Big Moves, Sandhill Cranes and Writing

 

Please don’t gasp. Yes, I’m actually writing a blog post and not just relying on other talented bloggers to fill my pages. Okay, now you can gasp.

Actually I’m writing on my own blog because I have a guest post coming up in November and thought it might be nice to add a bit to my blog.

As some of you know I recently moved from my ‘home’ in Thailand back to the States. I must stop referring to my move as it’s beginning to sound a touch tacky, but I do still miss the quiet of Thailand.

We moved to a fascinating spot on the East coast of Florida called the Treasure Coast. That in itself got my attention. It’s called the Treasure Coast because of the number of Spanish galleons that sank off the coast during storms. To date I haven’t found any bullion or jewels lying about on the beach, but I do keep my eyes open while fishing.

My expectations of the move back far exceeded reality for me. Actually my wife, who was born in Thailand, wanted this return. Don’t get me wrong. I love America and the cornucopia of different people that live here. I just… well, the truth is I’m a recluse by nature and I’m pretty sure it’s in my genetic makeup, so I enjoy solitude.

STOP THE PRESS: My wife just yelled to come look. There was a raccoon looking in the front window. She, my wife, loves wildlife—as long as there is a window between her and the action. One other thing I enjoy about this area is the abundance of wildlife. We are in a Sandhill Crane area and everyday families come to our yard in pursuit of insects buried deep in the ground. The birds are beautiful and can be very loud, but that doesn’t happen often. My first encounter with a family of cranes was exciting. I was outside closing a window I had been repairing and I heard… you know the noise the Velociraptors made in Jurassic Park while searching for prey? Well that’s what I heard. I turned to find a male crane with its wings spread six feet wide and those prehistoric eyes staring at me while protecting its mate and young one. I excused myself while moving slowly to the door. We’ve made friends since then even though I refuse to feed them.

Osprey Nest

Osprey Nest

Featured image

 

 

Now, where was I… The biggest problem with our move back was my muse refused to move with me. She was happy in a land far away.  The good news is, as of late, she has been stopping by for visits trying to determine if she likes the new surroundings. I have my own office with a real desk and that seems to help. I can look out my window—which I do a lot lately—and see the canal and open space behind our little house to give the illusion of being all alone. I do have some very fine neighbors and not only are they friendly but quite an eclectic group from different parts of the States, England and the islands too.

And so goes my return to life in the States. The jury is still out, but if my muse stays then so will I. I’m also trying to learn the new posting method for WordPress, so please forgive the lack of… extra stuff

Have you made any big moves that disrupted your routine?

HEART WORDS

Isn’t there something about a story that touches you deep in your soul in a genuine way? You know the ones I’m talking about. Some books and movies put you on the receiving end of heart words or they make you wish—make you want—to be the one standing there and listening to the love of your life saying, “I love you, I need you”.

For me a book just doesn’t have that, I’ll never forget this book touch unless there are true feelings between two people or characters. The love can be physical or platonic. I’m a romantic and I keep wondering what happened to me. I mean, I’m a guy and I’m not supposed to fall for these kinds of books and movies.

I do enjoy action, thrillers, fantasies—which often have those scenes I crave—and most any genre for a good read and to see how an author pulls it all together. But my most memorable reads are heart touching books with heart words that leave me smiling or even crying. Yes, I have been known to cry. Not often. How ’bout them Bears!

I read that Nicholas Sparks was given a hard time for being a man and writing romance novel by his fellow writers. Having sold millions of copies of his books I would think that no one could or would give him a bad time now.

Is it hard to write scene that touch a reader and possibly leave them with tears or a smile? If you write it like you are there and say it the way you would like to hear it and don’t be restricted by a stone hard plot line, then the answer is yes. I believe any genre of books need something to touch the reader in the heart even in the most desperate of situations. I’ve known men; tough ones, who would never be caught crying or showing their sensitive side get up and leave the room when heart words find them. That’s a good thing to know that these harden, straight line people know what it means to feel.

