Monday, December 31, 2012

The Silver Sphere

Today's special guest is Michael Dadich, who is visiting us from Beverly Hills, California with his latest book, The Silver Sphere. I'll let Michael tell you about himself in his own words:


I’ve been writing since first setting pencil to steno pad at age 8. A year later, I began developing the world of my current series-in-progress, and even created its title, The Silver Sphere. Now, with the support of years of experience, those early maps and back stories have progressed into what I hope is a fresh and entertaining take on the classic young adult fantasy adventure.

Despite my frequent escapes into parallel worlds, I root myself firmly in my very real family and community. When not pacing the yard maniacally after every few pages of writing, I spend as much time as possible hanging out with my studly 9-year-old son, and my inspirational wife Jenna. I also coach several local youth sports teams in Beverly Hills, and alternate between yelling at my two crazy Corgis and hiking with my trained German Shepherd.

For more, join me in my favorite fantasy worlds, from Lord of the Rings to the creations of C.S. Lewis, Anne McCaffrey and Terry Brooks. Even more importantly, stop by and say hello on my Facebook page at AuthorMichaelDadich, tweet me at @MichaelDadich, and stalk my website at


Shelby Pardow never imagined she could kill someone. All she wants to do is hide from her troubled father… when she is teleported to awaiting soldiers on the planet Azimuth. Here she is not a child, but Kin to one of the six Aulic Assembly members whom Malefic Cacoethes has drugged and imprisoned. He seeks to become dictator of this world (and then Earth by proxy).

His father, Biskara, is an evil celestial entity, tracked by the Assembly with an armillary device, The Silver Sphere. With the Assembly now deposed, Biskara directs Malefic and the Nightlanders to their strategic targets. Unless….

Can Shelby find the other Kin, and develop courage and combat skills? Can the Kin reassemble in time to release or replace the Assembly, overthrowing Malefic and restraining Biskara?


Michael will be awarding a $75 Amazon or GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tours. 

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Green-Eyed Doll

Today's special guest is Jerrie Alexander. A student of  creative writing in her youth, Jerrie set aside her passion when life presented her with a John Wayne husband, and two wonderful children.  A career in logistics offered her the opportunity to travel to many beautiful locations in America, and she revisits them in her romantic suspense novels. 

But the characters went with her, talked to her, and insisted she share their dark, sexy stories with others.  She writes alpha males and kick-ass women who weave their way through death and fear to emerge stronger because of, and on occasion in spite of, their love for each other.  She likes to torture people, make them suffer, and if they’re strong enough, they live happily ever after.

Jerrie lives in Texas, loves sunshine, children’s laughter, sugar (human and granulated), and researching for her heroes and heroines.


What led to you becoming a writer of full-length books?

My love of reading played a huge role. I don't know how many times I read a book and thought I'd love to be able to tell a story that moved readers with words. I studied journalism but found myself wanting to add descriptive phrases to embellish the story. Took creative writing and the first time the instructor commented on my assignment of the first five pages, I was hooked. She wrote across the top that the story was intriguing and she wanted to know the rest.

And if I'm truthful, which I try to always be, I can't say hello in less than 15,000 words!

How did you select your genre?

It selected me. My first three books were contemporary romances. They just were good enough and I knew something was missing. Suspense and mystery kept creeping to the plot. It hit me that if reading romantic suspense was my favorite why was I trying to write a different genre?

What preparations did you go through for the writing process?

Other than the creative writing classes, I've taken numerous on line course. I joined RWA, the North Texas and Kiss of Death chapters, a critique group and attend as many writers functions as I can afford. Learning the writing process doesn't end with publishing a book, it never ends. I plan to never stop learning and improving.

What was the best advice were you given?

Nora Roberts was the guest speaker at the RWA conference in Orlando. She made a comment that I use often. I won't claim to remember verbatim, but the point was, "Just write the damn book."

Where do you write?

We converted a room into an office. My husband hung a 4x8 foot dry eraser board on one wall, and a smaller one over my desk. There's a filing cabinet, a small trampoline, and room for our dog to keep me company.

Was it difficult to find a publisher? What process did you use?

I was in the middle of submitting to agents when the Ebook boom hit. I discontinued the agent search and tried three EPublishers. The third one signed me. I now write for two different EPubs.

What are you working on now?

