Saturday, September 18, 2010

Win a Signed Copy of Opur's Blade

Opur’s Blade is about a child prodigy, Owen Purler, Jr., who is raised under modest means. The preteen struggles with self-esteem and confidence due in part to a domineering protective mother and absent father that travels over the road. His mother Rayelene takes him to the Prairie Winds Golf Course to take advantage of free summer lessons. After only a few minutes of hitting balls with old clubs found in storage, club pro J Dub Schroeder realizes that Owen, whose names are combined by the regulars in the clubhouse to form the nickname Opur, has an amazing talent for the game. The head pro serves as a mentor and the regulars invite him into their close circle of friendship. Ultimately Opur’s talent takes him all the way to the biggest stage in golf--The Classic. Will this underdog shock the sports world? How do the relationships shaped in his early years mold his character? What role does his family play in his journey?

The reception received for Opur's Blade since its release two months ago has been wonderful. Here is what some reviewers have been writing:

"Opur's Blade was an absolutely delightful book! This was my first exposure to this relatively new author and I think I will be reading more from James Ross."

"I am a fan of James Ross. I have read and enjoyed all four of his books and look forward to more! These books revolve around Prairie Winds Golf Course with a cast of characters that are truly real. I feel like I know the men and women of this club intimately. The compassion and love these people have for each other is wonderful."

"His choice of characters is fascinating and you can be assured that after reading Mr. Ross' story, the game will never seem the same again."

Do you want a chance to discover what everyone is talking about? I am giving away a signed copy of Opur's Blade.

How do you win? Leave a comment on this blog post or e-mail me ( Make sure you provide your e-mail address and please let me know how you discovered this blog or my books. A winner will be selected randomly and notified on October 11!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Book Review for My New Release, Opur's Blade

A review of my new release, Opur's Blade, was featured today on the writing and publishing blog connected with Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services.

Here's an excerpt:

I believe that this may be Ross’ most compelling and focused work yet in terms of its character development and richness in exploring human relationships. As I progressed through Opur’s Blade, I found myself rooting for Opur as he struggled to overcome a troubled and lonely childhood and eventually find his way onto the biggest stage in golf. James Ross offers the relationship I formed with Opur to all of his readers by creating a young man who is determined, optimistic, but also, like the rest of us, flawed in character. We all have been the underdog at some point in our lives, and it is wonderful to read such a touching story about someone who succeeds in spite of having the odds stacked against him.

The entire review can be read here.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Are There Benefits to Being the Underdog?

For decades, the New Orleans Saints were a perennial underdog in the National Football League. Opposing teams would automatically count the "W" when the Saints appeared on their schedule. Loyal fans continued to attend the games at the Louisiana Superdome, but would wear bags over their heads as an outward sign of their embarrassment over the poor performance of their team.

Things started to change for the Saints several years ago when Coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees took over at the helm of the organization. And now, the team that was once a laughing stock holds claim to the title of current World Champions.

When the Saints defeated the Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl at the end of the 2009 season, they earned millions of new fans across the country who were thrilled to see some opportunity for celebration and happiness to a city that had known so much recent pain. But, the Saints also changed their definition as a team. If you want to cheer for the underdog, you now need to look somewhere other than the New Orleans Saints.

In my new release, Opur's Blade, Opur is a young man with many reasons to be the underdog in his life. Raised by a single mom who struggled financially and who shied away from others due to a speech impediment, Opur had the odds stacked against him. But, it just took one person to believe in him and take an interest and Opur's fate suddenly shifted. Like the Saints, Opur may discover that his underdog days are over.

What happens to individuals or members of a team when they go from being the underdogs to being the champions? How does this affect their attitudes? Their relationships with others? Is there something to be said for maintaining that underdog status?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Natural Disasters Can Change Lives in an Instant

While the 2010 hurricane season has been relatively quiet so far, there is now a fierce storm that is threatening to hit the East Coast tonight around North Carolina's Outer Banks and then move its destruction up towards New England. Earl is a Category 3 storm that is larger than the state of California! Many residents along North Carolina's beaches, even those who are experienced with the severe weather that can affect these coastal regions, are packing up and heading away from the water.

Hurricane Earl is coming to the shores of the United States just after we finished our national remembrance of Hurricane Katrina, a storm that devastated the Gulf region five years ago and claimed 1800 lives. New Orleans in particular continues to receive attention for the rebuilding efforts that are still underway in that city. Scars from Katrina are still apparent in many parts of New Orleans and some of its residents left five years ago and never returned.

In my second novel, Finish Line, readers are introduced to a character who fled New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Once a famous blues musician whose records were adored by many, the disaster victim now earns a living shining shoes at the Prairie Winds Golf Course. He continues to play sporadic gigs on the nightclub circuit and fulfills his passion for music as a featured performer on one of the many showboats that are docked on the Mississippi River. While his life is fictional, he represents the thousands of lives that were turned upside down by a natural disaster.