Several years ago I wrote a book for my grandson to try and help him through the hard times of his life to come. I have tried on a number of occasions to read it aloud to my wife and others and I just can’t do it. I guess I’m a sap for heart words.

What does it take to make a book unforgettable for you?

Every person out there is the rarest of all diamonds- Nicholas Sparks

Tyler Hill's Decision newest book cover - 12-07-11

 Tyler Hill’s Decision

 

Back Home?

I can’t believe I haven’t posted anything since March of this year and people are still following me. Thank you all.

My wonderful wife and I purchased a house in South Florida July of last year and tried to settle in to Floridian life. Julee took to it with a smile and a feeling of ownership. One of her goals has been to have her name on property in the States, if only to show others that she is an American. The concept is a bit foreign—no pun intended—to me, but I’ve learned that when she’s happy I’m happy.

After 10 years in Thailand I too was ready to try life back in the States, but not with her zeal. To be honest, it didn’t work for me. Please understand that I love America and the people. One thing I missed in Thailand was the diversity of people that the States offer. I just couldn’t get my head around all the… rules of engagement and so I slowly slipped back into my hole, looking for the day I returned to Thailand. This post is a bit of a rehash of a previous one, but I do hope you’ll forgive me as I learn to blog again.

Well, we made it back to Thailand for three months and it was pure joy for me. For my wife, not so much. The weight of the world—and family— came off my shoulders. But as intended it was only a visit. I stepped off the plane back in the States and the bad leaped at me. I sought my hole, but my wife wouldn’t allow it.

It’s been four months now and I finally have found enjoyment with all the rules of play, family, expenses and those damn taxes, insurance, cable TV and the rest. I’ve also broke my addiction of watching TV too much. The best news is I’ve finally started writing again and it feels good. It may not be good writing but it’s good for me. I’m still an early morning writer which interferes with fishing, but I can do both—just not at the same time.

My first starfish

My first starfish

Big Snook

Big Snook

At the beach with our daughter at the beach

At the beach with our daughter at the beach

My blogging friends and fellow writers have been an inspiration to me and several have published new books that I hope to help promote in the coming days. Eden Baylee and Britt Skrabanek are two writers that will impress you with their talent.

I’m amazed at the people I’ve come to know through social media. All of you who read this simple blog have filled in the hole and I’ve thrown away the  shovel!

sas_2kindle Nola Fran Evie Cover Large

I’ll also be promoting my latest book as well. Not that many readers, so far, but it’s a great story with great reviews, take a look.

I hope those that follow my blog will continue and I’ll try to do my happy blogs.

About a few of the pictures of me holding fish. First, the big one was released and second; it isn’t cold. One friend commented that she didn’t know it was so cold in Florida, ha! It’s my Thai style sunblock. That day reached 95 degrees. I had no idea you can catch starfish with a hook. They’re a bit crunchy as sushi–joke.

Return to Thailand

Dannie and Julee

Dannie and Julee

I had been in the States for almost a year and fully intended to write about the differences between the States and Thailand. For those that don’t know, my wife and I had lived in Thailand for the previous 10 years.

Love that last

Love that last

I, along with my lovely wife, are now back in Thailand for a visit and to tie up some loose ends. I must say from the moment I stepped off the plane my body relaxed to a point it almost brought tears.

In the beginning of our journey, my wife was not that excited to move to Thailand—the place of her birth. She loves America, as do I, but I needed a change. It was nearly a matter of life and death. I have said this before but my wife has looked after me all our married life and even before. I’m a lucky man to have someone who understands my needs better than I.

I’ll admit I enjoy many parts of life in the States; food; conveniences; the ocean and being able to speak and perceive that people understand me. I do speak Thai but am often unsure if my point is interpreted correctly. But the States also brings back the sucking of the soul feeling I had when I left. Not the people—I do enjoy the mixture of people, but the rules, rules and more rules: from taxes, politics, insurance and electronics that seems to consume everyone. I’ve always felt that a cell phone is for making and receiving calls. That now seems the least of their purposes.

