Check out the prologue to "Alone In The Light" by clicking here

An excerpt from: Alone In The Light

Sunday, September 24, 2023

The Chosen One

So, hear me out on this - A while ago, I was on the internet and someone had a post about why "The Chosen One" is always a teenager... and not a grown person with the ability to be rational or something.

Hang on... searching... okay, here is the original post:

So that got me thinking about the different stories and whatnot that surround these types of characters. And now I'm going to bore you with my thoughts on the matter. What is a "Chosen One" and how are they portrayed in movies and the like. And there are some not-good posts about this on the internet. People are actually getting paid to write bad articles... SHAME ON YOU!

There are two main definitions of "The Chosen One" trope:

1: A trope where one character, usually the protagonist, is framed as the inevitable hero or antihero of the story, as a result of destiny, unique gifts, and/or special lineage. *see Douglas Adams's quote above.

2: A trope used in writing where a single character is in charge of saving the world or society they live in.

The second one is basically the first one, but without the important bits. Look, I'm not here to yuck anyone's yum. But there is a difference between "being chosen" and "being the main character."

To me, the idea of fitting into the trope of "The Chosen One" is that you were cosmically, magically, futuristically pre-determined to be important in the course of the development or saving of humanity, a people, an organization... Football club... I don't know. It's still early. (Definition 1) 
Example is DUNE - which is a socio-political concept in which the Bene Gesserit sisterhood was mixing and tweaking bloodlines for centuries to bring out Kwisatz Haderach to be like, "I'm here. Let the spice orgies begin!"

Then there are the books where people are CHOSEN and used to further the goals of the government, an organization, or some fancy school that doesn't worry about horrific dismemberment. Looking at you Hogwarts. 
And we have a SHITLOAD of stories where the main character isn't so much as the CHOSEN ONE, but rather The One We Chose To Use. (which, semantically speaking is the same... but again, it's early.) Where people say, "Hey that kid did a horrifically dangerous thing and survived! Let's milk that money-wagon!" 

First, I did a search on the ole Googler for movies that fit the trope of "Chosen One" and I am more than a little dismayed at the results.

Luke Skywalker — Star Wars Original Trilogy (teenager)
Luke was not "The Chosen One" - he was just some kid who happened to be the hidden son of one of the best Space-Wizard-Warriors ever. It was his connection to the Force that allowed him to blow up the Death Star, not some cosmic prophecy. Technically, his dad was "The Chosen One" but that got a little messy when George Lucas decided to try to make that a thing. Fucking Midichlorians.

Harry Potter — The Harry Potter Franchise (12 - 20 years old)
Not to be "That Guy" but Harry wasn't The Chosen One by some wizardly thing. He was the Chosen One because, well, Voldemort CHOSE Harry... and not Neville. This became some sort of self-fulfilling paradox in my opinion. It could have been either one, and in the end, Neville did more to subvert Voldemort in my opinion. 
Frodo — The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (NOT a teenager by any means - he's 50)
Again - not "The Chosen One" - just happened on to some cursed jewelry that needed to be returned to the store... er... fires of Mount Doom. He wasn't foretold of in some ancient texts. He was just a dude, hanging out with another dude... who then had to save the world from an evil ring. 

Katniss Everdeen — The Hunger Games Franchise (teenager)
Nope. Not even close. She went off to die for her sister, ended up winning, and the system USED her to further their goals of independence from District 12. She wasn't Chosen for anything other than Propaganda by the other districts. Also - her sister died anyway, so she failed.

Kung Fu Panda Franchise (Not a teenager - he's in his 20's)
First - I freaking loved the first movie in this series.
Second, he is the most "Chosen One" on this list up to now. He was the prophesied Dragon Warrior... and came around to fight evil and be cool... maybe eat some noodles. 

