Wednesday, December 21, 2011


I heard this from 4 of my 5 children a few days ago -. 4 days until Christmas!

I remember that excitement - don't you? It was great. I am determined to catch some of that from them. Recapture it.

You know - I have discussed my faith with so many over the years (as it comes up). And what is most stunning to me is the total logic of God coming as a baby. Growing up to become a man tempted in all ways like us. Blowing his nose, excusing himself to go to the restroom. Being tired, frustrated. That is the God of my faith. How cool is that? He gets me.

Then he offers his perfect life as payment for all my failures now and in the future. God came to reconcile their relationship.

Why logical - reasonable? Well, all (all) other religions and non-religions work from a premise of man somehow managing to reconcile some personal or system of efforts. That is a cool idea, too. And I would never want to derail anyone from their hopes and goals, no matter how lofty they are. But for me, I don't even know where my car keys are half the know? And I am pretty certain that I am not too different from the rest of the human race. Just saying - this faith is something to consider (realistically). If no other reason than it is so wildly different...and logical. And a pretty solid safe place to put your hope.

But whether in the Christian faith or out of it..enjoy the season, your family, friends, and faith. :-)

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Land Run is many things (fun but serious, too). The novel covers many aspects of American culture. Land Run delves into a specific culture in a small community in Oklahoma - but with universal application. In our recent times we have seen some results of banks, government, and corporations working together to the benefit of themselves above those of the common man. Character Hint: Cort (bank), Rusty (business), Ted (government). ;-)

Land Run walks though this, our times. And points to the value system that has eroded over time. These values are the foundation of what used to drive every American community and the nation as a whole. The stabilizing factor.

In a sense, the novel is a call to a an awareness of this and to a return to the better values. This is to our good news - unlike Rome, we have something for which we can return to. A foundation (a faith).

America is so unique that most of the world can never know what we have experienced. Why? Simply put - the ingredients necessary ingredients are very specific.

1) Independence was fought against a power that resided across a vast ocean.
2) We killed the former land-owners
3) We had a large collection of white-haired policy-makers that sacrificed all for the notion of freedom and protection of the common man. They did this with the good of subsequent generations in mind (truly these men were freaks of nature)
4) We built the foundations of the nation upon the Bible. Human rights (Life, Liberty, and pursuit of happiness) were the focus of law. Rule of law was then secured.
5) The constitution was then understood by the populous as akin to the Bible. That is, like us, they may not have known the constitution but they knew it stood for what was 'right'. So as the the nation grew - the people could know to get their government in line (by their faith). Slaves should be free, women should vote, good education and opportunities should be available to all people (civil rights), etc.

This was never perfect - treatment of American Indians, Japanese Americans, etc.

The ingredients are what they are. And aspects of them are just unacceptable to most of the world. Or if some are acceptable, their enemy is unfortunately in their own capitol city an in charge of the military.

I have seen and experienced other cultures on the planet. All have a history of just the power of a few over many. The result is very ugly. (one place, Ukraine, is the setting of my second novel).

This just to say - take a moment to wonder at our incredible imperfect country. It is surely a miracle in all of human history. This is not 'jingoism' is just the truth.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving! (video)

It's early - but heading to grandmas house tomorrow. Internet access is sketchy.

SO much to be thankful for this year. Well, like landing a plane...any year you can can walk away from is a good year.

Enjoy video and Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Unshackled Creativity...

Today I read a good quote from Mark Twain.  - "A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds."

You ever get a sense of this?  Man, I have. And when you promote the idea around you can get so much affirmation and encouragement and discouragement from the widest circles in your life. Then when you start to execute the idea that circle begins to tighten. Eventually it can become so tight you can reach the extent of its radius with your outstretched arm. ;-)

If you succeed - your satisfaction can pour over the earliest and widest circles. I think that is called...revenge? (kidding:-) But this concept is poured out in Land Run.

But what is interesting to me is that the circles are created by the one with the idea. The desire for man's approval comes from the one who has the idea. He has put himself in bondage to the 'good opinion' of man. And draws abuse to himself like a lightening rod. He tethers himself to an others opinion of him and his actions. But if he gains the approval he is still slavery.

I know some folks who hold their cards close to them. They can do this for fear of a lack of approval they desire. The fear of being called a crank. They hold out for the successful results. This too is bondage, self-inflicted slavery.

Say what you want to whom you want and when you want to. Or say nothing at all. But don't desire the approval of man. There is freedom available in this. And much needed clarity of thought and purpose in whatever your idea and resulting project might be.

The second novel, Borderland, is at the editor (no publisher or editor as yet) - and I am working through the ideas of my 3rd novel project. A happy crank having a good time. :-)

This one is going to require even more research for me and maybe more time. But I expect I will be talking a little bit about it in the coming months. The motive being to pulling out my wallet to show you a picture of my 2-year old. I hope folks enjoy it..but at some level, it just about me showing off my 2-year old. :-)

Anyhow... Land Run is available as eBook and Paperback on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, Lifeway -anywhere books are sold. :-)

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Hope everyone had a great Veterans Day weekend.

Land Run and the new novel both include characters with military history. In Land Run some of the characters have interesting back-stories in WWII and Desert Storm. For the new novel – a Ukrainian character has a back-story of Afghanistan (his Soviet days).

Today I am watching a Weather Channel show that is covering the Coast Guard station in Kodiak Alaska. It’s a lot better than much of my memories of there ;-) But there was something in this show I had forgotten about the military. These guys were running rescue drills in the pool while their Chief yelled at them about this or that. Then the Chief pulls them all aside to describe the mistakes they had made. After that he asked them, “how many mistakes are we allowed to make?”
“Zero, Chief!” they said.
“That’s right! Drop and give me twenty!”

1 in 5 will graduate from that school. Even in basic training we started with 100 and graduated with 36.

No mistakes. That is so impossible. But it really is the mind-set we all had in the field…every day and for every task. And we did make few mistakes.

Even though it is so unrealistic a demand of people…the pure belief in this saves lives and wins battles. In their tasks – there really is little room for mistakes.

I would have to say that this mind-set I had for 5 years informed and impacted my working life, and real life, for the following 20 years. Failure in task never seems to enter in to my thinking. In fact, probably any success that is found in my life – I can mostly give credit, for my part, to my short-sightedness. :-) (but I am working on lightening up nowadays)

There are so many stories, you know. Here is one I love. When I was 10 years old my uncle Bob got in the local paper. This is what happened:

He had spent 4 solid years in the Pacific fighting from island to island. After the war he came back home and became an electrician. Then 30 years later the Pentagon was going over their records and found that they owed him 36 medals. These included multiple purple hearts, two bronze stars, a silver star, and on and on. But included in this package was a bill for $80.