I'm in the middle of rewrites on HIS TO LOSE, the second in the LOST and FOUND, Inc. series. HELL OR HIGH WATER is the first and waiting a release date. I had the draft printed and then tucked it out of sight for a few days before I start the rewrite.
The LOST and FOUND, Inc series is a group of college students who went their separate ways, only to reunite ten years later when one of them desperately needs help. Put ex-Navy SEALS and ex-Army Rangers together and there's always trouble. They form a company and hire out locating and rescuing people who need help.

What else would you like readers to know about you?

That they are the most important piece of my book. If I can take them out of their day to day life and entertain them with my words, I'll have done a good job. That's the most rewarding feeling of all.


Catherine McCoy is running from her past. She's been on the move for a year, hiding the secret and guilt in her heart. When she lands in small-town Texas and meets Sheriff Matt Ballard, he ignites a flame she thought lost forever.

Matt has scars of his own. He left the big city after an undercover operation went bad and his partner was killed. Now, as Matt hunts for a serial killer who paints his victims like porcelain dolls, Catherine becomes a safe haven for him. Two tortured souls finding comfort in each other's arms—until he uncovers her secret, and their bond of trust is broken.

When Catherine disappears, Matt races to find her, fearing the murderer has found his next green-eyed doll. But the killer has a surprise coming. Catherine will fight to the death before she'll be a victim. But will her determination be enough?


His anguish, more than she’d planned for, hit her hard. His dedication and concern, traits she admired, shook her conviction that no man could be trusted. His tenderness, something she’d never had, touched a long-neglected place in her soul.

In that small space of time, where no one else in the world existed, Catherine’s heart found hope. Tears, she’d promised herself never to shed again, slid unchecked down her cheeks. But these tears weren’t because of her pain or grief. She cried because Matt suffered and grieved for the missing woman. She slid her arms around him, stroking his tense muscles.

“Hey, yourself.” He leaned back and studied her face. The warmth behind his eyes returned as he wiped away her tears with the pads of his thumbs. “Were those for me?”

She nodded and emotions swirled in her head. Catherine struggled to regain her perspective. “I have to remove no more tears from the Never list.”

“Why would you hold yourself to such a never?”

“The only thing crying gets you are red eyes.”

“Okay, tough guy. Maybe someday you’ll trust me enough to explain. Why’d you break a rule for me?”

“The worry for Annie Travers in your eyes broke my heart. I’ve never known anyone with your compassion and dedication.”

“Careful.” The corners of his mouth lifted. “You’ll be calling me John Wayne again.”

“Same soul.” She pushed a lock of black hair off his face. He caught her wrist in his hand.
“Stop, Catherine. I’m nobody’s hero. I failed miserably in that department.”


Jerrie will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn commenter at the end of each week, and a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to one randomly drawn commenter from all comments during the tour, awarded at the end of the tour. She'll award a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to one randomly drawn host.
Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Christmas Dare

Joan Chandler is our special guest today. She is a Florida native who has lived in the Deep South all of her life. She is married with two children who are her pride and joy. She lives a double life of sorts, holding down a nine-to-five job during the day, and writing steamy romance at night—often with her black cat curled up in her arms as she types.

When she’s not spending her spare time working on her next novel, she loves to go camping, sharing girls’ night out with her friends, walking her two dogs, and watching football.


Self-professed Christmas addict Gia Dixon, and by-the-book Ethan Castle have been best friends all their lives. When tragedy strikes Ethan’s family, Gia’s the rock he depends on to pull him through the darkest days. Then, a shared, long-forgotten memory leads to an unexpected yet tender kiss.  Can a simple Christmas dare help them find true love?


Funny how times had changed, Gia thought to herself. How was it possible to have gone all these years and not have thought of him romantically? Yet now all she wanted to do was steal a minute alone to kiss him again. Or more.

She saw headlights coming down the road and opened the door, preparing to walk out to meet him.

“No, ma’am,” she heard Ethan call out. He was already getting out of his Jeep and motioned for her to turn around and go back inside.

She was unsure what to make of it, but did as he asked. Then she heard the doorbell ring.  Slowly she opened the door, and saw his smiling face. She backed up a step to allow him to walk inside.

“We may be taking things slow, but I’m still going to do it the right way. When I ask you out on a date, I’ll park and come to your door. If this were seven years ago and you were living at home, your dad would have kicked my ass if he ever caught me letting you just walk out to the curb to get in my car.”

Gia could easily recall the many times her father had complained about that when other boys had done it to her.