Being near my family—I thought would be the biggest plus. I once again became the head of the family—in my eyes—and it was an obligation I didn’t cherish. In my early life I was a decision maker and now that I can look back I see I put myself at a distance, what with work, caring for my family and providing for their needs. There’s much more that goes on, but that is personal.

One thing that came back to me was the sea. I have a small fishing boat and sitting at anchor or blasting through passes puts my mind at ease. My true love is sailing but the cost of docking is holding me back. I honestly think I am a thing of the ocean. When on the water my cares are far away—no matter the problems I face. Being on the incessant sea gives me the desire to write again. I haven’t written a word towards a manuscript in many months and I miss it so. It’s not writer’s block it’s the lack of desire. I’m still selling books, much to my amazement. I have done little to encourage readers to buy. I love them for helping me.

So, now, here I sit in Thailand soaking up the heat, the smiles, the beautiful people and with a feeling of contentment. My wife is also happier in Thailand than our past year in the States. She went through hell for reasons of her own and others. So we have decision to make.

After being here for over a month we both want to return to the States, but with changes that will benefit us. If I lose it again then I have a home here in Thailand. I went to the immigration office we visited so many times before and the officers were so happy to see us again. The lady in charge didn’t want to give me a 30 day extension—she wanted me to stay and offered another 1 year visa. Hard to imagine how wonderful the people are we come in contact with.

I’m getting old—yes, it’s true—and I still have dreams of crossing oceans. It might not happen but if it does I have to be in the States to make it a reality.

Sorry to drag this on. I should break it up but the thrill of writing, even this little post, is so exciting and I know you’ll forgive me. There are so many people in the reading and writing world that have touched me and I love you all.

Reviews of Death’s Door by Dannie Hill

I try not to blow my own writing horn too much but I’ve been receiving some very good for my heart reviews! I’ve selected 5 from professional reviewers and hope you will take the time to see what makes me smile. These reviews won’t show up on Amazon (except on my author’s page)– I really don’t understand why, because each reviewer bought their own copy of the book. They do show up at Goodreads and other sites along with several other great reviews.

I would normally cut the reviews to just a quick blurb but they’re just too good to cut up. I hope you’ll retweet, and tell your friends about my latest book Death’s Door and maybe give it a go yourself.

AMAZON

Paperback http://www.amazon.com/Deaths-Door-Dannie-C-Hill/dp/0982692463/

Ebook http://www.amazon.com/Deaths-Door-ebook/dp/B008IMBK3I

Barnes and Noble

Paperback http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/deaths-door-dannie-c-hill/1112082641

REVIEWS:

Well-written and with a complex, multilayered and compelling plot, Death’s Door by Dannie Hill is one of the finer books I have read this year. I could see this book sitting in a bookstore beside Tom Clancy or David Balducci and holding its own quite nicely. The plot unfolded at an even tempo, culminating in a breathtaking, heart pounding climax that had me reading the last 1/3 or so of the book as fast as I could. I did not want to stop, but I was happy with the ending. I generally try and point out the positive and negative in reviews, but I honestly cannot think of anything in this book that I did not like. Even the editing was flawless. Definitely recommend with highest praise!! (5 stars). J.T. Thomas; GoodReads, Barnes&Noble, Librarything, Shelfari

“Death’s Door” by Dannie Hill is an east-meets-west thriller in which the main characters, Bill and Dell, enter a dark and dangerous world as they try and stop a terrorist attack. The story moves from the US, to the Middle East, and back again, and we are shown an impressively accurate portrait of the two contrasting worlds. I liked that the author resisted falling into overplayed stereotypes, and instead treated all of the characters like human beings. Even though there was plenty of action and danger and high stakes, there were also relationships that gave the characters a relatable humanity. I loved watching Bill and Fatima’s relationship unfold, and thought it felt very natural. It also gave this novel more dimension, and more emotional investment than had it just been focused solely on the terrorists with the dirty bomb. I highly recommend this for fans of thrillers and political intrigue. (5 stars). Karen Matthews; GoodReads, Barnes&Noble, Librarything, Shelfari

