Hello and welcome back. I have been away for quite some time, but I am back and doing well. I am announcing today, the availability of my latest novel, Coal Dust, on Amazon. The direct link is…
This is my first who-done-it; one that reads fast and ends surprisingly. I sincerely hope you enjoy the story, and please let me know if you do.
I will be at the Thoroughbred Restaurant on Leestown Road tonight starting at 5:00 PM.
I would love to see you there!
With Easter just a few days away, I thought I would share with you one of the poems I will be publishing later this year. It’s called The Garden, and it deals with all the things running through Jesus’ mind just prior to His arrest. I hope you like it.
Roses blooming near a fence
Where earthen brick lay close against
A floral song of rainbow’s tender hue.
While climbing ivory’s free cascade
Flows around the colonnade
Timeless there before young lilies grew.
Where once upon a time He’d rest
In silent peace He’d so loved best
To castigate His mortal, dreadful fears.
Deep within His conscience there
In meditation and in prayer
He’d bathe the tiny petals with His tears.
Could He sweat this blood, bear this pain
Accept His closest friend’s refrain
To ask if this but only pass Him by?
My heart has grown to understand
I worship Him, but love the man
Who gave His life to rescue you and I.
© Robert Monahan
Ask what you can do for your country.”
I was 13 years old and a freshman in high school when I heard John F. Kennedy say this at his inaugural address January 20, 1961. I didn’t realize how true his words would continue ringing in my ears and for how long. Today more than half of our society is on the dole, supported by an administration protected by a liberal ‘yellow’ press that constantly wants to blame the wealthy for the problems of the poor while demonizing Capitalism. As far as I know, it is not a sin to be wealthy, and it is not wrong to expect fair payment for one’s efforts and talent.
Somehow, our leftist brethren wants us to believe certain people have too much money, either through their inheritance or their investments, and our president seems hell bent on its redistribution so that everyone can share in the wealth. The only problem with that is that it’s not everyone’s wealth. It does not belong to society. If it did, we would be a Socialist state, much akin to Communism.
Is there a ceiling as to how much wealth a person can accrue? Should actors and professional ball players make as much as they do? Of course they should, this is a free society, is it not? I fully agree that certain folks do not have enough money, but not to the point where I would allow them to buy houses they can’t afford. I also agree that our tax codes might need to be adjusted, but I can’t understand why our president hasn’t done anything about it? He talked about this three years ago, but so far he’s done nothing. The left would have you believe that every citizen must share in the American dream. In a perfect world I would agree, however ours is not a perfect world… far from it.
For the better part of my career I was fortunate to work for one of the best corporations ever developed in the United Stated, IBM. There were many, many days that 14 hours did not allow enough time to get my job done, but I didn’t mind the long hours because there were so many leaders I knew who were working 16 hour days, seven days a week. My immediate Project Manager used to work while on vacation. That’s called leadership. Why is it that every McDonald’s store is looking for people to hire, yet there are so many Americans out of work? It’s because people who are getting paid to stay home won’t work. Why should they?
This country is in dire need of a leader who can change the mindset of the country. One who wants to shrink government, as well as our economic debt while instilling in our youth a mindset whereby they understand and accept the notion that developing a strong work ethic would be the best friend they could ever have.
I was in a senior when JFK was assassinated. During his tenure, I felt, as did my family that our country was in good hands mostly because of his leadership qualities. Today I feel that our country has no leader and is on the verge of an economic meltdown the likes of which none of us has ever witnessed. I will not blame our president for all the problems our country faces, but I will admit that he should never have been elected in the first place. Isn’t it about time we asked ourselves, what we can do for our country? What I’m going to do is vote Obama out!