While no one anticipates that Hurricane Earl will cause the same level of destruction that we saw from Katrina in 2005, the residents of the coastal areas in Earl's path certainly will be in our thoughts as the storm charges forward.

Monday, August 30, 2010


Since I’ve always found numbers to be fascinating I thought that I’d take advantage of a date that only comes around once in a millennium. Quickly approaching is 10/10/10.

Yes, October 10, 2010 will be here shortly. It is the second Sunday in October this year and comes at a time when summer is winding down, leaves are changing, college football is in full swing, and the baseball playoffs are underway.

This year we’re going to ask that everyone mark their calendars and get a copy of Opur’s Blade from Amazon on this date. This is the day that we are going to designate as the launch of the fourth book in my series that takes place at the Prairie Winds Golf Course.

Please help to push this book to the best seller lists. Mark your calendars and spread the word to friends, relatives, e-mail lists, reading groups, book clubs and anyone else who might have an interest in my underdog story.

Get Opur’s Blade, published by Nightengale Press, from Amazon on 10/10/10.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Philadelphia Sees Profit Potential in Bloggers

To all of my fellow bloggers out there -- before you type your next post, make sure that you are ready to pay for the right to express your opinion or share your hobby on the internet. If you live in a city like Philadelphia, you may find yourself the recipient of a letter asking for a substantial fee to remain in good standing with the purchase of a business license.

For those who have not read the news that has writers and First Amendment scholars everywhere debating its implications, cash-strapped Philadelphia now plans to go after the bloggers who live within its city limits and demand payment of $300 for a home business license. This fee will apply to any blog that posts ads alongside its content or has some other potential for profit on the site.

Apparently, Philadelphia's Department of Revenue came up with the money-making idea after several bloggers in the city did follow the letter of the law and report their websites to the IRS. These records raised a flag of interest to those in power, and soon letters went out in search of those who did not voluntarily record their blog earnings, however meager, with the taxman.

In my third novel, Tuey's Course, the title character becomes frustrated with a local government that seems to enjoy creating ordinances that will irritate and hurt the "little people" of their town. And, this blog previously has reported on several other real-life instances of government officials taking their power too far.

What do you think about the license that is now being required for bloggers in Philadelphia? Is this a violation of free speech? Or, is the city just applying its laws equally to all citizens and businesses?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Controversy at the PGA Championship

Who was the real winner at the PGA Championship this past week? Does anyone even care? It’s a shame that the winner of the tournament, Martin Kaymer, will be an afterthought after the events that happened on the 72nd hole altered the results.

For those of you that missed it, Dustin Johnson walked onto the tee of the 72nd hole at Whistling Straits with a one stroke lead. He flared the ball into the crowd that lined the right hand rough. When his ball came to rest it was on a patch of sand. He proceeded to bogey the hole to finish in a three way tie with Martin Kaymer and Bubba Watson.

Not so quick. As Dustin walked off the green an official informed the player that he had grounded his club in a hazard. That is a golf no-no. Johnson was assessed a two stroke penalty. What was expected to be a three way playoff turned into a two way battle between Watson and Kaymer.

The rules had been posted all week. Anything on sand was pretty much considered to be in one of the twelve hundred bunkers that dotted the golf course. Johnson had no idea that he was in a sand trap. In this case the shape, configuration and even the identification of the sand trap was in question. The crowd had also trampled it down.

Johnson took his medicine and recorded a seven on the last hole. In this case the PGA
was the loser. Few are talking about Kaymer’s win. Most are talking about the ambiguity of the playing service and the raw deal that was administered to Johnson. Such is life when playing within the rules of golf. It doesn’t seem fair, though, does it?

James Ross has authored four novels about the “gentleman’s game.” Feel free to join his cast of characters that seem to have no shortage of comments concerning life in the society that we have created for ourselves. Read Lifetime Loser, Finish Line, Tuey’s Course and his new release Opur’s Blade.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Meet Julie -- The Voice of Reason at Prairie Winds Golf Course

Another Julie who kept the guys in line

Many of you probably remember Julie from The Love Boat. She was the cruise director who made sure that all of the travelers had a fun and memorable time. She was that "open smile on a friendly shore!" But, Julie also played another equally important role. Julie had to keep all of her male co-workers in line when it appeared they were too disorganized to make it to the next port! What would Captain Stubing, Doc, Gopher, and Isaac the bartender have done without her?

My series of novels that revolve around golf and the life lessons discovered by the men and women who spend time at Prairie Winds Golf Course also feature a character named Julie, and she finds herself in a similar situation as her Love Boat counterpart. She runs the clubhouse at Prairie Winds, keeping track of the accounting books and providing friendly service to the players. She is well-known by the regulars, some of whom are not always gentlemanly in their conversations with her. But, deep down, everyone knows that Julie is essential in holding the operation together.

