Saturday, January 26, 2013

Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013

     The Presidents Club continues with a snippet from Chapter Four today. It, and the three previous chapters, can be accessed HERE

The Set Up
     In this scene from Chapter Four, we get to know a couple of the members of the club a bit better by brazen bar room banter. (I love alliteration!)

The Six Sentences

In the background, the clatter of ivory dominoes rattling around on the table announced the beginning of another hand. 
No one kept score, at least not on paper.
Louie made eye contact with Abe and asked, “Usual?”
“Yeah, Louie, draft Miller Lite,” Abe was consistent.
Gold poked fun and asked, “Abe, why don’t you ever drink a Colt .45?”
“Ron, the last time I had any of that shit was when I drank some with a pork chop at your bar mitzvah,” and the two men with common African heritage shared a laugh.
What now?
     The official Six Sentence Sunday site has been closed. We have heard discussion of a continuation and will alert readers if it happens and of course, if we participate.
     Meanwhile, please accept this invitation to join us for a new chapter of The Presidents Club every Sunday HERE.
     All chapters will be archived and of course, reading is FREE!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Jan. 20 - Six Sentence Sunday

The Set Up

      This week's snippet once again comes from my second novel, The Presidents Club. Regular readers will remember that this book is being presented in serial form, one chapter each week. 
       Chapter Three debuts on Sunday, Jan. 20, 2012, HERE
       Today, we join a conversation between billionaire investor, Julian Thibaut and his personal security chief, Gerald Pointe. They're discussing an assassination attempt on Thibaut that occurred last year in my first book, The Tourist Killer.
       These six sentences come from Chapter Three as did my weekly contribution back on December 9, 2012

The Six Sentences

“A smaller man would have been on the ground after that shot. What is the knock down power of one of those rounds?” asked Thibaut.
Gerald Pointe answered, “Not sure what hit him, the thing mushroomed and disintegrated in Hixon’s Kevlar vest. Not much forensic evidence to work from. But you’re right. A man my size would have hit the ground leaving you open for a second shot.”

Thanks for stopping by. We appreciate your comments. For samples of the writings of over one hundred great authors, click HERE to visit the home page of Six Sentence Sunday.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Blog Tour: The Homicide Chronicle

The Homicide Chronicle

Defending the Citizen Accused

by Ralph Shamas

Blog Tour Hosted by
The Masquerade Crew

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Six Sentence Sunday - Jan 13, 2013

     This week we offer six more from my second novel, The Presidents Club, which began as a weekly serial  HERE.  Pleased to report we had over a thousand hits and widespread action in the social media.  Chapter Two goes live today.  After reading today's SSS, please accept our invitation to read all of the second chapter and see how this snippet fits.
The Set Up
     John Hixon, the former FBI agent we first met in The Tourist Killer, visits one of his local hangouts, Mr. Jimmy's Quick Stop convenience store.  

The Six Sentences
Mr. Jimmy nodded his approval, then asked, “You goin’ back to Georgia soon?”
“Retired big shot with the State Department got murdered down in Marietta. Right after he walked outta yo frien’s bar.”
“I don’t know anybody like that,” Hixon shrugged and walked out to his truck. He gave the Marietta incident no further thought.

     We hope you enjoyed this week's snippet. To sample the writing of over 100 other great authors, just click HERE.  

Friday, January 11, 2013

How "The Presidents Club" happened


     My first novel, The Tourist Killer, was nearing completion.  
     The characters had taken me to places not imagined in the beginning. 
     As the story lines for several of the characters were beginning to converge, one of them, Julian Thibaut, decided to visit a quiet little bar for a drink and some thought.  
     He met a man who knew of a great place that would fill the bill. 
     His new friend had on a name tag, but it wasn't his. The tag read, "Ted."
     The wearer explained, "I borrowed this from another guy I work with. I forgot mine today. My name's Abe, another President."  
     When he said that, a light bulb went off for me.  

     When the two men arrived at the Louisville Tavern, they met a group of retirees that all had first names in common with previous U.S. Presidents.  In addition to the aforementioned Abraham/Abe, the other members of The Presidents Club: George, Thomas, Woodrow, Franklin, Ulysses, and Ronald. The group included a teacher, general surgeon, minister, retail manager, chiropractor, college professor, and a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force, all retired.