33 years ago today, at five in the morning, on a bitter cold day, my life was changed dramatically when my only child, Elizabeth came into this world. She was five weeks early and weighed five pounds and five ounces, and I Immediately began to wonder what my first 32 years on this earth were all about, because nothing else seemed to have mattered. Now I wonder how she ever learned to walk, because I don’t remember ever having put her down. Last month she graduated from the University of Kentucky at the top of her class while working full time and raising two children, one of whom is a special needs child. Today I thought it appropriate to honor her on her birthday.
When I was on the road with IBM early in my career, I was aboard a flight to New York one morning in May when I was inspired to write a song about her. As the plane lifted off from Bluegrass field, I noticed puffs of clouds that appeared to be hanging on the greenery below, contrasted with the azure blue of the sky and these are the words I wrote. It’s sung as a slow Irish lullaby.
Oh the soft cloudy vapor that hangs on the heather
And blends with the bonnie blue skies
Are so pretty and fair – so crystal and clear
Like the blue in Elizabeth’s eyes
Many are the miles her magical smiles
Have carried my heart by and by
And I’d crawl everyone – all over again
Just to gaze in those beautiful eyes
When I am gone to the stones and the sun
And I’m laying deep down in the rise
You will still hear my song – I’ll be playing along
Through the blue in Elizabeth’s eyes
As I enter heaven – the angels all singin’
“Glory to you goes the prize”
Don’t you know I’ll believe it – I’ll have already seen it
Through the blue in Elizabeth’s eyes
Today we are growing – our happiness flowing
Expanding the binds and the ties
May the world always see – the love within me
Through the blue in Elizabeth’s eyes
This past weekend, Judy and I went to see the move, The Help. I didn’t really think I would enjoy it because I’d heard it was a “chick flick” but went along anyway to enjoy the time with my wife. How wrong I was to find out that this movie was so much more than anything I’d imagined – it was entertaining as well as thought provoking. I had lived through that time period and remember well the “white only” signs of the past and how disrespectfully humiliating people of color were treated. But I never really saw how the better half of our society felt about and treated the people who cooked their food, washed their clothes, and cleaned their houses, and just how superior they felt to them.
Reconnecting with feelings I’d once held about those days, I marveled at how the times have changed and how much better I feel about those changes. But somehow my conscience still haunts me about why it took so long, and whether we are truly all that much better: Whether those who were forced to ride in the back of the bus, and were forbidden to eat in restaurants have forgiven those who trespassed against them: And, whether those who bullied others have made the acts of contrition necessary to be forgiven well enough to finally forgive themselves.
I have read many times that one cannot judge a book by its cover, but I beg to differ. My case in point is the artwork brought forth by Sharon Bradley in the design of my book covers. Sharon manages to capture the essence of the story in her brilliant artwork, and I am the fortunate one.
I would like to draw your attention to my first novel and the first story in the Kentucky Chronicle series, The Thoroughbred Conspiracy, a plot to control the Thoroughbred industry through the administration of a genetic poison. I wracked my brain for over two years trying to come up with a worthy cover caption, but to no avail. That is, until Sharon read the story and presented the current cover to my wife, Judy and I one evening. We were mesmerized to say the least.
The sequel to The Thoroughbred Conspiracy, and the second story in the Kentucky Chronicles, Bluegrass Betrayal, concerns two characters from the first story, Callie Collquit and a handsome man named Darkside, who fall in love and are whisked away on a Southern Caribbean cruise where they enact their steamy relationship aboard a luxurious ocean liner. Does this cover capture the storyline?
The third Kentucky Chronicle, Unbridled Terror, brings forth several characters from the first two stories as it deals with a sinister group known as the Knights of the Caliphate, who are hell-bent on destroying the city of Louisville, during Derby week, seeking revenge for being duped in the first two stories. Once again, notice how the cover brings forth the storyline through the artwork.
It’s not always that a writer can find an artist who can capture the heart and essence of a storyline in the cover artwork, but Sharon Bradley surely does it for me.