Prairie Winds Golf Course needs to appreciate her while they have her, because Julie is definitely a woman who can hold her own and who knows that her dreams will not allow her to stay in the clubhouse forever.

Have you ever held a job at which you felt like one of the only normal people surrounded by a group of eccentric characters? Did you have to bite your tongue while customers or co-workers used language or discussed topics that were not appropriate for the environment?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Underdog Status is Unknown Territory for Tiger Woods

The world of golf certainly has undergone a shift in its foundation with the fact that Tiger Woods is considered a serious underdog as play in the PGA Championship begins today at Whistling Straits.

The most successful golfer in the history of the sport just has not been himself since returning to the game after an explosive several months. Coming into the PGA Championship, Tiger has just finished the worst series of four tournaments in his entire career. In May, he parted ways with his coach of six years, only the second coach Tiger Woods has had in the history of his amazing career. He has stated that he now intends to coach himself, with the assistance of friends who will videotape his swing while on the course.

After a hot start to this morning's first round of action, Tiger found himself in a bit of a slump and ended the day one under par. This is certainly a better showing than his other recent efforts, but still not the play that we expect from Tiger Woods. We'll have to wait and see how the rest of the weekend unfolds for the fallen champion.

In my first book, Lifetime Loser, readers are introduced to a character who would have given nearly anything to be playing where Tiger is today. J Dub Schroeder finds himself one shot away from qualifying for the PGA Tour and fulfilling a lifelong dream, but one moment of lost concentration destroys his chances.

There are thousands of men like J Dub on golf courses around this country. I wonder if Tiger Woods realizes how fortunate he is to be in a position that is envied by so many!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Connecticut Shooting Offers Real-Life Example of Senseless Violence Based in Frustration

On popular television shows like Law and Order and CSI, you often will hear as part of the promo for an upcoming episode that the plot was "ripped from the headlines." When a news story captures the attention of a national audience, network executives see the opportunity for great ratings. This same concept also can happen in reverse, as my third novel and a recent tragedy in Connecticut illustrate.

Earlier this week, Omar S. Thornton opened fire at the Hartford Distributors beer distributorship and left eight people dead. Then, he turned the gun on himself. The violence occurred as Thornton was being escorted from the building, having just been given the choice to quit or be terminated. Apparently, he had been caught on video stealing cases of beer.

The mother of Thornton's girlfriend said that Thornton had complained about racial harassment at work, but no official complaints had been filed with the company or with his union representative.

In my book Tuey's Course, the title character is a man who becomes frustrated with years of discrimination, poverty, and a power structure that is unwilling to listen to his concerns. Just like Omar S. Thornton, Tuey eventually reaches his breaking point and leaves innocent people the victims of his violent rage. While there is no comparison between a real-life tragedy and a tragic life that is played out on the pages of a work of fiction, both speak to a feeling of hopelessness and the culture of violence that surrounds us.

My thoughts go out to the families of those who were killed in Connecticut on August 3. May you someday be able to find answers to the reason behind this senseless tragedy.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Meet Tuey and Feel His Frustration!

It is not difficult to turn on the television news these days and find someone who is mad at the government. The Tea Party movement that has been building over the past year is one powerful example of citizens who are fighting back against their elected officials. The antiwar marches that were common during the Bush administration also are well-documented efforts of our citizens to share their displeasure at certain policies that have such a profound effect on our country. But, what about frustration displayed on a smaller scale? I am sure that many of you have written angry letters to your representative on the city council or grumbled over the latest decision by your mayor. Let me introduce you to WeWildapheet Ulisees O’Tweety, a man who has done the same.

WeWildapheet, known to most as "Tuey," is a man without much money to his name but who is determined to make an honest living. However, Tuey is facing corrupt elected officials in his town who seem to have a relentless desire to make his life miserable. Local ordinances that could easily be ignored are strictly enforced and, in other instances, violations against code are simply invented for the purpose of bothering this one man.

While out in the greater community, Tuey faces the prejudice that his socioeconomic status and dark skin unfortunately so often bring. It eventually all becomes too much to bear. Tuey tries everything possible to have his voice heard, with the ultimate result being a moment that the town will not soon forget.

Have you experienced a moment of complete frustration or anger at elected officials, whether they be at the federal, state, or local level? What did you find to be your best way to make your feelings known, if you did at all?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Meet Justin Ventimiglia

Just about everyone who has lived through their teenage years can point to at least one instance in which they made a poor choice in actions. Whether you sneaked out of your bedroom window to meet up with friends when your parents thought you were doing homework or you pulled the fire alarm right before fourth period in order to avoid a big math exam or regularly took the speed limit as a suggestion when flying through the neighborhood in your brand-new car, there is a story somewhere in your past.

