The Vincennes Sun-Commercial


When I completed ‘The Return of Marky, Slash & Levy’ in 2008, The Vincennes Sun-Commercial, from Vincennes, Indiana,  did a wonderful story on my journey to writing Bks 1 & 2. To obtain a copy and find my writing on the cover of the Features section of the Sunday paper, took my breath away. I had been writing for little over two years and just finished BK2 and that was the largest success I had up to that point.

In the time since, I have always held hopes that the popular publication would find my reached goals a reason to cath up once again. After completing Barney & Lexi, Marky, Slash & Levy Vs. The Doomsday Device and Marky, Slash & Levy: Journey To The Heatseeker, I touched base with the Indiana newspaper, unfortunately, I had no replies. Upon completion of the picture book process I made contact and have not had a response since inquiring after new years.

If I have learned one thing about publications, it is that they each have a barrage of stories to report on and many are not used based on space or time.

I am going to stop with emails and mail a physical letter to the newspaper and ask if they are interested in touching base once again. If they reply that they are, then I am sure another wonderful story will be told, if they reply that the VSC is not interested, I will cease my attempts, knowing that I did my very best and will have no regrets about not trying my hardest.

When you try your best and believe in your dreams, you can hold your head up when you choose a different route to take. You just have to remember to Live With Passion!


When it comes to a successful blog, I know that the worst thing a writer can do is go days without doing just that, writing! But to be honest, life gets in the way, ya know!? I remember sitting down to write and I could not wait until midnight to finish a page and let you know about it. However, lately, I have been missing daily posts and I apologize, but this week, life has gotten in the way.

I was found liable for a vehicle wreck that my ex-wife had back in 2012 after my divorce from her. That wreck looks to cost me between eleven and twenty thousand dollars, that will most likely come from my paycheck. The very thought of paying someone the amount of money who has no right to take that from me, leaves my creative drive switched off.

I received a letter from the State of Illinois saying that I was currently behind on child support payments in the amount of four thousand dollars and was instructed to begin paying that immediately. If you have followed long, you know that my children mean the entire world to me! I have made every payment to my sons and because of a new system of calculation, I owe more money.

I was blessed to have a wonderful anonymous friend help repair my Jimmy last week. I can not be more touched at such kindness! Driving it to my ‘paycheck’ job, I worry that it may not last long due to the transmission slipping very badly and will soon be completely out. I hope that it last for a long time to make good on this kind gesture, I would be saddened to see someones kindness be for nothing.

It will also be a while before Barney & Lexi are entered into any further contest. It has been five months since their last entry and looks to not be possible until 2015. 😦

However, this week marks the end of October and in a few short days, the release of Southern Illinois Family Living Magazine and Hoosier Family Living Magazine will release their Fall Issues! I am very excited and nervously waiting for their releases to see how the interviews laid out!

Before sitting down to my dinner, I hope you know that even with everything that could be difficult there is usually a silver lining, find it and Live With Passion!


Before I head to bed for the night, (Cub Scout Fall Field Day is tomorrow and my wife and I are taking our children) I want to take the time to share two miracles that happen on this day.

Miracle #1 happened when my wife discovered that a medical garnishment that had been taking a portion of her weekly paycheck, was given back to her, allowing her to have a full paycheck for the first time in a long while.

Miracle #2 happened at my ‘paycheck’ job. I answered a telephone call to find a mechanic on the other end, telling me that a friend of mine had offered to pay to have my Jimmy looked at and fixed if possible. The mechanic would not tell me the mystery friends name, leaving me to feel very humbled and grateful at the same time.

Today has taught me that faith and prayer to my God has blessed me greatly and for that I am thankful for the positive afternoon. Whatever your belief have faith and trust that you have the best ahead of you!!

Live With Passion!

Down And Out In Beverly Hills

In the event that I have never mentioned the subject to you, I will begin with what happen and go from there.

Two and a half years ago, my ex-wife had a wreck, two weeks after my divorce from her. She was texting while drive home from her work. She did damage to other vehicles and sent a person to the hospital. Upon investigation, my ex-wife did not have insurance on the vehicle.

