Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Wandering Today.

I spent the day wandering around the Mount Mitchell/Linville Gorge today. More later.

Selfie at Setrock Creek Falls at the Black Mountain Campground at the base of Mount Mitchell.

Selfie at Linville Gorge. The last time I was at this area (Pinchin Trail) was in 2009. Away from the cliff face, the forests have recovered quite a lot since the 2007 fires that burned all the way down to the mineral soil.

Scene at Mount Mitchell State Park. There was quite a bit of snow above 6,000 feet there.

The rugged Linville Gorge. Notice the recent landslide on the right side.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Here's an old digital photo I took from way back. November 30, 2008. I shot it with my first digital camera. I think it was 4 megapixel Canon. I recall it had a pretty good installed lens and was built like a tank. It was heavy, made of metal. I dropped that little camera off of boulders half a dozen times. It got some dents but kept taking photos. If you dropped a modern Canon ten feet off of a boulder onto another boulder it would shatter. Not that one. It eventually gave up the ghost, or else I'd still be using it for casual shots.

This one was taken on the Blue Ridge Parkway at Rocky Knob in Virginia. We had gotten onto the Blue Ridge Parkway on the way home from the Peaks of Otter and a sudden ice storm had struck the high ridges. If we hadn't had four-wheel drive we'd have been stuck, but good. As it was I paused to take some photographs and then edged my way down to lower elevations and the heck off of the Parkway to safety.
Rocky Knob, Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia.

Saturday, February 08, 2020

Snow Memories.

When I was a kid in the deep South of the USA, the most wonderful thing that I would see were the infrequent snowfalls we'd get. So beautiful and fun to play in. But the most depressing thing was to watch it taper until the storm was over, melting until it was all just a memory.

Currently it's snowing. Just light snow showers. But we only get to see this kind of thing but rarely. It did snow briefly last week, no accumulation. And it's snowing now but the last I heard we're not supposed to get any accumulation. Winter is fading fast and will be over soon. I'd be surprised if we get any snowstorm that leaves any accumulation this season, but I suppose it could happen.

If I didn't have my part-time job tomorrow I'd head up to the mountains where the high country is supposed to get several inches of snow. One more reason, I think, to get rid of the part-time job. I've cut it back to two days a week. Maybe zero would be best. Life is, after all, quite short.

Blackwater Falls in a snowstorm.

Deer in Cades Cove, February of 2014.

Two deer in the snow at Blackwater Falls State Park, WV.

Me, on the Alum Cave Bluffs Trail near the summit of Mount LeConte in March 0f 2005.

Same trail, no people.

Tuesday, February 04, 2020


Alas, I've been neglecting the old blog of late. It was not intentional. 

For a few years it was my intention to post here as often as I could as a way to spur me to work on my fiction writing every day. It worked in that way for a few years when I needed it as a crutch for that kind of thing. Then, after I left the Postal Service I got out of the habit of posting on the blog very much and went to other online access points to keep in touch with other people.

For the past couple of years, especially, I tended to steer clear of my blogging activities. When I was working the low-level management job I was often too busy or too stressed to come to the old desktop and create an announcement or essay to post here. Over the past couple of decades I had seen blogs that I once frequented vanish completely as the creators of them went mainly to Facebook to stay in touch with other creators or their fans. Facebook seems to have taken quite a toll on blogging.

At any rate, here I am.

Since November of 2019 I have been busy getting my back-list of novels into print. That has been foremost in my creative efforts. Plus I decided to self-publish my latest novel which has been somewhat of a chore. I have never been---to put it mildly---a fan of self-publishing. In fact, I did everything to steer clear of it since Amazon made it oh-so easy for anyone and everyone to go that route. But...I find myself walking that road.

Getting my next back-list novel out has been foremost in my efforts. That one is WORKING CLASS HERO: The Autobiography of a Super-Hero. I renegotiated the audiobook contract with Beacon Audiobooks, so that has been taken care of. But I haven't landed cover art that satisfies me for getting the novel back into print. Add to this the fact that a traditional publisher has expressed some interest in the project and I find myself in something of a holding pattern. If the situation is right, I may send that book to a new publisher and not do it myself. Handling everything---cover art, editing, layouts, formatting, publishing, advertising, promotions---is frankly a pain in the ass. I'd rather just be a writer. I have never been a salesman and frankly that job does not interest me the way it does some people.

