Pushups are the Devil

I’m on this stupid health and exercise kick, and it means giving up things like pie and cake for a while. As a man of a certain age, I have certain fears, which include (but are not limited to):

  1. Pleated khakis.
  2. Losing my hair.
  3. Belly.
  4. A larger belly.
  5. Chewing food like I’m a beetle.
  6. A compulsion to use coupons at dinner.
  7. Socks and sandals together.

Thus far, I’ve avoided most of that. Teeth are still good. Mind still feels sharp, unless it’s car keys and then I act as if every day is an archaeological hunt. I’m writing more emotional, lurid scenes that ever before, so I feel that (professionally), I’m better than ever. Writing is a muscle, but you know what else is a muscle?


I totaled last month’s pushup total from my Exercise Log of Doom, and the number was 2805.

That’s a lot of pushups for a middle-aged guy, or at least it is for me. It’s having an effect. I feel like my mind is slightly clearer, with less tendency to be dreamy when I’m writing. Does that make sense?

It’s also vanquishing fear number nine from the above list, which I saved for here: Moobs

I don’t want to have the chest of an American Buddha, so this whole nightmare of pushupageddon is actually working out rather well.

I still hate it, though. It’s like work, but with your face on the floor and lots of wheezing.

The goal for this month is 3000. Oh, and no bra. Ever.

New book is at 60,000 words. Done in a week. you’re going to love it. I’m over the moon for Livvy and a new character, Danila. She’s amazing.



How To Write a Love Scene

I’ve cracked the code, people. I have the power. Sexy time? I own it. Lovemaking? Booty Call?

Drive By Quickie?

Check, check, and mate.

Fellow writers, pay attention. This is my gift to you. Dear readers, use this information as you see fit.

*Cracks Knuckles*

Writing the perfect love scene:

  1. List everything you would do with your partner if you didn’t have kids, pets, or a job.
  2. Cut the speed of all those things in half.
  3. Add candles and chocolate.


You’re welcome, people.

Life Without Cookies

Or cake.

Or pie.

Or waffles, milk, flour, cheese, and joy, yes, there will be no joy, not in this house.

Bride is doing a really interesting thing known as the Whole Life Challenge. It’s kind of cool– focusing on better food, plenty of sleep ( a must!), stretching, meditation, and overall health.

In short, all the things we tend to ignore because of life, kids, spouses, bounty hunters, outstanding warrants, and existential crises. You know, the usual.

It has a lot of things to like in it– case in point, here’s a drink I would have never tried, but I did, and OH BOY is it good: Golden Latte Super Fancy Drink!

So here I am, day three without my usual inundation of junk food. I’m intensely curious to see what happens. I’m almost fifty— things start to break down. I’m no longer under warranty, so to speak, and one of the things that I hope to preserve is my mind. You know, no more ten minute search parties looking for my keys, or wallet, or sock, or shoes. Stuff like that.

I’ve written fifty thousand words in my current book, and this dietary change makes me ask the question: will I write better or more efficiently if I’m not standing at the sink, mindlessly chewing cookies like a very tall cow that wears underwear and a contented smile?

We shall see. I’m going to go two full weeks (also time to recover from the Man Flu, of course) and see what happens.

Between this, the pushups, and wearing a FitBit, I might not survive.

I have a cold. I will die soon.

There’s no getting around it.

My son, the World’s Largest Eight Year Old, has infected me with a virulent form of the rhinovirus, which may or may not be a combination of the following diseases:

The Bubonic Plague



A Random Tropical Fever


These have combined for the following symptoms:


Producing more snot than my current body weight.


More snot.



I write this as a farewell to you all, and only ask that you eat pie, waffles, and Oreo thins at my funeral.

Good day.


Virginia. So Much More Than Ham.

I’ll be in one of my favorite cities next week, Roanoke, Virginia. I’m speaking at the Roanoke Regional Writer’s Conference. It’s on the beautiful campus of Hollins University.

I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating: Virginia is incredible. It’s just so American, and Roanoke is a shining example of a great town. If you haven’t been– go. See the star. See the town. See the people. They’re Virginians, so they’re steeped in history with the friendliness of the South, and the sights of the North.

Roanoke Writer’s Conference.

I can’t say enough good things about this event. It’s a wide spectrum of thinkers, writers, and writing styles wrapped up in an atmosphere of sharing– and there is an unmistakable joy for the written word. It’s my second year, and an absolute highlight for me.

In case you’re still not sold on Roanoke, let’s recap some things: The star!

Rivers, nature, and bridges that are statistically likely to terrify nearly one third of all humans!

And, of course– the city itself. Lovely.

So, to sum up: Books, fun, ham, Roanoke, coffee, friends, and nature. Can’t wait.

St. Olaf and the Golden Girls

I may have mentioned I married a Norwegian Lutheran, who comes from a family filled with other Norwegian Lutherans.

Upon meeting my mother-in-law to be, she mentioned that she graduated from St. Olaf with a degree in home Economics.