Neo — The Matrix Franchise (Not a teenager, he's 37 and works at a bank FFS)
Neo IS actually "The Chosen One" in this franchise. And, if you think about it, he would've found his way out of the Matrix on his own had they given him enough time (I think). Morpheus and his buddies were just impatient living in a post-apocalyptic, underground nightmare. Even though they had cool dance parties and could literally go into the Matrix-like environment for work. But, it is Neo who has to merge with Smith to defeat him and bring about a strange peace between the two sides. In a way - Agent Smith is ALSO a Chosen One. So, they've got the good side and the bad side all tied up.

Thomas — The Maze Runner Franchise (teenager)
I'm not sure if the author originally started out with this in mind, or came up with it later as a result of "Oh, shit. I need a reason to make him live." He has the cure for the disease. So - again, he isn't the Chosen One in some sort of prophecy... but because he was needed. So people CHOSE him? Was he bio-engineered? Or was this genetic lottery? 

Douglas Adams once said, “It’s one thing to think that you’re the center of the universe—it’s another thing entirely to have this confirmed by an ancient prophecy” and this is my absolute GO-TO for "The Chosen One" and how it should play out in said trope.

As for them "always being a teenager" - that's a pretty big misconception. Many are because, and get this, the book is meant for TEENS. They're mostly YA books. So... know your audience. It also gives you like 30 years worth of time to milk this story to death if you so choose. (More than 10 books in your series is a bad thing in my personal opinion. Not always... but most of the time, you're just re-telling the same story with a new setting, some updated weaponry, and a punchy new set of characters.)

Another reason for them being teens, aside from marketing, is that it gives them time to grow into the legend they will become. Look, I love my son, but at the age of 11, he's NOT the Kwisatz Haderach. He's more Gene Belcher at this point. But if I KNEW he was "The Chosen One" I could start giving him a nudge in that direction. Which is what I think most people do with younger Messianic characters.

Anyway, the coffee is wearing off now... So I'm going to go take a nap.

Have a great week!

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Henry Street!

    Some of you may or may not know that in early 2020 I found myself with the option to sign with a publishing company and have my books distributed nationally. This was very exciting and, despite my reluctance, I finally said yes.

    I took my book offline, scoured the web for links to my amazon page, and made myself an online ghost in preparation for "release day" - a day that would never come. 

    It turns out that the publisher I signed with was... well, an asshole. An asshole who ghosted their authors and left them hanging in the wind. And after some harsh emails, bad language, and an irate phone call, or fifty, I got the rights back to my book. *whew* I vowed never again to deal with people like that. 

    In the wake of this tragedy, and over a bottle or three of bourbon, A.J. and I came to the conclusion that we could help ourselves better than a group of overpriced strangers on the internet.

    As it stands, we've already published several books and sold thousands of copies of Alone In The Light, Tales of Fort Thomas, and Paige's Story. We learned the ins and outs of putting out a book, what it takes to make a quality audiobook (fun fact: it's having amazing narrators like Phil Thron and Natalie Naudus), and we have met a lot of fantastic authors along the way - both self-published and traditional. Some who are even on the New York Times Bestseller list. 

    Our goal, in the immediate future, is to ensure that we promote ourselves and our works with integrity, quality, and swearing... wait... I mean... nah, fuck it. Swearing it is.

    As we grow, it is our hope to bring others into the fold with us. Not to make
money, but to grow as a community... to become, dare I say it, a NEIGHBORHOOD.

    We want to eventually create close-knit, online neighborhood of amazing authors, creators, writers, ne'er-do-wells, hooligans, lovely people, and everything in between helping one another create content, promote their works, and take their place upon the bookshelves of the world!

    Are we going to be perfect? Fuck no. I mean, did you see this statement? It's like it was written by a high school kid who knows nothing about grammar. (Thanks, Kevin!)

    Are we going to the best job we can to help you produce quality content? You bet your ass! And we'll probably lose sleep over it at some point.

