Gone ’til ’16

Howdy, everyone!

I’m sailing back and forth between NY and Nassau for the rest of the year, so I’m going to take a blogging break and be AWOL until the new year. Have a great holiday season with your family and friends, and I’ll see you in 2016! Holy cow, time moves fast. I remember being in elementary school and calculating how old I’d be in 2000. Now, I’m 16 years older than that. :)

In the meantime, here are some NY/Bahama photos from my last trip down there.


Good Luck on Friday the 13th – Here’s a FREE book!

Friday the 13th is generally known for bad luck, but today, your luck is good – You can get a FREE copy of The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge through November 17th. If you want to see some real bad luck, check out Old Man Stuckey’s victims.

Click HERE to get your FREE Kindle!


In 1901, the Virginia Bridge & Iron Company began re-building a fifty-year-old Mississippi bridge. In the middle of the project, they began discovering bodies buried on the banks of the river.

Legend has it, he was so evil, he was even thrown out of the notorious Dalton Gang. Years later, he opened an inn near the river, and on foggy nights, boatmen witnessed him pacing back and forth across the bridge, waving his lantern, offering travelers a hot meal and a soft bed.

Those unfortunate enough to take him up on the hospitality were often never seen again.

To this day, eerie experiences are still reported around the bridge that now bears his name. If you travel down to Stuckey’s Bridge, be careful, for not much else is known about the man locals refer to as Old Man Stuckey…until now.

Click HERE to get your FREE copy!

New Release and a FREE Book!

Culpepper4The fourth book in the Culpepper Saga – Culpepper’s Rebellion – is here!!!! You can pick it up at Amazon by clicking HERE. If you haven’t yet read any of the Culpepper Saga, you can pick up the first book – I, John Culpepper – for FREE through November 4th by clicking HERE. The four books are the continuing story of the life of John Culpepper, the patriarch of the modern-day American Culpeppers, from his birth in 1606 in England to the end of his life in 1680 in Colonial Virginia. Check out the book blurbs below.

Culpepper_1I, John Culpepper

John Culpepper was born into a privileged childhood, surrounded by abundant wealth, vast land holdings, and stately English manors. As he grew, he was expected to follow family tradition—attend law school and serve in Parliament, following which he would retire to a quiet life as a country gentleman.

John, however, had different desires. He longed to captain a mighty ship, to hear the snap of the sails, to taste the salty spray on his lips. To follow his dreams, John would have to risk being disinherited by his unyielding father. He would have to defy family convention. He would ultimately be forced to choose between the woman he loved and his mistress—the sea.

The Merchant ebookJohn Culpepper the Merchant

For hundreds of years, the Culpepper family backed the monarchy, but when King Charles disbanded Parliament, married a Catholic princess, and appointed an archbishop who was a Catholic supporter, the royalist Culpeppers found themselves at odds with their friends and neighbors.

Years earlier, against his family’s wishes, John had purchased a merchant ship, sailed to Virginia, and spent most of his time there. While on American soil, he received word of the uprisings that followed the king’s actions.

When civil war began, John feared for the safety of his family in England. He was horrified when the king was captured, convicted of high treason, and beheaded. Would John’s family be next? The only way to rescue them would be with his ship, under the cloak of darkness. Would he succeed, or would they all be caught and tried as traitors?

JC Esquire (1)John Culpepper, Esquire

John Culpepper was a prominent figure in colonial Virginia, a merchant in Jamestown for two decades and a resident since the disastrous civil war that shook England to its core. The Culpepper family, decimated by the war, had known great defeat, but none as heartbreaking as the tragic event that abruptly left John in the position of family patriarch.

He struggled with this newly acquired role, marrying off his nieces to eligible colonialists, sending some of the boys back to England, purchasing a ship for his sons against their mother’s wishes.

Upon the collapse of the English Commonwealth, members of John’s family escorted the exiled prince back to London to be crowned as King Charles II. Would the Culpepper family finally reclaim the power and prestige it had once possessed? And how would John hold his family together on two continents?

Culpepper4Culpepper’s Rebellion

John Culpepper thought he had done right by his family when he married off his niece to his childhood friend, Sir William Berkeley, the governor of Virginia. When his cousin Nathaniel Bacon appeared and began an uprising against Berkeley, John was caught in the middle. He did everything in his power to advise his friend, protect his niece, and honor the crown.

He was unaware that during Bacon’s rebellion, his own son was planning a rebellion in Carolina. John had spent most of his life defying his father and the status quo, but when his son was arrested and charged with treason, he was forced to examine every idea he held about his life and his past. The legal training John had rebelled against in his youth would now be the only thing standing between his son’s life and death.


Redundancy – as in being redundantly redundant

6a0120a85dcdae970b01287770508e970c-piRedundancy: the state of being no longer useful or the inclusion of extra components that are unnecessary.

If there’s one thing that drives me crazy in amateur/unedited/poorly-edited writing, it’s when the writer insults my intelligence by being redundant. I know it takes months and sometimes years to write a book. I know it’s important that the reader understands the characters, their motivations, their wants and needs. I’m convinced some writers and editors don’t realize it only takes a few hours to read a book.

