My Interview with the Shed Geeks!

I had the opportunity to discuss my book with the guys on the Shed Geek Podcast a few days ago. Part One aired on Wednesday, April 7.

Listen to the episode here.

I’m very excited to see the changes in the shed industry! There are good things ahead for those of us who make a living providing quality backyard structures. Shout out to Shannon and Kyle for what they are doing in this part of the shed world!

Another 5-Star Review! Thanks so much!

I am so grateful that another person found my book worth their time to read and review! Thanks, DeweyBoo Morgan!

Several of my friends told me this weekend that they did not even know I had written a book. I guess self promotion is not one of my strong points… I appreciate all of my friends who have helped spread the word about my work!

If you did read my first book, your feedback is very valuable to me! I am attempting to become an author and want to be the best I can be. Your input means a lot!

Why Write Children’s Novels?

Great question! I am so glad you asked! There are a few reasons I would like to cover in this post.

  1. I have two children, currently ages 8 and 12. They both love to read.
  2. I have taught at our church’s school since 2005. I have a passion for teaching children through interesting stories.
  3. So many of our society’s current book offerings are in direct conflict with my Christian beliefs.
  4. I love to tell stories. I am perhaps one of the most boring speakers to ever speak, but like to think my writing is at least tolerable.

First, my two children are constantly asking me to tell them a story. I believe that they learn more when information is presented in story form. The best teacher in history, Jesus Christ, used parables to teach important lessons. I really hope that my books are enjoyed by my own two children – and someday their children as well.

Second, the students at PVHA had inspired me to constantly strive for excellence. I am passionate about training the next generation. It is much better to build children than to repair men! I hope that my books share principles that help my students grow into the people they should be.

Third, I know there are good books available, but it seems that so much of our current culture is focused on ideas that stand in direct contradiction with Biblical morality. Truth is not relative. The world is attempting to build on the shifting sand of man’s morality, and it will all crumble. I hope that the next generation can find books like mine that build upon the Rock.

Last, I enjoy telling stories! I have wanted to write a book for many years. I talked about it as a young man. I have always been “too busy”. I teach school four days per week and usually work 15-20 hours per week at Better Barns along with my duties as a husband and father. However, I took a look at my life and decided it was likely never going to be easy to find time to write a book. Now, my first book is published and my second will be soon. I thoroughly enjoyed writing them both!

Thanks for sharing part of my day!

Not So Concrete

Today’s blog post features my very first column for Shed Builder Magazine.

I began building portable buildings at the ripe old age of 17. For more than a decade I’ve breathed in the rich aroma of sawdust and sweat. I’ve nailed, sawed, carried, thrown, caulked, painted, swept, and even laughed a few times. I have read stories about bold adventurers or famous icons of our day and wished my life could be exciting like theirs. Have you ever noticed that bold adventurers never need to shave, brush their teeth, or any other boring daily necessity? Well, it is high time that the world heard of some of the excitement we shed builders get to enjoy. I’d like to share a few of my experiences as a shed builder with you. Very likely, you’ve had similar experiences if you’ve built a few sheds!

                My very first job as a “shed builder” was to cut some shims to level a building. Do you remember trying your best to make a good first impression? Boy, let me tell you, I did forevermore cut some shims! Later on I realized my boss was just trying to keep me out of the way so he could get something done. Since that time I have used the same strategy to keep the rookie from slowing me down too much. That was my first introduction to the shed building family.

                Early one summer morning, my boss (Vance) and I set out to construct a 12×20 on a slab for a repeat customer. We drove up to the job site just a few minutes after daylight. The home was a nice place in a rural home addition, sitting just up the hill from a very pretty pond. The slab for the building sat about halfway down the hill between the house and the pond. Our customer planned to use the building to house some guineas.

                We exited the truck, stretched, and headed down to the slab to look around. It was a beautiful morning! Our summer morning excitement soon gave way to amazement as we surveyed the slab. Never had either of us seen such an interesting concrete job!