It seems that on whatever island he was on at the time – when he heard that the war was over he walked to the beach and through his M-1 rifle into the ocean. Someone had seen him do it and reported him. So the Pentagon wanted their $80 back for the rifle (I guess the 1945 price?) Crazy stuff.

If you have stories – please add them to comments.

Happy Veterans Day!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

THANKS Readers! Happy Anniversary!

It is the 6 month anniversary since the release of Land Run today!

Time flies when you’re having fun. Thank you to all who have read Land Run, chosen it for their book clubs, placed great reviews out on Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes and Noble, and professional and personal book review sites.

And thanks to all the bookstores and coffee shops that had me over for book-signings and readings. And the libraries that are already including it into their collections.

Thanks for following this blog as well. This connection to readers has been the most fun of all.

You all have made this venture an exciting adventure!

Please stay tuned for more… :-)

For folks new to this journey – please swing by these links for updated info…and welcome here!



Friday, November 4, 2011


I have had a lot of questions about the settings of both novels.

For Land Run - simply, Oklahoma is home. I grew up there and no matter how long I have lived in North Carolina or anywhere else - I call it home. In these days when it is so easy or necessary to be mobile - I think we all have a place we consider home. For me, Oklahoma is where I discovered a love of reading and writing. I discovered how large man and his problems are. And where I was a private pilot - getting to see how small we all really are in this vast world. It is where I left for the Coast Guard - setting out on the ocean to find how small I am in this world I was. Oklahoma was the environment from which I branched out - only to come back to it with a better understanding and an enhanced respect.

For the new novel (Borderland - presently unpublished) - Our family made 3 trips there over 3 years. The final trip had me living there in an apartment for 2 months. This gave me a good feel for the people and language (I took a year of Russian in college...but I can tell you that doesn't count ;-). It gave me inclination and time to delve into their literature (classics and contemporary) and history as well. And our family fight to bring back a child we hosted in the States gave me a template to develop a compelling story. It is not our family story in any way - there just is no way to make that believable :-).

Well, that's some insight into the choice of setting. I love to start a story with 'place' in mind first. Not sure where the next novel will be located...please stay tuned.

Note: Land Run now also on Kindle and Nook.

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Dog Lessons...

Hi! Just a note about a recent experience and some thoughts.

My neighbor was walking his dog in the woods out back of our place. A very cool dog,Lab-Pointer mix. My neighbor created trails through 80 acres for this purpose. A few days ago on a morning walk the dog, Maggie, chased after some some stray dogs. He thought nothing of it as she always returned home after these ventures. But then a day went by, then two, and then three.

Out here in the country, during hunting season, it seems impossible that she would return. Dogs get stolen regularly, shot, or ran over. He still did all he could do with postings in the area, online, and word of mouth in the community. And many friends of his were praying for him in this.

Late last night I felt compelled to walked to the furthest part of my property and yell for her.  I yelled her name across another neighbor's vast field and the name echoed into the woods beyond. I prayed that God would supernaturally carry these calls as far as they needed to go to reach her. That they be a beacon for her somehow.

As I walked back to my house I thought about this prayer. About belief. Here is this person that even some who do not believe - but understand the concept of him is..big. That should God exist he would be...big. For believers he is known as the Lord of Hosts, Almighty, Alpha and Omega, Lord of Lords, King of Kings. And much more. Big.

But then I looked to my own faith and found how little I had in such a person to simply...return a dog home? I determined with all I could manage to believe him for this simple task. I refused to enter my house until I had settled this with him at least to my satisfaction. 

This morning I woke to a call from my neighbor telling me that a man, a pastor, had found Maggie and was bringing her home. He lived just on the other side of that field I yelled across.

I truly don't know anything or understand anything. I keep coming back to that know what I mean?

Have a great weekend.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Bigger than a Breadbox...

I had a great time last night speaking to the North Wake Homeschool Honor Society. They all stayed awake! ;-) And the questions were so good. We talked about the novel Land Run but also about creativity in general.

There is a scene in the novel when one of the older characters asks a younger character - 'is man a machine or a creature?'.  The answer is 'creature'.

Much hinges on this understanding because the message of society is 'machine' and that is contrary to the reality. So we talked some about this and other places it might be appropriate to adopt counter-cultural views today. We also discussed the importance of the arts in the development of our creativity. Much of the important matters of life are managed by 'flying by the seat of our pants' it is good to get hold of an understanding of who we are as people and where we stand - literature, history, philosophy, and the arts all help us to do this.

This got me thinking today about some very strong themes in Land Run.

Cultural clashes
Multi-Cultural community
Teenage pregnancy
Corporate Statism

Research that provided descriptiveness:

Oklahoma history
American Indian history (Seminole and Creek)
Construction (home developments)
Eminent domain policy

Experience that provided descriptiveness:

Having lived in the region (understanding their specific challenges)
44 years of looking at people ;-)
Volunteer work in a nursing home

Monday, October 17, 2011

VERY FUN Interview tonight

Just want to post a big thank you to the book club of McAlester public library in McAlester Oklahoma. I was invited to call in and speak with them towards the end of their meeting about Land Run. Great questions by the way!

This coming Thursday evening, Oct. 20, I will be the guest speaker at the North Wake Home School Honor Society in Raleigh, NC. I am looking forward to that as well. My daughter Caitlin will be in attendance so I hope to spice it up a bit to avoid the perception of dad just giving another lecture. ;-)

Have a great day!

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Hey folks! Okay, I am a little excited. I just found out that Land Run is on KINDLE!

So many people have asked me about this since Land Run was released in May. There were some things the publisher had to square away with Amazon.

But It's here!

Click here to check it out --- LAND RUN KINDLE

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Hard or Easy...

I know it is not wise to speak in good company (and you all are) about religion or politics. But on one level the novel Land Run does seek to bring them together. Not to offend, but only to observe.

I have started to watch the news again (busy with new novel of the American in Ukraine - possible title is Borderland).

Wall Street protests and the Tea Party...agree and meet over the problem of Corporate Statism. That is, the deep ties between the corporations and government seems to have come to a head. First, the Tea Party has been upset over their retirement plans (for the most part). And the Wall Street protesters are very concerned about their working future (rightly so).

But what seems to be missing from both camps (to a high degree - but not completely, of course) is a concern and discussion of their common values. I would contend that would force a very real reversal of the state and direction of the country.