“How right you are. My mistake.” She laughed. “From now on I’ll expect to be courted properly according to the Henry Dixon Dating Manual.”

“Besides, stealing a quick moment alone behind closed doors gives me the opportunity to do this.” He pulled her into his embrace to softly kiss her.

When their lips parted, she commented, “I don’t think Daddy had that in mind when he made up that particular rule. But you score extra points for showing initiative.”


Joan will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card, winner's choice, to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and a $10 gift card to Bath & Body Works to a randomly drawn host.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:

Twitter account:   @joanchandler1

Find me on facebook:  Joan Chandler

Previously published works are Perfectly Imperfect, and No Regrets.  Both are available at:


Monday, December 17, 2012

Winter's Magic

Today's special guest is Cynthia Gail. Here's a little of her background:

Home is where you hang your hat. A native Missourian, my family relocated twice during my teenage years, taking me from a high school freshman class of over 1,200 students to living in a small town in Kentucky with a total population of less than 1,000.

Home is where your heart is. Despite the culture shock and challenges of those shy, teenage years, I met my true love in that tiny town and I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to experience a community where everyone waves, calls you by name, and treats you like family.

My husband and I live in the suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee with our eighteen-year-old son and three dogs. When I’m not working or writing, I can be found with family and friends. I love to bake in the winter, grill in the summer, and on occasion, I sneak away from everyone and curl up with a good book.

I hope you enjoy my stories. Each one touches on modern day issues, fears, and challenges that women face every day. And each one illustrates that love is within reach if you let down those walls and allow your heart to open. Our lives and experiences are so much more meaningful when we have someone to share them with.


Beth Sergeant and Nick Chester come from opposite ends of the social food chain. While he sees a rare beautiful woman without an agenda, she sees a wealthy playboy. Can he convince her to let go of her insecurities and take a chance on love, when challenges from his past force her to reveal her most guarded secret?

Owner of La Bella Vita, a five-star day spa nestled in the affluent suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee, Beth Sergeant knows her elite clientele first hand. She attended their private schools. She was even engaged, although briefly, to one of their most recognized bachelors. But she never fit in to their social-elite world.

After losing his parents to a car accident at a young age, Nick Chester was raised by his grandfather, the wealthiest man in Nashville. When he chooses to socialize, he has a never-ending list of exclusive events and beautiful women vying for his attention. Yet he never lets himself forget that everyone has an agenda.

Beth can’t resist Nick’s charm and accepts an invitation to dinner, despite her deep-seated insecurities. She proves she’s nothing like other women Nick's dated and learns to trust him in return. But just as the last of their resistance crumbles and true love is within reach, challenges from Nick's past threaten to destroy everything and force Beth to reveal her most guarded secret.

They stood so close she could feel the heat coming from his skin. A hint of his cologne, mixed with leather and the smell of old books, filled her nose. Her eyes moved to his lips and she wondered if he was going to kiss her.

Oh, God help her, she wanted him to.

In her dreams, his lips had been soft and sweet. He’d been gentle at first, slowly caressing her mouth as he held her face in both hands. Then he slid his tongue across her lips, coaxing her to open. When he took her mouth deeper, an electric current sizzled between them and her body tingled everywhere they touched. Every part of her melting into him. She was lost.

She felt his arms come around her, bringing her even closer, but it didn’t seem to be enough. She wanted to run her fingers through his hair. Slide her hands across the taut muscles of his chest. She needed—.

A sound from the hallway startled her and she raised her eyes to meet his. She had no idea how long she’d been staring at his lips and remembering the dreams she would never admit to having. Heat flooded her cheeks as she read the smugness on his face. It had been long enough for him to read her thoughts. But the intensity she felt from his gaze told her it didn’t matter—he wanted the same thing.


Cynthia will be awarding the following prizes to three randomly drawn commenters during the tour either one $10 Starbucks GC, one $10 Amazon GC, or one $10 Soul Mate Publishing GC.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:

Barnes & Noble

Soul Mate Publishing


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Last Diner Standing

Today's special guest is Terri L. Austin. Terri lives in Missouri with her funny, handsome husband and a high maintenance peekapoo.  She’s the author of Diners, Dives and Dead Ends—a Rose Strickland Mystery.  Kirkus Reviews says, “Austin’s debut kicks off her planned series by introducing a quirky, feisty heroine and a great supporting cast of characters and putting them through quite a number of interesting twists.”