 The end of the slab which was to be the front of the building was pretty normal looking.  The right hand side was also reasonably straight and almost level. That was about the end of the good stuff. Everywhere else was bowing, sagging, or otherwise misshapen. We stood there, shaking our heads for a few minutes and wondering what to do. The homeowner made his way down to where we were and began to apologize. It seems that his concrete man hadn’t made sure his forms were braced well enough and the concrete got away from him. Then, to make things worse, the concrete man had to leave before he could do the finish work! Our customer owned a couple of radio stations and was a pretty smart fella. He did not, however, have the skills required to finish concrete. He did his best; it just wasn’t quite enough.

He and Vance talked it over and agreed to try to make it work. The back end was more than a foot out from one side to the other, so a 12×20 was out of the question. It was decided that we would attempt to make a 12×18 work.

We started on the front right corner and snapped some lines. With a little ingenuity, it looked like it just might work! Soon the right side wall was up. So far, so good. Then we built the left side wall. Things began to get a little tricky. The left side was the side where the form had given way, so it was a mess! We managed to get the wall stood, but leveling it was a booger. There were places where we could stick our whole arm, up to the elbow, underneath the bottom wall plate. (This is not standard practice, but the customer wanted us to make it work no matter what.) The back wall was tough as well, but we stuck with it. After a while, all four walls were in the air.

The trusses didn’t take long, and then we decked it. Everything seemed to be turning around and going our way. Our youthful energy and optimism propelled us throughout that long morning and into the early afternoon. The heat of the summer sun began to cause us to slow our pace as early afternoon turned into midafternoon. How we longed for some relief from the sun’s rays! Little did we know that help was already on the way.

I don’t know if you’ve ever lived or worked in Oklahoma. We say to newcomers around here, “If you don’t like the weather, stick around a few minutes!” See, our weather is pretty volatile. I’ve seen weather extremes on the same day many times. This day was no exception.

Suddenly, from out of the west, we heard the rumblings of thunder. Then, we felt a cool breeze. I quickly began to try to gather up our tools and put them in the building so they wouldn’t get rained on while Vance jumped up on the scaffold and began to roof. In less than five minutes, it was raining so hard we could barely see straight! We both ran into the building to join our tools.

As we stood there catching our breath, we noticed the water pouring in through the breaks in our decking. It looked like three sheets of water. We quickly noticed a couple interesting facts about our customer’s concrete floor. First, remember the use of the building – a guinea house. The gentleman had installed a floor drain in the center of the floor so he could just hose the building down when it needed cleaned. The building was going to drain fine, just not through the floor drain. It was the highest point on the floor! The only dry place in the whole building was that floor drain! The building was going to drain under the left side wall with no problem, however.

                After about a half hour, the rain went away and the sun returned. We slogged back to work. The roof was finished, the doors were hung, and we only lacked sheeting the interior when night fell. We decided we could finish in the dark, so that’s exactly what we did. The homeowner helped us with a couple lights and we quickly installed the sheeting. I finished loading up the tools while Vance settled up with the customer.

                We climbed in the truck, exhausted and ready to be home.  Vance started the engine and put it in gear. Remember that little rain shower? It had turned the area into a swamp. We tried to leave, but the truck wasn’t going anywhere. After some time, we unhooked the trailer and thought we could make a run for it in the truck. Nope. The truck was stuck fast. We pushed and pulled and tried for quite some time. We finally consented to allow our customer to take us to the nearest town. We climbed into his late model luxury car in our muddy, sweaty, work clothes. He dropped us off at the truck stop, and a family member came to pick us up. We returned home around midnight, worn out from a shed building adventure we have never forgotten.


Are you successful? That is a question with many different answers. For the businessman, the answer may likely involve how much profit the company has made. For the missionary, the answer will probably tell you how many souls have been saved. For the mother, you may find that she raised decent children. The former addict will tell you how many days they’ve been sober. Meanwhile, the drug dealer measures success by attracting new addicts.