LAND RUN addresses this on the local level. The bank, government, and business work together to manipulate local opportunities for their shared gain (via eminent domain).

Personally, I believe we will all be okay in the end. That is, we can go hard or easy...but ultimately we will have to come back together on our shared values. That is something that corporations and governments cannot stand against. Example: child labor, women's right to vote, slavery, civil rights, etc.

These values always happen to be in line with the constitution and gets things back in line. Hard...or easy ;-)

Money and the desire of it are not values. And are likely not to be found or supported by the constitution. The Tea Party and Wall Street Occupy groups seem to have this as their focus. So that is just fighting the corruption of corporate-statism...with the same corruption. They need to come together over better and real freedom, privacy, responsible and accountable government and corporations, etc. Seriously, if the Tea Party knew what has happened to their food supply, land-use, and global job exports...and the Wall Street Occupy folks knew what really results from big government and their checks (see American Indian reservations).

Anyhow - back to writing novels... ;-)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

FREE Short Story - Pulled From New Novel

I won't take up too much time on this blog for my new novel. But it is currently in a pretty good state. It still has some stages to get through. First, my best (and best looking) editor will be reviewing it (see the dedication of Land Run for her name :-) Then I will have another copy-editor check it out and test my knowledge of basic grammar, etc.

Eventually I will have to spend some time to decide how to best shop it around. With Land Run, I have gone the route of a great literary agent which was very cool. But in the end I chose to go directly with a mainline publisher located where the novel's setting was, Oklahoma. That just seemed appropriate - and I am very glad that I did. :-)

For now, the title of the new novel is 'Borderland'. It is of the adventures of an American in Ukraine who stayed much longer than he ever intended to. One of the main characters, a taxi driver, is developed early in the novel, including a section of 8 pages that also works as a short story. I want to point you to the link at the top of this blog called 'Fun Short Story'. It is a straight section ripped from the novel Borderland but can stand alone as a short story. The short story has also been featured in Goodreads and Authorsden and in England at Lost In Fiction.

An interesting thing about Land Run is that in some ways the novel is experimental - there is no direct protagonist. I wanted to write the most realistic novel possible, where everyone at some level is an antagonist. I hope I succeeded. Let me know. :-)

Borderland, though very realistic, will have a very definite protagonist and antagonist. And it is infused with certain Russian and Ukrainian literary influences. That is, there are twists and turns and unexpected events - but the realism includes some very interesting supernatural and spiritual phenomenon. I believe readers will have a great time reading it. You know, whenever and however I manage to have it readers :-)

Please check out the Short Story and tell me what you think. Oh, the title of the short story is 'The Patriot'. But it is really just 8 pages ripped from the new novel.

Click links below:

Authors Den - short story

Goodreads - short story

Lost In Fiction (Britain) - short story

Monday, October 3, 2011

WOW - Power of the Pen

Well, a farmer/builder in our area happens to own a great cabin in the Mountains near Ashville, NC.  (See Ashville photos in earlier post). My wife and I really wanted to get away and knew that they sometimes rented their cabin to folks. When asked how much it would be the man told her he needed to think about it and would get back to her. 

When he called back with the answer it was this, "ask Mark to please add us in his newspaper article about the Eastern Triangle Farm Tour event. I have some new solar panels." That was the rental price! :-)

Well, we went to and returned from the long weekend in the mountains. The next weekend I went to interview him about this new project of his and then went home that night to write the 350 word article for our county newspaper.  Here is the interesting results:

- The article came out just before the annual county farm tour and even though it was raining, his farm got more business than ever.

- The Emmy award winning TV news station then came out and did an interview and segment on their nightly newscast.  WRAL News of Raleigh, NC.

- Our county newspaper did a full front page follow-up article with photos and State government officials present for the interview. Written by a real journalist - not just a fiction guy wanting to rock on a mountain porch and stare at trees. ;-)

- Now I hear that members of the Obama administration is visiting his farm. I will update you if this thing keeps growing.

So I know this man is an entrepreneur. But wow, now I know just how much creativity goes into business decisions. Someone like me would have just listed the cabin for $20 a night to cover power and whatever.

Click here to see RAY FAMILY FARMS

Clean Renewable Energy in Franklin County

I had the opportunity to start my discussion with Chad Ray of Ray Family Farms while he unloaded Snap Pea leaves where the chickens congregated. "Nothing wasted," he told me. I learned of his new plans to install a solar panel PV system atop his barn while riding with him as he tilled different areas of his farm. It would seem that Mr. Ray considers time as among the things not to be wasted.

Ray Family Farms is known locally for their many teaching programs. Interested folks learn to start with simple things such as fixing drafty houses, purchasing local food from where they live, minimizing short car trips into a few highly productive ones, having your own backyard chicken flock, and much more.

Recently the USDA, Farm Bureau, and the NC Tobacco trust fund worked together to make this dream of energy conservation a reality. He feels blessed to be living in North Carolina where grants are available for local farmers. He believes these improvements will not just help in his goals to maintain a local farm. It will also invest in the future of his community; creating local jobs, reinvesting in the local economy, creating clean renewable energy for the grid, and supporting a smaller environmental imprint for his farm within his community.

Ray said that he knows that his chosen direction in farming is not for everyone. He noted that at this time his unconventional farming incurs additional risk in an already risky business. But that makes his efforts so much more important for him. He wants others to know sustainable farming as a real viable option for them. And in his business every success is celebrated. That is one reason why they can’t wait for the installation of the new solar panels. And why they keep an open invitation for folks to come by the farm anytime. So if you come out for the Eastern Triangle Farm Tour, Sept. 17-18, be sure to stop by Ray Family Farms. He will sit still for crowds…I think.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Adventure in Writing

I am on a short respite from book-signing events.  But should have a new schedule soon.  But in this time is offering an ability to some specific reflection on since Land Run was released in May.  I have seen some interesting things occur.  Just want to put out a note to share some of them.

ALL book reviews were great (Thanks!)

ALL Book-signings fun (Thanks!)

Main libraries in Oklahoma City and Tulsa reviewing Land Run for inclusion in their catalouges.

Book Clubs choosing Land Run for discussion (I get to join one via telephone in October!)

Googling Land Run has introduced me to a 'Land Run Brewery' and 'Land Run Winery' business

I am nearly finished with the first draft narrative of the next novel (pretty wild stuff in it ;-)

Folks in India are reading Land Run - and loved it.  Would really like to know if other people outside the States have checked it out yet.