Terri will be awarding one commenter at every stop a signed bookmark and a cover postcard (USA/Canada Only), and one randomly drawn commenter on the tour will receive a $25 gift card to Amazon or B&N, winner's choice.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:


Rose Strickland is having a blue Christmas. Her friend is arrested for attempted murder, her sexy bad guy crush is marked by a hit man, and her boss is locked in an epic smackdown with a rival diner. Determined to save those she loves, Rose embarks on an investigation more tangled than a box of last year's tree lights. With her eclectic gang at the ready, Rose stumbles across dead bodies, ex-cons, chop shops, jealous girlfriends, jilted lovers, and a gaggle of strippers in a battle for freedom she might not survive.


I’d finished rolling silverware into paper napkins when Roxy Block, a blue-haired fashion plate and my bestie, walked in from the kitchen, chomping gum. She’d quit smoking almost two months ago and now she and her nicotine gum were inseparable. Her short, black skirt was patterned with kittens and playing cards and yarn balls.
“Couldn’t sleep again, huh?” She tied an apron around her waist and headed for the coffeepot.
“Not this time. Janelle’s in jail.”
Roxy’s mouth hung open for so long her gum fell on the floor. “For what?” She bent down and scooped it up, stared at it for a second, as if she might pop it back in her mouth. But with a sigh, she walked to the trash can in the corner and threw it away.
“Asshat’s in a coma, the police think Janelle tried to kill him. Dane and I are going to see her this morning. Cool?”
“Yeah, of course.” She poured a cup of coffee and glanced up. “Do we think she’s guilty?”
Janelle was capable of many things. Putting sugar in Asshat’s gas tank? Naturally. Super gluing his dork to his stomach? Of course. But murder? That just wasn’t her style. “No, I can’t see her killing anyone. Not even Asshat.”
“Me neither,” Roxy said. “But I can totally picture her beating the shit out of someone.”
Ma Ferguson barreled through the connecting door and paused in the doorway, looking like a vengeful goddess in sweatpants. Her short white hair stood on end, her eyes narrowed behind large-framed trifocals.
“That man will regret this, I tell ya.”



Monday, December 3, 2012

Over the Mountain and Back

Marie Astor is joining us again through Goddess Fish Book Tours. It's always great to have her at our Book 'Em North Carolina blog.

Marie will be awarding a $25.00 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:


Dear Reader,

Thank you very much for joining me for Over the Mountain and Back blog tour. The story of Over the Mountain and Back began over twenty years ago when I was fourteen years old and decided to write a novel as an anniversary gift for my parents. It was going to be a fantasy adventure about a boy named Peter and a girl named Lara set in a magical country, Transadonia. I remember writing studiously on the pages of an ornate notebook I had acquired especially for the occasion. Back then computers were not yet widely used, so I had to pay extra care to my handwriting. A year later, Over the Mountain and Back was completed, or at least I had thought so at the time. Needless to say my parents were very surprised with their anniversary gift.

Years passed; I finished high school and went on to college. Lara’s and Peter’s story faded from my mind, replaced by the hustles and bustles of everyday life. Then, one day – the day that happened to be my thirtieth birthday, my parents presented me with a gift: it was oblong in shape and wrapped in shiny paper. After I opened the wrapping, I was stunned to find the long forgotten story I had written all those years ago.

Long story short, after two years of extensive work, I rewrote and expanded Over the Mountain and Back into a novel of 95,000 words. For me it had been an exciting journey to be reunited with my old friends: Lara and Peter, Forest Witch Ramona, Chancellor Libra, Bookbrownies, and, of course, Carnelion, among the many others.

I hope that you will join Lara and Peter on their adventure in Transadonia.

If you would like to find out more about my books, please stop by website:
Marie Astor


With his father gone missing and his mother losing her grip on reality, Peter Bailey’s life is nopicnic. Peter’s gray existence changes unexpectedly after he takes his new snowboard for a ride in the mountains of Colorado and is stunned to find himself in Transadonia – a hidden world
that coexists alongside with the Earth.

Lara Grover never listened to her elders, so warnings like “do not talk to strangers” mean nothing to her. When a boy from an unknown world saves her from an avalanche with the aid of a snow dragon, Lara is not stunned in the least. Instead, she joins Peter on his quest to help him realize the purpose behind his arrival to Transadonia.

Together, Lara and Peter embark on an adventure filled with perils, trickery, betrayals, and unexpected alliances.