For Justin Ventimiglia from my book Finish Line, his bad decision was to join his friend Keith in vandalizing the home of a cranky old man who lived down the street. With bills to pay for the damage to the house, and as a way of keeping the boys out of future trouble, Justin's mom arranged for Justin and Keith to spend the rest of the summer working at Prairie Winds Golf Course. What began as a way of keeping teenage boys busy becomes a life-changing experience when course manager Curt Schroeder offers lessons in positive thinking, a strong work ethic, and determination.

Justin lives with a single mom and struggles with the need for a male authority figure in his life. The opportunity he receives to spend time with Curt and simply observe a role model who can make a positive difference in his life is something that many teenagers in our society need.

Did you have a difficult time as a teenager that was improved by the genuine concern of someone who became your mentor? Do you think we would have a better society if more adults took it upon themselves to work with youth who need more men and women to take interest in their happiness and success?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Meet J. W. (J Dub) Schroeder

Have you ever had to reorient the direction of your life when you realize the dream that had been the focus of all of your efforts will never come true? Maybe you always wanted a large family with the man of your dreams but a tragic car accident takes his life one month after the wedding. You have been going on auditions for seven years and you have come no closer to an Academy Award than a thirty-second spot for deodorant. In my series of novels that take place at Prairie Winds Golf Course, readers will meet a character named J. W. Schroeder who is facing the death of one life goal and striving to become satisfied with another.

J. W., known to most as J Dub, had worked for years towards his dream of being a member of the PGA Tour. When he falls short of the needed score by one poorly executed shot during the opening scenes of Lifetime Loser, J Dub must face his professional future without a golf club in his hand. Lured to Illinois by a businessman with shady intentions, J Dub begins his tenure as manager at the Prairie Winds Golf Course.

Perhaps it is difficult for J Dub to spend every day in an environment that reminds him of his failed efforts to play his beloved sport for a living, especially when he discovers that he is being used for illegal endeavors. But, he teaches all of us that a positive attitude and strong values will go a long way in making the most of any situation.

Can anyone relate with J Dub, as he tries to make the best of a situation that did not match his desires and for which he did not plan? What advice would you offer others who find their life shifted in a new direction that will alter their long-term goals?

You'll have to pick up my latest, Opur's Blade, to see what J Dub does to fulfill a shattered dream.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Single Moms in the Movies

In my upcoming release, Opur's Blade, readers will meet a single mom who is trying to create the best possible life for her son out of very difficult circumstances. She arranges for the boy to begin golf lessons at the Prairie Winds Golf Course and a world of new possibilities opens up for the young prodigy.

Previous posts on this blog have looked at how family is portrayed in various forms of popular media. She can be the saint who sacrificed everything to provide a better life for her children. Sometimes she is seen as a selfish woman who puts her own interests and desires above that of her kids. In the worst cases, we see single moms in books and on the screen who take out their own life's frustrations on their children through various kinds of abuse.

Today, let's focus on some famous single moms in the movies. Here are a few examples:

Erin Brockovich -- Based on a true story, Julia Roberts portrayed an exhausted mom who is desperately trying to make ends meet and who uses her instincts . . . and other assets . . . to bring down a major corporation.

E. T. -- Sure, the alien who loved Reese's Pieces was the main focus of the movie, but did you remember that the dad took off with another woman and there was a single mom raising those adorable kids (including a very young Drew Barrymore)?

Jerry Maguire -- Renee Zellweger's character put everything on the line to follow Jerry and his mission statement, but she got the famous "You complete me" line for her troubles. Who could forget her bespectacled boy shouting out random bits of trivia for Jerry's amusement?

Can you think of others movies that featured a single mom? Do you think the portrayal was accurate and/or fair?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

How Do You Define "Family"?

This blog has featured several posts that focus on the concept of family and what happens when children grow up in a home that does not provide the structure and love they need. Why do children whose parents who are divorced have an increased likelihood of struggling in school or dealing with teen pregnancy? Are kids who grow up with an alcoholic mother or father more likely to become addicted to the bottle themselves? How does our family of origin shape us and, if necessary, how do we break free from the problems that have been handed to us from the previous generation?

Family is an important topic on this blog because it also plays a prominent role in all of my novels. Lifetime Loser, Finish Line, and Tuey's Course, as well as my upcoming work Opur's Blade, feature characters who were raised in unenviable circumstances. Some manage to overcome these emotional hurdles, while others do not.

So, let's take a step back and examine an even more fundamental question than how your family influences you. What is your answer to the following:

How do you define a family?