I have learned more than I set out usual :-)

Publisher worked out kinks with Amazon on the KINDLE and has an ETA of 6-7 weeks.  (NOOK still always available though)

Will have an update to new schedule soon.  Have a great day!

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Hey everyone!  I received word from my publisher that LAND RUN will be on Kindle in 6 to 7 weeks (finally)!  So when people ask you can give them an ETA.  The novel available on NOOK if they have one of those.  And of course the paperback is at AMAZON and where ever books are sold.  Personally, I like a book in the hand since I stare at a computer screen so much.

Thanks to the folks at the Coffeehound Bookshop and Its-A-Grind Coffeehouse in Raleigh.  Had a lot of fun at both events.  I got an invite to return to Its-A-Grind.  May be since I had the whole clan with me and kept the hot chocolate coming. :-)

Also making progress on next novel set in Ukraine.  A friend from Kiev sent me this.  Now the new novel is a thriller but with depth of character and landscape as you found in Land Run.  There is some humor as with Land Run.  But maybe not this funny.  A friend from Kiev shared this with me today (link below).  Enjoy!  And have a great weekend!

Click Below:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

BEST COFFEE EVER - And a Good Read to Boot

LAND RUN Book Signing Event

You are invited to attend a book signing for author

Mark Graham

September 17 – Saturday 12:00-3:00
It’s A Grind
5001 Falls of Neuse Rd
Raleigh, NC 27609
(919) 239-4612

Please join Mark for this special event

and invite a friend!

If you already have a copy of LAND RUN

buy one for a friend – this book makes a great gift!

We hope to see you there!

For more information, please email author Mark at


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Lifeway Live

Just heard about this and wanted to update.  A lot of people I know really like to purchase their books from the Lifeway bookstore.  Well, they now have stocked LAND RUN!  It looks like the same price as Amazon...worth every penny by the way ;-)

If a Lifeway fan click below.  Have a great day!


On Writing Stuff

Somehow things have just opened up in the first draft of the new novel.  You never know where you are in the process of completing a narrative - not really.  But I estimate it is 2/3 complete.  And a whole lot of fun to write.  The creative part is really just enjoyable work and problem-solving.  And the draft of writing is a mixed bag of good and bad.  But to keep moving ahead, in this phase, is always good.

The real 'fun' part is coming back to it from a readers perspective - because that is who I am writing to.  And man, as with Land Run, I believe you guys are going to have some fun! :-)  Also, with some twists and turns, depth, drama, and humor.  While the 'culture-clash' in Land Run plays out in a current-day local community - the next novel is international in scope.  And if you enjoyed the use of history to inform the story of Land Run - well, there is some of that in the next novel as relates to the Cold War.

BTW - if anyone has questions about Land Run or anything really please feel free to post in the comment section.

Just a quick reminder if anyone is available - I will be at the Tar River Festival this weekend.  The town park will have all kinds of events for the whole family.  And the shops spill out into Main Street.

SEPTEMBER 10, 2001 12:00- 3:00

Coffee Hound Bookshop
103 W. Nash St.
Louisburg, NC 27549
(919) 496-6030

Monday, September 5, 2011

Waiting for Tom to come home....

Happy Labor Day!

You ever do something cool you just had to tell folks about?  Yeah - I had one of those.  This weekend we got away for the weekend to a very (very) remote cabin way up on a mountain in Bat Cave, NC.  Near Black Mountain...near Ashville, NC.  So we took one day to walk around Ashville and to see the home and neighborhood where Thomas Wolfe grew up.  I think he was an incredibly descriptive writer.  And he was never uninterested in the human condition, the deeper parts of the mind of people.

It was so interesting to find out little facts from the experts there.  In reference to his novel 'You Can't Go Home Again' - I have to title the photo below - 'Waiting for Tom to come home....still waiting..." ;-)

Have a great day!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

There's No Place Like Home!

Happy September!  Just a note about a book-signing event that is coming up soon.  This is in my hometown.  Well, my hometown is in Oklahoma - but it is the place where I live (and really enjoy living).  This event reminded me of an article I wrote for Orion Magazine some time ago.  I remember it was a great exercise because it was limited to 300 words.  I think I actually did exactly 300 words.  Not sure what that means...but does not sound normal as I write here about it.   ;-)

Please take a moment and click on the below links to the COFFEE HOUND BOOKSHOP to check out the location - this is a really cool old town.  Also the link to the ORION MAGAZINE article that gives a bit of the feel of where I live.

SEPTEMBER 10, 2001 12:00- 3:00

Coffee Hound Bookshop 

103 W. Nash St.
Louisburg, NC 27549
(919) 496-6030


Thanks.  I hope to see some of you folks out there.  Oh, and it is also the day our town celebrates the TAR RIVER FESTIVAL!  I will add more on that next week as I find out about other events to come out for that day - and of course, swing by the store for a signed copy of Land Run.  As a favorite radio host of mine says (Steve Brown), "it won't be the same without you!"

Have a great holiday weekend!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Goodnight Irene!

Okay, that was bad.  But it had to be said. :-)

It passed through here in North Carolina - very weak as those storms go here.  But I now have hundreds of black walnuts on the ground.  They were blown off their limbs before their time.  I think I am going to have some very upset squirls here.  Hopefully the chestnuts and pecans will come out in force for them.

The extensive news coverage of this storm is interesting to many here.  I guess the size and path of the storm draws us close together?  Or maybe her NY destination made for importance?  I don't know - but I hope it isn't the case that something major is happening in the world 'they' don't want us to know about. ;-)

I hope all readers affected by the storm have their areas recover quickly, knowing it was still a big storm and caused much random flooding and power outages.

There will be new posts and photos this week on book-signings and reviews.  Please stay tuned!


Sunday, August 21, 2011


A big thanks to Josef and John of Stevens Bookshop!  You guys are great hosts!

And thanks to all who came out.  I hope you really enjoy the read! :-)

If you could not make it out but interested - you can get the book quickly, click here - AMAZON

Funny thing - I got into a couple cool conversations there and led two people to buy a Schaeffer book and an economics book by Archer (in the awesome rare book section they have).  Just want to mention this to Josef - in case I need a new job some day. ;-)

Click here to see the (huge) bookstore and a trailer of Land Run  -   STEVENS BOOKSHOP

Friday, August 19, 2011


I want to extend a special invitation - especially if you are in North Carolina this weekend.  The owner of Stevens Bookstore is giving a special discount to all who come to this event.  Hope to see you there!

