Category Archives: My Books

My Hero Has Down’s Syndrome

I have two series of books that I write. Well, since you have to have more than one book connected together to have a series I actually have one series and the aspirations (and a half written follow up) for a second.

The first series is the Junebug series based around the protagonist Junebug Walker. If you've read Junebug and the Body you know it is a nostalgic mystery with a lot of humor. It's set in the South, has a distinct southern slant, and I am working on the second book, Junebug and the Monkey, as the mood strikes me.

However, it's the Noah Chance series that I am blogging about today

Noah Chance is a young man in his early 20s who has Down's Syndrome and can see and talk to ghosts. He is the hero in both No' Chance and Second Chance, and hopefully we'll be seeing and hearing more from him as the books continue. 

I don't even remember now how Noah got his start, other than one day he and his two compadres were there in my mind, almost fully developed and just as you read about them in No' Chance. I didn't decide I wanted to write a book with a character who has Down's Syndrome, the character has it…because Noah has it.

I do know I was greatly influenced in my depiction of Noah by a woman I knew, let's call her Kay.

Kay was in her early 40s and had lived with her mother until the mother passed away, at which time she was placed in a group home by the state. In my other life I was hired by Kay's sister to file for guardianship over her, a guardianship which was opposed by the company who ran the group home and who, incidentally, received funds every month for providing Kay a place to live.

I had the opportunity to meet with Kay on one occasion with only her and the attorney (appointed by the court to represent her in the case). The other attorney was a friend of mine and sat in the corner and allowed me to talk with Kay for almost an hour. The meeting that day started when Kay entered my office wearing a bright floral design dress and a huge, wide brimmed hat with flowers on it. When she saw me for the first time she broke into a huge smile and rushed over to give me a big hug and thank me for trying to help her get to live with her older sister.

It was my first time interacting on an extended basis with someone who has Trisomy 21, the genetic condition commonly referred to as Down's and I left that day with the certainty that meeting Kay had benefited me much more than it had benefited her. I had never, ever met someone who I could say had no ulterior motives, hidden agendas, or anything other than an open and loving heart.

We did win her case and the last I heard, Kay was living in Portland, Oregon with her sister. For a while I received a card from her at least once a year and it always made me smile.

Second Chance Now Available for the Kindle



We've uploaded the final draft of Second Chance to Amazon and it is now available on Kindle!

The print version is available through this website and through third party vendors on Amazon but for some reason the regular print version isn't showing there yet.

We were "officially" releasing the book this weekend at our table at the Natchitoches-NSU Folk Festival in Natchitoches, La. but it didn't come from the printer in time. We'll still be there though so if you have a chance drop by and see us. The Folk Festival is always a lot of fun with local craftsmen there, great food and great music.

I understand they will have the blacksmith's shop back this year and you can take a few minutes to watch the blacksmiths working on their wares as well.

The Festival is at Prather Coliseum on the Northwestern State University (my alma mater) campus.

We will have my other 3 of books there and will be taking orders for second chance.

I'd love to visit with anybody who can come by!

Update on the Louisiana Novel

I had a reader ask about this the other day and recommend that I keep updating the posts to let people know how the work was coming.

The novel about Louisiana is progressing in spurts, still on track to be finished and in print in time for the Natchitoches NSU Folk Festival in July. 

I finished the chapters up through the explorations of DeSoto but to be honest, got a little burned out on writing about the explorers. The next chapter that I was going to do was going to be about Rene Robert LaSalle, but I couldn't get motivated to start moving on it. Writing historical fiction isn't as easy as a regular novel, not if you want to stay somewhat true to history. With a regular novel I can just sit at the computer and let the characters take over, but with historical fiction I have committed to sticking to historical timelines and facts, to some extent anyway.

What I finally realized is that with a historical novel like Louisiana, I don't have to write linearly. I can jump from the 1500s, to the 20th century, write a chapter or two there, then go back and write about another age. The timeline is laid out for me, so I don't have to worry about inconsistencies like I would in a regular novel.