Is family our traditional idea of a mother and a father with 2.5 kids? Or, can a family be more widely defined as any community of people who offer love and support? Something in between these two ideas?

Defining family is certainly a touchy and controversial subject, but my work never has shied away from issues that may spark some intense debates. So, let's start this discussion and see where it takes us. Pretend you are Webster and give us your definition of "family."

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Cover to My New Book Revealed!

As has been shared on this blog regularly for the past several months, my fourth novel is scheduled to be released soon. Opur's Blade follows in the tradition of many great underdog stories. My hope is that you will be inspired and maybe reconsider some of the goals in your life that you once believed to be beyond your reach.

While the actual book is still not available for purchase, readers now can see a sneak peek of they soon will be holding in their hands. Here is the newly completed cover for Opur's Blade:

The first reviews on the artwork have been wonderful. The cover was designed by Shannon Grissom. Please let me know your thoughts!

Through personal marketing efforts and the readership base already established through the publication of my first three novels--Lifetime Loser, Finish Line, and Tuey's Course, there is quite a bit of buzz growing on the internet for Opur's Blade. Just a quick search for the book's title on Google will result in several pages of material, which means we are doing something right! Thank you to everyone who has "tweeted" about Opur's Blade or featured my work on your blog.

There are some exciting promotional ideas planned for the release of Opur's Blade, so please check back on this site often to read the latest news. Here's hoping that this book is the most successful one yet for all of the characters at Prairie Winds Golf Course!

Friday, June 18, 2010

There's a Soccer Tournament Going On?

What is arguably the biggest sporting event in the entire world is taking place right now in South Africa. Have you even noticed? The World Cup, the global soccer (or, more appropriately, "football") tournament is underway, allowing nations bragging rights that come only once every four years and it seems as if most of our country is yawning. After all, the Lakers just won the NBA Championship in an exciting Game Seven and it is likely that your favorite college football team is holding summer practice as you read this post.

Don't get me wrong. There are a good number of Americans who are cheering on our country's team with passion. And, the United States is performing well on the world stage, having finished their first two matches in ties. But, for some reason, the World Cup does not bring us to a standstill for several weeks as it does in almost every other country across the world.

As mentioned on this blog before, my respect for outstanding athletes in any sport is unquestionable. And, there is no denying that soccer players are among the most physically fit people in the world. So, count me among those rooting with pride for our team as we move forward in the tournament!

The novels that I have written and published revolve around my passion for golf. The characters my readers meet spend their time at the Prairie Winds Golf Course and we learn their life stories while they relax on the green or in the clubhouse. But, the successes, challenges, and heartbreaks that those in Lifetime Loser, Finish Line, and Tuey's Course experience could just as easily be told with the backdrop of a soccer field. There are commonalities among all of us that extend beyond our hobbies, our jobs, and even which team we choose to root for in the World Cup.

So, back to an earlier point in this post. Why do so many of us not follow the World Cup? Soccer is one of the top recreational sports for our kids, but the passion gets lost somewhere along the way. Any thoughts on what separates us in this regard from the rest of the world?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Book Promotion -- What Works for You?

The reception received by my three published novels--Lifetime Loser, Finish Line, and Tuey's Course--has been thrilling. Now, the anticipation is building as my fourth book, Opur's Blade, is in the final stages of proofreading and formatting before publication. Readers can expect to be available for purchase later this year.

With each new offering presented to the public, my skills have increased concerning how to market my work. The wonderful relationships established with other writers and those who are involved in some other way with the book industry have been one invaluable part of my growth. The release and promotion of Opur's Blade should not be any different--there certainly will be opportunities to learn ways to share my craft. Hopefully, all of the experience gained from my first three books will make this fourth venture the best one yet.

Social networking tools such as Twitter and Facebook have been important components of my marketing plan. Also, this blog provides fresh content on a regular basis related to the subjects discussed in my books. And, the opportunity to share my work with radio audiences, whether through traditional programming or podcasts, is always appreciated. These are just a few of the many ways the word about Prairie Winds Golf Course and the characters who live there has gotten out to readers.

Here's my question at this point -- what are some other venues worth exploring when it comes to book marketing? There are other writers out there who read my blog, and your feedback on this topic would be welcome. When it comes to promoting your books, what has worked for you and why? What will you never waste your time doing again?

Let's make this a forum to help out one another as we all work to succeed in doing something that we love.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What Happens to Adults When Their Parents Divorce?

While there are more than two million couples in the United States who decide to tie and knot and pledge undying love to one another every year, there are also around one million couples who take the legal steps necessary to end their marriages and join the large population of people in our country who are divorced. While the divorce rate has dipped slightly over the past several years, the number of failed marriages and fractured families is still sadly high.