    Are we going to take our selves too seriously? Maybe? I'm not really sure. We're new to this game. We want to have fun, be creative, and bring you along for the ride. It's like a fun, scary, awesome, topless roller coaster. (just checking to see if you're still reading, Mom)

    There's going to be a podcast with guest authors and potentially soon-to-be-famous people. Candy giveaways. A swimming pool filled with beer... Oh, A.J. informs me that the candy giveaway and beer pool are not in the budget. BUT at least there's a podcast!

    So, with that, I bid you welcome! Welcome to our experiment... our dream... our purpose... our DESTINY*.

Welcome to the neighborhood!

*possibly hyperbole... just sayin. 

Hit us up on the web:

Friday, December 10, 2021

'Twas the night for spatchcocking!

'Twas the night for spatchcocking! 


'Twas the night for spatchcocking, so let's crush this bird!
Before you get too excited, It's not a dirty word.
I flipped that bird over, and cut out its spine
Broke his meaty chest, and set him to brine!

His name is Lance and he's our main dinner feast
He's been brining for 48 hours - that big, sexy beast.
Buttermilk and salt, and maybe an herb...
All soak into the meat of this once noble bird.

The pie is baked, the potatoes are a boil
Time to head outside, and drop bird 2 in some oil!
Bird Number 2 is a sight to behold.
Coated and covered in all the sauce he can hold.

I've had enough bourbon to make this all fun
And not burn the house down before the bird is done...
In the oil I place the turkey just right... 
Sriracha and Bourbon? That shit is TIGHT!

The children are screaming and running amuck
They all want hotdogs, the ungrateful little... ahem... 
But we've got pie and drinks and friends a-plenty
I haven't had this much fun since before 2020.

Angie's mashed the taters and she's drinking some wine
I've got double-birds cooking and I'm feeling quite fine
We cook, we drink, and we do a little dance.
Because tonight's the night we get to eat LANCE! 

The birds are all done, the friends are all here
It's time to eat Lance and have some holiday cheer!
I carve up the birds like some giant holiday elf
And I do it without once cutting myself.

We serve up the food, we hand out the drink
We marvel at all the dishes piling up in the sink
It doesn't matter, it's Friendsmas night!
And everything in the world seems all right.

"Hey, Ben!" someone shouts across the room
I turn and smile, and it's quiet as a tomb...
From outside in the drive I heard something rumble
I took to the door and with latch I did fumble.

I began to scream. I began to recoil... 
"Oh shit!" I shouted... I forgot to turn off the oil!

When the smoke cleared and the garage was but rubble
I went back to the house and poured me a double.
"Sit down," I said, to the onlooking masses.
Time to eat Lance, and fatten our asses!

"To Lance!" We all cheer and raised our glasses high
Tonight is for merriment, for turkey, for PIE!
The smoldering heap will be there tomorrow
Along with denied insurance and a shit ton of sorrow.

Go out there today! Eat, drink, and and be merry!
Forget the problems of every Tom, Dick, and Harry. 
It's time to relax, eat food, and not fight!
So Merry Christmas to all and TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Starting Over

Tonight, standing in my garage, I looked at the wall covered in photos and memorabilia from my life...  and while these things bring me joy to look at, to remember the times and places I'd been, they're holding me back... They're preventing growth. They are a tomb in which I've housed my creativity, never to be used again. They've become an altar to my past in which I pray my previous works and deeds will be enough to get me through life... and that's not how it works.

It is time to move forward. 

I need to remember why and how I accomplished all of these things and do them again. I don't want to wear these images and tokens from my past like a moth-worn letterman jacket. I want them to be streamers attached to the guidon of my life... And I want to add more with each passing day.

2020 and 2021 have been a real eye-opener for me. I became an award-winning author. I found a great job. I like what I do. I get compensated very well for my time and efforts... And that leaves me with the ability to let go of the past and move forward. It gives me a freedom to break the shackles of looking backward and set my sights on the future... 

I am going to create more.

I am going to draw, and take photos.

I am going to write another book - Sexy vampires in Space! Volume ONE! ... wait, that's been done I think... Or maybe I'm just thinking of Twitter? 

... where was I? Oh, right ... 