In between working on the books, I have been taking advantage of being retired to go hiking and to take trips with Carole to go camping and sightseeing here and there.

So. Life in retirement is proving to be a lot of fun, but also almost as busy as my life as a working stiff punching clocks five days a week.

I'm sitting in my office now trying to decide which of my back-list novels to release next. Should I go forward with WORKING CLASS HERO? Get THE CRAG back to the light of day? Will WITHERING make the cut first? Or maybe THE NEW ECOLOGY OF DEATH? Or something else?

It's a conundrum. In the meantime, here are pretty pictures of places I've been and things I've seen in the past few weeks.

Oh, yeah! Before I forget! Buy my new audiobook of FOUR FROM MANGROVE! Narrated by the extremely talented Bruce Berlow! High fantasy as good as it gets!

Amicalola Falls.

The shoe tree outside of Wasali-Yi Inn where Appalachian Trail backpackers toss their worn-out boots.

Yours truly with a huge poplar tree at Amicalola Falls.

Lower portion of Helton Creek Falls.

View from the top of Blood Mountain.

The Blood Mountain Shelter.

Upper Helton Creek Falls.

Carole at our campsite at Vogel State Park.

We two at Helton Creek Falls.

I had the summit all to myself at Blood Mountain! Unheard of!

Lottery contraption. They used these when they stole the Cherokee Nation lands from the indigenous people and gave it all away to white folk.

The real deal. Not a fake.

Gold coins minted at the old Dahlonega Mint (closed at the start of the War Between the States).

Monday, January 06, 2020

Rambling Around in Solitude.

Most of the past week I have spent just doing whatever I felt like doing. Today I went on a hike in Pisgah National Forest. Specifically I went to ramble around various places in or near the Wilson Creek National Wild and Scenic River.

I've enjoyed this place for decades, but if you go in the summer on a weekend you will be surrounded by many hundreds of other people---in the thousands on some days. But today was a Monday, and the weather was a bit cold. I never saw another person all day long on the trails. Not one other human. I wasn't bothered by a voice, and I didn't even hear the rumble of a car or truck engine. Even the skies were clear of that normally annoying scrape of passenger jets rubbing against the skies. The only sounds with me were the winds, some bird songs, and often the roar of creeks and waterfalls bloated with recent heavy rains.

It was nice.

Standing beside Harper Creek.

Harper Creek, the sun creeping into the gorge.

Harper Creek Falls. Mud and slick rock prevented me from climbing down into the gorge to get some better photos of this powerful waterfall.

At the boulder field between the creek and a great campsite.

I've wanted to camp here for decades. I'll do it this year.

I'll bet this stretch of trail is amazing when the rhododendron are in bloom.

On breezy Darkside Cliffs enjoying the view of Grandfather Mountain.

Grandfather Mountain/Tanawha with the Linn Cove Viaduct far below it. When many people see photos of this peak (highest in the Blue Ridge Mountains), they think it is a photo of a western peak.

Looking at (I think) the Harper Creek drainage from Darkside Cliffs.

The Tanawha massif as seen from Darkside Cliffs.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Punching the Clock.

Now that I'm retired, my recent experience with my part-time job has reminded me why I hated punching the clock so very, very, very much. I did it for decades, and now I don't have to do that shit anymore.

I've cranked the part-time job back to one to two days per week. Seriously. Really. And I have many weeks planned in 2020 when I won't be in town and will not work at all.

So, I'm reminded of one of my first experiments in self-publishing. My short story attached to my WORKING CLASS HERO novel, "Turn of Events", which is all about punching the clock. Go to Amazon and buy a copy. Less than a buck. You'll dig it, especially if you're a superhero fan.

"Turn of Events" a Working Class Hero story of Billy B; Charlotte, North Carolina's resident badass superhero.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

The Coaltion Zombie Trilogy Back in Print!

Some years back I wrote a zombie trilogy called THE COALITION.  They were three (of course) books covering the adventures of loner/libertarian/survivalist/badass Ron Cutter as he made his world through the apocalyptic monstrosity of a shattered downtown Charlotte, NC.

When I got the rights returned for most of my back-list of novels a few months ago I figured it was time to compile all three books into a package and release them under a single cover. So, here they are. Currently I have the package priced at the low price of only $2.99. Grab the collection now! Lots of zombie fiction for less than a buck! You can't beat that with a bludgeon!

THE COALITION Zombie Trilogy! All under one cover for the first time!