When they reached the Epistemon chamber, Ragnvald stood aside reverently, waiting for the Chancellor to turn the dials of the safe lock to open the door. Even the room that contained the Epistemon instilled awe and veneration, for some of the Library rooms were said to have mysterious properties simply due to the nature of rock that had been used to build their walls. The rest of the Library building had been wired with electricity long ago, except for the Epistemon chamber, since the location of the chamber was a secret from everyone other than the Chancellor and a select few of his most trusted associates.

The Chancellor lit the torches on the chamber walls; he had always preferred the torches to a flashlight since the flashlight never gave sufficient light. The flickering glow of the fire flames illuminated the Epistemon amber case that stood in the middle of a large stone table, the only furniture in the room. The Chancellor walked towards the table with a heavy gait and slowly reached for the amber box. The lid opened, and the Chancellor removed the Epistemon from its case. The book’s leather binding was of an unremarkable brownish color and, aside from ancient symbols inscribed on its cover, the book could have been easily mistaken for an atlas or a dictionary or any other ordinary book, but of course it was much more than that.

His regal face filled with veneration, Ragnvald silently watched the Chancellor ponder the question that was to be asked. There were many questions they sought answers to. Who were the raiders and how were they connected to the Advisory Board? What caused the Library on the southern border to burn down? How did Carnelion manage to gain so much power? Yet all of these questions were too fragmented and failed to encompass all the predicaments that Transadonia was facing. In order to receive an answer from the Epistemon, the Chancellor had to ask the question that would see to the root of the problem, since the Epistemon would only answer one question at a time. And so he recounted again all the calamities that had assailed Transadonia of late and tried to see the pattern between them, searching for the one question that would include them all. All of these events are raising chaos in our land, distorting its order, thought the Chancellor.

“How do we restore balance in our land?” asked the Chancellor in a grave, somber voice, holding his hand on the Epistemon.

Both the Chancellor and Ragnvald awaited the answer with trepidation, their eyes fixed on the Epistemon. After a few moments the book’s pages parted with a response:

“An ancient secret was pried open
And now the balance of our world is broken.
To heal what has been broken, the Great Mine must be reopened.
In the world beyond, a Craft forged from the metal that shines with piercing light
Will seek its Rider to deliver Transadonia from the impending plight.”

After a few moments, the writing faded and the book closed itself. The Chancellor and Ragnvald stood dumbfounded by the answer that they had just received. The insight they had hoped for turned out to be a riddle. As if responding to their silent pleas, the book opened again, this time revealing a tightly written page with what looked like a diagram. Then something truly unfathomable happened: the page separated itself from the book and floated towards the edge of the table, landing in front of the Chancellor and Ragnvald. After that, the Epistemon closed for good.


For Young Adults:
Over the Mountain and Back – a fantasy adventure novel

Kindle link:

For Adults:

To Catch a Bad Guy – romantic suspense

This Tangled Thing Called Love – a contemporary romance about overcoming one’s inhibitions, learning to tango, and finding one’s true love match.

Lucky Charm – a humorous contemporary romance about love, luck and friendship.

On the Rim of Love – a contemporary romance about the unexpected power of love.

A Dress in a Window – a collection of short stories about love, coincidences, and fate.

Social Media Links:

Twitter: @marieastor

Thursday, November 29, 2012

King Biscuit

Today's special guest is Michael Loyd Gray. He was born in Jonesboro, Arkansas, but grew up in Champaign, Illinois. He earned a MFA in English from Western Michigan University and has taught at colleges and universities in upstate New York, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Texas. He graduated from the University of Illinois with a Journalism degree and was a newspaper staff writer in Arizona and Illinois for ten years, conducting the last interview with novelist Erskine Caldwell.

He is the winner of the 2005 Alligator Juniper Fiction Prize and the 2005 The Writers Place Award for Fiction. Gray’s novel Well Deserved won the 2008 Sol Books Prose Series Prize. His novel Not Famous Anymore was awarded a grant by the Elizabeth George Foundation and was released by Three Towers Press, an imprint of HenschelHaus in 2011. His novel December's Children was a finalist for the 2006 Sol Books Prose Series Prize and was released in 2012 by Tempest Books as the young adult novel King Biscuit.  He has written a sequel to Well Deserved called The Last Stop, and another two novels called Blue Sparta and Fast Eddie.  Recently he finished a novel entitled The Salt Meadows. A lifelong Chicago Bears and Rolling Stones fan, he lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and teaches as full-time online English faculty for South University, where he is one of the founding editors of the student literary journal Asynchronous and sponsor of an online readings series featuring fiction and poetry.