When my divorce was finalized, I left her the vehicle because her and I share three wonderful sons and they would need a means to travel. In the courtroom, I was ordered by the judge overseeing my divorce, to release and claim to the vehicle that I was giving to my ex-wife. I took my belongings out of the vehicle and signed the title and walked away. Two weeks later, my ex-wife would have the accident and it was later found out that she had not taken the signed title into the drivers branch to have placed into her name, leaving mine on the title to the vehicle.

I have, since then, been in a legal battle with the large insurance company of Hastings Mutual Insurance. I am being sued for between 10 thousand and 20 thousand dollars for my ex-wife’s wreck.

Flash forward, two years and a half years later, I had to take out a loan for a couple of thousand dollars to hire a Chicago based attorney to fight my legal battle in my absence because I live four and a half hours away from Chicago. My attorney has tried to have my case dismissed and has worked on clearing me of this situation for the past month.

Regrettably today, my attorney informed me that the judge was not going to dismiss my case. That will leave me liable for the funds incurred by my ex-wife’s wreck. The law states that Hastings Mutual Insurance can take up to 30% of my paycheck on top of what my sons receive in the form of child support. That would be 55% of my weekly pay that would be gone.

My only hope is that my attorneys request to have my hearing moved to my home county, allowing me to defend myself alone, will be granted. The same judge will have to grant that and I am not at sure it I will be granted that or not. I will not know until December if I will be able to defend myself or not.

Should I lose the good fight, it will almost surely be the short-term death of my writing career. I will not be able to take care of basic needs, therefore, contest fees, editorial fees, illustration fees and anything that will help my books that will cost money will be placed on the chopping block. To think that I have been doing this for over a decade now and no longer be able to afford my dream is heartbreak and upsetting.

I have never asked since I began this blog in 2009, but, can you help me???

Gone but not forgotten

108_3828This morning, I climbed into my Jimmy and found it would not start. I then robbed my wonderful wife of her vehicle and went to my ‘paycheck’ job. While on my lunch I returned home to find that it would turn over but make a loud, thumping sound that shook the entire vehicle. After many attempts my Jimmy would not start and the shaking would get worse, so I turned it off. In short, it appears that it may be the end of the line for my Jimmy.

I can’t complain however, out of the 6,224 miles driven on the picture book assignment, my Jimmy helped me cover over 5,000 of those miles. I can remember driving through creek beds in four-wheel-drive and driving through a blizzard in comfort while taking so many shots.

Before I return to work, I can say that I will look into repairs, but for now, it looks like this author is walking to work. Feel free to share one dollar, LOL!


Remember to LIVE WITH PASSION!!!


This week, I have been able to visit with my aunt from Vermont, a cousin and grandmother. I had family in my home last night for the first time since the house was purchased. I felt a warm sense of serenity last night as we sat around and talked, while our kids played on the floor in the living room.

All too often, I feel alone when it comes to my personal family, excluding my wife and children, and I felt much more alive with the intereaction with them. The only thing that would have made it better, would have been if my wife had not of had to work.


Live With Passion!!

It Could Always Be Worse

field of faithOne thing, that I often hear in my life, is the saying, “You should walk a mile in my shoes.” I often wonder why others say that, to imply that another’s life is so much worse than the person that they are talking to. Do we need our lives to be worse so we can make others feel bad for having something nicer?

I have known many others who purchase a new vehicle, build their own home or have a home filled with many nice things, say they live paycheck to paycheck and that I should be thankful I do not have to walk in their shoes. To be honest with you, I am thankful I do not walk in others shoes. The reason? Because of the old saying, “There is always someone out there who has it worse.”

I wake up at 6:30 in the morning, (it used to be 5:30) and I need a crane to get myself out of bed and ready for my ‘paycheck’ job. But my dragging feet hit the ground and the very first thought that enters my mind, every time, is thought of being grateful that I am able to simply put my feet on the ground. I then think of how many others can not walk on their own and realize that my groggy morning has started off so much better than others.

I walk out my back door and down the steps as my wife, who works at night for Toyota, climbs the steps as she comes home, kisses me and says have a good day as she goes into the house. I regret that I do not see my wonderful wife very much in a work week. I often feel like a single parent of four children. But, that kiss, followed by a wonderful smile leaves me reminded that this wonderful woman is my wife and is in my life.