Case in point:

I just finished a story that contained a side-character: an old busy-body woman who lived in the town. The main character ran into this woman in the first chapter. Let’s call her Mrs. Beeman.

Mrs. Beeman owned a cat that was unfortunately stuck in a tree and the main character got suckered into helping rescue said cat. For the next six hours, each and every time Mrs. Beeman’s name was mentioned, I had to stop the progression of the story so the writer could remind me who Mrs. Beeman was and force me to re-live her tragic cat incident.

“Mrs. Beeman, the woman whose cat was stuck in the tree, entered the room.”

“Mrs. Beeman, who Billy had helped early that day when her cat got stuck in a tree, stomped out of the room.

“Mrs. Beeman, yadda yadda cat yadda, sobbed.”

I am not stupid. I know who Mrs. Beeman is.

Keep in mind, unless you’ve penned a tome as lengthy as “War and Peace,” it will only take the reader a few hours to read it. We can and do remember the characters and the names. We don’t need to be reminded over and over of who a character is. And, if we do need to be reminded, then you did not make their entrance as grand as you should have. Write all the details of your characters at our very first meeting. Once the reader has a solid picture of who this person is, you don’t ever need to remind us again. Ever.

Give your reader credit for having at least an iota of intelligence. Do NOT remind them who Mrs. Beeman is or mention her stupid cat who has nothing to do with the story. We got it.

So, did you hear about the day Mrs. Beeman’s cat got stuck in the tree?

Celebrate All Hallow’s Eve with a Shiver up Your Spine…and it’s FREE!

Happy All Hallow’s Eve to all of you ghouls and goblins.

Just for fun, I’m offering a Kindle copy of

The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge

for FREE!


Old Man Stuckey is the perfect accompaniment to a frightful Halloween week. He’s a little bit Dexter with a streak of Hannibal, but somehow, he makes me laugh.


Pick up a copy…if you dare! Sweet dreams.

Click HERE to go to Amazon October 24-28 and pick up a FREE copy! If you don’t have a Kindle, no worries. Click HERE to download the app to your tablet, computer, or phone.



Travel Tuesday – Bermuda

If you don’t know, I have two jobs. I’m an author and I’m a musician. The musician part takes place mostly on Norwegian Cruise Lines. Here’s my office…



Here’s my desk…

This month, I’ve been sailing back and forth between NY and Bermuda. This is one of my favorite runs because we get to stay in one place for three whole days. Over the years, I’ve made quite a few friends on the island. It’s a quaint place. It’s clean, the people are friendly, and the cops don’t even carry guns because there’s no crime.

There are two things I love about Bermuda. First – the beaches.



Second – the history. I always spend a day touring some old place. The first picture is St. Peter’s Church built in 1602. There’s a cemetery behind it filled with ancient headstones. The second picture is the National Museum at the Royal Navy Dockyard.



52 Ancestors #42 – On This Day in 1865 – Benjamin John Carpenter

On This Day in 1865, Benjamin John Carpenter died.

He was my 4th great grandfather, and though the year may look as if he died in the war, he was 75 years old, so probably not.

Benjamin Carpenter was born 9 Feb 1790 in Franklin City, NC to John Carpenter and Elizabeth Upchurch. He was one of an unbelievable 14 children. He was a descendant of Captain William Vincent Carpenter who came to America from England in the early 1600s.

At the age of 19 in 1809, he married Nancy Rice. Miss Rice was the daughter of a Revolutionary War hero and came from a well-to-do NC family with tons of land and many slaves. Benjamin had some work to do to keep Miss Rice in the style she was accustomed to.

In 1810 at the age of twenty, Benjamin’s mother died, and shortly after that, his wife gave him his first daughter. Over the next twenty years, they would have a total of ten children. The first five were born in NC. In 1820, they moved to Greene County, Alabama where the last five were born, including my 3rd great grandfather Rice Carpenter. (Notice how they used mom’s maiden name as the son’s first name. Southern tradition.) In 1836, they migrated west on a wagon train with other local families (Richardsons, Sanderfords, Tutts) to Lauderdale County, Mississippi.

fellowship baptist church signIn 1838, they organized the first church in the area called Fellowship Baptist Church. They met in a gumlog cabin that was on the property when they bought it. The church has been moved and rebuilt, but is still active today.

In 1840, Benjamin was elected the county tax assessor and collector. The 1860 census shows he owned quite a bit of land and 18 slaves. The family was doing quite well, but something was going on between Benjamin and Nancy, as she was living with one of her daughters, not with her husband. We’ll never know.

In 1861, the civil war started and the bottom fell out.

31 Dec 1862, his son Rice was killed in the war at the battle of Murfreesboro, TN. There was also a typhoid epidemic that came through his town. A month later, 30 Jan 1863, two of his daughters died of typhoid. Feb 1863, his one-year-old grandson died of typhoid. July 1864, a second son died in the war.

He died 16 Oct 1865 at the age of 75. His wife died five years later in 1870. I don’t know for certain, but I would assume they are buried in unmarked graves on the grounds of Fellowship Baptist Church.