With that said, I am about 16k words and about 60 pages into the book and have just started the section on Huey P. Long, one of the most interesting characters in Louisiana history. I actually have some Huey P. memorabilia so I'm going to dig that out and put it on my desk to keep me motivated through his life, then see what area comes next.

On another note, my mom told me that she saw that someone had just put up a new bottle tree there in Natchitoches. I don't know if they were one of the many people who purchased a copy of The Bottle Tree but if anyone has been inspired by the book to do a bottle tree I'd be honored if you could send me a picture or two to post on the website.

Thanks to Everyone at the Natchitoches – NSU Folk Festival


What a great time at the Natchitoches NSU Folk Festival! There were tons of people that came by to visit, many of them who were familiar with the turpentine camp that I wrote about in The Bottle Tree and one gentleman had even been there and we talked about what it looked like! It turns out that my great Aunt who had first told me about the camp had taught him in school when he was a kid.

Many, many thanks to everybody that came by and special thanks to those of you who bought the books! We almost sold out of The Bottle Tree and quite a few people bought Junebug and the Body and No' Chance as well.

I hope you enjoy the read and please let me know when you finish them.

We were invited back for next year so I'll have to get to work and finish a couple more books to have there!

Junebug and the Body – Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars Felt Like a Kid Again July 16, 2012
By Evergreen
If you like books that can take you back to a simpler place and time, read this one.
Sweet and endearing, this book is very enjoyable, with well drawn characters and a few twists and turns. I read this on the beach in Michigan, but as I flipped the Kindle pages I was easily taken south, to a small Texas town of the 70's. It brought back many great childhood memories of my own. Don't be afraid to upload this to your Kindle, and enjoy.

5.0 out of 5 stars Best Whodunnit Read For Summer …(or anytime, really) July 23, 2011
By bookfan
I just read this little gem of a whodunnit and was completely enthralled. First off, kudos to the author on character development. It's the first thing that carries you in to the story because the 2 boys are so genuine that they engage you right away. This can't be easy for an adult author to pull off, but he does it in expert fashion. The use of childhood -or rather, boyhood humor, comes at unexpected yet welcomed times and had me laughing out loud on more than one occasion. You might be disappointed if you're looking for a gruesome read, because this one's "G-rated."
Second, the plot is masterfully crafted with twists and turns that come at the pace you'd expect from a murder-mystery. Plus, the twist at the end will surely come as a surprise to even a serial whodunnit reader. I have to add that for anyone who is fond of southern culture and idioms, this story will quench your thirst in a big way. I can't remember the last book I read that had this kind of authentic grasp on southern mannerisms, and being a born and bred northerner, I literally crave southern characters. I'm definitely adding this author's name to my search list.

5.0 out of 5 stars Will be rereading this one. June 20, 2013
By Donna B. Smith
Eagerly awaiting sequels. Chilling story line with unique characters. I certainly felt connected to events as they unfolded and felt the horror that Junebug and friend must have felt. Chillbumps!

Print Editions Are Now Available! Also, Kindle and Nook Versions Have Been Updated.

Hello dear readers and potential readers.

Joy, joy, joy!  The long and incredibly arduous process of getting the print editions of Junebug and The BodyThe Bottle Tree, and No' Chance, is finally over the files have been approved and the printed books should be available on Amazon as we you read this. If you want a signed copy (it still feels weird and slightly arrogant to ask that) you can drop us an email.

Many of my readers have asked questions about the actual process of indie publishing so I thought I'd share a little about it. 

I can't believe the amount of edits we had to do just to make the format come out okay. Since digital publishing is still in its infancy there are a lot of problems to work through and the ability to get formats correct is one of them. We would find a problem, correct the error, upload the file only to find out that a new problem had now developed. On three occasions we uploaded a file, ordered the printed copy to proof only to find out that entire sections had disappeared! 

I suspect that part of the problem had to do with the fact that I originally wrote those books, at least in part, in WordPerfect (my preferred program now) and then converted them to a MS Word file, then later edited them in a later version of MS Word. The problem with all of these is that they just aren't the best programs for writers. They are great for office work, but a little cumbersome for authors.

As always, if you notice a problem in the books please let me know.