Thursday, December 31, 2009

Even My Characters Make New Year’s Resolutions

Today marks the last day of 2009 and many of you will be celebrating the start of the New Year with friends and family tonight. I hope that everyone has a safe and fun holiday! In addition to champagne toasts and the singing of Auld Lang Syne, there will be millions of people across the country who will decide with determination that 2010 will be the year that they actually keep their resolutions. And, most of those promises will be broken by Valentine’s Day.

I thought it would be fun to imagine what the New Year’s resolutions might be for a few of the characters I feature in my three novels—Lifetime Loser, Finish Line, and Tuey’s Course. So, over the next couple of weeks, I will share those lists with you.

I’ll start with Justin Ventimiglia, one of the two teenage boys featured in Finish Line. Justin and his friend Keith are sent to work at the Prairie Winds Golf Course after vandalizing a neighbor’s house. During their summer maintaining the greens and golf carts, the two boys learn a lot about the importance of a good work ethic, perseverance, and appreciation for life.

I think Justin would have the following resolutions:

1. Volunteer at the local children’s hospital to spend time with children who have cancer, in honor of his mentor Curt.

2. Get better grades in school so that he is able to get an academic scholarship to college and relieve some financial stress from his mom.

3. Take some golf lessons so that he can join the guys on the course when he’s not working.

4. Find a cute girlfriend! (He is a teenage boy, after all!)

Do these look like good resolutions for Justin? Any others that you would like to add to the list? Also, let me know if there are other characters from my books that that you would like to see featured in the “New Year’s Resolution” series.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Who Should Bring My Characters to the Big Screen?

Most writers do not sit down at the keyboard to write a novel with visions of an Academy-award winning movie already running through their heads. If that was the case, I am sure their focus would be on writing screenplays instead of books. However, most authors may admit to the fact that they have allowed their minds to wander once in a while as they create the perfect Hollywood cast for their latest work.

There is now a website that allows these daydreams to be shared with others, and for fans of a book to offer their suggestions as Through this site, visitors can select a novel and share their own ideas for who would make the perfect actors to bring the words to life on the big screen.

I have registered all three of my novels--Lifetime Loser, Finish Line, and Tuey's Course--with Story Casting and shared my thoughts on who should be cast in the lead roles, as well as my ideas for some of the supporting characters.

What do you think about Matthew McConaughey as JDub?

How about Sandra Bullock as Julie?

If you have read any or all of my books, I would love to know who you envision taking on some of the characters that I've created. It's interesting to discover how the same words in a book can create such different images for readers.

Who knows? You may find that your ideas may lead to a script for one of my books finding its way to the desk of Robert DeNiro, Julia Roberts, or one of those Twilight guys!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Government Gets Involved in Christmas

In my third novel, Tuey's Course, I introduce readers to the character of WeWildapheet Ulisees O'Tweety, a man who is better known as Tuey. When pitted against the power-hungry members of the local government, Tuey finds that his efforts to run his small business are thwarted at every turn. As the book reaches its conclusion, the readers will find that Tuey will go to great lengths to achieve the justice he believes he deserves from the officials at city hall.

How many of you have been frustrated with a local law that did not seem to serve any purpose other than to inconvenience those affected by it? I have written about some examples of such laws on this blog before. I decided to revisit the idea with a focus on our current holiday season. I did some research to find any ordinances that are associated with Christmas. Not surprisingly, elected officials from across our country have put restrictions on how we choose to celebrate.

Who remembers when the small town of Kensington, Maryland made national news for banning Santa from the annual tree-lighting ceremony? When the popular figure was deemed too religious by the city council, dozens of people dressed as St. Nick and showed up to make quite the visual statement.

Earlier this year, a federal Court of Appeals heard a case about a Philadelphia school district's decision to ban Christmas carols, even when the music was played without words.

Two years ago, a task force in Fort Collins, Colorado recommended that red and green lights be banned because the colors have too much of a religious undertone. Instead, only white lights placed on secular objects would be allowed.

Every year around this time, we read about the battles that are occurring in city halls across the country. Should there be a Christmas tree or a holiday tree? What about wreaths hanging off the front of cars? Can a nativity scene be displayed on public property?

Are any of these debates taking place in your town? What do you think about this level of government involvement? I hope you will share your thoughts on this controversial topic.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Is It More Difficult for Famous Athletes to Be Faithful?

One post about the Tiger Woods car accident and resulting admission of infidelity has been written here on this blog. The details that continue to be released surrounding his home life have prompted more thoughts about the connection between being a superstar athlete and a devoted husband and father. Can these roles all co-exist? All too often, we see these men who believe themselves to be superhuman to be consumed by the attention and the praise and decide that the expectations placed on "regular men" do not apply to them. Here are just a few examples:

Alex Rodriguez -- His wife filed for divorce in 2008 after years of rumors about affairs, including one with Madonna. Rodriguez's flirtations and interactions with other women were well-documented.

Michael Jordan -- He admitted to a series of extramarital affairs, before divorcing his wife of seventeen years in 2007. At the time, it was determined to be the most expensive divorce in entertainment history. (Mel Gibson has since topped that figure.)

Steve McNair -- In this tragic story, the former quarterback for the Tennessee Titans was shot by his mistress before she turned the gun on herself. McNair's wife insisted she knew nothing of the affair until after her husband's death.

In my three published books--Lifetime Loser, Finish Line, and Tuey's Course--I feature men who play golf at a variety of skill levels. While one man falls a single swing short of making the
PGA Tour, another sees golf as a hobby to accompany his drinking. Regardless of their athletic prowess, they have serious struggles in their personal relationships. Let's face it. Whether you are famous or a world-class athlete, maintaining a strong relationship with a partner is hard work.

What do you think? Are athletes and other personalities who are admired for their strength and power more likely to be unfaithful spouses? Is it the money? The fame? The opportunities? The media? Share your thoughts!

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Series Continues: The Four "Cs" of Golf and Writing

Continuing with my exercise that is exploring the connections between golf and writing a novel, I would like to offer “Four Cs” that may be shared by both activities. After you read the list please come up with some ideas of your own and share them!