Wow, what an amazing story! This is the first book I’ve read by Dannie Hill but I am sure it won’t be the last. Some people just know how to write and Mr. Hill is one of them. This book was excellent, not just for a self/indie pubbed book, but for any book. The prose was vivid, strong, and pulled me into the story right from the beginning. The author did a wonderful job of “showing” us the world he created, instead of just ‘telling’ to us. I felt like I was a part of the action from the get go, and the characters all felt so real and alive. They each had such distinctive “voices”, especially Fatima, but really all of them. The pacing was good and I was never bored or confused. Only the tiniest thing was that I thought the ending felt kind of abrupt, but maybe I just wasn’t ready for it to be over just yet. (5 stars).  Nicole Hastings; GoodReads, Barnes&Noble, Librarything, Shelfari

I won’t recap the plot (you can read that in the description), just know that it doesn’t do this novel justice! There is so much that happens, and it is told is such a way that you won’t want to stop reading until the story is over. There is action, a terrorist plot, sex and romance, danger, a trip to the Middle East, and so on. But what I think was the best was the way that the different plots managed to mesh together and create an unputdownable story. I thought the middle dragged a bit compared to the beginning and the end, but it was okay because it was just developing different storylines. It just didn’t have the tension as the other parts of the novel, but was still interesting.  The last quarter or so of the book I couldn’t stop reading it was so intense! Overall I’d say I really liked it. (4 stars). Cale Owens

I read this book in one night and am already interested in reading more from Mr. Hill. His writing is smooth and natural, always moving forward (very little back story and only when necessary), and he packs an emotional punch in almost every scene…too many to mention, but my favorites were when Bill was recovering from the scorpion stings and what Fatima did, the story of Dell losing his brother, and when Loretta’s kids were being held hostage with her. There was some powerful writing that delivered so much more to the story and the characters’ development, which is something I really look for in a good book. I hate one dimensional characters who show no change or growth, but there was none of that here. Interesting for a thriller/action novel where the focus is usually on the external conflicts, not the internal.  The details and the descriptions were perfect, enough to paint the scene perfectly, but not overkill to slow down the story at all. A very impressive read and one I’d recommend to my friends and family. (5 stars). Cory Banyon

Can you feel my smile and love for readers?

A Writing Challenge- from Karen

I’ve accepted a challenge from Karen at Karensdifferentcorners and it came at a perfect time for me. I needed a push to make my fingers and mind work together again. The challenge is to write a short story or scene as Dialog only, Description only and A combination of both. It’s a very interesting way to practice different disciplines.

Forgive me if I’m a bit rusty, but this practice has made me smile. Please enjoy and comment—good or bad, lol.  Thank you, Karen- what a great exercise!

If I have to pick a title for this scene—Afternoon Delight

Sirilak

Image from freestock at Dreamstime

Dialog:

 

 

“Sirilak, why do you work so hard?”

“Soon the dry season will be here and the baby will come in a month. We must have enough food for our family, Anan. Don’t worry, I rest often.”

“You must let me help. I’ve finished the new room for our first born.”

“You are such a good husband. My life would be so hard without you.”

“Ha. Is this what you call an easy life? It is I who is lucky to be the husband of such a beautiful woman. You will be the best mother to our son.”

“You are so sure our child will be a boy. I think a girl would be auspicious and there will be more children. You are energetic in your work.”

“Hush woman. What if our neighbors hear you speak so openly about our private life.”

“The women would be jealous and the men might try harder to please their wives. But I will keep my voice low because I don’t want one of the ladies to try and find out for themselves.”

“I’m hungry. It’s time to do your other wifely duties!”

“That was the best fish soup I’ve ever had and you… I enjoy the way you look while you carry our child.”

“Stop that, Anan. When you touch me so I forget that I look like an elephant and it is hours before dark. I don’t want you to see the fat woman I am now.”

“Sirilak, you’re not fat. You are the essence of beauty. Perhaps a special dessert will put me in the mood to help you in the garden. After all the sun is too hot for you to do any hard work now.”

“My love. I will help you prepare the dessert.”

