Advancing In Reverse

Taped eyeglasses

My first grade glasses looked sort of like this

I write this using a pair of backup reading glasses. Duct tape keeps this pair together. My good pair, the pair my wife begged me to get used to wearing, lies on a dresser with one lens missing.

Again.

When it comes to product development, we’re advancing in reverse.

I’ve glued the tension screw in place. That doesn’t  help. I’ve glued the lens in place with Super Glue and Tester’s model glue. The lens falls out. I’ve taped the lens in place. That works. But the wife says I look shifty in taped glasses. (At least I think she called me shifty. I’m hard of hearing, too.)

So I removed the tape.

And the lens fell out.

In the first week of first grade they made our class read the eye chart. I couldn’t even find the eye chart on the wall. Mrs. Swartz called Mom and told her I was blind. Mom took me to a doctor and I got glasses. Eleanor Rogers also wore glasses. As the only black girl in our class, Eleanor had enough to deal. 1963 was a tough year for blacks. Being called four eyes didn’t help. But there we were, the two freaks standing by our desks, trying to read the blackboard with our new glasses.

The lenses in those glasses never fell out. They were fused into the frames. The arms broke. The nose bridge broke. But that was user error. I played football, baseball, and basketball in those glasses.

Next week I leave to attend a writer’s conference. I’ll wear my old reading glasses. They look ugly but they work. Or, I should say, the duct tape works.

If only we could duct tape people. Fix their mistakes with strong adhesive and mesh. Maybe then, we could evolve into something that almost resembles a civilized people.

As creatures created by God we know how to improve.

We just choose not to.

We advance in reverse.

World Blog Book Tour Stop Number ??? With Eddie Jones

Dead Low TideThanks to Lilly Maytree for inviting me to participate in the World Blog Book Tour. Lilly is an Inspirational Adventure Novelist and fellow Harbourlight Books author. Lilly is currently on her 2014 Mystery Tour, traveling north to Alaska aboard the sailboat GLORY B. You can follow along by visiting: LillysArmchairTravelers.blogspot.com which is waaaay easier than trying to sail a boat to Alaska and share “dock tails” with Lilly. If you’re looking for a five-star summer read, check out Lilly’s novel, The Pandora Box and Gold Trap.

What am I working on?

Currently I’m very sloooowly working my way through Dead Calm, Bone Dry, the second book in the Caribbean Chronicles series (title is subject to change). I re-write more than I write. I used to have a daily word count goal but I tossed that out months ago. Running a book publishing company (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas) and serving as co-founder of Christian Devotions Ministries doesn’t leave much time for writing.

 

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I write for middle school age boys, not their moms, aunts, or sisters. That means my stories are somewhat edgy. There’s no sex or cussing, but I do treat my characters as adults. This may seem strange but in our current culture, boys in middle school are bringing guns to school (or know someone who does), having sex, joining gangs, and seeing the ugly side of humanity. I don’t promote these types of activities in the Caden Chronicles series, but I do recognize that a sterilized view of the world will seem boring to boys. My goal is to entertain first, and weave in God’s truth second.

 

Why do I write what I do?

I write middle grade fiction for boys because I believe we’re on the verge of losing the male reader in America. When ranking leisure activities, boys rank reading near the bottom. Which is a shame since boys really, really, need to be reading. Here’s why.

  • Two thirds of eighth grade boys do not read at grade level.
  • Boys lag behind girls in reading proficiency in all 50 states – in some states by as many as ten percentage points.
  • Boys who grow up in homes where books are plentiful go further in school than those who don’t. Boys with low-education families can do as well as children with high-education families if they have access to books at home.

I write funny romances, like Bahama Breeze, because I think most of us take life too seriously. If you can’t laugh at yourself and see the humor in life, there’s a good chance you are holding on too tightly. I believe God has a huge sense of humor and we’re His sitcom.  So I write about couples that aren’t perfect (like toilet paper salesmen) who do crazy stuff (surf in a hurricane, hang from the bottom of a sea plane) but who ultimately realize they’re broken and can only be fixed by love.

 

How does my writing process work?

I try to write for an hour each morning. I used to write eight hours a day but then running Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas took over my life, so now I spend most of my time helping other authors grow legs on their books. When I was under contract with HarperCollins, I was on a deadline. That was brutal. I’d jet off to a writers’ conference to teach and try to cram a few hours of writing between classes and appointments. I loved the support I received from HarperCollins and Zonderkidz, but I’m glad the third book in the Caden Chronicles, Dead Low Tide, is released.

Next stop on the World Blog Book Tour?

Before I go, I’d like to introduce you to a few authors participating in the World Blog Book Tour: Kevin McAteer, Nivine Richie, and Stu Summers.

Kevin’s book, Daddy, Can You Make Me Pancakes? is the true story of a young mother’s battle against cancer and her husband’s journey to bring healing to their family. Nivine’s latest work, Enduring Faith – An 8-Week Devotional Study of the Book of Hebrews, is a short devotional Bible Study for those who think they’re too busy to study the Bible. And Stu? Well, Stu is somewhat of a recluse. He lives on an island in the Caribbean without cell or Internet. He’s agreed to participate in the tour but we have no idea what to expect. Oh, his latest novel is Summers’ Love, a whimsical, romantic comedy about a best selling author who employs a ghost writer to write all of his books.

Curse of the Black Avenger: Blood Sails, Dark Hearts is now available as a free audiobook

Curse of the Black Avenger: Blood Sails, Dark HeartsTo everyone who purchased, reviewed, and encouraged me on my writing journey, I wanted to let you know that Curse of the Black Avenger: Blood Sails, Dark Hearts is now available (for a limited time) as a free audiobook from Audible.com and Amazon.com. Just request a coupon code to get your free audiobook.