(and of course - there will be cookies)

Click Below:

Stevens Book Shop

August 20 – Saturday

Stevens Book Shop
6700 Old Wake Forest Road
Raleigh, NC 27616
Phone: 919-872-5995

"A compelling story written in a unique and powerful voice. Characters you will never forget and unexpected events that will cause you to both think and hope."

Thursday, August 18, 2011


A recent (so far all good :) review of the novel got me thinking.  Something maybe a little unique about Land Run is the wide range of perspective.  The point of view from the characters will cross age, gender, race, religion, politics, and social conditions.  As the reviewer mentioned, it also does this into an incredible depth.

Now looking at that list above it could sound very boring or very explosive.  But the approach to writing this story was also not without perspective.  That is, these character perspectives simply arise from the people.  So they are neither boring or explosive...just real.  Their point of view is not allowed to flow outside the context of who they are (their life experience), where they live or in what influences and informs their lives.

And as with all our real life day-to-day interactions with our world - sometimes that will result in something explosive, uncomfortable, enjoyable, or informative.  But never (never) boring. ;-)

Monday, August 15, 2011

10% OFF - and FREE cookies

Hey folks!  I know I joked that signed copies are cheaper than not...but it's true! ;-)

I guess it's like those textbooks in college we bought...but in this case the marked up book is new!

If you can pencil this event in this week - know that the free cookies are the BEST in North Carolina.

LAND RUN Book Signing Event

You are invited to attend a book signing for author


August 20 – Saturday

Stevens Book Shop
6700 Old Wake Forest Road
Raleigh, NC 27616
Phone: 919-872-5995

Please join Mark Graham for this special event
and invite a friend!

If you already have a copy of LAND RUN,
buy one for a friend – this book makes a great gift!

We hope to see you there!

For more information about author Mark Graham CLICK below at:


Author Website

Can’t make the event? Click here to get a copy!

Sunday, August 14, 2011


New Professional review:
This has carried over to Amazon, Goodreads, and Barnes&Noble (Nook folks)


Land Run

By Mark Graham

Published by Tate Publishing & Enterprises, LLC

ISBN 978-1-61777-011-1 $14.99

Land Run by Mark Graham is a classic example of the average man becoming a victim of the system that is supposed to protect his rights, but with an unforeseen twist or two.

When aged landowner Elijah Montgomery refuses to sell his land to developer Rusty Watson things get downright dirty. Watson has a sleazy lawyer and connections in all the right places so he sets in motion a series of events designed to take Elijah’s land away from him via eminent domain – the right of the government to take away your property to put it to higher and better use.

Elijah doesn’t care one way or the other about the outcome; he just knows God told him not to sell the land. No, Elijah isn’t crazy; he just has a deep faith and believes God is leading him to hold onto the land. Rusty would like to believe Elijah is a crazy old coot, after all he lives in the nursing home, but everyone who knows Elijah knows he is completely aware of what he’s doing, and of the large amount of money he’s passing up by keeping his land.

Rusty has lost everything that mattered to him and sees in this land deal, and subsequent building project a redemption of sorts for himself. It becomes his obsession and nothing is going to stand in his way, not Elijah and certainly not some banker who refuses to tow the line and fall in with everyone else to vote to take away Elijah’s land.

Mark Graham weaves a powerful story of faith, greed and power in the middle of a small town in Oklahoma. His writing is vivid, his style easy to read. The story draws you in and makes you care about the characters peppering its pages. Land Run is full of a cross-section of society, the good and the bad and it is bound to keep you reading. At times philosophical and poetic Graham’s prose is sure to leave you wondering what is next for this new writer.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I have to post this.  I ran across this and found it to be SO least, in the preparations and intentions behind this novel.  If this is an interest for you - then even I would recommend this novel ;-)  Because intention is half the battle....

"A compelling story written in a unique and powerful voice. Characters you will never forget and unexpected events that will cause you to both think and hope."

If for any reason you find the novel Land Run falls short of this - please note that the next novel will knock your socks off. :-)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Special Invitation! Signed Copies are Discounted....kidding ;-)

Publisher Evite

LAND RUN Book Signing Event

You are invited to attend a book signing for author


August 20 – Saturday


Stevens Book Shop

6700 Old Wake Forest Road

Raleigh, NC 27616

Phone: 919-872-5995

Please join Mark Graham for this special event

and invite a friend!

If you already have a copy of LAND RUN,

buy one for a friend – this book makes a great gift!

We hope to see you there!

For more information about author Mark Graham CLICK below at:

Can’t make the event? Click here to get a copy!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

INSPIRED! Just never know where that stuff comes from....

Excited about being considered for inclusion of the library systems for Oklahoma (OKC) and Tulsa counties.
If featured - I hope to get out there for a book event.  Well, I hope to get out that way regardless ;-)

FUN:For folks that have finished reading Land Run especially - I want to place some images (among a million) that helped to inspire the next project I am working on.  Um, I better get back to working on it, huh. ;-)

(See short story here and also click here at AUTHORSDEN to get a feel of one of the characters - Dima)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

OKLAHOMA - New Favorite Blog

Just got word this week that Land Run is now featured here.  It is a very good site to discover the writing scene in that region of the country.  Please come by and check it out.

Also, be looking for this site to publish a review of Land Run very soon!

Click Link Below:


Saturday, July 23, 2011


Want everyone to know they can see these new updates by clicking here on AUTHORSDEN.

- Addition to the Short Story
- Two news items (Author Interview video and Book Trailer)
- Addition of Author biography

On another note ;-)

I was struck this week by how much nature can inform our lives.  For me this isn't very often.  I tend towards ideas, people, and buildings (their art and history).  But once in awhile I take notice (I have to think that some force outside of me makes this happen - because I am pretty obstinate.) 

Anyhow, we were given a very sickly little Marigold plant last year.  We planted it but there was just no hope for it.  It was free so not too great a loss.  But apparently this spring a seed remained.  It grew into what you see below.  This incredible bush like I have never seen before - not for this kind of little plant.  So I asked my daughter to sit beside it to give the size some perspective.  After I took the photo - I looked at the camera display...I saw my daughter sitting next to this incredible plant.

Now we fought for 3.5 years to get her free from a Ukrainian orphanage two years ago.  12 years of institutional living there has presented some challenges - and coming to a new and different language, culture, and into a family.  But like this plant...she is who you see here.  Beautiful, growing and blossoming in so many amazing ways.  There they were...two of a kind.