Whatever success means to others, you should not measure your successfulness by anyone’s measurement but your own. Too often, we allow other people’s perception of us to define our course in life. You should strive to be the very best you can be, reaching for YOUR definition of success!

So, are you successful?

Another 5-Star Review!

Wanted to use my blog post today to thank Kristi Brown for her recent review on Amazon. If you have ever had a small business or a side hustle, you know how much reviews mean to potential customers.

For those of you who have already read my book, it would mean an awful lot to me if you left a review on Amazon. You are also welcome to leave some feedback on my Facebook page or the website.

There are services online where you can submit a book from Amazon to pay readers to review, but I have not wanted to do that. I would much rather get honest feedback from readers who don’t owe me anything. Just so you know, I will not be offended by a “negative” review. I truly want to improve my writing for my upcoming novels and I appreciate all constructive criticism.

Whether you take the time to leave a review or not, I want all of you to know that I appreciate your support!

Launch Team!

Thanks to all of you who follow along with me on my journey to become a better author! My first book, Three Men and a Barrel, has certainly been a learning experience for me. I hope you enjoyed the stories I shared. However, my real passion is for writing good, clean, character-building novels for middle grade readers.

My first novel in that vein is tentatively titled “Treasure at Fort Arbuckle” and introduces readers to the Triangle M ranch and the Mason family. Shawn, Cooper, and Amanda Mason (along with their parents and friends) pursue adventure through a mixture of historical fiction and their own mishaps. The goal is to have a series of stories built around these characters similar to the Boxcar Children, though with a whole different theme.

Several of my friends have offered to read through the book before it is released. Here are some things I’d like to hear from you about:

Does the story flow?

Are the transitions from historical fiction back to the present fiction smooth and easy to understand?

Are there any words or phrases that are overused?

Do the chapters need titles? If so, do the titles fit the content of the chapter well?

Are the characters true to themselves (i.e., does Shawn act like Shawn is supposed to act throughout the story)?

Is the lesson taught subtly enough that this doesn’t just feel like a Sunday School lesson, but with enough force that the reader understands the message?

Obviously, there are many other things that can be said about the story. I would really appreciate a thorough response from those of you who are willing to be a part of the launch team. I’m also hoping to have some help promoting the book. If you would like to join us, please feel free to message me on Facebook or comment here on the blog.

Where are You Looking for Inspiration?

My recent book, Three Men and a Barrel, is just a collection of stories I have shared over the years with my friends in the shed industry through a bi-monthly column in the Shed Builder Magazine. It is easy to dismiss it as simply a collection of short stories aimed at a niche market. However, I hope that I achieve a more noble result with the book.

If you’ve read the book, you will be familiar with some of the stories. And, yes, some of them are purely entertainment focused! There is no great message hidden in the skunk story or the story of dropping fireworks down into the bathroom.

Through my years as an adult, though, I’ve been saddened by the number of times people have told me how they were so ready to leave their job. Ask any person checking you out at a store how their day is going and you’ll likely get an answer about how long it is until their shift is over.

We are going to be working for 8-10 hours per day – about half of our waking hours – for most of our adult life. If our only focus is on going home, we are missing opportunity for inspiration all around us! I hope that some of my stories inspire you to look for meaning in your own work. If you are going to be there anyway, you might as well make the most of it!

Don’t dread your work! If your job is that bad, look for ways to make it better, or else find a new place to labor. Thanks for your time today!

Well, I started a YouTube Channel…

So, I’m trying to promote my books and they say you should have a YouTube channel. Now I have one.

Not sure anyone is going to be enticed to purchase a book by seeing that face, but I guess anything is possible. I hope to share some stories from my first book, Three Men and a Barrel, on the channel as well as share excerpts from my current and future projects.

My first novel is about halfway written and I still hope to publish it in April or May. I’m finding that trying to write a novel while holding down two full time jobs and raising a family is easier said than done!

Anyway, give the video a watch/listen and let me know what I need to do differently. I have a great face for radio, so perhaps I should simply record the audio to YouTube. What’s your opinion?