If you’re a facebook friend you know that I attended the Commerce Library Garden Dedication last week.  It was a beautiful day and a sizeable crowd showed up to hear the guest speakers and see the garden benches held up by facsimiles of books written or illustrated by Georgia authors.  One of our books, WRITTEN IN TIME, is helping to hold one of those benches.  WRITEN IN TIME was penned by us while we lived in Commerce and the fictional main characters were very loosely based on our family.  The story starts out with our characters living in a house in Commerce that we did indeed live in for many years.  Our daughter Samantha helped a lot by giving us her take on what being a fifteen year old teenager was like in the present and what would happen if you were suddenly thrown back in time to a small town in Nevada along with your mom and dad and your seventeen year old know it all brother.

After the ceremony we adjourned inside for book signings and refreshments.  No longer living in Commerce it was pleasant to catch up with friends I’ve not seen in a while and to meet people new to me.  I had a great time wondering around the library, thinking about how much it has grown since we moved there in the late ‘70s.

Growing up in Chicago in the 1950s, one of my fondest memories is walking with my father for what seemed like miles – maybe it was, maybe not - to the neighborhood park where he would deposit me at the library while he went over to the ball field to watch whatever game was in progress. Like most kids at that time, my family didn’t have much money for extras like books but to me I had a gazillion of them just waiting to be plucked off the shelves and opened and read.  I’d stay there for hours reading and exploring and then I’d check out a pile of books to bring home to keep me occupied for a week or so.  Carrying a stack of books way too big for me to handle, I’d stagger down to the ball field and meet up with my father.  I knew he would carry most of them home for me.  Dads are good that way.

Libraries have become so much more than a book depository; they are our modern community centers.  They still have books that you can carry home with you but if you so wish, you can check out ebooks to view on your Kindle without even leaving home.  DVDs, CDs, information and entertainment in all shapes and forms are obtainable.  Computers are available for your use as well as other types of equipment.  Many libraries offer tutoring services as well as classes on everything from languages to knitting and gardening to genealogy.  Income tax information and legal advice can be had as well as other topics of interest. Book clubs are popular in libraries as well as creative writing groups.  You may go to your local library for instruction in CPR or to view videos of a local’s travels abroad.  Maybe you take your young child there for story hour while you soak up the silence in a different part of the building.

Go to your library and walk around; see what’s going on. It doesn’t matter if it’s tucked away in the middle of a strip mall or it’s big and bright with real plants growing everywhere.  Find something to read, find something to do and encourage your kids to do the same. There’s always something going on and you don’t want to miss it.


PS  Did I tell you that the mother of the guy I fell in love with and married was a librarian?  Yep!



2016 is already flying past from us.  I can’t believe how quickly the last few months have gone by.  The seasons have been changing as rapidly as have the presidential primary contenders and I know some children who are already looking forward to their spring and summer breaks.

 Bob and I are finishing up on #34 in the Survivalist series which is titled Lodestar.  Boy, talk about the pizza hitting the fan and a few other things.  The Rourke clan will be pushed to the limit in this one and some major decisions are made that will alter their lives once again.

 The Rourke family structure is changing as well as its leadership.  Bad guys are everywhere but the good guys are ready to step in and fight for their lives and the continuing safety of the world.  A new group of talented individuals will be introduced to aid in the fight against terror, a group comprised of our own Survivalist contest winners.  I hope they know what they got themselves into!

Soon to be released is Camp Zero, the first in a new series Bob and I are doing with writer friend Sean Ellis.  All six Rourke/Rubenstein kids are sent to a survival school set up by none other than JTR.  They’re supposed to learn how to survive on their own but little did they realize that they would be fighting for their lives against an organized gang of killers. Who do you trust turns into a deadly game if they make the wrong choice. 

The girls really get the chance to kick butt in Camp Zero and they all have to make some pretty serious decisions. Fear and uncertainty must be overcome in order to survive and family, they learn, is a powerful weapon.  I’ll let you know when both of these books will be out.

