Let’s Welcome Author Greg Scott!

Today I am thrilled to welcome fellow Morgan James Publishing author Greg Scott!

Greg writes:

Here’s a little bit about me.

By the time I received my high school diploma, I had attended twelve separate schools. Thirteen, counting kindergarten. It didn’t take me long to figure out my circumstances growing up were different than pretty much everyone, and so I worked to keep as much in my head as I could. I figured, sooner or later, all those experiences would come in handy.

In 2013, I decided to write it all down. My wife told me nobody would care but me, but I wrote it all down anyway. She was right – I wrote 35,000 words of growing up stories that read like long business memos.

I found a hybrid publisher here in the Twin Cities and sat in on a meeting for aspiring authors in September, 2013. When it was my turn to share, the presenter asked me what genre I wrote. I didn’t know what a genre was.

I shared my not-yet-completed masterpiece and a few days later, they emailed me a reading list of books about stories and invited me to come back later with something better. I read all of them cover to cover. Stephen King and Robert McKee and others taught me about inciting incidents, emotional turns, editing, all writing is rewriting, and a whole bunch of other ingredients that go into great stories. Who knew there was a whole discipline to this stuff?

I put the memoir on the shelf and started another project I’d been thinking about for a long time. I’m a cybersecurity professional and I’ve read lots of how-to books. They all put me to sleep, except for the few paragraphs where authors shared war stories. I figured I could write a better cybersecurity book by illustrating the howto material with a story, and then maybe the public would sit up and listen to the threat we’re all up against.

And that’s how “Bullseye Breach: Anatomy of an Electronic Break-In” came to life. It debuted in April, 2015. It’s a story about how Minneapolis area retailer, Bullseye Stores, lost forty million customer credit card numbers to Russian mobsters, and what Jerry Barkley and an ad-hoc group in Minneapolis did about it. Real-world data breach victims should take a lesson from fiction.

I started “Virus Bomb” after publishing “Bullseye Breach,” and decided to try a different publishing path. “Virus Bomb” is a more aggressive story about what might happen if an overseas attacker gets serious about attacking the US over the internet. “Virus Bomb” doesn’t have as many cybersecurity details, but it does have deeper characters and higher stakes than “Bullseye Breach.” I also invested in the Jerry Jenkins Author’s Guild and “Your Novel Blueprint” course offering. I learned even more about the writing craft and did my best to incorporate it all into the new novel. Morgan James and I found each other in early 2018.

“Virus Bomb” ebooks are available now from Amazon. Paperbacks debut everywhere May 14, 2018.

I put lots of information about both books, including a growing catalog of character backstories and deleted scenes on my author website, at http://dgregscott.com/books/.

Jerry Barkley, my main character, is a middle aged, bald guy from Minnesota. He taught me that real superheroes are ordinary people who step up when called. Even when they don’t want to. I like his attitude. And for anyone interested in a few real-world memoir short stories, just hover over the About menu on my website at http://dgregscott.com.  These are way better than the versions I first did back in 2013. One of these days, I’ll be ready to finish that memoir.

In the meantime, I hope people enjoy “Virus Bomb” and “Bullseye Breach,” and learn about safety in the internet era. Cyberattacks really do effect real people, and when leaders like Warren Buffet say cybersecurity is the number one problem facing humanity, the world should listen.

I hope you will check out Greg’s books!

Finding joy, one little lamb minute at a time…


As I have shared before, it was a long, hard winter for Ellsbury, our aging black alpaca. Ellsy has always been a happy, docile, really shy guy, who absolutely loved his alpaca buddies. When Kahuna died this winter, we did all we could to keep Ellsy company, but it was if he was so far in his own grief and sadness, that he was kind-of mad at us that Kahuna had died. Yes, maybe I am projecting a bit, but no matter what, he seemed down day after day. He even reached a point where he wouldn’t eat grain from our hands or even from the bucket when we held it. He basically ignored us and moped.

Then his lambs arrived full-time in the barn, and it is as if ever single minute they are there, Ellsy comes back to life and joy more and more. He’s making happy sounds, he’s following them everywhere, he sleeps right next to their pen at night. He shares his grain with them. And yesterday, for the first time in over two months, he ate from the bucket as it rested on my hip, while I gave Lana a bottle. He’s back to looking us in the eye, he is standing up straight, he even ran a little bit yesterday.

Having a purpose — that of being the protector of the lambs, is bringing him back to himself. His mood is improving by the day, and what a joy it is to see!

Introducing Author Cindy Keen Reynders!

Today I am thrilled to introduce fellow Solstice Publishing author, Cindy Keen Reynders!


Cindy writes:

Why do you write?

