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

 

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

Lantern Rides a Wave into Murrells Inlet

All Things picture 2

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.

RAILROADED

First Person – A Sense of Discovery
When I began this blog, in the Fall of 2014, my immediate intention was giving a home to “Railroaded” a short story I’d recently written. I wanted to practice writing a character in first-person. Both my novels, The Long Shadow of Hope and The Lost Lantern, in different stages of production then, are written in third-person omniscient point of view, they have an all-knowing narrator, someone who can be in the head of everyone involved. This makes life a little easier for the writer, although if you read “Lantern” you’ll realize the weave of the story was problematic enough. I have plans for a novel in first-person, where the protagonist stumbles along, making mistakes and discoveries along with the reader. That’s where “Railroaded” takes you, if you have time on a cold, Super Bowl Sunday. Thanks for reading, A.S.

© 2018

Andrew Spradling

Author’s note: This began as an exercise in first-person and became nearly 11,000 words. Thanks for the interest. A.S.

THERE WERE AT least five reasons I believed that Joe Early murdered Carmel Richardson. But they didn’t become clear to me until I read the flower-arrangement card signed by Joe and some railroad co-workers some ten years after Carmel’s funeral.

Can you imagine? Eight names on one of ten or twelve cards, tucked away in a file by my grandmother, Audrey Fulks Raines Richardson, saved in an upright, four-drawer file cabinet my mother refused to get rid of after Grandma’s death eight years ago. That cabinet has been relocated twice as I’ve moved my mother’s unsellable, garage-full of obsolete, particle-board furniture. I’m not talking about estate sale items, if you catch my drift. She’s a hoarder, plain and simple. Not to the point of paths through the home. She has a…

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Back To The Beach

Lantern ThumbAuthor’s note: Fellow author Lance Carney’s 5-star review of The Lost Lantern on both Amazon.com and Goodreads.com came at just the right time. Less than 10 weeks after its release, reinforcing commentary goes a long way towards continuing momentum and spreading the good word.

Incidentally, Carney’s humorous first novel, Ripped Tide, is among just three other finalists for the 2017 McGrath House Indie Book Awards in the humor/comedy category. You can vote (by Oct. 31) for Lance’s book at: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSe7wJh5GcE90bHjJoK-y_QxUtahp7teTSBrcpxWVIBzj-i0qA/viewform

This was “Lantern’s” 11th review (4.7-rating thus far). Thanks again to Lance and to those who took me from five to 10: Pat Paxton, Sandra Rohr, Sissy Offutt, Robert (unknown), and Carla VanWyck. I appreciate you all!
Back to the Beach for a Story of Racism, Greed, Betrayal, Bribery and Murder

     It’s “back to the beach” but not for a fun romp in the sand. This return to Sun Fun City and the Grand Strand of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is a blend of racism, greed, betrayal, bribery and murder, including a connected, unsolved murder from years before. John Gates doesn’t see that in his future—he is just trying for a new start on life and to reunite with three friends, all who traveled there six years earlier to work the restaurants of Murrells Inlet during college summers. Along the way, John bumps into William McMillian, an African American he worked with at Captain Dan’s for a couple of summers. William has always wanted to start his own restaurant, The Lost Lantern, and thinks his boss, Danny Rivers and his brothers are helping him when they take his down payment on a property with a rundown restaurant. John Gates and his friends pull out all the stops to try and help William realize his dream while the Rivers’ brothers on the other side will stop at nothing to make sure that doesn’t happen.

The Lost Lantern takes readers back to the 1980s when Myrtle Beach was coming of age with second and third generation tourists. It’s also a sampling of the author’s personal experiences working the seafood hot spots of Murrells Inlet. As in his excellent first book, The Long Shadow of Hope, Andy Spradling once again serves up what he knows best. As a former restaurant owner, his insight into the restaurant business adds authenticity to the story. The restaurants, bars and businesses of Myrtle Beach at the time also lend a nostalgic backdrop to the tale (one scene takes place at the popular watering hole, The Afterdeck, long before it became a strip club). The characters are vivid, complex and flawed, even the good guys, so you can’t help but fall into the story, and there are enough twists and turns to keep you turning the pages. I highly recommend it!

 

 

 

 

Downpour

 

One crack of thunder, and it began to come down,

At the time of morning, when I start to make plans.

To visit my garden, combat the weeds,

Tie up some ‘maters, check the growth of green p’s.

To consider a ride versus family and needs,

Girls getting haircuts, there’s four boys to feed.

There’s anticipation, of a book to let go,

After numerous years of arranging just so.

There’s an Amos review, I’m fixin’ to write,

From a whirlwind trip, we took Tuesday night.

A reunion upcoming of classmates and peers,

It’s been in the making, for thirty-five years.

As quick as it started, the rain is now gone, but

after more than two weeks of travel, it’s good to be home.

 

© 2017

Ode To A Blank Page

Author’s note: Borrowing the most-used title in poetry… thanks for reading. A.S.

 

At first glance there is a gleam,

A fresh take – potential,

A mountain not yet trampled,

A field allowed to be … itself,

As life flutters about curiously,

Over virgin snow,

Like finely-tuned strings and a long bow,

Hope of growth and development,

Knowledge that the equation starts at zero,

Like invigorating silence allowed to breathe,

And the page is the color of optimism.

Thoughts can be in many places,

Focused or forever floating,

The words can become willful,

Twist and turn like a twig in a rapid,

As frustration pours over the rocks,

Uncontrollably.

It will choose a path,

One can breed a darling,

One can breed contempt,

One can become trapped and entangled.

Until the ride ends,

The answer is unclear,

And may remain unclear,

Ripe for speculation,

And ridicule.

 

© 2017

Write On

LINES on a map,

Turns in the river,

Twists on a page,

Staying north makes me quiver.

 

The highs of the city,

the lows of the floodplain.

The bill in the mailbox,

absurd is the thinking.

 

Fixation it limits,

till the project’s complete.

I dare not slow down,

My brain’s dead on its feet.

 

But I stop to consider,

the freedoms in danger.

That truth and its telling,

Brings death from a stranger.

 

If you circle the wagons,

Or put down the pen,

If the inkwell goes dry,

The bastards will win.

© 2014