I'm going to make it my goal in life to help other people do what they want to do! What's your dream? What are you going to do in 2022?  Stop looking back and saying, "That was the best I'll be." and, instead, say, "That was just the beginning."

I took down my wall of stuff... my altar to the younger me. I cleared out the whole area. I moved shelves, threw things in the trash, ripped old photos down, and I've made space for the next chapter in my life. In OUR lives actually... mine and A.J.'s.

There are big things in the works here, kids—Big, awesome, wonderful, strange, and terrifying things!

And it's going to be fucking awesome.

Sunday, November 7, 2021

As a Thank You for Veterans Day

This week, we take time to honor our Veterans. We say thank you for all that they've done and all that the continue to endure after they've come home.

It's not always easy to come home from the war and return to a "normal life" in the civilian world - and this is something I have tried very hard to portray in Alone In The Light. I have taken great pains to show the physical, mental, and emotional trauma that plagues many of our veterans after they come home.

I wanted to share these experiences with the world. Both veterans and civilians alike - to help understand that when we say "We're fine" that we're not always fine. We like to put on a brave face, keep moving, and soldier on... but it's not always easy.

And so, for the next 5 days - I am giving this book away. As a thank you to my fellow veterans in an effort to maybe help them see they're not alone and as a way for their friends and family to possibly see what's going on inside.

From Monday, November 8th, until midnight on  Friday, November 12th - I will be lowering the prices of my paperback and hardcover to the lowest amount allowed by amazon:

$8.22 for the paperback. (Normally $16.99)

$16.00 for the hardcover. (Normally $22.00)

In addition: The eBook will be 100% free Monday, November 8th, until midnight on  Friday, November 12th this is free to EVERYONE with the Kindle App.

This means I get $0.00 for these sales

I don't care about the money. I care about helping to spread understanding to our friends and families.

Please help me say Thank You by spreading this news and telling your friends and family members who want to know what it can be like for those of us facing our demons - within and without.

Lastly - I ask you all to check out these organizations for yourself, your fellow veterans, or your veteran family members:

Til Valhalla Project - Starting in 2019 Til Valhalla Project donates an additional 20% of net proceeds towards reducing veteran suicide; we have now raised over $870,000 toward the battle against veteran suicide. 

Mission 22 - Funding veterans to receive treatment for Post Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain Injury and other issues they may be facing. The Mission 22 campaign has brought veteran issues to millions of people so that they too can make a difference. Awareness precedes change and without it we can not heal our nation. 

The Gary Sinise Foundation - The Gary Sinise Foundation serves our nation by honoring our defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need. We do this by creating and supporting unique programs designed to entertain, educate, inspire, strengthen, and build communities.

Thank you.

Keep moving forward!

Thursday, September 9, 2021

"The story is there, I just need to tell it."

Today is September 9, and 8 years ago, I wrote, "The story is there, I just need to tell it." Well, 8 years later I'm an award-winning author with over 3,000 copies of my book in circulation, a professionally produced Audiobook with amazing narrators, and a National re-release coming on November 9, 2021 through my Publisher, Hurn Publications. 

It's a very exciting time for me.

Saturday, September 11th, 2021 will be the Ripley County Reads Author Fair! I will be in attendance with 20 other authors, including the author of Paige's Story and Tales of Fort Thomas - the very talented, A.J. Bass.

I'm excited about this Author Fair, but I don't know why... It's here in Batesville which is smalltown, USA. But maybe more local people will see my work and A.J.'s work and connect with us on a "We all live here" level. I mean, part of my book takes place in Batesville, so that's a plus.

On the down side... I will probably not have any books to hand out/sell, which blows.

According to my publisher, there is a massive nationwide backlog of printing and my books will not be ready in time. So I'm going to go in with my smile, the last 5 copies I have in the house, and I'm just going to have fun with it. 

I'll be shaking babies and kissing hands!!

...Wait, reverse that! 