I started writing because I had read so many books; I wanted to start making plots go my way. The idea that I could be the author gave me chills of excitement. It occurred to me that if other people wrote books, why couldn’t I do it? Sibling rivalry added to my competitive spirit. As the youngest in my family, it seemed my brothers and sisters had accomplished so much. I wanted my mom and dad to be proud of me. Plus, writing is just so darn cool! It’s become my favorite addiction to create plots and characters.

What has your writing journey been like?

In 1991 I joined a writer’s group and began attending conferences and workshops. During my first critique group, I handed out 10 pages of a manuscript for everyone to read. Pride and excitement bubbled inside of me. One of the ladies, a multi-published romance author, read a few lines and left the room in a big hurry. To this day, I hope it wasn’t my amateurish writing that made her ill.

After about 13 years of cranking out romances and mysteries, an editor called and expressed delight about the book I’d submitted to her publishing house. She wanted to publish it! The shock of acceptance nearly overwhelmed me, and I could barely speak. I didn’t believe it was real. I probably even pinched myself a few times.

I’ve had five books published to date and I’ve got many more in the works—either in my brain or in various stages on my computer. I’m enjoying the journey and because I’m a glutton for punishment, I set higher and higher publishing goals for myself. Retirement is coming up in a few months and I’m almost giddy about having so much time to write.

A perfect day for me would be to disappear into my office in the morning, a cup of hot coffee in my hand. If I had no interruptions, I’d probably write until the dead of night. There are so many places writers get to visit and never leave home. The beach, the mountains, and even back in time. Imagination is a wonderful gift, and it doesn’t cost a dime.


“The Seven-Year Witch,” Solstice Publishing is Cindy’s most recent novel. Here is a little about the book:

Novice witch Miranda Rose’s seventh and final task for the Supreme Witch’s Council is to find the legendary Philosopher’s Stone. Once that is achieved, she’ll accomplish her lifelong dream—to become a High Witch of the Wysteria Hedge Haven Clan. In a last-ditch effort to locate the precious gem, she travels through time to 1877. Hidden within a dilapidated castle tower, Balthazar, a powerful young wizard, refuses to relinquish the stone. In a fit of pique, he zaps Miranda into a field just outside of Merry Olde London.

Sir Maxwell Chadwick is the sole witness to a fiery ball of light streaking across the midnight sky. Curious, he investigates and is surprised to discover a beautiful young woman among the smoldering ashes. Captivated by her alluring beauty, he cannot deny his instant attraction.

Miranda appreciates the handsome duke’s assistance. However, she finds his well-intentioned interference annoying because it delays her mission. It doesn’t take her long to realize Sir Maxwell holds the key to her heart, as well as her future.

A combination of fate, impractical magic and the Seven-Year Witch disease take the lovers on a rollicking, star-crossed adventure.

Ebook: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07P7HT6YD

Print: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1625268777

www.cindykeenreynders.com (website)

https://wyomingfreelancemuse.blogspot.com/  (blog)

https://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn (facebook)

Are you interested?

Earlier today, I shared our beautiful “Do a Sam” tree design, created by artist Jen Lenox. The first few people who saw it immediately commented, “I’d love a t-shirt of that!” So that got us thinking…

Many of you know, after Sam’s death, we funded a scholarship fund at Otter Valley Union High School to help financially support a student who was just plain kind, supportive and accepting of others. We are very proud of the students who received the funding, as they are just amazing.

Having said that, we have decided to change the focus of the fund for the future, and instead are going to have it be either to support a student pursuing studies in social work, theater, mental health or environmental studies, or help fund a student’s volunteer work/projects in the areas of human rights or helping the earth. As a family, we will continue to fund this scholarship, but we would like to try to broaden it out.

So we got thinking after the t-shirt comments that there might be others out there who would like a “Do A Sam” shirt, pin, magnet — and that if we had them made and sold them, the profits would go to fund this scholarship effort. Who knows, maybe it will be so successful that we can broaden the fund to schools other than Otter Valley!

But, before we have boxes of shirts in our office at home, we thought we’d put it out there to the broader community. If we were to have shirts or other things made, would you be interested in them?

Here are some of the options we have looked at:


Here’s our question to you as we gauge interest. Would you be interested in such a shirt (no obligation) and if so, which option?


Do A Sam!

Many of you know of the importance of a particular tree of life for Sam. He loved the person who gave him the necklace, he loved the tree, and he planned on getting a tattoo of that tree.

Since his death, we have all used the saying, “Do A Sam” to mean living your life with a connection to nature, loving/listening to/accepting everyone. Recently, we have gotten to know an incredibly talented artist who helped us design a new tree for “Do A Sam,” which we love, and know Sam would love it too.



How are they?

Several of you have asked how Hila, Lana and Ellsy are adjusting to their new lives. The short answer is they are all doing beautifully!

The longer answer is that it is truly funny to see how they all are. First, the girls still want to make sure that their “parent” is paying attention to them.


