Book Number Two

The preface of a possible first-person sequel to my actual second book, The Lost Lantern, though my third novel will be available much sooner. Thanks for reading, A.S. 

I don’t exactly recall when I decided that making money was unimportant. It wasn’t a conscience decision. If you watched my wedding video, the event nine months into my gig as a low-paid sportswriter, you’d see I actually snickered when I repeated the line “For richer or poorer.” It drew some laughs from the crowd. But believe me, at that time I had no intention of doing what I have done.

I went along with the newspaper game because it was fairly high-profile for my medium-market, Carolina world. My beat was a little-brother university bull-rushing its way into bowl contention with highlight-reel future NFL-ers. My publishers were willing to catch me up to a living wage once I proved I was worthy of their paycheck. But this was in the mid-1990s. Ever since Gutenberg slapped a sentence together newspapers have been consolidating and shutting down at an alarming rate. The movement was crescendoing through the ’80s and into the ’90s and the internet, email, websites, and blogs only made it worse. Gutenberg would probably flip a letter tray or two if he observed the ease in which we now share information and print.

The only intelligent notion I ever had was to marry my wife, Katy. I knew she was going to be a rock star. Beautiful and brilliant, she skipped over ladder rungs like a dog after a squirrel’s tail. About the time my newspaper was purchased and we writing rats were told we’d soon have no jobs – albeit illegally, we later learned – she was holding down management positions in the green pastures of pharmaceutics and medical equipment.

I somehow landed on my feet, wooing a college president and multiple panels of interviewers, successfully jumping the fence into media relations. I became the pitchman, the occasional spokesperson, the principle writer of the alumni magazine, the advertising buyer, the events coordinator, the Speaker Series planner and talent booker, the photographer, and, like Gutenberg, the print shop manager, which alone would have been a full-time job.

For a couple of weeks the president took me around town like his new pet. I met influential members of his Board of Directors, money-men with vision. But soon I was just like all the other poor schleps that worked there. The big man didn’t care who stayed or went. I know, because I also wrote the classifieds and placed the national ads. His lone concern was donors and his pleasantries extended only to a tight circle of cabinet members.

As the economy tanked and colleagues moved on, additional duties were heaped on me like pallets on a bonfire. I wore more hats than that kid on “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium.” Katy knew better than me that I was miserable. We had three children now (you may have guessed by the movie reference), the youngest of whom was about to start half-day pre-school. Katy was on the road three weeks out of four, pulling in mega bucks. And, I had an ace in the hole: my first novel was under contract. Like a rube jumping out of an airplane wearing a potentially-defective parachute, I signed my resignation, gave a month’s notice, and walked away. My name is John Gates, and my world is about to get weird.

© 2018

 

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the genius of Andrew Spradling (a repost of Joseph Bird)

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Here are some hints and clues as to the nature of my next project. A sincere thanks to Shelton College Review member Joseph Bird, who is completing his FIFTH novel, for these flattering thoughts and comments – please follow link and read HIS post, my reason for writing today. 

Let me add that if you are an independent writer at the beginning stages of this game, find yourself a writers group to bounce ideas off, help edit, support, and encourage. Along with our founder Larry Ellis, Joe and I are in a positive, fun, informative situation that very much helps me in my quest for completing a third novel, following The Long Shadow of Hope, and The Lost Lantern. The photo, for photography buffs, is from a recent Charleston (WV) Live On The Levee, and is a situation in her game of cat and mouse that Harper Stowe might find herself in. Thanks for reading and keep slinging ink! A.S. 

via the genius of Andrew Spradling

One Reader at a Time

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Maybe building readership is like laying the foundation of a house, one cinderblock at a time. Can’t do two, it cannot be done.

Last night I gave a copy of The Lost Lantern to one of my best friends. It will be heading to Oak Island, North Carolina. Our waitress inquired.

“It’s a book about racial harmony and overcoming some serious racism.”

She ordered a copy by phone before we left. Tip got bigger.

The night before, the new fiancé of an old teammate of mine told me she was ordering both The Lost Lantern and The Long Shadow of Hope for him. They are moving to Savannah, Ga., in the fall.

“Oh, my next book takes place on Hilton Head Island with Savannah as the secondary city.”

Coincidence or karma?

The night before that, a new Garden City, South Carolina, resident posted pictures of the moon over the Atlantic from her balcony. Another good friend said you should pick up a copy of The Lost Lantern from Bernie Delgado’s Miscellaneous: All Things Murrells Inlet. The book takes place right there at the beach.

A copy is in the hands of a National Guardsman heading northeast to Camp Dawson, on the Cheat River, in Kingwood, West Virginia. It’s also being read by a sought-after medical malpractice attorney who travels extensively. Will either bear additional fruit?

A few weeks ago I told the technician at my Optometrists’ – who I knew to be a reader – about my books. She became the 20th reviewer of The Lost Lantern! Yes, Stephen King is pushing 9,500 for Doctor Sleep: A Novel. But I’ll bet I appreciate – and am humbled by – my 20 more, as I do each and every sale. Vacation-season has increased sales, and if you’re heading to the beach or a national park next month or in August there’s plenty of time to order and receive delivery from Amazon.com as we approach the year anniversary of The Lost Lantern’s release! Thanks to Bruce Moss, Lynn McGraw, Bertha Watson, and Renee Simms for reviews 17 through 20!