Consistency – If I take a month off from the golf course, I will notice a difference in the quality of my game. The same holds true for writing. If a vacation or some other time obligation takes me away from my keyboard, I can feel a bit rusty when I sit down to write. That’s not to say that breaks aren’t important … sometimes you need to remove yourself from a story and come back with a fresh eye. But, the regular practice of writing is still important.

Creativity – If you aren’t getting the score you want from your round of golf try changing your swing, grip or stance. Don’t box yourself into what one instructor told you a decade ago. When it comes to writing works of fiction I believe the need to be creative speaks for itself.

Criticism – You must be open to suggestions on how to improve. No one has a game like Tiger Woods when tee it up. Therefore there should be no reason to get defensive when someone offers a tip that could improve our game? In writing, it’s important to find a community of other authors, as well as brutally honest readers, who will review the written work, critique and offer feedback on how it could be better.

Cash – It’s a harsh reality that the game of golf and the pursuit of a writing career don’t come free. Golf is an expensive sport to play. A player has to buy clubs, shoes and a bag. That’s not to mention pay greens fees every time it is time to set foot on a course. If you want to be able to devote some time to writing, you need to be financially stable so that you can focus without spending countless hours at another job. And then there are the costs associated with the book. Every book needs a proofreader, editor and graphics person. That’s not to mention marketing and distribution once the book is published. Be ready to do a lot of that on your own!

All of these elements applied when I wrote and then began to market my three published books—Lifetime Loser, Finish Line, and Tuey’s Course. If you are a writer or a golfer, do they sound familiar to you as well?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Tiger Woods Puts Golf on Front Page over Holiday Weekend

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving that was filled with great food, football, the Macy's parade, and maybe even a little golf if the weather allowed! Amongst all of the festivities, there was one major golf story that was splashed across the newspapers and television stations. How could I go without mentioning it here as well?

As most readers already know, Tiger Woods was involved in a single-car accident early Friday morning. He had just pulled his Cadillac Escalade out of the driveway when he proceeded to hit first a fire hydrant and then a tree. His wife, Elin, told police that she used her husband's golf clubs to smash his back windows and get him out of the car. However, there is speculation that her involvement in the situation did not begin there. Authorities want to investigate whether the lacerations on Tiger's face resulted from the car accident or from a domestic situation that occurred before he left the house.

While Tiger Woods is refusing to speak to the Florida Highway Patrol, he did issue a statement on his website which said, "The situation is my fault, and it's obviously embarrassing to my family and me." The FHP is working to obtain records from the emergency room to determine if Tiger's admission of responsibility is accurate.

When I first read this story, I could not help but think what the regulars at Prairie Winds Golf Course, the setting for my three published books, would have to say about it. Captain Jer would probably have something demeaning to say about Tiger's wife and then share his own story of a drunken accident. Curt would remind the guys to cut Tiger some slack until all of the details were known. Overall, though, I don't think Tiger Woods would receive much sympathy from that crew.

What are your thoughts on the Tiger Woods story? Is his reputation tarnished forever? Or, can he get past this with a good PR campaign?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Everyone Needs a Mentor

You’re asked, “Who has made the biggest difference in your life?” Do you have an automatic response? Are you fortunate to have that one name that pops into your head? Has someone impacted you and made a noticeable difference in your life path?

For many people, their mother or father played this pivotal role. For others, perhaps it was a teacher, a coach, or a pastor. Celebrities and the examples that they set in their profession and personal life also influence us, for better or worse. How many young girls want to be just like Hannah Montana and how many grown men wish they were Peyton Manning?

In my second novel, Finish Line, readers are introduced to teenage boys Justin Ventimiglia and Keith Pucchio. They are enjoying an aimless summer and their lack of constructive activity leads them to vandalize a neighbor’s house.

Enter Curt Schroeder. He is the manager at Prairie Winds Golf Course and the man who is given the task of supervising Justin and Keith as they work to pay for the cost of their bad decisions. Through his own battle with cancer and his unbeatable work ethic, Curt becomes a role model for the boys. He teaches them about the importance of not giving up before the job is complete. In other words, always reach the Finish Line.

I imagine if I write a book one day that takes my readers twenty years ahead in the lives of Justin and Keith the two men will both admit that their summer with Curt influenced how they act to this day.

Each of my three published novels—Lifetime Loser, Finish Line, and Tuey’s Course—has a social message to share with readers. I hope you enjoy them and maybe take away some food for thought as well.

The stories parallel life in America.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Golf and Writing -- The Three "Bs" They Share

Thinking of the "Four Ps" that were shared by both the game of golf and the act of writing a novel was a good mental exercise for me, so I've decided to expand the idea to other letters of the alphabet. Today, I want to share my brainstorming that focuses on the letter "B" and concepts that apply to my two favorite pastimes.

Bargain -- While I love being a writer, I admit that once in a while you do have to make deals with yourself in order to stay motivated. If you aren't in the mood to sit down at the computer on a particular day, tell yourself, "Finish editing this chapter and then you can drive to the course for a round of golf before the sun sets."

Branding -- I've mentioned before on this blog the need to develop a brand for yourself. What is unique about you or what you offer to the readers? I believe that I present a unique series of books by placing emotional stories of human relationships within the context of a golf course. The same need to stand out holds true on the golf course. All of my fellow golfers can admit they love to get the "how did he do that" look! Do you have a signature approach towards your shots?

Bounce Back -- Every writer is going to receive some harsh criticism from time to time. Sometimes the remarks are justified and can help to make your work better. Other times, they are harsh for no apparent reason. Either way, you need to take the comments in stride, use them when you can, and keep typing! There also are days on the golf course that you want back. Maybe you missed an easy put while playing your biggest golf nemesis. You've got to shake it off and come back tomorrow.

It's been fun to come up the commonalities between golf and writing and helped me to reflect on why I enjoy both so much. Can you think of other "Bs" that apply here? Share them with us!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What Can We Learn from the Grumpy Old Man?

Justin Ventimiglia and Keith Puccio were two teenagers who were looking for ways to pass the time during a long, hot summer in Missouri. With questionable parental supervision and the typical draw towards trouble that most teenagers experience at some point, the boys made the unfortunate decision to vandalize the home of their cranky, elderly neighbor.

The "punishment" for their juvenile prank was to get a summer job to pay for the damages. The boys spent the remainder of their seasonal vacation working long hours at the local golf course.