     The Presidents Club debuted on Sunday, January 6, 2012 as a free weekly serial on the web site of my publisher, Venture Galleries. We were stunned to have received over one thousand readers for the first chapter. 

     Please accept this invitation to join us on Sunday, January 13, for Chapter Two. Venture Galleries will archive every chapter, so if you miss one, it will be easy to catch up. Eventually, The Presidents Club will be available as both an e-book and a trade paperback.

Here's the pitch:  A group of retirees and the ex-FBI agent hired to protect them face danger as they investigate a murder and uncover the source of ultimate government power.

Genre: a thinking readers’ thriller -- enough action to keep the pages turning and enough information to get to know the characters not only by the information given about them, but how and with whom they interact.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Guest blogger, Boyd Lemon on "How I Discovered My Passion: Writing"

My guest blogger this week is Boyd Lemon. We met online through our mutual interest in both indie publishing and baby boomers.  After a 40-year career as a top and nationally recognized attorney, Boyd discovered his passion, writing, and pursued it in the idyllic coastal town of Ventura, California; the literary, art and music scenes of Boston; a Bohemian year on the Left Bank in Paris; and finally by the bucolic rivers and forests of St. Marys, Georgia.  He has written five full length and two short books.  Boyd’s website provides excerpts, reviews and information on all of his books.

Many writers began their careers in other fields -- often never expecting to become authors.
Here's Boyd's story.

In 2005 I was a lawyer practicing primarily in the field of attorney malpractice.  I had never considered writing a book.  One day I received an email from a publisher asking me if I would be interested in writing a book on legal malpractice.  I jumped at the chance because it would enhance my reputation as an expert in the field.  
Much to my surprise, I thoroughly enjoyed the writing and publishing process and finished the book in 2006. Finishing the book was fulfilling and I was proud of it—Boyd Lemon, the author. It sounded good to me. 
I thought it would be fun to write fiction, still not thinking about it as something to do during retirement. I told a friend, who happened to be a writer, that I wanted to try writing fiction, but that I didn’t think I had any creative ability. The response was all I needed to push me forward:
“Everybody has creative ability. It’s just a matter of developing and expressing it.”
I had heard that novice writers should write about what they know. So without knowing anything about writing fiction, I sat down and started a short story based on my experience taking care of a baby to help her mother, who was the daughter of a close friend. I intended to add fictional twists and turns to make an interesting story. I finished it in a couple of weeks, enjoyed the process and was astonished that the writing process made me realize how attached I had become to the baby girl. The writer friend critiqued it, and I revised it several times. I didn’t know it at the time, but the two most common criticisms of novice fiction writers stood out: create and resolve tension, and show, don’t tell. In the months to come I would read those two principles many times, as I read books on writing fiction.
I bought a book, Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. I read it and was impressed by Goldberg’s technique of writing practice: sit down with a notebook and a fast writing pen, think of a prompt or topic and write whatever comes into your head for a timed period—10 minutes, 20 minutes, best to keep it short at first; don’t attempt to write a book for two years. I bought two other books on writing that Goldberg had written and devoured them. Goldberg’s website announced that she gave workshops. Attending Goldberg’s workshops settled in the back of my mind.
During the following two years, I read many other books on writing, and I wrote a dozen short stories. I connected with writers on the Internet and learned from the critiques of other writers. I also formed a group with two other writers who met monthly, wrote and critiqued each other’s work.
I attended two of Natalie Goldberg’s week-long writing workshops in New Mexico during 2007 and continued to write short stories. In class, which is set up as a Buddhist Zendo, in addition to sitting and slow walking meditation, she gave us prompts for timed writing. “I remember…. Go for ten minutes.” Thirty minutes is the longest, but usually the timed writings are 10 to 20 minutes. We were encouraged to keep our pens moving and not cross out anything; write whatever comes into our minds. We read aloud what we had written, but no comments were allowed. She wanted us to be free to write from deep within and not worry about what we or others might think of our writing. We did other things, but the meditation, timed writings and reading aloud are the core of her teaching. The object is to slow down our minds so that we dig deep and write our personal truths. I learned from Natalie Goldberg that good writing must be true, simple and from the heart.
Natalie’s method, to some, may sound like New Age baloney, but for most of us it works. My writing is better and more focused during and for a while after one of these workshops. The difficulty is finding the self-discipline to keep up the writing practice and meditation outside of the workshops. Sometimes I do, and sometimes I don’t. I’m only human.
Someone told me that drawing would help develop the right side of my brain, the side primarily responsible for creative activities. I took drawing lessons and read books on drawing by Betty Edwards.
Although I reduced my work hours, I continued to practice law, worked on my short stories and made drawings. By this time, I knew that I had found my passion. In retirement I would be a writer.
Since then I have written six books: three memoirs, two collections of my short stories and a short book about a driving trip across the United States.  My first was Digging Deep: A Writer Uncovers His Marriages, an excruciatingly painful memoir to write, about my journey to understand my role in the destruction of my three marriages; but in the end, it was healing.  Next I wrote about living in Paris for a year, Eat, Walk, Write: An American Senior’s Year of Adventure in Paris and Tuscany.
My most recent memoir was published a few weeks ago: Retirement: A Memoir and Guide.  Many people do not prepare for the emotional challenges in going from a full time job to retirement. They feel a lack of purpose, often loneliness and even depression.  Retirement is something that I did right, and I believe this book will help others live a happy and fulfilling retirement like I am.  

