St. Andrews State Park, history and fun

This morning we drove to St. Andrews State Park near Panama City Beach. There is a barrier reef there with a swimming area where the kids could have a lot of fun and hunt shells. The park is also rich in history and has a film and a lot of info in the vistiors center which we enjoyed.

History is frascinating, and a number of books which we have published are based on historic events in various countries. Some offer alternate views of history. A mind is like an umbrella–it doesn’t work unless it is open. Check out the authors at and see what I mean.


Friends, goodtimes and Goatfeathers

Today was a combination of a lot of relaxation, reading, walking about, visiting with nearby friends at their home on the bay, and eating dinner at a place called Goatfeathers. The visit was nice and a good break after stolling through beach shops and looking at local art.

Now horsefeathers I had heard of, but Goatfeathers was a new word to me,  but I will have to give the place a good rating for atmosphere, service and food. If you ever find yourself in the area between Panama City and Destin, Florida, look them up.

Having reading material is a great idea, and I’ve been on my Kindle and into paperbacks both this week. St. Clair Publications offers a fine variety of genres in these formats. Visit us at .


Forest Gump and Bubba Gump Shrimp Company

Last evening we dined at Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, just one location of a chain of restaurants inspired by the classic movie, Forest Gump. Our waiter asked a lot of questions about the film, which I had seen at least three times. Amazing how many I couldn’t answer. The author lives only a short jaunt from here and according to our waiter still does book signings occasionally.

For our authors, book signings are a great way to get out and meet the readers and reach new ones. Tammy Mentzer Brown, Katy Oliff Ishee, Michele Doucette, Ron Cunningham and myself have done a number of signings this year.

I am enjoying the time of relaxation, and I’m glad that tropical storm Beryl has moved north instead of raining on our parade. Forest Gump and Captain Dan didn’t do well shrimping until the storm destroyed their competition. But I wish no bad luck on any authors with any publisher. There are plenty of readers to go around. But anyone who has an idea or a manuscript to publish, I’d feel honored to hear from him or her. And maybe I’ll meet the next great writer in North Carolina at my next signing!

A Writer’s Tool Kit

One of the relaxing things I am doing this week is reading an excellent book on writing by Carroll Dale Short entilted “A Writer’s Tool Kit” which outlines and expounds on the principles of improving writing. Though I found that I am already practicing a number of these techniques, I am benefiting from going through these practical points. I would highly reccommend it to anyone who writes or has aspirations to do so.

I am pleased that the rain expected from Beryl have held up and the streams of morning sunlight are pouring through the blinds behind me. I hope all have a great Memorial Day, and remember our soldiers in harm’s way.

North Carlina book signing in July

While we were on the way down yesterday, I couldn’t hear my cell ringing and had to take off my headphones. It was Ron Cunningham, my co-author on the true crime books which have sold so well, especially Conspiracy in the Town that Time Forgot. He told me that we have a book signing at the Historical Society in Franklin, North Carloina (which happens to be my boyhood hometown), on July 21st at the Folk Festival.

Franklin was also the hometown of Charles Frazier, the author of Cold Mountain. Another great book based on historical events. I’m looking forward to the booksigning, but for now, I”ll enjoy the charm of the Miracle Mile and the breeze off the Gulf.

Arrived at the beach house

When we got in our daughter’s van to leave this morning, one of the first things that I realized is how much everything has changed, even in the last 20 years. Besides the flip down dvd player complete with remote and 4 sets of headphones and the gps attached in the van, there were at least 10 more electronic devices on board for our 8 hour drive: 4 cell phones, 2 of which were smart phoones, another gps, 2 Kindles, an ipod, a ds, and a laptop. When my kids were small we played games with them on the road. Now the grandkids have things that my generation never dreamed of as children. But the trip was great, we watched movies and now we are ready to spend some quality time and be grateful.

Memorial Day travel

According to ABC News, almost 35 million Americans, like myself, are expected to hit the road this weekend on one of the busiest holidays of the year, and another 2.5 million are expected to fly.

A holiday is a time when our thoughts turn to getting away and relaxing, but few actually relax due to the hustle and bustle of travel. It would do us all good this Memorial Day to remember what the day is to commemorate. Our soldiers who have fought and died to keep us free. My heart and prayers are with our soldiers who are still in harms way on foreign soil so far away from home, and their families back here who are missing them and concerned for their safety.

God bless America, and God bless our servicemen and women.


Failure is not an option

I have always been thankful for thre encouragement I received while growing up from my family. I was made to feel that anything I set my head and heart to accomplish, I could.

If we beileve we can achieve our goals, failure is not an option.

This modern statement of resolve came fully into our vocabulary in the 1990s, especially after Ed Harris used it playing Gene Kranz in Apollo 13 in 1995 (The phrase was not actually used by Kranz during the mission, though he did write a book by that title that strengthened the use of the phrase). But at least one printed example pre-dated that decade. The following citation is from an ad in Field and Stream in October, 1988.

“When one shotgun has to do the job of three, Failure is not an option.”

Set your goals high and never accept less than your best.


Getting ready to relax

As we prepare to get away for vacation this year to enjoy some much needed relaxation, it came to my mind that when I first journeyed to the area where we will be traveling this weekend, the beautiful white sand beeches of the Florida Gulf Coast, where I lived for two years, it was just as Hurricane Eloise was hitting. Later, when it was easier to laugh than cry about that traumatic experience, I penned a few verses about it now found in the just-for-fun section of Reflections on Life, a volume of my poetry. I will include it here, and am happy to know that the forecast will be lovely for the coming week. And Happy Holiday to all.


In late September Seven’ five,

When at the Gulf, I did arrive;

Oh, such a welcome to receive,

The howling knock of Eloise!


A schoolhouse beckoned all about

In hopes we’d safely set it out.

An elder gent was brought in there

Whose hearrt was failing from the scare.


A nurse was present, God be praised;

With respiration he was saved.

Miss Eloise soon bade farewell,

And we went home to rest a spell.





The Printed Word

The internet, smart phones, and e-books have forever changed the way we communicate. Though I love writing about the good old days, which seem pleasantly nostalgic and conjure up fond memories of bygone days, I have no desire to return to them. I’m content with the blessings and comforts of the twenty-first century that our youth take for granted. That is one reason I am pleased to be able to offer many of our books through Amazon on Kindle format.

Still, there’s something about the printed word, and curling up in with an honest-to-goodness book that can’t be replaced by anything else. They can be taken on excursions where 4G service doesn’t reach. So if you still enjoy removing a book from the shelf and turning real pages, check out the work of our fantastic authors today online at or on an Amazon affiliate worldwide.