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I thought it an appropriate time to share the status of my second book, Always a Little Heathen. Tate Publishing has started production on the book this month, February 2014. An approximate completion date and release for sale is late summer or early fall, 2014. I’m excited and can hardly wait for the book’s release as I think people will enjoy reading it as much or more than they did Little Heathens. Where the first book was about little kids and their mischievous activities during the grade school years, the sequel takes the reader through junior high and high school, where the mischief increases and the innocence begins to fade. Here is a teaser to whet your appetite:

After much observation, contemplation, deliberation, analysis, and thought, in addition to having lived through it myself, I’ve come to the conclusion that junior high kids are NUTS!; the Jack Nicholson as Randall McMurtrey in One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest kind of nuts. This revelation is not arguable from my point of view. What is arguable is how a seemingly normal 6th grader can morph into an irrational, self doubting, self loathing, and self-conscious creature in one short summer; reminiscent of Mr. Hyde morphing into Dr. Jekyll. How, or better yet, why does it happen? What causes a formerly confident kid to suddenly not know how to act, stand, walk, or speak?

I’m currently writing my third book, only this time I’ve moved from a non-fiction, memoir format to fiction. I’ve found that fiction is so much easier to write than non-fiction. In the two previous books, I was confined and restricted to the actual stories, whereas with my new book, The Boat, I have freedom to go with the story wherever my imagination takes me. Here are the first couple of paragraphs from The Boat:

As the three of them stand shoulder to shoulder and observe the raging inferno staring them in the face, they are unable to move; shocked and disappointed for the most part and incapable of grasping just what is going on in front of them. The barn where they had spent so much time over the last three years is enveloped in flames, shooting sparks and billowing smoke to what seems to be heights of a hundred feet or more. The heat is intense and at the distance they stand it is almost too hot to bear. The glow from the fire illuminates tears on each face, some a result of disappointment, but at least one from extreme anger. Alec is as disillusioned by what he is seeing as the other two, but his tears are a result of intense rage rather than discouragement and as he stands next to his two friends, he silently vows to exact revenge on whoever is responsible for what is happening this night. Some people’s dreams disappear like smoke, figuratively; but here is a dream that is literally going up in smoke right in front of their eyes.

Meanwhile, approximately twenty yards behind the three youths is a silent figure hidden inconspicuously at the edge of the woods; quietly observing all that is happening in front of her, satisfied at what she sees. Unlike the three boys, her face doesn’t reflect disappointment, sorrow, or anger; instead she has a smile on her face and seems pleased with the inferno, but even more so with the boy’s reactions; one of them of specific interest to her. Sirens can be heard in the far off distance and draw closer with each passing moment. As one of the boys turns away from the roaring fire, he has seen more than enough, it seems to the girl that his gaze is fixed directly on her. “Did he see me?” she wonders to herself and quickly ducks down behind a pile of thick underbrush. She stays as still as she can, but her eyes remain fixated on the scene. She isn’t about to miss this.

As the sirens draw ever closer to where they stand, the three boys feel like they’re anchored to the ground;  too mesmerized to walk away and yet helpless to do anything about the flames, continuing to grow in magnitude. Who are these three boys and who is the person at the edge of the woods? In order to answer these questions, we need go back a few years; to a time when things hadn’t become so complicated.

Unlike the previous two books that are innocent and wholesome, The Boat delves into the messy and “sticky” issues of life as three teenage boys try to navigate growing up and dealing with all the debris that life seems to throw their way. I hope to be finished writing this book by the end of 2014 and based on my current pace, that is a very strong possibility.

Look for Little Heathens on amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, booksamillion.com and other distribution sites. And look for Always a Little Heathen in late summer or early fall of 2014.