Thus begins the storyline for my second book, Finish Line.

We all have joked about the "grumpy old man" who yells at the neighborhood kids to stay off his grass. But, maybe the guy gets a bad rap. I think are some things that young people everywhere can learn from their resident grouch (almost every street has one!). Here are a few life lessons that only such a character can offer:

1. Appearances do matter. -- Whether we like to admit it or not, the people we meet every day do make judgments based on what we look like. A beautifully maintained lawn, like a well-manicured person, does make a positive statement.

2. Spending quality time alone is important. -- Loners don't necessarily seek friendship. Their private time may allow them to hone a skill, perfect a hobby, or become well-read.

3. Make sure you are insured. -- Any grouch probably knows he is the target of attacks by the kids who live around him. Having a good home owner's policy is critical for someone who needs to repair broken windows or re-paint siding on a regular basis!

What are some other life lessons we can learn from the grumpy old man? It's time to turn his reputation around and make him a teacher instead of an outcast!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Four Shared "Ps" of Golf and Writing

My last post included several similarities between playing golf and writing a book, and asked all of you to think of ways in which one of your passions could translate into a publication.

I've thought about the connection between golf and writing some more, and developed a list of the "Ps" that anyone must incorporate into their participation in either activity. I know that I found all of these concepts to be true when writing my three published novels.

Practice -- If you want to lower your handicap and impress your buddies on Saturday morning out on the course, you need to practice your swing regularly. Take some time after work or during your lunch hour to hit some balls at the local range. Walk out to your backyard and work on your grip and stance. Practice also is required for writers. Aspiring authors are told to write something every day, just to keep that creation of expression fresh.

Perseverance -- It takes years of studying the game to reach a point at which you are happy with the way you move the golf ball across the greens. You need to keep asking for pointers, entering tournaments, and just getting out there. In the writing world, you first need the mental strength to work through an entire novel. Then, once you finish the book, you also need perseverance as you contact potential publishers and agents.

Patience -- Whether you are frustrated that your golf ball keeps hanging just a bit to the left or you are stuck on how the next scene of your novel should play out, you should sometimes stop for a deep breath and then come back to the problem. Anything worth doing is going to take time and effort.

Perfection -- Even when a devoted golfer has the best game of his life, he still will find a flaw in his performance. He always wants to do better. Writers are also their own worst critics. A published book is such a personal offering and you want it to be flawless. It is usually a good idea to walk away from the keyboard when you get frustrated and come back later with a fresh set of eyes.

There probably could be a similar list for nearly every letter of the alphabet (OK, maybe "X" would be difficult). Can you think of anything to add?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Writing a Book and Playing Golf Aren't So Different After All

One of the most common pieces of advice given to any new author is to "write about what you know." Creative work is going to be more genuine and credible when focused on a topic that is familiar. An author's mental energy is more likely to remain high if the story closely parallels a passion.

With this simple piece of advice planted in my mind, it was easy to develop the setting of the Prairie Winds Golf Course. My passion for golf sets the backdrop for a wide range of human emotions and challenges that play out within the pages of Lifetime Loser, Finish Line, and Tuey's Course. Whether or not you are fan of the game of golf, you will find a story or character to which you can relate.

When reflecting on my dual interests in golf and writing novels, I began to realize that the two activities intersect in more ways than one. Here are just a few of the similarities between writing a book and playing the game of golf:

  • Improvement happens when you practice every day. If you are a golfer, I am sure you get to the practice range as often as possible. When developing your writing skills, taking just a few minutes to journal in the morning will keep those ideas flowing.
  • Weather affects your ability to participate. A golfer is not going to hop in a cart and drive out to the greens in the middle of a thunderstorm. (Well, if you've read my books, you know that maybe Captain Jer would.) On the other hand, I know of some writers who create their best work sitting by a fireplace while rain hits the windows.
  • It's more fun to participate than to watch on TV. I love watching the Masters on the television every spring, but I sure would much rather be in Augusta playing. Same thing is true for writing ... I'm not sure that I would want to sit and watch someone write for two hours even though I love to take to the keyboard myself.
To my fellow writers out there, regardless of your genre -- what commonalities have you found between the writing process and the topics about which to write? Maybe you haven't thought about it before, but I am sure you can think of a few examples in no time!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

In Search of a Slogan

As mentioned many times before on this site, my belief in the power of the social networking potential found on the Internet is strong. Twitter, Facebook and other such outlets have provided new friendships and valuable business connections. Other writers and a host of readers have offered tips about how to market my books. With that comes insight and firsthand experience as to what is effective.

One idea that has been mentioned is the idea of “personal branding.” How does an author (or any professional for that matter) create an image for himself that is memorable and unique? My goal is to be remembered as a writer that creates memorable characters and interesting storylines. Even though the setting in my books is a golf course it is a challenge to keep the readers’ interest whether or not they are interested in golf. The positive feedback suggests that the goal is succeeding.

But more importantly something is still needed and that’s a catchphrase! Admittedly, not every author has a slogan closely associated with his name, but why not? It’s a piece of personal branding that can be very successful. Stop for a second and think about it. What is James Bond without “shaken, not stirred” or Rice Krispies without the “Snap, crackle, and pop?”

If you know me and you’ve read Lifetime Loser, Finish Line, or Tuey’s Course, then help me come up with a good slogan. Here are a couple of ideas that have been running through my mind as possibilities:

“The intersection of real life and the game of golf”

“Golf, Life and the Parallels”

“A slice of America in Clubhouse Characters”

I’m sure you can do better! Leave me a comment with your suggestion. You just might become a part of my personal branding.

If you haven’t read any of my books, I hope you will do so. Whether or not you are a fan of golf, I think you will find the characters and their struggles relatable and interesting. As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on my work!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What’s a Good Career Move for an Alcoholic, Womanizing Pilot?

There are great pilots who transport us safely to our intended destination even under the most challenging circumstances. A perfect example is Captain Chelsey “Sully” Sullenberger, the pilot for US Airways who famously landed a plane bound for Charlotte in the Hudson River after its engines had an encounter with a flock of geese and saved the lives of all 155 passengers onboard. Then, there is Captain Jer.