Description:

Anan stood in the shade of a tamarind tree watching Sirilak, his wife, working in the garden. Her tiny body had grown so big with the coming of their first child he worried that she might do them both harm working in the burning sun. He knew his words must be gentle as he looked on, filled with the love for his woman. She worried about the coming dry season and the extra mouth that would have to be fed.

They had only a small plot of land but every centimeter was used to their benefit. He still watched in wonder at how the most beautiful girl of their village had picked him for her husband.

Anan walked out in the field and began to work alongside Sirilak and nudged her a bit just to have her look at him. He loved looking in her dark depthless eyes that shown so bright when they turn to him.   She smiled as he rubbed his stomach, indicating his hunger.

Sirilak’s laughter filled him with joy. She rose and pulled him to his feet and then propelled him toward the house. She looked with pride at the new room that he had just finished. Her choice of Anan as her husband was helped by her grandmother. Love had blossomed from the very first day and she said her special prayer of thanks for selecting the perfect man.

He reached out to rub her heavy belly and bent to kiss her, but she pushed him away and then looked around to be sure the neighbors had not been watching. He reached for her again, but she slapped his hand and held up a finger as she waddled faster to the house.

Sirilak watched him eat as if there would be no more food for the evening meal and laughed.

Anan felt his heart flutter at the thrill of her laughter and reached out for her. This time she came willingly and purred at his touch.

There would be a special dessert as she pulled him toward their sleep area.

Dialog and description:

The sun’s rays shimmered off the ground as Anan watched his wife from the shadows of a nearby tamarind tree. He walked out in the field and said, “Sirilak. You shouldn’t be out in this sun. You must think of our child growing within you.”

“It is our child that I am thinking of. We must be ready for the dry season. I feel fine and you’ve been working so hard on the new room. You can’t do all the work! What kind of wife would I be to sit while there is work to be done?” She sat back, wiping the sweat from her brow and gazed up at the man she loved. He was so strong and fit, but even in her condition she wouldn’t allow him to coddle her. It wasn’t her way or the way of the village.

Anan lifted her to her feet and placed a loving hand on her swollen belly and tried to sneak a kiss, but she pushed him away with a laugh. “Are you worried about what the neighbors might say? I will tell them I am kissing my son through my wife.”

“Always so sure our little one will be a boy. I would think a girl will bring good fortune to our house… besides, with all your attention our family will be large.” The look on his face caused her to laugh and hug his arm. “Not that I’m complaining, my love. You fill me with love when you touch me.”

“I have married a wanton woman,” he said with a smile that stretched across his face. “I need my wife to feed her man so he will have the energy to try and satisfy her needs.” He gave her a nudge towards the house and then reached for her again but only caught the sweet tinkle of her laughter.

Anan settle back in his chair with a full belly and as he always did when he turned his eyes on Sirilak he gave thanks for his luck and her love. As she moved to clear the table he reached out and pulled her to his lap. She did not resist and purred as he hand rubbed her swollen belly and kissed her neck. He knew just the spot that would make her want more.

She stood and pulled him to his feet, pressing her body to him. “I think a special dessert shall be your reward for loving me, husband.”

The end.

 I hope you enjoyed these different styles. It’s good practice for any writer to stay within a discipline to see where one may need some additional practice.

I’m supposed to pick three more people to continue this contest, but what I’ve decided is: If anyone wishes to join in, please do. I really would enjoy seeing what other writers come up with. Try to go outside your normal style. Since I’m a genre hopper it didn’t work well for me.

Post your writing at your web site and then post the link in the comments on this post and at Karen’s site. I look forward to some good reading.

Spotlight Post by Laurie Jenkins

IN SEARCH OF A SOUL

Laurie Jenkins has done a great Spotlight Post about my bestselling book, IN SEARCH OF A SOUL, along with an excerpt and background info. Laurie is a true supporter of indie authors and I hope you’ll show your support by visiting her great site. Spotlight.

The photo you’ll see of me is with my grandson, Tyler Hill– one of the many loves of my life!