in most of its forms. I have a playlist that I listen to while I write that varies from Traditional Country to Jazz to Techno to Rock. These songs inspire my creative process and create a buffer between myself and the outside world. In terms of individual artists, I am most drawn to the works of Chris Whitley, Jeff Buckley, Waylon Jennings, and recently Otis Gibbs. I can’t place enough value on the role music plays in not only inspiring my creativity but also in soothing the wrinkles of my soul.

1) My Children – I’ve written before about the role my oldest son played in inspiring me to write again. In fact, my children are the primary reason why The Brotherhood of Dwarves series exists at all. I have written it to share with them a piece of me and to give them a story of heroism, camaraderie, sacrifice, and redemption. Each book in the series is inscribed to them at the beginning, and those inscriptions are my attempt to tell them the roles they have played in my life. In terms of writing, my children make me want to tell better stories and remain true to power of language without reverting to tawdry tricks or fashionable gimmicks. My primary goal as a writer is to write books that one day my sons will point to and with pride in their eyes say, “My father wrote this.”

Monday Morning Ramblings – 1/23/17

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I’ve been through quite a bit in my life. There have been many times when I’ve felt like giving up and quitting. In those dark moments, when despair seems too great to overcome and life feels as if all the joy is gone, it takes a tremendous act of will to remind myself that the darkness never lasts forever. Eventually the sun will rise, the clouds will part, and better days will come again.

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned about facing any kind of adversity is this: regardless of the situation, your best approach is to roll up your sleeves and put your energy into doing something productive. Hard work cures so many ills. Productivity makes you feel better about yourself and lessens the pain of whatever you’re facing. Despite already knowing these truths, I have to remind myself of them regularly.

Whatever you may be dealing with in your life, please remember that you can find the strength to face it. You have it in you to overcome even the most desperate of situations if you are willing to maintain a positive attitude and put in the work to accomplish your goals. And if you give it your best effort and fall short, you will still feel better about yourself for having had to courage to try than if you throw up your hands and quit. I’ve learned this from firsthand experience.

I want this blog to return to being a forum for like-minded people to share thoughts about our lives, so please, feel free to comment below with your experiences concerning adversity. Let’s start a conversation and motivate each other to overcome whatever challenges we face. This can be our Motivational Mondays.

 

Saturday Night Ramblings – 1/21/17

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Well, I survived the holidays and have managed to remain fairly productive. Book five is coming along very well. In fact, I’m about to start the final chapter. That’s right. I’m up to the last chapter of the entire series. After all this time, it feels surreal to type those words. So far, I’m really pleased with the manuscript. There are a handful of places in the middle that need to be ironed out, but overall, this is the most intense book of the entire series. I can’t wait for the fans of the series to read it and experience the culmination of these characters’ journeys. Hopefully the editing process won’t take too long, and the final draft will be available in the near future. Soon, I’ll be hiring the artist to develop the cover for this one. As soon as I have the final proof of that, I’ll share it on here.

Once book five is complete, I have a couple of other projects I’ll be working on. Both are really exciting and have a lot of potential. Those of you who have read the first novella of the Sam Skeen Series will be excited to hear that I’ll be working on the second of those tales. The other project I can’t really discuss publicly yet, but once I can, I’ll share on here as well.

Overall, life is progressing forward fairly well. I’m happy with the series’ sales growth since the relaunch (it’s amazing what can happen when a publisher actually promotes the books they publish). If you remember my previous entry, I’ve managed to heal the rift with my friend, and we are back to being the closest of friends again. I’m also still surrounded by some of the most amazing friends a person could ask for, so I have no complaints about life at the moment. I still believe that my brightest days are ahead of me, and I will keep striving to build that reality.

Monday Evening Ramblings

I went to Chattanooga to spend Thanksgiving with my friends Leslie and James, who were gracious enough to invite me down. We had a great time and ate way too much food. It was probably my most enjoyable Thanksgiving in 8-9 years. Planning to go back and spend some more time with them soon, probably before Christmas.

Friday was my 44th birthday. Got to go out to eat with my parents and then spent the evening with a friend. Probably my most relaxing and enjoyable birthday in 8-9 years, too. No stress, no drama, no nonsense. Just good food, good conversation, and good pumpkin pie.