After I finished Lifetime Loser I wanted to integrate a few more regulars into the mix inside the clubhouse. Captain Jer is a character that I introduced to readers in Finish Line. His role continued in Tuey’s Course. He is a retired pilot who needs a case of beer just to get through the first nine holes of a golf course and whose attitude towards women is less than respectful. I wouldn’t trust him to land on a dry, expansive runway in the middle of Kansas, let alone a body of water next to Manhattan.

So, what’s a womanizing, alcoholic ex-pilot to do besides harass the females at Prairie Winds Golf Course and offer his tips for curing a hangover? Here are a few thoughts:

· Star in a reality show called “Half-Cocked Captain” in which he drinks excessively and then tries to win over women with the charm of his uniform

· Become a judge at beauty pageants and ask inappropriate questions that leave the contestants flustered

· Try the approach from the movie Old School and start a fraternity for middle-aged guys who haven’t matured past the behavior of their days in college

I think all three of these career moves have potential!

If you haven’t already, I ask that you read one or more of my books and then determine your own professional fate for Captain Jer. With all of his obvious flaws, he is a memorable character who will make himself known wherever he decides to go.

Top Five Tips for Fellow Writers

With three published novels to my credit—Lifetime Loser, Finish Line, and Tuey’s Course—and a fourth book on its way towards release, I believe that I have learned some valuable lessons about the writing and publishing process. With each book, I have built on the experiences, both good and bad, that I had with the previous novels. In addition to my own time spent in trial and error, I also have learned so much from other authors I have had the opportunity to meet during this journey.

I spent some time thinking about the advice that I can offer based on my time in the writing and publishing world, and would like to share what I believe to be the most important tips here:

1. Write about your passions – Your work will come across as the most authentic if you focus on what really grabs you. For me, it’s golf. I love the game of golf and I hope that comes across in the characters I’ve created in my books.

2. Network, network, network – You never know when you will meet someone who will want to help in the publicity of your book or who is connected to a group that would be naturally inclined to your subject matter.

3.Accept criticism – There are plenty of online writers’ forums and other venues through which you can get people to tell you that your work is wonderful. That serves no purpose other than to boost your ego. Find peers who will read your book and tear it apart until it reaches its full potential.

4.Do something every day – You need to be your best advocate when it comes to your books. There is a way that you can promote your work every day. It could be as simple as a call to the local book store. Make a list of ideas and keep crossing them off.

5.Learn social media – There are countless opportunities for authors that weren’t available just five years ago. If you don’t have accounts already, get connected with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other tools. You can use these sites to share your blog postings, book signings, new releases, and so much more.

I hope you find these tips helpful. What do you think? Are there other pieces of advice that you have learned from your own writing experience? Let us know!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

One Moment Can Change Everything

You often hear the statement that one moment in time can change the course of a person’s entire life. What if that drunk driver had not drifted over the double yellow line? What if I had decided to marry my high school sweetheart instead of leaving her to pursue what I thought were more important dreams? How would my life be different if I had not decided to put one more coin into that machine and then watch as the cherries lined up to make me a millionaire? I am sure that we all can point to a few instances in which the direction of our lives took a sudden and irreversible turn. Sometimes these moments made our lives amazing, while other times we were left holding a great deal of regret.

For J.W. Schroeder (known as J Dub), the main character in my book Lifetime Loser, the pivotal moment occurred on a golf course. J Dub was attempting to earn a qualifying score to become a member of the PGA Tour and he had played the game in such a way that he was positioned to make this goal a reality. However, with one ill-fated stroke, J Dub falls just short of fulfilling his lifelong dream. He is left having to reevaluate the plans he had for his life and what must happen when a quick second in life leads you down an unexpected path.

The story of Lifetime Loser takes the readers through the ups and downs that J Dub encounters as he adjusts to life after his dream of being a golf player has been shattered. He starts a family, manages a golf course, and develops relationships both with great friends and shady characters. Through it all, J Dub reminds the readers of Lifetime Loser that we all need to make the most of those unexpected moments that life throws our way.

I hope that you will read Lifetime Loser and discover for yourself that even if life doesn’t develop the way you think it should, it still can be a great adventure!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Getting the Word Out About My Novels

This summer could not have been more pleasant. We enjoyed resort-type weather in the St. Louis area for June, July, August and September. The moderate temperatures were ideal for golf. As the warm summer weather starts to fade and the crisp autumn air takes its place, my daily priorities are starting to shift a bit. Work on the blog has increased and the marketing efforts have increased on the social networks that inundate the internet. With my three published novels now on the market for nearly a year and a fourth installment underway, the stories from Prairie Winds Golf Course keep coming. The constructive feedback, encouraging comments and positive reinforcement have energized me to continue the series.

So many of you have been kind enough to contact me and let me know how much you enjoyed my books—Lifetime Loser, Finish Line, and Tuey’s Course. Golf aficionados have contacted me to comment about the entertaining stories from a golf setting. Women that have never played golf seem to enjoy the stories as much as men. Wives of a golfing spouse have told me how they liked reading about the relationships that are detailed in my books. Even those people that have never spent time in a golf cart or on a course have indicated how much they enjoyed the eclectic cast of characters and storylines.

If you have read one or more of my books and you enjoyed my work, would you please pass your thoughts onto others? I truly would appreciate it if you would post some thoughts at the book’s page on the Amazon and/or Barnes and Noble websites. All posted reviews really do matter. Readers and word of mouth seem to attract other readers.