––Retirement: A Memoir and Guide by Boyd Lemon can be purchased on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or ordered from any bookstore.  For excerpts, reviews and the Table of Contents, check out Boyd’s website:

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Epiphany Six

The Setup
     A mystery man arrives on the scene in the opening chapter of The Presidents Club, as my second novel begins its weekly serialization at THIS LINK.

The Back-story
     All my life, I've always heard that part of the hospital where ambulances deliver their patients as the "emergency room." Recently, the jargon has changed to "E.D."  My daughter, a nurse practitioner who teaches, confirmed the name change to "emergency department."  The first time I saw "E.D." I wondered what Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis had to do with ambulance patients!

Kennestone Hospital, Marietta, GA
The Six Sentences

A tall slim man whose eyes missed no detail waited while an EMS crew pushed their way through the open double doors to the Kennestone Hospital emergency department.  
He adjusted his tie and took several deliberate, confident strides towards the check-in desk.
He exhibited the self-assured demeanor of a hospital administrator.
Few people in the busy emergency room noticed him.
The ones that did, thought he was a lawyer.
He was neither.

Thanks for stopping by! Rather than comments, this week it would really be appreciated if you visited Chapter One. Hopefully, the snippet above (as well as those of the last few weeks) have whetted your reading appetites sufficiently for you to do so.
ALSO, to sample the works of other SSS writers, click on

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Traditional Superstitions

Image credit: WikiCommons & Weird Tales magazine, 1941

My mother's traditional Christmas Day breakfast was the subject of a recent article on this blog and today we have another.

On New Year's Day, our traditional mid-day meal includes (but is not limited to) black-eyed peas and cabbage.  A favorite bread to accompany those vegetables is cornbread. 

Unlike Mom's Christmas breakfast (which also featured cornbread), today's lunch is laden with a heaping helping of superstition.

Eating the black-eyed peas reportedly brings good luck for the new year and cabbage(being green in color) brings the promise of money.  

Part of the tradition/superstition was the requirement to partake of these culinary delights at the stroke of noon. There was never an explanation of that aspect of the feast.

While the relative evaluations of events that occur throughout the year are subjective for the diners, we typically tend to credit the first lunch-time meal of the year for the good things that happen as well as the riches of unexpected financial bonuses.

Conversely, events perceived as "bad luck" or financial reversals, prompt the admonition that, "You didn't eat enough black-eyed peas or cabbage when you had the chance, back on Jan. 1."

If you participate in some tradition that will supposedly affect your new year, here's hoping that you get the expected (and preferred) results.

At 11:59 A.M. every New Year's Day, my wife and I wish each other a happy new year and add an enthusiastic, "Bon appetit!"