My Book Signing … and Story Ideas

earthThe Source of My Ideas

Funny thing about book signings. As active and engaging as I try to be, there is often a lot of time for reflection. Like when you’re just sitting around waiting for someone to show up.

Like today.

It’s never wasted time, however, because it gives you an opportunity to talk to the other authors.

I had an interesting conversation and received a good question about story ideas from one of the young woman writers in attendance with me. Namely, where did mine come from?

“I don’t know about you,” I said, “but I find ideas everywhere.”

For Instance
I looked up the name of an old friend the other day … Kenny Riddle.* He was a tousle-haired kid from down the block I had known for years, and then lost track of after my family moved.

At one time, he had been one of my best friends. He was also the kid who first made me see stars.


He objected to a comment I made about his play-calling during one of our street-tag football games and gave me a punch … smacked me upside the head, as he would have said … and I saw purple stars.

I punched him back and bloodied his nose, and we wrestled each other to the ground. I’m sure the other guys with us were thinking fight! … but a funny thing happened.

As we wrestled around, we quit punching each other and both of us started laughing. Then we helped each other up and went on playing ball, as if nothing had occurred.

I’ve said it before … kids are remarkably resilient beings.

My family moved out of the neighborhood and I lost track of him. After all this time, I had actually pretty much forgotten about him … until my eighty-seven-year-old mother, cleaning out shoe boxes full of old photos, handed me one she couldn’t identify.

“Do you know who this is?” she said.

ken riddleI looked at the insolent kid staring out of that old black and white photo and saw Kenny Riddle.

Standing in the driveway of my old house, his arms were crossed and he was leaning on the hood of my father’s old ’62 Chrysler, with the same smug look on his face as the day I’d told him what a boneheaded play he’d made.

I looked at that picture and, just for a second, in my mind I saw those purple stars again.

Good ol’ Ken. I hadn’t seen him since the summer of 1965. I wondered whatever had happened to him?

I put the photo on the table next to my laptop when I got home, where it got buried in a stack of bills and prescription forms I was saving for the tax-deduction section of my annual IRS filing.

Out of sight, I promptly forgot about it. It stayed in that stack for at least a week, until my lovely bride decided she’d had enough of my paper junk spread all over the kitchen table.

“Please, clean it up,” she said, rolling her eyes.

Ken’s picture was one of the last things I found as I went through the pile. I saw it and wondered again, whatever had become of him?

I decided, just for the heck of it, to Google his name and see what happened. It wasn’t, I thought, an overly common name, so perhaps I’d get lucky and find some way to contact him again after 50 years.

Wouldn’t that surprise him?

To my own surprise, I did find him … right away. But, sadly, there wasn’t going to be any way to talk to him.

What I found was an old obituary notice.

Ken had passed away in 2009. I was six years too late to contact him and renew our old friendship. The only way it might still have been possible was time travel.

At first I was sad.

Then I thought … what if?

*name may have been changed to keep him innocent


My books have all garnered some terrific reviews, and the idea you just read may appear among them soon. If you didn’t make it to the book-signing today, you can still see the stories I have available by using the Amazon link below.

buy now amazon

You’re invited to visit my web site, BROKEN GLASS, or like my Book of Face page. You can also follow my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.

Street Light was just selected by Shelf Unbound as 1 of 100 Notable Books for 2015

The Official Book Trailer for “Street Light”


Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.

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2 Responses to “My Book Signing … and Story Ideas”

  1. Mary Hackstock Says:

    Good post…I enjoy reading everyone of them. Love

    Sent from my iSlate


    Liked by 1 person

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