Feel free to contact me from my web site. It’s always fun to hear directly from readers and fans. One of the greatest joys is meeting new people and forming some relationships that will last for a long time. Your input, ideas and comments are valued. You never know when one of those suggestions might make its way into a subplot. Please email me and share your thoughts!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Check Me Out on Facebook and Twitter

With three published novels and a fourth book that I am hoping will be released in the first half of 2010, I have learned quite a bit about the worlds of writing and marketing. I’m sure many authors will agree, particularly those who have chosen the self-publishing route, the hard work really begins after the final words of a book are written.
The entire writing process is fun! Once I develop my general plotline and character sketches, the books often take on lives of their own. The characters may even develop in ways that I don’t even expect when I sit down to engage them in a new scene. It’s enjoyable to create situations to place them in and experience how they interact with one another.
But, after the book is done and bound, how do you get people to take notice and spread the word to others?
Authors have so many publicity options that were not available to writers just five or ten years ago. Currently the social networking tools of Twitter and Facebook enable me to reach the reading audience. I am active on both sites and I would love for you to join me there.
You can simply look up my name on Facebook and search for James Ross from Saint Louis. On Twitter I am known as both @golfnovels and @JamesRossBooks. Please connect with me so that you can be one of the first to be notified of any book signings, radio appearances, or other events. I update all of my online information on a regular basis.
If you haven’t checked out any of my books yet, I hope you will do so. Lifetime Loser, Finish Line, and Tuey’s Course all take place against the backdrop of the fictional Prairie Winds Golf Course. However, keep in mind that the story lines have universal appeal. They are not strictly about golf. That is merely the setting. Whether or not you are a fan of golf, I think you will enjoy the memorable characters you meet within the pages of my books!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

My Love for Sports Extends Beyond Golf

While golf is certainly my passion, I am a fan of many other sports as well. While you will not see me between the hash marks at a large stadium as you will on the greenway of my favorite courses, I am still an avid follower of football. And, this year my Missouri Tigers are off to a fantastic 4-0 start! We’ve got some big games coming up over the next few weeks that truly will define the way in which our season is going to end up. I am hoping we can pull off a couple of major upsets along the way! Then, on the professional football front, I am watching the St. Louis Rams begin with another disappointing start to the season. Enough said about them.

What about you? Are you someone who dedicates his autumn weekends to football? How do you feel about your team’s chances this year? I always love to learn more about who is reading my blog and my books, so I would love to hear about your football allegiances!

No matter which team we root for every week, I am sure there are times when all of us have yelled at our television screens over a bad call made by a referee. It seems impossible sometimes that an official can miss such an obvious call. Is it possible the oversight was done on purpose? In my third novel, Tuey’s Course, I introduce my readers to a referee who fixes games in return for a share in the gambling profits. Let’s hope this kind of criminal behavior is not too common when our favorite teams are on the field.

If you haven’t read my books yet, I hope you will soon! All three of my novels—Lifetime Loser, Finish Line, and Tuey’s Course—have the fictional Prairie Winds Golf Course as the backdrop. If you like golf and all of the personalities who hang out in the clubhouse, these books are for you!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Bad Golf Course Etiquette

I hope that everyone had a wonderful summer and, like me, found plenty of opportunities to spend time on the golf course. I love using this beautiful weather to experience as many new courses as possible. And, each location brings its own set of unique characters. I encountered my share of memorable people and built some relationships that I hope will last for a long time to come.

I tried to create a sense of the interesting personalities who spend their Saturdays roaming around in a golf cart in my three published novels—Lifetime Loser, Finish Line, and Tuey’s Course. When you read my books, you will discover a womanizing alcoholic, men fighting addictions to food and cigarettes, hurricane survivors, and straightforward good guys. They all come together based on a shared love for the great sport of golf. But, they do not always approach the game or each other with the greatest sense of sportsmanship.

For those of you who are fellow golf fanatics, I am sure you have dealt with some less-than-desirable behavior on the golf course. I would like to share a few of my “don’ts” for those who perhaps still need some help with golf etiquette:

1.Don’t hold up a tee time because you “are absolutely sure” that your buddy will arrive any minute.

2.Don’t drink more than six beers before reaching the ninth hole, especially if you are the one driving the golf cart. It’s dangerous for everyone within a half-mile radius of you and your clubs.

3.Don’t assume that you look good in argyle.

What are some other recommendations, either funny or serious, that you could add to the list?

Please leave a comment and we will create a readers’ list.

I look forward to reading them!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Some Radio Spots for Author James Ross

On Oct. 5 at 7:30 a.m. central I'll be on WYRQ from Little Falls, MN

On Oct. 8 at 8:30 a.m. eastern I'll be on WCCF from Port Charlotte, FL

Tune in if you can.



Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Going on "Holiday"

This blog is going to borrow a little tradition from the continent of Europe for the next few weeks.

Typically in that part of the world people will take a vacation from their job or workplace for a four to six week period. This allows the body, mind and soul to regenerate, regroup and become energized.

I’m going to borrow that custom for a short period of time and have chosen the end of the summer to “go on holiday.”

Even though it will seem like nothing is being done I’ll be working behind the scenes to write more of Opur’s Blade. That’s the story of a young boy that comes from an impoverished background and chases his dream. It is the fourth book in my series from Prairie Winds Golf Course high atop the Mississippi river bluffs just east of St. Louis.

While the blog experiences a little down time feel free to try my previous three books.

Lifetime Loser is about a swindle and fraud that details the difference between criminal and civil law. Follow the scheme as it twists and turns its way through the American legal system.

Finish Line details the coming-of-age of two teenage boys. After getting into some mischief they land summer jobs on Prairie Winds Golf Course and are exposed to life lessons by several of the grown men.

Tuey’s Course describes the frustrations of a black man as he operates in a business world dominated by whites. Racial profiling and discrimination from city hall dominate Tuey’s life while he flees to the supposed safe haven of Prairie Winds Golf Course.

While I wrap up Opur’s Blade I’ll look for comments and feedback from the previous stories.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Just an update

I was on "Tee-Time with the Pro-Noun" this morning on WHEN SportsRadio620 out of Syracuse, NY.

Produced by Perry Noun.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Whine Time with January Jones - Voice America

Voice America Variety
July 16th Thurs 9 am PT
listen to
James Ross, Aauthor
Hope you all can listen in.
The Laws of Golf

Listen to the interview at

1: No matter how bad your last shot was, the worst is yet to come. This law does not expire on the 18th hole, since it has the supernatural tendency to extend over the course of a tournament, a summer and, eventually, a lifetime.LAW

2: Your best round of golf will be followed almost immediately by your worst round ever. The probability of the latter increases with the number of people you tell about the former.LAW

3: Brand new golf balls are water-magnetic. Though this cannot be proven in the lab, it is a known fact that the more expensive the golf ball, the greater its attraction to water.

Monday, July 13, 2009

James Ross Explains Why he Became an Author

One day you wake up and announce to the world that you would like to write a novel. Pardon the pun, but that is a novel idea. At some point in time that is what everyone dreams about. Let’s face it; we all have a story to tell, don’t we?

In reality though, how does it all really come about?