Everywhere he goes, they want to go. But when he leaves them, they quickly adapt back to running, playing, and learning to be a little herd.

As for Ellsy, he has moved from being pretty hesitant to following them around, making sure they are okay, and sleeping in a guard position at night to protect them. Even when they go exploring (like checking out his grain or smelling the barn), he is right behind them.


And when they come into the barn to have their bottles? Ellsy either comes right in the barn, or stands watchfully in the door.


It is so good to see how much happier Ellsy is since he got his new roommates. He had a long, lonely winter, and with friends, he is perking right up again.

Introducing Author J.L. Callison!

As you know, I love to share information about other authors! I love to learn about how and why they write, and share information about their projects.

Today, I am thrilled to introduce a fellow Morgan James Publishing author, J.L. Callison. Make sure to read all the way to the end, J.L. is offering a gift to my readers!


Author Pic


J.L. wrote:

Thanks, Kris, for the opportunity to share with your audience.

Just a bit about me, for what it’s worth. I’m a long-time reader, learning to read before attending kindergarten way back in the days when it was all black and white. My third grade teacher challenged me to read, and I read over three hundred books that school year, including volumes A-H of the World Book Encyclopedia, ending the year reading on an eighth grade level. I made up a lot of stories but never seriously wrote anything, thinking I would do that when I grew up.

When in college, my EN102 tutorial teacher flunked me, and she told me to never try to write, that I couldn’t do it. She was a super-plotter, and I was very much (and still am) a pantser. For over forty years, I didn’t try to write, but I still read voraciously. It was not until I read about Louis L’Amour, that he did not think of himself as a writer but rather in the vein of the old-time oral storytellers, that I decided I could do that, too.

I wrote a few little things, but then remembering what my teacher had said, I threw them away without anyone ever seeing them. I didn’t believe the stories could be any good.

In January of 2013, I contracted the Guillain-Barre Syndrome and became disabled, unable to walk without use of a walker, and for only short distances then. I had been accustomed to working 60-80 hours a week and really didn’t have time to write, but now I had nothing but time on my hands. Bored out of my mind, I started writing a story that I had been mulling over since the mid-80s, a story of two teens who were kidnapped and flown to remote upper Maine. Their kidnapper left them at an empty hunting lodge but hit a goose on takeoff and crashed, leaving them Stranded at Romson’s Lodge.

Having no idea what to do with the story, I wrangled a scholarship to attend a writers conference where I met and interviewed an acquisitions editor. (I didn’t even know one was.) We talked about the publishing process, and when the next interviewee didn’t show up, the editor asked if I had written anything. I told him about my story, and he asked for the manuscript.

Why am I telling all of this? Is it because I think I’m a great writer who just happened to get found? Hardly!

My purpose is this: Don’t ever let someone else destroy your dream, telling you you can’t do something. I don’t remember who it was that said it, but a quote (paraphrased) that has stuck in my mind now for years goes something like this: “Don’t go to your grave with your song still inside of you.”

Each of us has a gift within us. Don’t go to your grave with it still inside of you. Don’t allow someone else to steal your dream or instill the fear in you that you can’t do something. Live your dream!


My most recent release is an anti-bullying love story called Rotund Roland. It’s the saga of a boy born with gigantism who is bullied for his size until one teacher and one girl stand up for him when he is in high school, and his musical talent is revealed. It has great reviews from educators and mental health experts as well as from those who have experienced being bullied at some point in their lives. One mental health expert in Canada is using it in a campaign to “Eradicate Bullying Through Love.”

My current project, hopefully being released this summer, is a Christian Romance about a grieving widower who has lost his childhood sweetheart and wife of twenty-seven years. A man-hating woman who was sexually abused as a girl is thrust into his life. His household is overwhelmed when his daughter’s soccer coach comes to them for temporary shelter after she is badly beaten by her husband. When a tornado destroys their university dormitory, the soccer team also takes refuge there. Life as he knew it was over!

Watch for Kateryna: A Love Story.

My books are available wherever books are purchased online and through my website: www.jlcallison.com Any books ordered through my site are signed and personalized. Email me with any special personalizations you would like.

For Kris’s readers, I have a special gift. I will give you, free of charge, an ebook of my novelette, My Donkey and the Master: A Story of Sanctified Imagination, if you email me and tell me you saw this on Kris’s blog. (Sorry, but it doesn’t work on Kindle.)

Contact me through the website or my email: authorjlcallison@gmail.com I love to hear from readers. Feel free to shoot me any comments or questions.

So, how’d they do?

Several of you messaged me to ask how Hila and Lana did in their new “apartment” last night. They did just fine! Yes, this morning they were really happy to see their humans and to get their bottles, but they did just fine.

Ellsy, well, he still is a bit grumpy, but he kept them company all night, coming out for his own hay once he heard us moving around this morning.