Friday, December 27, 2013

Hats off to Graham Diamond

3351607The first book I ever read for pleasure was The Haven by Graham Diamond.  We (my older sister, older brother and I) were kind of stranded in a Miami hotel (I know it sounds horrible) while our father attended post graduate dental seminars.  We went to the pool, stayed in our room and ate in the hotel's dining room.

As a young, active boy, that was torture.  The pool was great for the first few days, but as the week went on, I got extremely bored.  My mother, tired of my incessant whining, gave me some money and told me to go down to the hotel's gift shop and find something to occupy my time.  That's when I saw it!  The cover (shown above) gripped me.  I was in junior high (middle school for those young enough to know what junior high was), and that's exactly the kind of thing I wanted to read.

I bought the book and went back to the pool.  I opened the cover and I read...and read...and read...and read.  I couldn't put it down.  I read in the room, by the pool, and in the dining room.  I finished it that week, and I was a slow reader...still am for that matter.  I dug for all the details and underlying messages like a young Sherlock Holmes.  I searched for more of Graham Diamond's books.

I later found Lady of the Haven (the sequel), and was hooked forever.  I anxiously awaited the next book and then the next.  I invested myself not only in the story but in the characters as well.  When I later began to play Dungeons and Dragons, I used a couple of Graham's characters in my journeys.  I'm a little ashamed to admit it as an adult, but I was hopelessly in love with Stacey, the lead character of the series.

Long story short...I was on sabbatical this last summer (at the age of 50) and somehow stumbled across a Facebook person by the name of Graham Diamond.  Believe it or not, he actually befriended me.  My secret mentor, my favorite author, the man who instilled not only a love for reading, but a passion for writing.  Thanks, Graham.  You made my day and my half century.

I just learned from Graham that they are re-releasing his first novel, The Haven.  If you've never read it, I would encourage you to do so.  Maybe it will inspire you as it did me.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

A New Year?

I am looking forward to 2014...especially as an author.  I have scheduled several speaking & signing engagements for the new year and am eagerly awaiting the release (April 3, 2014) of my second book in the Canaanshade series.  My lifelong dreams are finally coming to fruition!

It made me wonder about dreams and resolutions.  What do we dream about?  What do we long for?  And why does it take so long for some of these dreams to come true?  If they ever do.  I have wanted to write all of my life, but things kept getting in the way of that dream.  Still, the longing never waned.

Finally, at the age of 50, I've managed to make time for that dream.  One of my writing mentors once told me:  "Mitchell, you don't want to want to have written."  That was certainly true back then, but I've hopefully matured...I actually long to write.  Of course it's an even greater pleasure to watch someone read my stories.  Sharing is twice the delight.

My 2014 New Year's resolutions are:  to be a better husband, father and pastor...and to enlarge my audience and influence as an author.  I hope this is just the beginning of a long and prosperous writing career.  So, will I keep the pace and discipline throughout the New Year?  I hope so...but only time will tell.  I hope I don't have to wait around for another new year for it to happen.

See you in 2014!  May God bless us one and all!

Mitchell S Karnes

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Things Stories are Made of

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Having seven kids from 10-24 years of age (5 teenagers at one time), I am often down on them.  Let's face it, teenagers usually don't think of anyone else but themselves.  It gets old...having five at once it gets old really quick.  Don't get me wrong...I love my kids.  I just don't like them all of the time.

Well, this Christmas I had my full of them.  Seeing that "entitlement" is one of my biggest pet peeves, and since most of my children were feeling entitled to a big Christmas ("cash only this Christmas, Dad"), I lost all of the sense of pleasure the season could offer...that was until two specific events changed my attitude and my heart.

First, my family attended and participated in our church's annual Christmas Eve service.  We're a small church that runs 145-165 on a Sunday.  Well, our little church had over 200 people in our Christmas Eve service.  Can you believe it?  On the eve of our culture's "give me" Christmas glitz, over 200 people set aside an hour of their precious time to celebrate the real reason for the season...our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  It was beautiful...probably the greatest gift I've had in a long time.  And, as we left church, we passed church after church of people going to or coming from Christmas Eve worship services.  Wow!

Then, as my children's attitudes of entitlement persisted, that wonder and joy slipped back away.  I went to bed dreading once again the Christmas time.  And as I drifted off to sleep I wondered how we digressed from Wise Men bringing precious gifts from afar to everyone else getting gifts on Jesus' birthday.  Can you imagine the look on your child's face if he/she sat down at the birthday table, blew out the candles and watched everyone else exchange gifts?  No one gave him/her any?  I don't think they would be very happy.

Well, back to my family.  We exchanged our gifts and I walked away disappointed in the lack of appreciation and gratitude.  Then, my oldest daughter gave my wife and I an envelope.  It was the first of many clues that led to a surprise.  At the end of our journey we opened a gift sack that had a letter of thanks, a gift card for a dinner date, and a reservation to a hotel.  They had even arranged places for each of them to stay with friends or family.  Wow!  Just when I had given up, God surprised me again.

Now, those are the things stories are made of.  Merry Christmas to all...and to all a great new year!


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Announcing Book Signing and Book Tour Schedule

I've finally moved into the new house.  Well, let's just say I've moved out of the old one.  We are still in boxes and can't find anything.  I'm sure I'll eventually get settled.

I also have fantastic news!  I will have my first official book signing at Barnes and Noble of Cool Springs in Franklin, TN on January 31, 2014.  It is a "Meet and Greet" event for local authors and I have been invited to participate.

Also, my novel, The Pact, will be on a 10 Blog Book Tour in January and February of 2014.  Here is the schedule.  Please check out the sites and chime in with your questions and comments.

Tuesday, January 28:  Tiffany's Bookshelf
Thursday, January 30:  Jorie Loves a Story
Monday, February 3:  Patricia's Wisdom
Wednesday, February 5:  You Can Read Me Anything
Monday, February 10:  Suko's Notebook
Wednesday, February 12:  Maureen's Musings
Monday, February 17:  Seaside Book Nook
Tuesday, February 18:  The Things You Can Read
Wednesday, February 20: Savings in Seconds

I will be attending The Tucson Festival of Books and manning my publisher's (Black Rose Writing) booth and signing copies of The Pact Saturday, March 15, 2014.  And finally, The Dragon's Pawn, book two of the Cannanshade series (the Pact is book one), is scheduled for release on April 3.

Feel free to post questions or comments here on The Pact, if you've read it.  Pass the word along.  Thanks again for your support

Mitchell S Karnes