For me, the writing itself is relatively easy. The sentence structure; the punctuation; the correct spelling are all general tools that don’t cause much of a problem for me. And I assume that is true for a lot of other writers.

In my opinion the challenging part of writing is dreaming up the topic. It takes much thought to come up with a story line and develop a plot. Creating scenes is a taxing exercise of the mind. Putting the actions in a readable sequence is also tricky. The story must flow and force the reader to stay interested enough to turn the pages.

In my personal experience it may take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to figure out how I’m going to make a story work. Once I identify the subject matter that I want to write about a subconscious energy sort of kicks in. Even though I continue to live daily life, the inner thought process is constantly at work trying to figure out the details of the story.

One trick that I found was that exercise helps me to reach a state of relaxation that allows for my mind to reach an open phase. While jogging I have found that the demands on the respiratory system and muscle groups have allowed for me to reach a freedom from within.

Another valuable time of discovery is in the middle of the night or shortly after awakening in the morning. For some reason the mind is not clogged and burdened with the goings-on of everyday life. Still another mind-enlightening time is while I am driving down the interstate in my car. During those moments I have found that it is always a good idea to have a pen and pad of paper easily accessible to jot down ideas.

At any rate, as I mentioned earlier, the time that it takes to sort events out in my mind varies. One of the things that I love to do is create characters. I can actually see them and hear them. Once the scenes are figured out and put into the proper sequence, then I have the freedom to place my characters into the action and have them deliver the message of the story.

It is fun to create twists and turns as the story is delivered. It is enjoyable to place hard-to-attain hurdles in the path of a main character as he or she travels on their journey. It is pleasurable to exploit their weakness and make them vulnerable to the actions of the other characters. Most of the characters have some sort of a purpose. Even if it is merely wallpaper in the action of the story, they seem to fill out the scene is some way, shape, or form.

So, in a nutshell, even if you decide to sit down and write a novel, just remember that it takes a great deal of planning to actually decide how the story is to be told. It is so very important to have an orderly procession of events and actions that follow in a logical manner. Characters have the freedom to deliver the message. The trick is putting them in situations that allow for the message to be delivered in an entertaining and meaningful way.

Good luck! Writing is a fun exercise of the mind. You’ll find that it becomes a little easier if you do some sort of pre-planning before you start. After all, when you take a drive in your car it is always better to have a destination in mind. Otherwise you merely wander aimlessly.

Check out his Recent List of Books:Especially if you love the game of Golf with extra adventure added.

I hope you enjoy them and please send me feedback or feel free to ask me any questions you might have about me or any of my books.

Friday, July 10, 2009

A Serial Killer in Novels That Revolve Around Golf?

I have met many literary enthusiasts, both online and at in-person events, since publishing my three completed novels—Lifetime Loser, Finish Line, and Tuey’s Course. It’s wonderful to find so many people who simply love to read and who are always looking for new authors and styles of writing to add to their collections. I have been asked the following question on many occasions, “Will I still enjoy your books if I know nothing about the game of golf?” Let me assure you that my three books, as well as the next one which is scheduled to be released later this year, offer much more than repetitive descriptions of golf swings and putting conditions. While Prairie Winds Golf Course is the primary backdrop for all of my novels and I certainly include my passion for golf into my work, the characters and their stories have many levels of complexity.

One subplot that runs throughout all of my books is the elusive serial killer who remains on the loose, much the frustration of law enforcement. This at-large predator creates a renewed sense of fear among area residents every time another crime update is broadcast over local radio. I feature quick segments about the killer in each of my novels, usually included to interrupt an otherwise mundane moment at the golf course. I want these updates to jolt the readers out of their sense of comfort and keep them wondering about when and if the lives of the serial killer and the regulars at Prairie Winds Golf Course might just intersect.

The introduction of a violent criminal is just one way in which I work to create a multifaceted plotline in my books. If you love the game of golf, you undoubtedly will find plenty to enjoy in all three novels. If you have never set foot on a golf course and could not tell the difference between a five iron and a putter, there are still plenty of moments in Lifetime Loser, Finish Line, and Tuey’s Course that will draw you in as well.

Golf Promo for Author James Ross

Lifetime Losers review and giveaway -

Lifetime Losers review and giveaway
12:13 AM Posted by fivemonkiesreview
Contest be held by Fivemonkies review

J.W. Schroeder, J Dub for short, seems to be an unlucky guy. He grew up learning how to play the gentlemen’s game of golf from his father, and tried to use his skill to get on a pro tour. A last minute bad choice caused him to lose out on his shot of greatness. With his wife more than a little pregnant, J Dub realizes he needs to get a job, and fast. He gets a job at a golf range and they move into a small trailer. Realizing how unhappy they are, J Dub hopes for a miracle. Little does he know he’s in for a big surprise.

Lewferd E. Zerrmann is a con man. He is a big shot who is not satisfied unless he is screwing other people over and making lots of money for as cheaply as possible. He gets wind of a very talented young man, J Dub, needing work and formulates a plan. He and his partners have already stolen land from a rich old lady by forging her signature and now want to turn that land into a golf course. He wants to keep it running a few years, use J Dub and his skills to turn it into something great, and then take the money and run. J Dub is none the wiser.

After the introductions are in place, and J Dub convinces his skeptical wife, they move out of state and pour their sweat and blood into turning this into a popular golf course. As the years go by, J Dub realizes that his partner, Lew, is not a people person. He is rude to the customers and is coming up with crazy ways to justify writing himself checks with the company’s earnings. J Dub hopes to someday buy the business from Lew. Fifteen years into their partnership, he gets his chance. This is when the story gets really good. J Dub slowly starts to find out that Lew has been skimming cash from the business all along, and according to the books, they have not been making any money because of this. Now it’s just a matter of proving this in a court of law.

The story whirlwinds into court battles, fighting, threatening, lying, and cheating. This is a great story with lots of excitement. There is a whole lot of accounting/business/legal jargon in this book but James Ross does a great job at explaining it to the reader as you go along without causing us to get confused or bored. The ending is fantastic and the characters are amazing and full of life. I would recommend this story to anyone who is looking for a great read. J Dub just wants what is best for his family and finds a lot of hardships along the way. I think most people can identify with him, which makes this all the better to read.