1. Renee Simms reviewed The Lost Lantern

Great Read! Couldn’t put it down! June 15, 2018

I definitely recommend this book! The author has a flair for telling a story, and weaving several plot lines through each other without them getting lost and confused, then tying it all back in. His rich use of vocabulary keeps the reader engaged and helps to draw mental images. We will see this author an best-selling lists soon!

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2. BERTHA WATSON reviewed The Lost Lantern

Five Stars May 25, 2018

couldn’t wait to see what happened next, thanks Andy.

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3. Lynn McGraw reviewed The Lost Lantern

Five Stars February 28, 2018

Very good book-page turner. Very Interesting storyline, characters, and setting. Highly recommend.

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4. cheri t. reviewed The Lost Lantern

1 of 1 people found the following helpful

and now as a author of great depth and creativity February 25, 2018

Bruce E. Moss says: February 9, 2018 at 4:04 pm Edit It has been my privilege to watch Andy Spradling grow and mature from grade school to today. I have watched him as an student, an athletic, a sports reporter, a restaurateur, a parent, and now as a author of great depth and creativity. I appreciate his research that gives his story such depth and credence. He truly knows has to cast the spell, draw you in, and keep you on your mental toes as you follow the events of his story line. He is truly a gifted writer. I look forward to many more of his most entertaining works and to him be recognized for his remarkable talent.

 

Indoctrination

The country road was so narrow, two cars couldn’t pass

Fragrant honeysuckle strong in my nose, irritating pollen in my eyes

Along with sweat, provided by the climb it took to get there

on my bicycle… on this quiet, early Saturday a.m.

My family away, I’m feeling as lonely as the empty fields

That butt-up against the newly-green hillsides

Slow songs come out staggered through heavy breathing

Songs about whiskey and wine and the aftermath

I am passed by an SUV which, once by, slams on its breaks

The passenger-side door flies open – the worry of a rider

In these days of heroin, meth, and the need for a fix

As I slow and prepare to pass to the left

a girl in her late teens, smiling, pops out and runs in front of the vehicle

“Daddy it’s alive. I’m not touching it”

“Just pick it up by the tail and throw it in the weeds”

He says, as I pass his opened window. And I see it

A skinny, four-foot black snake, innocently crossing the road

I laugh from his comment, and he laughs too,

As his daughter bends down and I ride on

I hear her squeal, actually a full-fledged scream

And I again laugh

She saved a friend of the farm and the farmer

I think of my long-departed grandmother, who called one by name

The SUV passes once more

I turn left and begin to climb

On a route that will take me home.

 

© 2018

© 2018

A New Day Rising

April Sunrise

A new day rising

Brings us hope

The week gone by

had firsts and lasts

Lifelong memories

sad goodbyes

Godly welcomes

gatherings

Help to heal

races, tests

body blows

chapters, charity

coffee cake

humble pie

growing grass

spinning spokes

familiar faces

introductions

soulful songs

learned and

forgotten

But a new day rising

Brings us hope.

 

©2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fast

 

Near fifteen-thousand yesterdays ago I lower myself into a set of blocks,

kick each leg out behind me once, adjust my thumbs and fingers just so –

against the line I must start behind

Last one in, first one out. That’s my trick

My heart pounding in my chest, but I am not afraid or nervous

I am confident in what is about to happen

There is no pace to be had – only speed

I look down the track at row after row of hurdlers daunting as life itself

I wait for the gun

Each step is planned and I will find that familiar rhythm between each barrier I don’t even want to graze

click, click, click – extend- clup, click, click, click – extend – clup, click, click, click – extend – without slowing

head even with the profiled-horizon like viewing it from the top of a wooden fence – as the late Coach Joe Hartney always said

Strong through the finish – lean in and break that little string

For many, in youth, there is speed, without thought, the ability to accelerate, seemingly without effort

So easy, it is taken for granted, whether chasing down a fly ball, returning a punt, leading a fast break, or sprinting down a track

Unspoken, maybe unrecognized, yet beautiful, gliding, smooth,

I betrayed my high school teammates like my knee betrayed me

Turning my back on the unknown, hoping to preserve what remained

Now I watch my son run the track, just learning but full of potential, with the ability to accelerate, the ability to be…

Fast

© – 2018

 

Lantern Rides a Wave into Murrells Inlet

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Spring breakers and friends in and around the Grand Stand, if you’re looking for a good read to take to the beach this month or this summer, Misc: Everything Murrells Inlet is now carrying my novels The Long Shadow of Hope and The Lost Lantern. Just nine months released, The Lost Lantern is a tale that takes place at Myrtle Beach and Murrells Inlet.

Thanks to Berny Delgado, proprietor of Misc: Everything Murrells Inlet, for the opportunity. Her store is located at 4493 Highway 17 Business, Murrells Inlet. If you need reassurance, check out nearly 50 reviews on the books at: https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/community

All Things picture 1

 

Check out the Facebook page for Berny’s cool store at: https://www.facebook.com/EverythingMurrellsInlet/

Thanks Doak Turner, the Nashville connector, for your help in making this happen! And thank you for supporting both the Arts and the Independents!

Have a great Spring Break, and remember what Easter is truly about.

Thanks for reading, A.S.