Once again I’d like to thank all the “good guys” out there who risk life and limb to help keep us safe.  We all know that no amount of money would be enough to compensate these people for the work that they do and all the **** they put up with but let us remember to let them know that they have our gratitude and respect.




I was going through some boxes and came across some tear sheets from articles and columns done many years ago. I saw this one and thought you might enjoy Jerry's take on writing using computers.  He and computers had a very rocky relationship. Whereas he could beat a manual typewriter to near death, hammering away at the keys with two fingers and slamming the carriage return lever, he was always concerned as to what he could destroy on a computer.  He never cared about all the wonderful, time-saving things these plastic boxes could do for him.  All he wanted to do was type.

Sorry about the quality and size of the print but I think squinting through this will be worth the effort.       







In early history our ancestors would huddle around a fire under the starry sky or deep within a cave somewhere, safe from predators, and tell tales of previous hunts and the bravery and agility of their finest young men. Perhaps stories were told explaining the objects in the sky above them. Possibly stories were passed on to the next generation, eager to understand the cycle of life and death.

The ancient Romans loved to throw dinner parties where their guests, who were required to bring their own napkins, would be served a wide array of delicacies, many of which would not necessarily appeal to our more modern tastes.  Either in between courses or after everyone had partaken as much as they could that evening, entertainment would be offered that might include musicians playing the top ten of the day, dancing women, acrobats or someone reciting poetry or popular literature. Table top discussions would probably revolve around sports figures, popular performers of the day and, after a few more drinks, politics.

Family histories were passed down through generations by means of the spoken word.  Experiences were retold that were either pleasurable or of a more dangerous nature which others might learn needed to be avoided.  Thoughts were able to be exchanged and ideas expanded upon or challenged by means of verbal communication. Understanding each other brought us together and we became part of an expanding civilization.

Once the written word became commonplace, our world was opened up for us to explore.  A thought could travel around the globe; histories of different cultures gave us a better understanding of what makes up our planet through ideas and poetry and literature that were now available to all.  We could read the plays of Shakespeare, follow dissertations of religious leaders and even try to understand and discuss the writings of influential political activists of the day. 

The next great creation that made our world significantly smaller and more accessible is the telephone.  The very idea of being able to pick up a plastic device, dial or tap in a set of numbers and then talk to another human being anywhere on the planet is just mind boggling!  In the few seconds that it takes to make that call you can make the recipient happy or sad, exchange important information, start a relationship or any number of things.  You can hear each other’s voice.  You have made a human connection.

The next major progression in communications would be the internet.  All the information known to mankind is now just a click away as long as your provider is available.  Google can answer any question you can think of and then a lot more.  There’s more information ready to be obtained than you can possibly use or even need.  There’s a lot of misinformation out there that you shouldn’t use but, many time, sounds much more interesting. 

Facebook and Twitter are our modern social clubs where we show pictures of our kids and grandkids, discuss our aches and pains and surgeries and give out more about ourselves than we should let people in on. I think this means that we have come full circle from the non-verbal communicator striving to make his ideas known to the tribe.  We have the knowledge and the ability to put forth our wildest ideas and deepest thoughts.  Then will you please tell me why we have lowered ourselves to communicating via happy and sad faces pasted onto wordless messages???




I just wanted to let you know that I was interviewed by YA author, Phillip Carroll and the podcast is now live.  Please check it out at   https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/yabookspodcasts-podcast/id1044942015?mt=2

We talked a little about the SURVIVALIST series and about the new series that will be out shortly called CAMP ZERO, where we follow the adventures of the next generation of survivalists and see what kinds of trouble they can get into.  The entire world is going from good to horribly bad and the Rourkes know that their children need special training in order to live through the upcoming chaos.  And, as always, John Thomas Rourke has planned ahead for their survival.  OR HAS HE!


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