Enter this link to be brought to the contest

Giveaway runs from July 8th thru 15th! Open to US only

"Lifetime Loser" - About

About the Book:

For fifteen years on the outskirts of St. Louis, J. W. Schroeder (J Dub) ran a worn out golf course that sat high atop the Illinois bluffs of the Mississippi River. Then he learns that his partner had been skimming profits the entire time. But even worse, J Dub discovers that he was an unknowing participant in the swindle of an estate and that he was a victim of fraud.

J Dub is thrown into a civil justice system that is lengthy as well as costly to protect his family and correct an evil and sinister secret that had been withheld from him for years. The controlling partner, Lewferd E. Zerrmann, aligns himself with a dishonest attorney, a deceitful accountant, and a corrupt politician to derail a government investigation and an IRS audit. He survives title improprieties and outlasts an overzealous U. S. Attorney.

No one seems to be able to penetrate the isolated walls of Lew’s fortress until J Dub steps up and risks it all to fight for what is his. WHO SAID REAL LIFE WAS ANYTHING LIKE “THE GENTLEMAN’S GAME?”

Author James Ross Appeared on yet Another Radio Spot

Friday, July 3 at 6:30 eastern

Link to Site

Another Great Book Review of "Lifetime Loser" by Author James Ross

Title of Document: Book Review
Book Title: Lifetime LoserAuthor: James Ross
ISBN Number: 978-1-4257-8208-5
Publisher: Xlibris
Genre and Target Market: fiction; male relationships; legal drama
Publication Date: 2007Book Length in Pages: 327
To Purchase the Book:

J.W. Schroeder (known as J Dub) is one shot away from getting the score he needs to become a member of the PGA Tour. He has played well throughout this qualifying tournament, and his confidence is peaking. His wife, Marcia, is standing nearby, pregnant with their first child. She questions the unstudied approach that J Dub is taking to such a crucial swing, while his suddenly swelling ego allows him to believe nothing can go wrong. Marcia’s doubts prove warranted when J Dub fails to earn a spot to play his beloved golf game professionally. With all of the family’s hopes and dreams riding on that ill-fated shot, what will be next for the Schroeders?

So begins the first foray into the literary world for author James Ross. Over the next 300 pages of Lifetime Loser, Mr. Ross takes us through twenty-three years of J Dub’s life and introduces us to a cast of unforgettable characters. J Dub and his wife are lured to Illinois by the villain of the novel, Lewferd “Lew” Zerrmann. Lew asks J Dub to manage a golf course he just acquired, with promises of eventual ownership and a life-changing fortune. However, as the novel unfolds, we realize that failing to keep his word is the least of Mr. Zerrmann’s unappealing qualities. Lew and his business associates introduce the well-intentioned J Dub to a world of murder, perversion, tax evasion and a demented fascination with a genocidal dictator. What could go wrong?

One of the strongest parts of Lifetime Loser is the detailed attention to character development that Mr. Ross pays to each player in his story. We learn the background story for each person, from high school experiences to luck with women to professional successes and failures. The readers also receive vibrant physical descriptions … for better or for worse! I found myself rooting for J Dub and his family, while becoming more sickened by each new detail that was shared about Lew Zerrmann. The emotional investment that I staked in these characters was directly due to Mr. Ross’ determination to make these people three-dimensional and complete in their personalities.

I also was drawn to the layout that Mr. Ross uses to develop his storytelling. While the entire novel is written in the third person, the person, issue … and even year … of focus changes from chapter to chapter. We are let into the homes of the characters and even unexpectedly taken back in time to provide context for the plot. There are also lapses allowed in the chronology so that the reader is given the opportunity to fill in the details based on what we have learned about the people and their situations. Ross manages to elegantly fold these different snapshots together to create a novel rich in detail.

Readers should not expect a quick and casual read that can be completed in one afternoon. The text of Lifetime Loser is dense and needs to be read carefully. I found several instances in which I flipped back to chapters I had already read just to see how a particular aspect of the plot line had shown hints of itself before fully unfolding. The need to go back and forth in my reading was not due to any shortcomings on the part of James Ross's writing, but was instead based on my interest in how Ross managed to get the intricate story to its current point.

This initial offering, Lifetime Loser, by James Ross is a great novel for anyone who appreciates the art of creating strong characters on the written page. It is not often that I find myself audibly gasping in reaction to a development in a novel, but the actions of the main players in Lifetime Loser made me do just that. This book is certainly a page-turner, but with a plot that deserves your time to give it a slow and deliberate read. I have no doubt that you will be amazed by some of the situations that our protagonist faces as he simply tries to support his family by helping others play the game that he loves. Ross has a creative mind that translates well to each page of his first book. I look forward to meeting the other people who I hope James Ross chooses to create in the future.

One of James Ross's Favorite Links

Lynni's Behind the Green Scenes...
A walk in my stilettos as you peek at every single step of creating a Virtual Golf Room in the very first Carbon-Neutral Decorator Showhouse in the Mid-Atlantic Region.

About the Author
Lynni Megginson
Gaithersburg, MD, United States
Winner of the 2008 AND 2009 Washington Spaces Magazine "Best of Interior Design" competition. Nominated by the Accessories Resource Team (ART) as the 2008 Home Accents Retailer of the Year, East Coast. Member of CharityWorks, sponsor of the CW Green House

Monday, July 6, 2009

Controversial Issues Will Continue to Be a Focus When I Take on Teen Pregnancy

As I have shared many times on this blog, I do not shy away from tackling controversial topics in my three published books—Lifetime Loser, Finish Line, and Tuey’s Course. Some of the subplots that take place on and around the Prairie Winds Golf Course have included alcoholism, racism, crooked politicians, illegal sports gambling, womanizing, and many other areas that provide great content for any writer. With my new book Opur’s Blade, which is scheduled to be released later this year, I will continue to address issues and develop characters that will make my readers think and maybe even shout back at the pages once in a while. One of the topics you can expect me to explore is the difficulty that comes with teenage pregnancy.

What are some of the problems associated with babies who enter the world when their mothers are still in high school? Young pregnant women are not as likely to get the proper prenatal care and are more likely to smoke than their older counterparts. The result of this behavior can manifest in low birth weight, which is often a contributing factor in blindness, deafness, and cerebral palsy. Teenage moms are also more likely to struggle financially, leave their own education unfinished, and create poorer “life outcomes” for the children they raise. You will have to read Opur’s Blade when it becomes available to learn the specific story and struggles of my character, but you can be sure the road is not easy.