Anyway, I've been absent on social media lately, and I'd like to say it's because I'm working on the next book. But that would be a lie. Like, Pants-On-Fire levels of a lie. I haven't written anything substantial since the book went off to the presses the first time. I've got ideas floating around and I've got snippets of stories that I can see and want to explore, but I can't see them fully yet... so they have to wait.

In the meantime, I hope you'll all join me and A.J. on Saturday. Come in, get some coffee, buy some books, eat a scone... get a free Omega pin to wear. Then go explore the town. see the Farmer's Market, eat at The Big Four, and see why we made this town our forever-home.

Until next time! 


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Giving Thanks; An Abridged List Of The Good Stuff In Life

Happy Thanksgiving

Every year, we sit around the table and give thanks. And with it being 2020 and all, we're having trouble finding those little things we're thankful for... I mean, it's been just a shitty year overall am I right? And not just with COVID... the whole year just seems to WANT to make life suck. 

But we're pulling through... We're moving forward to a better and brighter tomorrow free of the crap that this year will end up leaving by the wayside... And I am thankful for that. I am actually thankful for a lot of stuff... And  here's my list... It's not complete, but I'm calling 90%

I'm thankful for my family.

My wife who loves me and puts up with all of me strange little idiosyncrasies (It's a $2.00 word. Look it up). She lets me do my thing. She lets me lean on her when I need help and she leans on me when she needs it. We are a team.

My kids who, even though I want to sell them from time to time, are the absolute light of my universe. Nothing takes the sting out of a bad day quite like an adorable 6-year-old telling you they "had the biggest poop ever in the history of the world..."

My brothers and their families who are always there if I need them. We don't agree on sports, but we agree on being family... and that's what matters.

My mom and dad are, without a doubt, the only reason most of you even like me. I mean, let's be honest, I won the parent lottery. They're supportive. They listen to my thoughts and ideas and, even when they disagree, don't judge me for it. If anything, our differences have made us a stronger family.

My adoptive family... Those of you who I talk to and lean on when I'm about to lose it. The people who take me hunting and show me how to do things I've never done and laughing at me when I cut my finger off. The recipe-sharing friends on Facebook who have brought me into their inner circle and given me Grandma's super-secret cookies recipe.

I'm thankful for my health. To date, I do not have COVID19 or something worse.

I'm thankful for employment. A lot of people in the music/performance industry are still without pay. They are still waiting for things to change. I was fortunate to find new employment in my hometown and that alone has kept me sane... and insured which is a HUGE thing in our "please don't get sick and die" society.

I am thankful for opportunities that are still around.

I am thankful for science.

I am thankful for antibiotics, science-fiction, and the internet.

I am thankful that we have Zoom and Facetime during this pandemic.

I am thankful for the ability to mute people who are too dumb to spell pandemic, yet fully capable of hitting that share button on every racist meme they can get their hands on.

I am thankful that I can say "no" to spending time with people who are toxic in my life and not feel bad about it... or guilty.

I am thankful that I don't have to say no to people who aren't toxic. You are always welcomed and I will help you in any way I can.

I am thankful for bourbon.

I am thankful for this awesome spatchcocked, buttermilk-brined turkey I'll be cooking tomorrow.

I am thankful that my mental health isn't a giant vortex of anger and depression despite the world we live in.

I am thankful for Hornady Custom 300 grain XTP 44 Mag and the CVA Hunter rifle that fires it.

I am thankful for a freezer full of meat and a pantry full of food.

I am thankful that Angie and I have had the good fortune to publish books.

I am thankful for all the people who have read those books and ask us for more.

I am thankful for coffee.

I am thankful for music.

I am thankful for audiobooks and the people who create them.

I am thankful that I can still hear despite the constant, high-pitch ringing in my right ear.

I am thankful to still be alive after 42 years, 3 colleges, 1 war, 1 marriage, 2 kids, 5 apartments, 2 houses, 6 cats, and a dog... 

I am thankful for my dog, Boomer.

I am thankful to be me.

What about you, dear reader? What are you thankful for this year?