When we think about the stereotypical couples who usually get divorced, they seem to fall into three categories. There are those who get divorced soon after the wedding ceremony, quickly realizing they have made a mistake. Many couples also fall victim to the infamous "seven year itch," when busy lives and young children have diminished the spark that once existed. And, we also see marriages falling apart when the home becomes an "empty nest." Sometimes a couple cannot adjust to operating in a role other than parent.

There are also divorces that defy all predictions and take place between two people who no one would have expected to split. One such separation has just taken place between Al and Tipper Gore. Married for forty years and forever caught on film in that passionate kiss back in 2000, their recent announcement that they would be ending their marriage shocked everyone.

We often hear about the effects of divorce on children--depression, issues in school, guilt, just to name a few. But, what about when you are already an adult and your parents divorce? What challenges and emotions are the Gore children facing right now? If any of you has experience as an adult child of divorce, I would appreciate you sharing your story with us.

All of my novels feature story lines that examine the complicated relationships that exist within a family, including the fallout that occurs with a divorce. I hope you will check out my books and let me know what you think!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Nashville Floods Showed a Community's Character

It has been just over a month since the flooding in Nashville, Tennessee and the surrounding areas. In addition to the famous landmarks that were destroyed, such as the Grand Old Opry and the Opryland Hotel, thousands of residents were either temporarily displaced from their homes or lost them forever.

This natural disaster did not receive a great deal of national attention, in part because it occurred at the same time that the tragedy of the BP oil spill was just beginning to unfold in the Gulf and the Times Square bomber was being arrested. But, I also believe many of the stories from the flood stayed under the radar of the media because the people of Nashville came together and did the work that was needed to help others in the community. I have friends in Nashville who were affected by the storms, and I've heard from them about the countless neighbors and strangers who asked how they could help.

In my second novel, Finish Line, readers are introduced to a character who was forced to flee his successful musical career in New Orleans following another devastating weather event in our country--Hurricane Katrina. He finds employment and a new group of friends at the Prairie Winds Golf Course and, much like the people of Nashville have done, shows resilience in the face of great adversity.

Mother Nature is just one of the difficulties that characters face in my three novels, and how they react to the storms in their lives is an important component of my storytelling. If you haven't yet, I hope you will check out Lifetime Loser, Finish Line, and Tuey's Course and think about how you would react to the situations I create.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

When the Mighty Fall

While the sport of golf is my true passion, I have a great appreciation for all athletes who reach the top of their game through hard work and dedication. One current example of a man who is considered unparalleled in his performance and influence on the game is Roger Federer. Therefore, it was stunning yesterday when he lost in the quarterfinals of the French Open to Robin Soderling. This defeat marks the first time since 2004 that Federer will not be playing in the semifinals of a Grand Slam tournament. It really was a shocking moment in the sport of tennis!

We've seen other instances of unexpected victories in sports, such as the New York Giants preventing the New England Patriots from completing a perfect season with a Super Bowl win, Applachian State coming into the Big House and beating the University of Michigan in front of 100,000 stunned fans, or the Miracle on Ice during the Winter Olympics that still brings chills to U.S. hockey fans two decades later.

What about outside the athletic world? What are some examples of people who seemed indestructible but who experienced a startling collapse? Maybe it was an illness to a beloved family member that made you realize even the strongest among us can get sick. Perhaps you admired a leader on a political stage that lost an election in an upset vote or, even worse, met with violence.

In my series of novels that take place at the Prairie Winds Golf Course, I examine the characters that we build up in our lives and how we react when they let us down or simply cannot be the strong personality that we have come to expect. I hope you will check out my books and then let me know if you can relate to the relationships I create.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Do Divorces Always Create "Broken Homes"?

I am really looking forward to the upcoming release of my fourth novel, Opur's Blade. The book is in its final stages of editing and proofing before the publisher will prepare copies for bookstores and online book venues everywhere. Of course, just like in my three previous novels, the action in this book unfolds primarily at the Prairie Winds Golf Course. And, once again, my readers will be introduced to several new, controversial characters and updated on the personalities they have come to know in Lifetime Loser, Finish Line, and Tuey's Course.

While I have previously addressed the issue of children being raised by a divorced parent, most notably in Finish Line, this dynamic will take center stage in Opur's Blade. One common phrase often used to describe an environment in which both the mom and dad are not present is a "broken home." This phrase has been challenged by some who are living through such a situation. After all, aren't there plenty of married couples that live in circumstances that could be considered broken?

I am certain that the term "broken home" will be used often by those who write reviews for Opur's Blade. The effect of growing up in a home without both parents is examined closely in my new novel and I hope that some lively discussion is sparked concerning our accepted ideas about traditional families. To get this conversation going, I would like to go ahead and ask you what you think!

What are your thoughts about the phrase "broken home"? Is this an appropriate way to described divorced parents? Or, does it offer an illustration that is not always accurate?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Who Do You Want to Join You on the Course?