What are your thoughts on teen pregnancy and how to decrease its occurrence? Should there be more sex education in schools? Are parents not being proactive enough in knowing what their children are doing? Is the media responsible for the beliefs that teenagers hold about sexual behavior? I know it’s not really related to golf, but I would love to read your thoughts on this hot-button topic. And, I look forward to your reviews on how I handled the issue when Opur’s Blade is released.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Ever Imagine Yourself Sliding on the Green Jacket?

Every sport has its coveted symbol that the victor can hoist above his head at that shining moment of glory when no one can claim to be the champion. Just recently, the members of the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team were able to place their hands on the Stanley Cup following their stunning defeat of the Detroit Red Wings. Being a particularly good sports year for the Steel City, the Pittsburgh Steelers are currently in possession of the National Football League’s Lombardi Trophy. This weekend, one of the Williams’ sisters will supply the obligatory kiss to the dish that displays the female winner of Wimbledon. Every kid who has thrown a ball in the backyard or sprinted down the street just a little bit faster than the day before has dreamed of the day when one of those trophies would belong to them.

Golf has its own series of prized objects that it bestows upon tournament winners, the most famous being the green jacket that is proudly placed on the winner of the Masters every spring. For most professional golfers on the circuit, earning the opportunity to wear the jacket that is steeped in history is the ultimate dream. Even those of us who must live in that world vicariously through our television screens wait for that special moment almost as much as we anticipate a playoff on the last hole.

I have incorporated the excitement that surrounds the Masters’ green jacket into my upcoming book Opur’s Blade. The winner of my fictional tournament known as the Classic receives the coveted fedora. While the fedora may never have been worn by Tiger Woods or Jack Nicklaus, it means just as much to the golfers that my readers will come to know better in this new book.
I look forward to sharing Opur’s Blade with you later this week. In the meantime, I hope you will read my three published books if you have yet to do so—Lifetime Loser, Finish Line, and Tuey’s Course. I believe that Opur’s Blade will prove to be a great continuation of the stories taking place on Prairie Winds Golf Course.

Author James Ross is one of the July Sponsors of Five Monkies Review

Author James Ross is one of the July Sponsors on Five Monkies Review.

Upcoming giveaways! Books books and more books!

Stayed Tuned for more information to come.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Bernie Madoff Finally Hears His Fate

A sentence was finally handed down today in a case that gained international attention as a symbol of the greed and corruption that sometimes go unchecked for long periods of time in our country. The packed courtroom and throngs of media waited anxiously to hear how long the mastermind of the largest Ponzi scheme in history, Bernie Madoff, would be spending in jail. Judge Denny Chin decided to give Madoff the maximum penalty of 150 years, as requested by the federal prosecutors in New York. Already seventy-one years of age, it is safe to assume that Bernie Madoff will spend the rest of his life behind bars. This will be a much different lifestyle than the one to which he became accustomed using all of his clients’ money.

Investigators have uncovered more than 1300 victims of Madoff’s investment scheme, with their losses totally more than $13 billion. This figure is likely conservative, as the damages are still being tallied and others who gave money to Madoff have until July 2 to report their own accusations of fraud. Judge Chin described Mr. Madoff’s crimes as being “extraordinarily evil” and a “manipulation of the system.” With this perspective, it is not surprising that the leniency of a twelve-year sentence, which was requested by the defense team, was not the decision of the court today.

While my three published novels center on the game of golf and the characters that spend their time at the Prairie Winds Golf Course, I also carry several ongoing commentaries and observations throughout my work. From the power grabs of local politicians to men who treat women as sexual objects to members of the banking industry who defraud their customers, I delve into some of the more unpleasant aspects of human nature. In fact, I believe you will find a few characters in Lifetime Loser, Finish Line, and Tuey’s Course who bear some resemblance to Bernie Madoff. I hope you will check out my work and let me know what you think of my social critiques!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Author James Ross is hitting the radio waves once again!

Hi All,

Just wanted to let you know I will be hitting the air waves again tomorrow at 10:10 central; 8:10 pacific (a.m.)

Vince Mastracco
Here's aGolf Talk Radio Show

Producer916-220-PUTT (7888)



If you did not catch the interview it is now posted on the side of my blog.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The U. S. Open Provided Many Stories of Human Interest

Like most golf fans, I was glued to the television over the weekend watching the U.S. Open play out in Farmingdale, New York. Of course, discovering the winner took longer than normal with the rain that plagued the eighteen holes for a good part of the weekend. For the first time since 1983, and not in a situation that involved a playoff, the final holes were played on a Monday. I wonder how many golf devotees called in sick to start the week so that they wouldn’t miss the exciting finish! When it came to this year’s tournament, the weather was only of the stories that made headlines.

The sentimental favorite of the U.S. Open was Phil Mickelson, as he will be leaving the circuit indefinitely to be by his wife’s side as she battles breast cancer. His every swing was followed closely by both spectators and TV viewers. But, as so often happens to Mickelson in major tournaments, he ended up placing second when all was said and done. Our thoughts and prayers will be with this great player as he now shifts his focus to something much more important than the game of golf.

The victory was earned by Lucas Glover, a 29-year-old player who was hardly one of the premier players on the circuit when he started his first drive towards the championship on Thursday. Now, his new standing as the current U.S. Open champion has lifted his world ranking from No. 71 to No.18 and he is a much wealthier man. Has a star been born?
And, of course, there is always the compelling story of Tiger Woods. Recovering from major knee surgery that took place just over a year ago, Tiger ended up with even par when the tournament reached its conclusion. This effort was not enough to make him much of a factor at any point on the leader board. This is now the first time in five years that all of the major trophies belong to someone else other than Tiger Woods. I know this is an odd sensation for everyone in the world of golf.

There is no doubt that the game of golf is filled with human drama and stories of inspiration. That is why I am thrilled to have the fictional Prairie Winds Golf Course as the backdrop for my three novels. I know that my plotlines cannot compare to what real people are experiencing, but I appreciate the opportunity to offer my small contribution.