Good soil, water, and sun help any plant.  But for these results, defying explanation, coming from such a difficult beginning - there has to have been extra care coming from somewhere, you know.  Just saying. :-)

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

KINDLE Options

Hey folks!  I just got word from the publisher that they are working out some problems with Amazon in getting the Kindle uploaded.  But it should not take much longer.


Please check out this location - the eBook is available here!  And compatible with the KINDLE and anything else.  If you have a NOOK - that is always available at -

Click here for NOOK:

Barnes and Noble

click here for KINDLE:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

MORE Than You Ever Wanted to Know About Me

Hey Land Run readers!  I want to update you about a new site that features my novel and recent short story.  I plan to add (much revised) excerpts from my new novel project as well.

It really is a great site!

Also, in other news, Land Run will soon be available in the Oklahoma Metropolitan Library System.  Tulsa is reviewing the novel as well - I am hoping for a positive result there as well.  Choctaw Library is considering the novel for a special feature.

Check this out:


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Rock Star!

I had a great time doing book-signings this past week.  I was at the Via Cappaccino in Rocky Mount, NC.  I am soon closing in on middle-age and had a college student ask me to sign her arm.  That might be, no - that will be, as close to a 'Rock Star' experience I will ever see. ;-)   After which, of course, I had to leave my make-shift bookstand to keep my two-year old from throwing puzzle pieces at their customers.

Will have another book-signing in Raleigh in August - if in the area please come on out.

Have a GREAT weekend!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Via Cappuccino - and Elves....

...Here I come!  Man, isn't that just a cool name for a place?  I could say it 3 times like the guy in the Elf movie did with Mississippi. :-)

Just a reminder of the book signing tomorrow at the Via Cappuccino in Rocky Mount, NC.  Very nice coffee house and local arts community hang-out.  Come by and check them out.

July 14 – Thursday

6:00-8:00 p.m.
Via Cappuccino
3002 Sunset Avenue
Rocky Mount, NC 27804-3647
(252) 937-0004

Monday, July 11, 2011

VERY COOL Updates (KINDLE) and a Free Gift

It has been a busy week for Land Run.  I had a really fun interview on TV Friday.  Go ahead and click the link below - no worries, it's short ;-)


The book-signing after was cool as well.  The book seems to have run out of stock temporarily at many online bookstores - but always available via the publisher at until supply is filled.

Land Run soon (very soon) to be available on KINDLE.

BOOK-SIGNING this week:

July 14 – Thursday
6:00-8:00 p.m.
Via Cappuccino
3002 Sunset Avenue
Rocky Mount, NC 27804-3647
(252) 937-0004

Now for your free gift:

Psalm 20

1 To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob protect you!

2 May he send you help from the sanctuary and give you support from Zion!
3 May he remember all your offerings and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices! Selah
4 May he grant you your heart's desire and fulfill all your plans!
5 May we shout for joy over your salvation, and in the name of our God set up our banners! May the LORD fulfill all your petitions!
6 Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with the saving might of his right hand.
7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
8 They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright.
9 O LORD, save the king! May he answer us when we call.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Night Before...

Well, that sounded ominous. ;-)  Just want to put out a quick reminder of the Book-Signing tomorrow.

July 8 – Friday

6:00-800 p.m.
Storytellers Bookstore
100 E. Roosevelt Ave
Wake Forest, NC 27587
(919) 554-9146

Also, for you newshounds, I will be interviewed for the novel the same day at 12:30 on WRAL in Raleigh.  Right now I am pretending that will be fun...rather than scary. ;-)

Hope to see you there!


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Happy Independence Day!

Hi!  Just a reminder - if you happen to be in North Carolina this week.  Every so often I will post some Book-Signing events as they come close to the time.  This is one of those times. :-) Please stop by Storytellers Books in Wake Forest, NC if you have time.  There will be music provided and also a local festival going on.  Lots of fun.  (and if you have never been to Storytellers - it is a great hangout with a mess of books!)

Also - the same day WRAL news will possibly interview me for the mid-day newscast.  So - please say a prayer for me as I never know what I might say ;-)

July 8 – Friday

6:00-800 p.m.

Storytellers Bookstore

100 E. Roosevelt Ave

Wake Forest, NC 27587

(919) 554-9146

Monday, June 27, 2011

Cable Can't Touch This!

I live very much in 'the country' nowadays.  In exploring our community the past few years we have connected with many wonderful folks.  Among other things, we have learned how to access local food providers (really healthy stuff).  And we have also become steady and returning visitors of many county events and festivals.

This year I have been discovering the local arts community.  I had no idea!  There are only 13,000 people in my whole county.  But the artists congregate regularly from surrounding areas to showcase their talents.  And in some cases have been so nice as to allow me to do a few readings from Land Run

I have met musicians, writers, and artists who have spent their whole lives entertaining others in our community.  The other night I watched an elderly man, with a belt full of harmonicas, play songs you know and some he made up himself.  In between sets he told some stories and poems that had me laughing SO hard.  The jokes were probably older than him but so fresh in the telling.

Anyhow, I just want to send out an encouragement to you to check these things out in your own communities.  They are surely out there and you will be so glad you did!

 -  Sometimes your local arts council is a great place to start.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

GREAT BRITAIN: Across the Pond! And Something About a Patriot

I ran into some great folks in England that have been so kind as to include my short story, The Patriot, in their collection of fiction.  There is also a short review of the writing (very thankful for that as well).  There is a lot of great information on current books, reviews, and other writings I am having fun reading on the Lost in Fiction website.  Please click below and check them out as soon as you can - you will be glad you did. :-)


FYI - This short story is a piece of character development for the current novel I am working on... ;-)

Sunday, June 19, 2011


I got a pre-fathers  The kids took me to the state history museum and then to the pool.  I'm not certain that the second place was for me really. ;-)  My 8 year old son asked me later what I liked best at the museum.  There was so much there that I had to think about it.  I found that I really did have a favorite.  They had two actual pirate swords on display from ships sunk off the coast in the late 1600's.  It was 

I am thinking that 8 years is a nice age to be.  So much, I guess, we carry that year with us well into adulthood. Maybe so that we don't miss the experience of anything.

Happy Fathers Day!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

One of Those Days...

Ever have one of those really good days?  I had one of those today.  Not the kind where everything went right and topped off by some quiet, space to read, and watching a great film with your loved one.  Not the kind where you are watching your child blow the candles out and then playing with her friends in the yard on a warm sunny day.