How did you select the 1960's as the time frame for your book?
In many ways the 1960s are my favorite decade. I was a teenager then and I embraced the music and the changing times with great enthusiasm. I grew up on The Beatles and Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix, and many other great artists. That music is still played loudly in my house. And so I guess I always wanted to set a story in those times. It was great fun to create and maneuver characters in that setting. They were turbulent times and so a great setting in which to have conflicts play out.
What type of research did you do to make the backdrop authentic, or did you use poetic license?
Well, Argus, Illinois, is my own creation. I created Argus so that I didn’t have to worry about staying true to what was in a real town. If I wanted a town square I could have a town square, for example. A story set in a fictional town is certainly easier to manipulate than one in a real town—it was for me, anyway. As for authenticity, certainly I always keep a setting true to the time it inhabits. Argus in the late 60s conforms to the required cultural history of the Midwest.
How did you arrive at the lessons Mitch learns along his travels?
As you develop a character you learn more and more about that person—and that’s how you must view a character, as a real person. You are creating that person sufficiently for readers to believe they could have existed. And so as you get acquainted with this evolving person in your story, you discover along the way how they would react to things, the choices they would make. The choices Billy Ray Fleener makes in King Biscuit, for example, and the lessons learned from them came to me as I understood the character/person better. The same for Elliott Adrian in Not Famous Anymore and for all my characters.
What would you like the reader to take from this book when they've finished reading--or even along the way?
With any of my novels I hope that readers see and accept the characters as people who could exist and who face conflicts and make decisions that help readers better understand who the characters are. I’m certainly very interested in what goes on inside my characters, their psychology, so to speak – how they change and grow. Or even how they fail to change and grow if that’s the case.
What are you working on next?
I just finished novels almost back to back. The Salt Meadows takes place partly against a backdrop of the Haitian Revolution in 1985. And The Canary is about the last days of Amelia Earhart. I’m taking a few months away from writing. I have several ideas I could pursue, but I prefer to rest my head and body before getting into a new book. Writing a novel takes a toll—you live with the people and places in the book every day until it’s done.

It’s 1966. The Beatles have taken over the airways, Star Trek is in its first season on NBC, and 389,000 American troops are stationed in Vietnam.

A war is going on Argus, Illinois as well, between sixteen-year-old Billy Ray Fleener and his father.  While his father dreams of Billy Ray joining the family business,  Billy Ray dreams of moving to California, becoming a surfer, and getting into Margie Heinrich’s pants—not necessarily in that order. Instead, he gets a summer laying pipe and the dubious distinction of town hero after saving Purdy Boy, the mayor’s wife’s dachshund.

When his beloved uncle and role model Mitch is killed in combat, Billy Ray feels like he must leave Argus or be stuck there forever. With little more than the clothes on his back, he hops a bus for Helena, Arkansas to visit Mitch’s grave.  Along the way he meets up with a cast of characters as varied and polarized as America itself, from a marine captain home on leave to a band of hippies bound for Graceland. Each teaches him something about love, loyalty, and the true meaning of freedom, but what Billy Ray really learns is that everyone has the power to define who they are. He may have left Argus a boy, but he returns a man.


As a restless boy who sensed manhood was not so far off, Billy Ray had a plan of sorts for easing into it: he fancied going out to California to become a professional surfer. He’d get a cool name, like MoonDoggy (he knew that one was taken by somebody in the movies), or Sharkman. His current favorite was Tubular Boy and he imagined would wear baggies and surfer shirts, listen to the Beach Boys, and wax his board a lot in the company of surfer girls in bikinis. He bought Surfer magazine at the Walgreen’s in downtown Argus and already knew some of the surfer lingo. His favorite surfer expression was “Cowabunga.”

But the plan had one fundamental flaw: Billy Ray had no money and no car, and he was still in high school in east central Illinois. The closest thing to surf: waves of corn that shimmied and rattled when there was a breeze. California was more a state of mind, a concept or philosophy, than a reality to Billy Ray, who had nonetheless scrutinized it pretty well in an atlas at the school library.


Michael will be awarding a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: 

Contact Michael at:




Author’s page on Amazon



Order the book: