Posted in Creekside Cafe

On the Porch with Parker McCoy

It’s a lovely autumn day in eastern North Carolina, and I’m happy to welcome Parker McCoy to my virtual cafe.

Parker: Thank you so much for having me, Sherri. Happy to be here!!

Sherri: We’re almost kissing cousins, I understand you grew up in Tennessee?

Parker: Yes, I have always lived in west Tennessee. Lots of green hills and quiet country which always draws me in.

Sherri: How long have you been writing? Did you write stories as a child?

Parker: Well, when I was a kid, I often came up with characters. I loved the Dick Tracey movie when it came out in 1990. My friends and I would make up villains and draw them out and give them names. We never wrote stories. Just drew and made up the characters. I didn’t read a ton of stuff as a kid. I didn’t read a lot of books until I hit my twenties. I’m almost forty now. So, I have had plenty of experience at this point. But no, as a kid, I mainly watched cartoons and read comic books and played with action figures in a huge backyard for hours on end by myself. I think I was always making up stories in my head, but I wasn’t writing them down, which is what separates a writer from a normal person. We actually have to write these things down or we forget them. I’ve always had a big imagination, though. I really enjoy coming up with stories and would do it rather I put my work out there or not. I figure why not share it with the world, I may get a laugh or two out of it.

Sherri: Is Fairfax and Glew your first books? Tell us a little about them?

Parker: No, I’ve written other books under another name, but I also have Thinking Me Dead under Parker McCoy. Fairfax and Glew center around George Fairfax, who is the black sheep of his family and is also an adventurous dude who doesn’t like to sit still for long. Wally Glew is a private eye with too much time on his hands and together they go after thieves and other petty criminals. You won’t find murder or mayhem in these stories. They’re lighter tales with a humorous side. If you want to read about a guy who steals Marie Callender dinners, this series is for you.

Sherri: What are your plans for your writing future? Do you have more Fairfax and Glew stories or are you thinking of trying something new?

Parker: Oh, I have many, many plans for Fairfax and Glew. I can envision volume ten and beyond that. The farther it goes, the more interesting and developed the characters and of course, introducing new characters is always a thrill as well. I also love it that this series doesn’t take itself too seriously and so I can play around and have a blast. It’s definitely the most fun I’ve ever had through my many years of writing. As for other projects, I’m not currently on anything but who knows? If something strikes me, sure. I’ll take on another project but for now, it’s all about Fairfax and Glew.

Sherri: I have read several of your shorts on your blog. I like your writing style. Is this how your stories are in your books?

Parker: Yes, I like to focus on action and dialogue. I’m not big on lots of reflection or lengthy descriptions of things. I like stories that really move which I think works well for my genre. The first fourteen stories on the blog are written in first-person from Fairfax’s point of view. I like first-person but for a series, I don’t think it works as well. So, I switched to third-person limited so I could pop around in other characters’ heads which has been a blast. It’s opened up whole new worlds for me. But yes, if you like the blog stories, you’ll love the books. However, the stories in the books are longer but they’re in the same style. So, same style and more story. Win, win!!

Sherri: How did you come up with the characters of Fairfax and Glew? Did anyone influence their inception?

Parker: I’d written different books and stories but generally, with one main protagonist. So I played around with a buddy-type, duo story and decided it was something I wanted to do. I came up with Fairfax although he was named Kenneth Fairfax at first. However, I decided he needed to come from a wealthy family who named their children after royalty-kings and queens. As it turned out, there was no King Kenneth. So I changed that to George. Glew popped up on a search and then Wally popped right into my head right after. As far as influence, I think all my characters are a combination of different people I’ve met. That is what’s so cool about meeting and hanging out with a lot of different people.

Sherri: What or whom has been the biggest influence on your writing?

Parker: I’d say laughter. Anytime I quote a movie or book or show to my friends, it’s always the funny parts, even if the movie or show is not a comedy. I think that drives me. When I can make people laugh and forgot about the cruel world out there, I feel great. It starts with making myself laugh and then I hope it moves onto the readers. So far, I think that’s been the case with many. Knock on wood…

Sherri: What do you like to read? Who are some of your favorite authors?

Parker: I’m a big fan of crime and short stories. Edgar Alan Poe was definitely an influence. Donald Westlake was for sure, since he combined humor with crime stories. Charles Dickens wrote my favorite book- A Christmas Carol. I’ve also enjoyed work by Stephen Hunter, Jim Thompson, Ambrose Bierce, Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, James Lee Burke, Dashiell Hammett, and Patricia Highsmith. I also love just about anything involving Alfred Hitchcock.

Sherri: Do you belong to any writing groups or organizations? Do you have Beta readers? Are you traditionally or indie published?

Parker: I don’t currently belong to any writing groups, but I would like to. I just haven’t branched out in that area. I use beta readers and enjoy their input. I’m indie published and proud of it!

Sherri: If you could learn from or talk about writing with one person, who would that be? Why?

Parker: I’d love to talk with Donald Westlake and ask him how he churned out so much material, even when things weren’t going so well for him since all writers have tough spots in their careers. He really put in the work.

Sherri: If your stories were picked up for a movie deal, do you have anyone in mind to play your main characters?

Parker: You know, I have nothing against movie adaptations of books, but I really like to picture my characters in my head. When I see them in a movie, it takes something away. It’s like my imagination dies a little. Personally, I’d like to see two unknown actors handle the job. There’s nothing better than seeing a hungry young actor take on a role and break out.

Sherri: Parker and I are part of the Shameless Self Promo group on Twitter, we’re an eclectic group that has found strength and courage with each other. What would you say to someone who is just starting out as a writer or first-time author?

Parker: I would give them some advice that I saw Ray Bradbury give to a young group one time which is to write a short story a week for a year. At the end of the year, you have fifty-two stories. Some won’t be good but there may be a gem or two and you will have so much experience in writing about different characters and different scenarios. Writing is definitely a long game. Very few find success early on. Makes sure it’s fun for you and that you’d do it if you didn’t get paid for it. Focus on telling a story purely. Listen to family members and friends who always captivate people when they tell stories. Learn from them. They are naturals, even though most of them never write anything down. And lastly, of course, have fun at it! If it isn’t fun, move onto a project that is and have a ball!

Sherri: Parker, thank you for joining me at my virtual cafe, stick around a while, the fishing is good and if you brought some good Tennessee whiskey, we can swap some fish stories though I’m not much of a fisherman myself.

Parker: Oh, we don’t need to fish to swap great stories, and whiskey is not a necessity, but the stories may flow better with a little lubricant. Ha-ha. Thank you so much for having me, Sherri. It’s a real pleasure. Or a real McCoy, you might say.




Book links-

Fairfax & Glew: Volume 1-
Fairfax & Glew Volume Tew-

Posted in audio books, Book Review

Beard Science

by Penny Reid, narrated by Joy Nash and Chris Brinkley

#3 Winston Brothers Series

I am addicted to the BEARDS. I don’t know what I’m going to do when Penny Reid runs out of his brothers. Cletus Winston may be my favorite brother. He is mysterious, unique bordering on strange, extremely intelligent to the point of nerdy but with a beard and a sexy bod so it’s okay. He likes to fix things and people. He meddles. So it was not a big surprise to his family when he started helping the Banana Queen.

No one would have expected Jennifer Sylvester aka the Banana Queen to have been the one to blackmail Cletus into doing anything. Sweet, simple, little Jennifer who always does what her parents tell her, who has never even attended public school, wouldn’t be bold enough to try to manipulate the Puppet Master.

Jennifer is tired of being the town joke. She wants to find a husband. She doesn’t expect to find love, she’s just hoping to find someone who’ll be kind and give her lots of babies.

Cletus isn’t interested in sweet, virginal Jennifer. He wants a woman who knows what’s what and won’t be too much trouble. Jennifer is already proving to be a lot of trouble. He can’t seem to stop thinking about her and it’s interfering with his work.

Love and fate often have plans of their own that don’t coincide with the ones you have made for yourself. Cletus and Jennifer soon find out that all their best laid plans are about to be baked into a delicious pie.

Penny Reid has made me laugh out loud, nearly pee my pants, weep uncontrollably and fall head over keester in love with this family and their stories. I want to live in Green Valley with the Winston family.

Joy Nash and Chris Brinkley add their personalities and talents to this fabulous story by giving voice to these characters and making them walk off the page and into my life. I cannot say enough good things about this series. I even spent Christmas money on the next book in the series because I didn’t want to wait a full month for my book allowance. Y’all, I am hooked.

Posted in poetry

Laughter is my Night Light

Do not judge me because I laugh too much or too loud
Do not think I know not pain
You do not know the tears I hide
My jokes & jests are just so much camouflage.
I CHOOSE to be the happy clown
For one caustic tear like acid waste will erode this dammed wall—
And teardrops shored will then flood my soul.
You know not my fear, my guilt, my shame
The mistakes I’ve made the choices that blame
The monsters hiding beneath my bed
Those who call my name
The demons whose taunts linger in my head
screaming, clawing, accusing, condemning my soul.
The laughter chases back the night
Shoves my tormentors back into our shadowy corner of Hell—
They wait…straining at the edge of the light
Biding their time
Seeking the moment when they can sink their steely fangs into my fragile flesh
and devour my Peace.
They will not consume me.
I choose to be happy
I choose to be free
They will not enslave me
I will NOT give the monster succor!
They will not reign over me…Master supreme.
For I am the Captain of my destiny
Mistress of my soul
I shall not go quietly into the darkness
I will sing, I will dance, I shall give my words wings
For Laughter is the Night Light that keeps the darkness at bay.