Until that moment, I thought St. Olaf was a creation within the show, “The Golden Girls”, in which Betty White would relate hilarious Midwest tales of odd culture, covered dishes, and people being polite. To demonstrate Gwen’s skill at All Things American, I humbly offer you the salad she fixed for me tonight. Sundays are known as Family Day, which naturally includes dinner.

Dinner is always excellent.

As exhibit one of just what a Norwegian Lutheran with a degree in Home Economics and thirty years’ teaching experience considers a side salad, take a look:

It’s magnificent. Color, balance, crispness, variety– it’s all here. Even the dish radiates America, but politely.

Oh, and St. Olaf has a world class choir, filled with Midwestern sopranos that make every day seem like Christmas. It’s beautiful.

I’ll have book news this week. Cheers.

Come For The Waffles. Stay For The Magic.

Come For The Waffles. Stay For The Magic.

That’s the new tagline for Halfway Dead.

Whaddaya think? I’m having our friend/neighbor/superkid Emma make mugs that will have that saying on one side and a moon made out of waffles on the other, I plan on giving a couple dozen away between now and the publication date (July 10).

Here’s the cover– tell me what you think? If you click on the link, you can add it to your list on Goodreads, I’d appreciate it.

Goodreads: Halfway Dead Linky

What’s the verdict, friends? 🙂


On Naming A French Canadian Villain

Conversation This Week With Friend From Canada:

“Hey, can you translate something for me?”

“Sure, What?”

“I’m naming a villain, want to know if there is a local term for a word.”

“What word?”

“The bad guy is named Shiver.”

“That’s kinda stupid, but the translation is frisson.”

“I already knew that.”

“Then why did you ask? And how do you know? Do you speak French?”

“No, but I know that word. I thought there would be a, I don’t know, different dialect or something.”

“Do you seriously think we just sit around and create words to explain the cold weather? Is that it?” (Testily)

“Sort of.”

“Like we’re all just snowbound, running around speaking made-up French words?” (Testier)

“Hey, you’re the one who told me you have a maple syrup reserve.”

“. . . . “

“Well? Are you there?”

“Yeah. I guess I did mention that. Touche’.”

“Don’t touch me, meanie. See? I do know French.”

“Whatever. Bye.”

When Kittens Attack

I love kittens, but they’re lethal killers in training.

Let’s be candid. It takes a brave human to say they dislike kittens. We now have three of them, born in the closet just like the previous litter three years ago. The mother, Pumpkin, is essentially a feral cat who lives in our home. We’re proponents of fixing animals for their health and safety, but Pumpkin. . . .well, she prefers to do things her own way.

The Escape.

We had a rather robust storm some months back that caused a previously sound door to fly open. Cats escaped. Cats came back. Missy is, in all ways, a Cat Whisperer. Without her efforts, we would still be waving cans of tuna around the back yard in hopes of luring Pumpkin back into her home.
Pumpkin did not. 

Enter Georgie. Literally.

Georgie is a battle-scarred tomcat who has several qualities: he’s lovable, fertile, and produces the nicest kittens I’ve ever seen. We recently began seducing him with warm pillows. This is Georgie.

Georgie and Pumpkin are like Liz Taylor and Richard Burton. They were meant to be together. And darned if they don’t make beautiful babies, who are all whisked away to wonderful homes because– well, look at them.

They’re unbelievably cute little nuggets of cuddlefuzz. Even the most rock-ribbed lumberjack says so. Let’s meet the current crop, shall we?
This is Flour. He’s confident. His brothers are Hazel and Filbert (Teddy names all kittens, and has a bit of a cooking ingredient fascination at this time). 

Meet Hazel and Filbert. They too are confident.                         


They don’t really have many worries. Not now. Not ever, given this level of kitten-ness.

The Attacks.

The attacks come between 1-3 AM, and generally consist of a darting streak of fuzz. You’d be surprised at just how loud ten ounces of kitten can be, but give them a running start, and they sound remarkably like a small antelope crashing through the bedroom. I’ve never had that animal loose in my home; I’m only guessing based on decades of watching nature shows. I think it’s legally required that nature programs show antelope at some point in the broadcast.

 Oddly enough, having these little guys around makes life interesting, and not in a Chinese-curse-kind-of-interesting-way. I like that energy in the home as it helps me write more, and with a greater degree of charity. I haven’t killed a single character since these little guys were born. 

That speaks to the power of the– as our son calls them– tiny bubbas. There’s a lesson in there somewhere, but for now, I’m happy to burn through chapters while teaching them to drink goat’s milk and stalk my toes.

Gotta run. I hear purrs.



The Fearless: Book Trailer Edition.

It’s here. And I hope you love it.

I have the good fortune of working with great people. My artist, Amalia Chitulescu, and my graphic art specialist, Amber Dalcourt have teamed up to create this amazing trailer.
Let’s not forget the voice– Rebecca Cook is, in a word, stellar. She voices all of my audiobooks as well, and brings these characters and settings into vivid reality.

Have a look, tell a friend, and enjoy.

Things That Go Bump. At The Beach. 

And- as always, thanks for visiting.


The Fearless Series: Urban Fantasy by Terry Maggert