I imagine that most of us have been asked the question at some point, "If you could have dinner with any three people, living or dead, who would you choose and why?" It's a common discussion starter at parties or to pass time on long car trips. More often than not, historical figures like Jesus Christ and Gandhi make the list, as well as more personal favorites like Grandma and an inspirational high school soccer coach.

I would like to offer a twist to the original question.

In my three published books--Lifetime Loser, Finish Line, and Tuey's Course--I focused great attention and detail on the development of my characters. From the alcoholic pilot to the musician displaced by Hurricane Katrina to the teenage boy who is struggling to reach manhood without a male role model, just to name a few, my novels feature people who are multi-dimensional and flawed, but often also sympathetic. Each one of them brings stories and a personal background that adds an important component to the dynamics of the Prairie Winds Golf Course.

So, with my interest in both memorable personalities and the sport of golf established, I would like to ask this question -- "If you could play a round of golf with any three people, dead or alive, who would they be and why?" For most of us who love golf, the company we keep during this time is critical!

Who captivates you for their potential to contribute to an interesting morning filled with a great sport and quality conversation? I look forward to hearing your ideas!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Has Your Hobby or Passion Led to Literary Discoveries?

As many of you know, I have made my lifelong passion for golf an important component of my novels. All three of my published books--Lifetime Loser, Finish Line, and Tuey's Course--take place on Prairie Winds Golf Course and many of the pivotal conversations between my characters occur while they are playing an early morning round or relaxing in the clubhouse.

Because of this emphasis on golf, I think that many readers discover my books based on their mutual love of the sport. However, people quickly realize that you do not need to be familiar with the terms "par" and "double eagle" in order to get caught up in the controversial issues that I address through my writing.

I am certain that there are plenty of other novels out there on bookstore and library shelves that use a particular niche area as a launching point for a broader discussion. For example, do you have a favorite book that uses a love of cooking as the foundation on which it builds its plot and character development? Perhaps there is a group of people who take part in historical reenactments and within that setting a love story develops.

We often pick up a book because we are drawn to a specific aspect that appeals to our personal interests, and then realize a great new author or writing style. Do you have any examples of books you discovered in such a way? Has one of your hobbies ever brought you to a book, even when your specific topic of interest was only marginally related to the heart of the plot? Let us know if this has happened to you!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Welcome to All Blog Joggers!

Thank you for stopping by my Blog! I am the author of three published novels that integrate my love for golf with controversial issues and memorable characters. Please explore all this Blog has to offer, then jog on over to and read about Meghan Schuessler's journey towards publishing her first novel. If you would like to visit a different Blog in the jog, go to

Who's the Best Fictional Mom Out There?

Across the country this weekend, mothers will be opening envelopes that hold pastel cards with flowery writing, admiring flowers sent by a son who lives halfway across the country, and maybe even enjoying an afternoon at the spa courtesy of their husband and children. Mother's Day is upon us . . . have you called your mother today?

My three published novels--Lifetime Loser, Finish Line, and Tuey's Course--as well as my upcoming book, Opur's Blade, all feature at least one mom who may not be showered with gifts or one child who would never think to participate in the act of giving during this annual celebration of all things maternal. Let's just say that most of the characters I create will not be asked to pose for a Norman Rockwell painting anytime soon.

Along the same topic of fictional moms, who are some other characters who come to mind when you picture the ideal matriarch? Is it Claire Huxtable from The Cosby Show? How about Marmee, a strong woman who kept the four girls of Little Women together during wartime? Maybe even Marge Simpson is your perfect mom? Or do you go back to the days of June Cleaver and Donna Reed. How about Peg Bundy? Or maybe Archie Bunker's wife, Edith. The list goes on and on and on.

When thinking of characters from books, television, and film, you embodies the characteristics of the ideal mom for you? Let me know! And, Happy Mother's Day!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Ann Coulter vs. The Single Mom

For those who have read my three published novels--Lifetime Loser, Finish Line, and Tuey's Course--you know that I address quite a few controversial issues through my writing. While the commonality that exists between all of my books may be golf and the backdrop of the Prairie Winds Golf Course, my work has tackled subjects as diverse as racism, gambling, alcoholism, cancer, and sexuality. In my upcoming release, Opur's Blade, I will be returning to a topic to which I already devoted some attention in Finish Line--the effect of "broken families" on our children and their emotional development.

Knowing that the topic of single parenthood causes debates of great emotion, I was certain that a quick search would find some high-profile commentators who have offered their thoughts on this sociological issue. Sure enough, I discovered an interview with one of the most controversial figures in the media, Ann Coulter, in which she shares some very strong opinions on single moms.