I climb into my ’96 Jimmy, which looks very well still for its age and mileage, but is beginning to have transmission trouble, and sometimes think about having a brand new vehicle that I feel good driving and is dependable in the foreseeable future. I then thank my God for having a vehicle to drive, especially as the weather becomes cooler and I see others riding a bicycle to travel.

I go to my ‘paycheck’ job for nine hours and bear witness to other personalities that can be happy/sad, optimistic/pessimistic, up/down, nice/rude or mature/dramatic. Yet for those nine hours I remember why I work and when my family enters my mind, I thank my God again, while at times, overwhelmed and underpaid, I am grateful for my pay that is always correct and finished on time.

At five, I return home to my wife, who is preparing to head to work. I only have 20 minutes before she is gone again. At times, instead of being able to spend that time together, it is spent meeting the needs of an 11, two 6 and one 5 year olds needs. Hungry, thirsty, tired, where is this and where is that and he/she won’t leave me alone. Before I know, my wife is gone and I am working on Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, Church, dishes, laundry and hoping I am able to work on my books before I lay down. But, I love the sounds my children’s voices make! I love that they need us, I love that I have 20 minutes with my wife in the evening and not 20 seconds as I do in the morning. Running everywhere like mad means I get to see our 11-year-old spend time with his Boy Scout friends, our 6-year-old son learn the Cub Scout promise, our 6-year-old daughter play games at Girl Scouts and our 5-year-old son jump for joy over Skylanders! Then to finish a crazy week in church with all of them and my wife leaves me feeling blessed!

I spend my evenings mowing the lawn, doing dishes, folding laundry, cooking dinner and helping with homework. If I am lucky, I am able to sit down at my desk at 9 or 10p.m. and work on an interview or an illustration or enter a contest. I haven’t written in six months which completely drives me for a loop, but my children come first and my wife is the closest second possible. Then it happens again, I am thankful for clean dishes, laundry in my drawer, food in our stomachs and homework competed. I add that on top with, writing my sixth book, having 532 likes on my Facebook page and growing, 10,050 views on this blog and two more illustrations being created by Danny Kluis Limited and I know they will look amazing!

When all is done, I am taking a shower after midnight and laying down, knowing that in five hours, I will get up and begin the cycle again. You know it then happens again! I enjoy my warm shower at midnight and love the feeling of warming up in my comfortable bed as I go to sleep.

Can someone else have it worse? You bet! Should I be glad I don’t walk in someone elses shoes? I am already glad to begin with. So, when I hear I should walk a mile in other shoes, live their life or survive on their income, a peace comes over me. With so much in my own life to be thankful for, I want to leave others the opportunity to be thankful also! 🙂

Here are a couple more quotes, I live by!

“What is necessary to change a person, is to change his awareness of himself.” -Abraham H. Maslow-

“Success follows doing what you want to do. There is no other way to be successful.” -Malcolm Forbes-

“There can be no transforming of darkness into light and of apathy into movement without emotion.” -Carl Jung-

“It is not enough to be busy, the question is, what are we busy for?” -Henry David Thoreau-

Live With Passion!

Inspiration, Part Two

This past weekend, my family and I went to my wife’s work for Toyota’s Fall Family Day and in the processes, wore everyone out, including me. We spent almost five hours in the windy afternoon (it started off quite cool) and had an amazing time with balloon characters, pumpkin decorating, hamburgers, hotdogs, drinks, bounce houses and bungee bouncers. It was a great time.

A great time that would find everyone asleep early and our son, Ethan and I sick at night and throwing up headaches brought on by the all day wind. You ever notice how you feel better afterwords, (we both felt much better)?

It was an inspiring weekend that ended with Sunday Church and has prompted me to list a handful more of some of my favorite sayings. I hope they touch you and help you have a wonderful Tuesday and rest of the week!!

“We must cultivate our own garden.” -Voltaire-

“We cannot think in one way, and act in another.” -Thomas Troward-

“We accomplish things by directing our desires, not ignoring them.” -Anonymus-

“There is always a way, if, you are committed.” -Anthony Robbins-.

“There is nothing, either good nor bad, but thinking it makes it so.” -William Shakespeare-

“Nothing can resist the human will, that will stake even its own existence on its stated purpose.” -Benjamin Disraeli-


Live With Passion! 🙂