Instead - the kind that come in retrospection and introspection.  I once had a job where for 2 solid years I held a 70 hour work week - for 80 cents and hour.  They told me when/where to sleep, what to eat, what to wear.  Where I complained almost every day.  And they woke me up at weird hours to do some pretty crazy stuff.  Oh, and with instructions that if I ever left the job, I would go to jail.  Today, I keep a large photo of that Coast Guard patrol boat in my cubical at work.  To remind me of the best job I ever had.

Like that - today was the normal grind.  But somehow I was able to see what I had at the same time I had it.  You know what I mean?  Not the stuff...we know its just stuff, that will cost again to fix or replace.  Not the leisure...I had none of that.  But an awareness came to me anew of the intangible but certain eternal prize that is mine, faith and its rewards.  Being the owner of that...well, I could look to the obstructions, troubling factors and people with confidence.  What could someone that lucky do except to sincerely wish the same great wealth upon them?  So I asked my benefactor to hook them up.  You know, because the pressure is off.  I can more than afford to do it. 

Have a great day! :-)

Note:  Land Run is on backorder just about everywhere - but distribution will be to the rescue very soon.  So please don't let that stop you - go on and reserve your copy. :-)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Freedom and GoodReads

I have been involved in some discussions lately on Goodreads.  A very fun place on the Internet for book-lovers - I highly recommend it!  I was participating in a review of a and older Russian novel written during the early Soviet years.  The author, Bulgakov, was sometimes subtle, other times not so subtle in his...well...rebellion.  I found that Stalin liked his plays so never killed him (as he did so many others). 

So this writer, like so many, was always chasing truth as an individual.  The thought of writing to conform is distasteful to writers.  If they are not repulsed by this idea - they would at least see it as a pointless venture.  Like a macro-economics student being asked to draw 100 graphs...based on the premise of 'all things being equal". (okay, still a little bitter about that ;-)

Anyhow, I am thinking a lot of writers through know, just guys and gals seeking truth in story.  They wrote in their times, be it the French or American revolution.  The Soviet or Post-Soviet period.  Pre-Mao, Post-Mao.  Every little or large country, any time and place.  Any cultural or market pressures demanding conformity.  Any government. 

They wrote in freedom.  If they had to veil truth or was always there.  If it wasn't there would be no reason to write.  They would simply have set their pens down.  Writers....are free.   Maybe that's why so many do such good work in prison.  Freedom plus freedom from distraction. ;-)  Picture Bunyan in his damp little stone cell for years...blissfully completing his allegorical masterpiece.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Book Signing Event!

Hey folks!  Have the first scheduled Book Event!  There may be some events coming in after this that are scheduled sooner - but I will update everyone as they come in.

If you are available - please pencil this in and swing by!  And by all means - tell your friends. :-) 

It's a great bookstore and hang-out - only wish I lived closer.

JULY 8 - 6:00-8:00 P.M.

Click on link below for bookstore information.  Also, check back as there will be more promotional information available in the comingt weeks.


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Apologies and Comments

Well it was feeling kind of lonely out here in blogger-land ;-) But since opening this blog I have had almost 1300 visits.  I so appreciate these visits.  Just checking settings today and somehow I disallowed comments - registered users only - ugh!  I have now fixed this.  If you return to this blog from time to time - sorry for the mishap.  Please know that you can leave comments anywhere and anytime now.

Folks can also connect with me also on Twitter and Goodreads

Getting out of the comfort zone a little bit.  The publisher is scheduling book events now at various locations - will update when these get scheduled.  I gave a reading tonight at a local arts gathering and had a great time doing it actually.  For readers who have read the book, it was pages 62-64.  That seemed appropriate to current affairs - you know what I mean. ;-)

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Off and Running

Well, the novel as been out for a little while now and I really appreciate the feedback I am getting from readers.  So far most are coming from Facebook.  Please everyone, feel free to join that Facebook page.  It will be a few weeks before some official 'reviews' trickle in.  I would just like to encourage everyone, if you have a little time, to comment on the novel wherever you purchased it - on their company websites - BarnesandNoble, Amazon, etc.

I am able to put a little time again to the next novel.  If you are interested in getting a 'feel' of that - please just click on the link above titled  FUN SHORT STORY.

Thanks again everyone.  Please stay tuned!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Sights and Sounds

One thing I strive towards in writing is to project an experience of place and character as true to life as I can.  To engage readers through their senses and every-day understanding.  That they can truly feel they are in a room, town, car, or wherever.  Whether new or old to a reader - real.  Also, over time, they might think, "Yeah, that is the way it is." Or, "I know that person or condition."  And in some cases, for some to possibly ponder, "what has a bit more texture than I noticed when I last ran my had across it?"

There are many surprizes.  The story will take readers to unexpected (but real) places in terms of community social conditions.  The common, the everyplace 'Willow Springs', comes alive and becomes a compelling place to experience.

I strongly suspect that all our lives do this...when we take the time to experience the depth of our own lives and histories.  Don't you?

Monday, May 9, 2011


May 10th is here and the novel Land Run is officially released!  Well, it will be in 20 minutes...and official when we all wake up in the morning.

At this stage the main site has a listing of available store locations.  But today I found out that it is literally everywhere now.  So if you even have a favorite local independent bookstore - they will very likely have it in their catalogue.

Please keep tracking for book-events to be scheduled in the coming months.

Thanks again to all the readers and I hope you enjoyed the story - Land Run.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Five Days!

I have been feeling a countdown for awhile.  I decided this is a marker of note to share - without being too annoying to folks,  I hope.

This work has actually been a long time coming.  But so worth it.  I have learned a great deal about writing and the publishing industry.  Without the experience of the process - it would be merely knowledge without understanding.  I have a history of creative writing courses, blogging, and dreaming.  But to take a completed narrative to the point of publication - has been a real education.

My confidence in the new project I am workng on is so much more than I had in decades of writing before.  But then I rarely wrote with the goal of a full novel-length narrative in mind.  Just short stories for a sense of closure and essays on various things to get off my mind.

This got me thinking:  Wisdom is understood as the application of knowledge.  And that is something gained through time and experience.  There really seems to be no way out of these manditory parameters of life.  But if we resign ourselves to this realistic condition I think we have a good chance to move more smoothly through our short time here.  And move with more joy and confidence. Appying grace to our failures and striving towards our hope and better future...along the to day.

What did Kenny say?  You got to know when to hold them, when to fold them, when to walk away, and when to run.  And if we don't know...well, we will next time.  We're wrong sometimes..but we're not stupid!