I’m currently up to Chapter 11 on book five. For those of you who don’t follow me on Facebook, Chapter 10 might be the most intense writing of my career. Hopefully, my editor and beta readers will agree with me that book five is the best book in the series. That’s the reason why I’m so infrequent on the blog. When I’m in the middle of a book like this, I get serious tunnel vision and don’t write on much else.

Right now, my thoughts and prayers are with all of my friends and loved ones in Sevier County. The fires are unbelievable and many people I care about are under a mandatory evacuation from their homes. We desperately need rain in East Tennessee. Not sure I’ve ever seen it this dry here, not even during that terrible drought in the 80s. November is usually one of our wettest months, and so far, we’ve had .2 of an inch of rain this month.

That’s all for now. Hope everyone is safe and well.

Friday Evening Ramblings – 11/18/16

I’m making every effort to fill my life with people who inspire and nurture my creativity. Because of circumstances, my circle has gotten much smaller over the last couple of years, and after all I’ve endured and experienced, I simply have no more tolerance for lies, deceit, negativity, or anything else that distracts from my creative process. I am who I am–the good and bad, the pretty and ugly, the kindness and the scars. I’m all or nothing, full-tilt, pedal-to-the-floor-when-I-believe-in-something, and if you can’t accept me as I am and be fully open and honest with me, there’s no more room in my life for you.

I’m D.A. emeffing Adams, and I stomp upon this terra with all of the life spark that burns inside me.

I acknowledge that I have many flaws: I’m emotional and moody at times. I’m obsessive (um, writer). I can be overly dramatic and even melodramatic, too. I have serious trust issues because my ex-wife hid a relationship from me for years. I can brood with the best of them, and for the love of god please don’t piss me off. Oh yeah, and there’s that felony thing, as well. I acknowledge my baggage and don’t try to sweep it under the rug.

But I’m also kind and gentle; generous to a fault; tender and compassionate; supportive; funny; and one of the most loyal people you will ever meet. When I love, I love with all of my heart and soul, and I don’t know any other way. When I set my mind to something, I accomplish that task or work at it until all of my resources are exhausted. I’m a good listener, a good shoulder, and a rock for those who need it. All in all, I still think my good outweighs my bad, and I hope the people who still call me a friend will agree.

I hold out hope that one day I’ll meet the right woman who will love and appreciate me for not only my writing and creativity but also for my passion for the outdoors and rough-around-the-edges ways. But I also accept that it may never happen. I’m damaged and scarred, so maybe I’m no longer fit for a relationship. Despite it all, I still believe in love. I still believe that there’s a lot of love for me to share, and even if I can’t find the right woman to share my life with, I can share that love with my friends and family and even the world.

At the end of my road, I want to look back and see a life that mattered. One filled with creativity (right now I can’t say I’ve accomplished all that I’m capable of). One filled with love, compassion, peace, serenity, and laughter. One filled with the pursuit of knowledge and the sharing of that knowledge with others. One filled with an appreciation of both the sun and rain, for it takes both to make things grow. I want my life to be more than the accumulation of stuff or the acquisition of money. I want to leave this world a little better than I found it.

That’s all for now.

Sunday Evening Ramblings – 11/13/16

I’ve got a new book coming soon. It’s a humorous look at life in jail because it’s much better to laugh at misfortune than cry. So far, the feedback I’ve received is that it’s laugh-out-loud funny. A word of warning, though: this book is NSFW. It’s so profane it’s probably not safe for home either, so read at your own discretion.

Here’s a brief snippet:

So to spice up your Tuesday afternoon, you chug a fifth of whiskey and let happen what may. At some point, it becomes imperative to check on your elderly neighbor who you haven’t seen in a couple of weeks. He might be in danger, you realize, so you charge across the neighborhood in denim shorts and tennis shoes. What could possibly go wrong? you reason as you proceed to bang on every door and window, calling his name and growing more fearful with each passing minute. When the cops arrive after several calls from other concerned neighbors, you realize your wallet is still at home, so you attempt to run back there to retrieve it. Three Taser jolts, a dose of pepper spray, and a two minute beating later, you find yourself in the back of a patrol car charged with two counts of Aggravated Assault on an Officer and one count of Aggravated Burglary, and you are heading to jail. You’ve never been in trouble before and have no idea what to expect inside.

Never fear! This educational guide will give you an overview of 101 things you need to know about being an inmate in a county jail, so while you wait to be fingerprinted, photographed, and booked in, you can relax a little and enjoy yourself instead of fretting over when you’ll get to see an attorney.

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