During an interview on the Today show last year, Coulter declared that single motherhood was "a recipe to create criminals, strippers, rapists, murderers." This belief was shared as part of the book she was promoting entitled Guilty: Liberal "Victims" and Their Assault on America. As you might imagine, the backlash was swift and it was strong. With single mothers being created from a variety of circumstances--divorce, by choice, death, one-night stands--it seems that it would be difficult to place such a condemning future on all children in one-parent households.

What do you think of Ann Coulter's assertion? Do single moms create a greater risk of producing criminals as children? Is she just trying to be sensational in order to sell books? Let me know your thoughts.

Friday, April 30, 2010

My Novels are Now Available as E-Books

With all of the technology that has been introduced into our society in just the past ten or fifteen years, the way in which authors write and readers read and the two groups interact has completely changed. How many high school students still head to the local library the night before a big project is due to find the history book they need in the card catalog? How many writers spend hours sequestered away in front of a typewriter as they create their latest novels? We now are using laptops, iPads, Amazon Kindles, and even our cell phones to access the articles and books we want to read.

I have joined this literary revolution and all three of my published novels--Lifetime Loser, Finish Line, and Tuey's Course--are now available through my publisher as e-books. The e-books also are available through Barnes and Noble's The Nook and Sony's Reader. If you prefer to read through the convenience of your computer or handheld device, the characters and controversy at Prairie Winds Golf Course are now ready for you! Of course, if you prefer the feel of paper, my books are still are still available through Amazon and the website for Barnes and Noble.

One feature of the e-book that has me particularly excited is that the titles are now more easy to purchase overseas. Worldwide exposure is now affordable. Readers in Australia, Europe, the southern hemisphere, and Asia now have immediate access to the stories generated from Prairie Winds Golf Course.

Whether you read the book as a .pdf file while sitting in a coffee shop or with the spine cracked open as you turn each page to learn what happens next, I hope you will read my novels and then let me know what you think!

Some people lament the fact that a whole generation is being raised without the opportunity to get lost in library stacks or hold worn pages of classic novel between their hands. Others are excited by the greater accessibility that these electronic tools bring to untapped readers. Do you fall on one side or the other, or do you see merits to both points? Let me know!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Does This Sound Like Your Caddy?

Are you having a difficult time getting motivated and energized on this Monday morning? Maybe you didn't play your best game of golf over the weekend and you can't get that horrible shot on the 12th hole out of your head. Or, even worse, maybe the weather in your area prevented you from being able to play golf at all! In an effort to lift the spirits of my readers as we begin the work week, I decided a lighthearted post was in order.

I found a Top Ten list, attributed to David Letterman, of statements that were overheard being made by caddies on the golf course. Here are a few of my favorites:

Golfer: “This is the worst course I’ve ever played on.”
Caddy: “This isn’t the golf course. We left that an hour ago.”

Golfer: “Do you think I can get there with a 5 iron?”

Caddy: “Eventually.”

Golfer: “How do you like my game?”

Caddy: “Very good, sir, but personally, I prefer golf.”

Please visit the website to read the rest of the list. I'm sure most of you can come up with your own ways in which caddies offer their not-so-positive opinions on the play of the person whose clubs they are carrying.

In my series of novels, which take place at the fictional Prairie Winds Golf Course, readers will encounter quite a few amusing characters and moments of laughter. If you enjoy books that look at the lighter side of life while also tackling some of the most difficult and controversial issues in our culture, I hope you will give Lifetime Loser, Finish Line, and Tuey's Course a try!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Golfer Does the Honorable Thing in Admitting Penalty

Golf has long been known as a gentleman's game. Even the "golf clap" is synonymous with refinement and restraint. Of course, we all know there have been some recent incidents that have somewhat changed the reputation of those who participate in the sport. Particularly in light of these recent tabloid scandals that have detracted from the game that I have, it was nice to read an article over the weekend about a person who did the right thing.

Brian Davis was participating in the Verizon Heritage tournament on Sunday and was on the first hole of a playoff round that might result in his first PGA victory. As he tried to hit the ball out of some weeds, Davis' club brushed against a few random blades of grass during the backstroke. Here's the problem. If a player hits any material around the ball during a back swing, this constitutes a violation of the rule against moving loose material. And, the consequence is a two-stroke penalty. Knowing that admission of guilt would most likely result in a loss, Davis called himself out and let the replay officials know what he had done.

With television cameras present, Davis' rule breaking may or may not have been noticed by others participating in the tournament. So, even though he may have gotten away with what technically was against the rules, Davis did the honorable thing and cost himself a tournament victory.

Brian Davis
-- working to restore the honor to the game of golf one admitted penalty at a time!

Do you think that golf is a particularly honorable sport? Or, does the game attract the same diverse personalities as you find in any other athletic venue? If not honorable, is there a certain stereotype that you associate with golf and golfers?