Telling stories is what I do. Some writers create their art from the careful construction of words. As a painter wields the brush to canvas, they apply the keystroke to a page, layering sentences into paragraphs and paragraphs into chapters and all into an artful story with nearly poetic prose. I envy these folks and their talent, but it’s not mine.
Mine is a different type of art, more of the hammer-and-chisel variety. More primal. Mine is an art birthed around campfires, strewn on cave-dwelling walls or sung among tribal kinsmen, often inelegant, but sometimes capable of casting a trance-like spell. The storyteller’s art is woven, I suspect, in the DNA, passed from generation to generation. Storytellers have long been keepers of the faith, nuturers of culture and purveyors of the ethos that sustained a community. Stories have kept us calibrated through the eras. Connected. It's a tradition I carry on through my books to the best of my ability with the earnestness of one who is, above all, a story teller.
No Religion, Too: a sotted, spiritual recovery
No Religion, Too: A sotted spiritual recovery is a 95,000-word, irreverent, thought-provoking spiritual memoir that speaks to the 18 percent of Americans who don’t identify with established religion yet have a strong interest in unconventional spirituality. Think Wild meets Have a Little Faith.
As an award-winning journalist -- whose alcoholism, recklessness and belief that rules didn’t apply spun out of control -- I have both the compelling, unexpected story and the skills to tell it. As a former pastor and seminarian, I have the expertise to challenge flawed Biblical notions that have become commonplace. My life among the F’ups – the addicted, the criminal, the successful yet morally bankrupt, the relationally toxic and the cynical—reads like a Raymond Chandler novel with Mitch Albom overtones.
In the Company of 'Lesser' Men: an editor-in-chief's descent into the American prison system and back.
I had it all. And I lost it. I was the editor in chief of an award-winning local newspaper and then, one day, the front page of my newspaper showed my mugshot, not my byline. Above the fold. Inside Job: An editor-in-chief’s journey through America’s prison system and back is a fast-paced, first-person investigative report of two failing American institutions I called home, its prisons and newsrooms: think All the President’s Men meets Orange is the New Black. Inside Job humanizes and explains the emerging national story of prison reform. It is a stark portrayal of America’s criminal justice system through the first-person lens of a journalist (that would be me), who served 20 months for a laundry list of crimes including sexual abuse, only to be sent back to the do the entire sentence again.
Book proposals and sample chapter or completed manuscripts are available for interested agents and publishers upon request through our contact page.
Thin Places is a suspenseful contemporary take on Edgar Allen Poe's forlorn love poem, "Annabel Lee." Annabel Lee is a leading theologian struggling with mental illness and addiction whose reclusive life is upended with the discovery of a single gold leaf mailed to her three years earlier. When the leaf is tied to a chain of murders and opposing forces vie for its possession, she teams with a man as mysterious as herself on a journey to Italy, Iraq and the very gates of Eden to discover the peace that eludes both her and a world torn apart by modern holy wars.
Death of Santa
The characters from If Pennies Could Talk return in a dark humor story of a family's ability to overcome loss, clashing culture and changing times during the holiday season. Tucker Cantrell's old football buddy, Shane Williams becomes the protaganist, trying desperately to help his young family make the transition from their Deep South roots to the densely packed but largely isolated suburbs of Los Angeles. His father's antics throughout the quiet neighborhood forces his son to constantly mend fences with the neighbors. This wasn't the first holiday Williams' expected when he moved West to be with his dad after the untimely death of his mother.
Book overview and sample chapters or completed manuscripts are available for interested agents and publishers upon request through our contact page.
Coming Back Around (still in development)
Tucker Cantrell's sidekick from If Pennies Can Talk, reporter David Barrett is the protagonist in the third book of this ongoing series that evolves like Scott Turow's Kindle County. Barrett's sweeping success in exposing the corruption of Sen. Lockhart has changed his life in dramatic ways, including a move into the media scrum of the nation's capital. But Barrett is unprepared for the lengths those in power will go to keep it, leaving him exposed when the spotlight of public attack falls on him.
One man’s stark, gripping, and at times humorous education inside prison teaches him how to be a criminal for the first time in his life. As he prepares for his release to the life he once knew he faces a critical decision of what to do with the life he now lives. (Written with James Shank).
An unlikely superhero, the alcoholic drummer in a bad band must come to grips with his unique talents. When his father recruits him to stop a cyber attack on the American people from within the White House itself, Crash must finally become the hero he was created to be. (Written with Josh Bertholet. Graphic cartoon characters developed by Josh Bertholet).
Screenplays available for interested agents and publishers upon request through our contact page.
Lesser Men (still in development)
A screenplay based on the real-life events during my time behind the barbed wires and bars of America's billion-dollar boondoggle, its department of "corrections."