Five days until Land Run releases! :-)

Thanks to all for checking this novel out.  I greatly hope you enjoy reading it.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Hello Australia!!

I just got this information today and thought it was cool.  The Borders bookstore in Australia is selling Land Run.  If anyone has friends there - please let them know its available.  :-)

Borders Australia - Land Run

A Reader's Manifesto

I don't know about you - but I have found that standing firm, holding tight to who you are is never easy.  But the the older I get the easier it gets.  There are many aspects to Land Run that does not meet certain CBA or ABA requirements (the gods of fiction publishing - Christian and secular).  But in this novel I strove towards a pretty simple and independant agenda.  Tell the truth - entertain - every word must fit the character, scene, and story.  That's it.  I found through the process of finding an agent and then a publisher - the literary world out there is not exactly a friend to this 'agenda' of mine.  They are friends to parts of it and contexualized versions of these goals of mine in this writing.  But that is not enough.  The control over art today is crazy to me.  Marketing has taken over what people can read and where they can access it even.  How did that happen?  I don't know.

I ran across this critique of literature a few years ago and found it very encouraging.  You may as well - so I will include it here.  If you have interest or time to read it - please leave your responses in the comments section (if you do - you will be like the first to do so ;-)

Readers Manifesto

One week until the 'release date' of the novel.  I need to google for what that means.  It is available now online at a lot of places. See the Land Run Website   But I think it is a date where the publisher issues advertisements and firms up 'book-events'.  It will be interesting and I

Saturday, April 30, 2011


Hey Readers!

There are new updates to the publisher web-site. (click link)
Land Run Website

I had to come up with a photo to send in. Let me tell you - that was not easy! It seems that I am the family photographer. And evidently I am never alone!

As most everyone, I have been thinking about the tornadoes that have swept across the country these past weeks. These events are common to the setting of Land Run. But not as frequent with such force and numbers of twisters. I grew up in the very center of tornado activity in the nation but never personally knew anyone who had died from a storm. In Oklahoma we had the latest in weather monitoring technology and alerting systems (first in the nation to have doppler radar). And of course, you can see anything coming from anywhere there. April to June everyone is cognizant of the Spring storms. In Oklahoma, tornadoes are like sin - never a matter of IF but instead - WHEN. But about these that came across the South - a friend informed me of some of his family who did perish in the storms last week. The destruction was incredible. Just want to encourage folks to pray for these communities.

Anyway, here is a current list of places to purchase the book - even now before the 'official' release date. (click links)


Barnes and Noble


Cokesbury Books

Powells Books

Tate Publishing

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Book Available - Everywhere?

Just a quick update:

I found recently that Land Run is now available a lot of places - well, there is no telling where you might find this book now. But here are a few places it popped up lately.

I will be adding some scheduled events upcoming this April and in May. And maybe more interesting updates. ;-)

Friday, April 15, 2011

New Website!

It’s getting closer to the release date! May 10. The publisher has the website in place. Please come by and check it out.

In other news - I have joined a group of guys working on a new website for writing, art, and music. It is very new but bookmark it because I think it is going to get really interesting. :-)

Also, if folks out there have been reading the novel already - please shoot me some feedback in the comments sections here.

One interesting thing I have found lately is a desire to tell people about the ending of the novel. But of course I can not do that. It was such fun to write this story I could just give the whole story away if I am not careful. So when people ask me what it is about...I pause. The YouTube video trailer gives a good general idea about it...but then it is so much more. So I pause...and say, "It’s about a lot of things in the particular. Overall, it’s about God truly active in community." And to the question, "how can you write about that?" I don't know exactly...but I did it. ;-)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wisdom Revisited

I had another discussion with the publisher today.  They will be booking 'book events' for late April and well past the release date of May 10.  But Land Run is still available for early purchase.  I would give them away if I could just to get interested folks reading and the the word out before the release date.  But I am afraid that is not an option.  So if you would like to get a copy now - just click on the image below.

Now - for something completely different.  I was once (25 years ago...really?!) a crew member of a Coast Guard patrol boat.  One day my Chief told me, "Mark, there are only two rules. One, don't sweat the small stuff.  Two, everything is small stuff."

I literally thought nothing of it at the time.  I was 19 and mainly had just a couple very specific thoughts at any time...and a few meaning-of-life questions at other times.  Today I realized the old Vietnam Veteran was telling me that for a reason.  There was something, in his observations, that made him want to help me.  You know, I am still thinking about the application of that attitude. 

Today, personally, I have a greater context and cause to apply his rules.  Maybe his 'rules' sounded like 'one hand clapping' to me - so to speak.  Those rules still begged the question 'why?'  At least Jesus gave an answer to that question, "Because I am big, put your small stuff here with me."  (paraphrase, of course ;-)

In some places Land Run will have some interesting mentor-relationships for readers to follow.  Some older characters with wisdom they gift to the young.  Who will take it and run with it?  Who will not? 

I just realized that I still have some small stuff sitting around here now...sigh. ;-)

If you have some stories of wisdom passed to you please share them in comments.  I would love to hear about it.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

On Reading

Thanks to all who have shared out information about Land Run.  I have already heard that many folks now have their early copy in hand and are reading.  I invite all to post any thoughts or comments - excited to get some feedback.  You can post anywhere and I'll find it. :-)

I am interested in the 'state' of American fiction.  There seems to be something for everyone - very American.  Sometimes writing can be strong on story or in eloquence, or both.  I hope readers will find both in Land Run.  And find some, "yes, I've never thought of it that way, but that's how it is." - Moments.

Personally, I came up on a literary diet that was a mix of sorts.  My early teen reading was mostly whatever my (much older) parents brought home from the library.  Later, through the teen and military years I mixed thrillers, classics (mostly 1920-1940), a mess of Louis L' amour, and whatever was new.  My time in the military was great for reading as TV was still something you scheduled to watch and usually missed whatever you scheduled.  Because life was more consuming. We had what was called a 'mid-watch'.  This was from midnight to 4:00 a.m..  My volunteering for this watch made me popular at any unit; read, make rounds, read, make rounds, etc. 

College was a matter of getting the textbook demands scheduled (a kind of auto-pilot mode) and then read whatever I wanted. While there I hit the classics again for a couple years.  And took interest in my Creative Writing courses.  I guess I was blessed to have this extended holding-pattern before entering the 'real life' phase.  I am still in that phase, I notice.  I am reading some contemporary international stuff nowadays.  It turns out that people outside of America write novels - good ones. :-)

What are your fiction leanings?  Who are your considered 'greats'?  I would like to know.