If you would like to visit her website, or contact her, she can be found here… http://www.sharonbradleydesigns.com/
P.S. tell her I sent ya. Rob
I notice how many different hats I wear when I write my novels. Most of the time, I simply build the story A through Z without care as to the many aspects necessary to produce a quality book. But, as soon as the editing process begins, I have to shift my focus as well as my attention to varying viewpoints. For example, I must ensure that the story remains logical with regard to time. I can’t have a scene beginning in the morning and ending at night unless I have taken pains to explain that in the storyline. I know what I meant to write, but does the reader – a question I ask myself during every scene. Also, I must be cognizant of when the story is taking place from minute, hour, day, month and season. Once the storyline is consistent and logical I can move on.
I always have one or two people read for me whom I can count on to provide additional direction. This is extremely helpful, but finding those individuals who know how I write and can provide what I need is not always easy. My wife, Judy, is my right arm in this regard. Once the story is logical from front to back, it’s time to change hats and edit from the reader’s point of view, and I am always concerned whether the story is interesting. If the story isn’t interesting, it’s time to start over, as most people, including me, don’t like to waste time reading something that’s non-entertaining, uninspiring or boring. I like to create tension and drama in the opening chapter and bait the reader at each chapter’s close with something that makes her/him want to continue reading to the climax of the story.
Chapter design is an art in itself and lately I have become quite fond of short chapters (3 – 4 pages) which allow the reader to break more frequently. I notice that lengthy chapters usually wear me out which might cause me to lose interest as I am a horribly impatient reader. Along these lines, I try not to place what I call road blocks in the reader’s path, including superfluous sub plots, characters, etc., and words the reader, most likely, will have to go to the dictionary to understand. Something else I refuse to do is overburden the reader with too much setting. I live in the Bluegrass of Kentucky, arguably one of the most beautiful places on earth and the backdrop setting for most of the Kentucky Chronicles, but I don’t overdue setting description as I feel it can erode the storyline which may lose a reader. I never want to lose my readers.
Spelling errors are an author’s nemesis, and regardless how confident you are in the artist who designs your artwork, always triple check every aspect of the cover’s text – never take this step for granted, the author is where the buck stops. I use two word processors when writing, Microsoft Word and Adobe Framemaker. Even with the dual approach, properly spelled words used improperly still find their way onto the pages of every story – it’s just a fact with which we all must live. Catching these words, like the when you meant then, is extremely hard. One method is to read the chapters last to first so that you don’t get caught up in the storyline.
Sometimes I read each chapter out loud which is always helpful as it changes my focus enough to provide a slightly different view. Whenever I can, I always allow two or three people to read my final edit before it goes to a professional editor. This is, of course, after I’ve read the book at least a dozen times. I’ve learned the hard way not to skip the most important step – hiring a professional editor. Do yourself a big favor, and don’t try to cut corners by eliminating a professional editor. This person can make or break a solid piece of work.
I have developed a checklist of procedures I follow just before the book goes to print. This usually involves making sure that all pairs of quotes are in place both in front and back of the quoted text. I want all character’s thoughts italicized, and the headings, fonts, footings, and page counts accurate. If I include text that calls for special characterization like bolding, indented or centering I ensure those are all accurately in place. I don’t include a table of contents in my work, so I’m not worried about that, but I have designed a template for my title, copyright and dedication pages.
Story writing is, indeed, a gift not everyone shares, but, if you ask me, editing is every bit as important as the ability to write a good story. Good luck and keep writing.
I just found out that my second novel in the Kentucky Chronicles series, Bluegrass Betrayal, is a finalist in the USA “Best Books 2011” awards. This is the fourth award this story has won. Please visit my website for all the details and to read about my work. This is where you can order printed books which I personalize, sign, and can deliver anywhere in the world. http://www.robertmonahan.net.
Also, if you would like an E-reader version of any of my work, please visit me at http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/RobertMonahan/.
Here are a few of my favorite authors. Do yourself a favor and check them out.