Wednesday, August 29, 2012


I suppose there are things in this world that we will never fully understand or correctly diagnose.  Cable television boasts several successful ghost hunter shows.  Occasionally I watch these, but never do you actually see anything definitively.  I am a skeptic at best, which is perhaps why I incorporate a lot of conspiracy theories within my Darkness series.  So I have to wonder if a lot of what is shown on television is staged in order to up the ratings.  Maybe?  Maybe not.  But since I am not on their set to see firsthand, I cannot easily accept their findings.

However, there are instances in my own life of things I have seen and cannot fully explain, but at the same time, I cannot simply dismiss them.

My two brothers and sister were staying with us the summer I was seven years old.  Around eight o'clock in the evening I hurried inside to get something from my bedroom.  As I entered my bedroom, this ghostly figure drifted from my closet and crossed the room to sit on the edge of my bed.  It remained there several seconds before disappearing.  I told my brothers and sisters about it.  Of course, they joked about this since I was next to the youngest.  I was concerned and a bit nervous, but I never saw it again.

A more vivid and frightening time for me was when I was about three years old.  We were visiting my grandparents in Middletown, Ohio.  Since I was little, I was sleeping at the foot of the parents' bed.  I awoke and saw people sitting all around the perimeter of the room watching us.  They were seated in wooden chairs.  I remember they looked like elderly people.  They were quiet and peaceful but their eyes watched us.

Startled, I was afraid to breathe.  I wanted to wake my parents up, but I didn't know what might happen if I moved.  The bed moved as my mother shook my father's shoulder and she said, "Do you see them?"

"What?" he asked.

"The people seated around the room."

I remember chill bumps covering my body then as I do now in telling you this account.  My mother could see them, too, and then they simply disappeared.  A few years before my mother passed away, I talked to her about this.  She still remembered it.  When I asked her who she thought they might be, she said that they may have been ancestors or something.  But had they meant to do us harm, they probably could have.

One other account I will share is what happened in 1994.  My wife and I lived in an apartment in Rainsville, Alabama.  At around one a.m. I awoke to the feeling of being watched.  Our room and the apartment was pitch black.  The only light in the room was our alarm clock.  Something walked past the clock, blocking the numbers in passing.  I didn't move, but my wife gasped.

"Did you see that?" I asked.

"Yes," she replied.

I came up out of the bed and turned on every light in the house.  We searched each room.  No one was there.  At least, no physical person was there.  My wife was nervous and shaking.  An hour passed before we attempted to go back to sleep.

These are things I cannot explain, but the events are true.

Have any of you had similar experiences?  Anyone know why events like this occur?  Please share in the comments if you have.


Leonard D. Hilley II

Monday, August 27, 2012

1000 words per day

Starting this week, I have set this as my new goal:  1000 words per day on my WIP.  Not just typing out strings of words, but one thousand quality words that move the story and characters forward.  I generally do a lot of revising and editing each day, too, so this will definitely plant my tail in the chair longer.

Well, best get started.  Those words won't type themselves.


Leonard D. Hilley II

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Tribute to a Hero

Yesterday as I drove into Morehead, Kentucky, I noticed a line of parked firetrucks and ambulances along the road beside Northcutt & Sons Funeral Home.  Parked on the other side of the street were state, county, and city police cars lining the ditch.  Of course, seeing so many emergency vehicles immediately catches one's attention.  About one mile down the highway I came around a curve and was stunned to see a firefighter truck parked at the side of the road with its ladder fully extended.  Hanging from the cherry picker was one of the largest American Flags I've ever seen.  They had the flag stretched out over the highway between several vehicles.

I continued driving but an hour later I headed back.  Dozens of cars now lined both sides of the highway.  People stood outside their vehicles watching and waiting.  When I reached the red light near the funeral home I noticed a firefighter standing at the corner of the intersection.  He stood at attention while saluting, and like a robot, he slowly and stiffly lowered the salute.  A few seconds later, he mechanically raised his hand to salute again.  I looked over my shoulder.  On top of the hill at the funeral home were four firefighters placing a flag-draped casket onto the back of a firetruck.  They lowered the casket and stood at attention.  One of their own had fallen.

Such an outpouring of respect and tribute is touching.  There are no words when you see so many people bestowing honor to a hero.  Not knowing who the procession was for, I researched for information and discovered who the hero was.

He was a thirty-year old firefighter captain.  His name: Joshua Eugene Ferguson.  Read more about him here: Joshua-Eugene-Ferguson.  RIP and thanks for living an honorable life the way you did.  You touched many lives, and we salute you.  God bless you and yours.  Forever and always.


Leonard D. Hilley II

Friday, August 24, 2012

That Aha! moment

I love when the "Aha" moment hits me.  I love surprises but when the muse springs something new on me about my characters or storyline, I become really stoked.

While driving this morning, I was thinking through the dialogue of my characters in my upcoming novel, Death's Valley.  Yes, I edit in my head even without my manuscript in front of me.  And something new occurred that I had not thought of, nor did I anticipate.  This slant will sharpen the edge of the story and unravel some previous mysteries that my reading fans should enjoy.  But the true wonder of the revelation is that this weaves the story together even better than I originally planned.

The Aha moments are reasons why I cannot rush through a book and shove it into the world for others to read.  Writing is sometimes like an artist painting on the canvas.  Only we use words, not paint.  But for a work to really be complete, one must catch every detail, no matter how small it is.  If you boil grapes, press them, and bottle the juice, you don't have wine.  You have grape juice.  The juice must ferment with sugar and yeast and age over time before the alcohol produces wine.  The same holds true with my methods for writing.  I won't type straight through the novel, and voilĂ !, it's done.  No, I go through every page at least fifty times and some up to one hundred times before I'm satisfied with my novel.  The process is tedious, and maybe I strive to be a perfectionist, but I don't want a poor product on the market.

Happy Friday, folks!  Have a great weekend!

Leonard D. Hilley II

Thursday, August 23, 2012

On Writing and Traditional Publishing: My Experience

Here's my guest post on Red Tash's blog for any who'd like to read it.  This was posted last week but with moving our son to MSU, I've been catching up on my work.

Best to you all,

Leonard D. Hilley II

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Shifting Gears

As many of you know, my son left for his first year of college last Friday, and for my wife and I, this has been an adjustment of separation anxiety on our part.  He's having the time of his life and enjoys his classes, instructors, and probably the independence a young man needs.  So, to keep my mind occupied, I decided to change things up a bit.

For the past three days I've been moving my office so I can become more productive.  The biggest labor involved was disassembling my L-shaped desk in order to move it, which at first was something I dreaded.  However, the process of sorting through all my papers inside the desk was like finding a treasure chest buried in the sand.  So many ideas that I had jotted down over the years and simply had forgotten about are now filed for quick access.  If only I could clone myself so I could work on the vast number of projects I eagerly want to write.  At least they are no longer "lost" to me.

I am about 75% finished with Death's Valley at the moment.  With all the discoveries I found while cleaning and moving, a new dilemma emerges: What to work on next?  Whatever is chosen, I do hope it is something you will enjoy reading.


Leonard D. Hilley II

Thursday, August 16, 2012


A lot of authors keep notebooks with them wherever they go.  I do.  You never know when a new idea will come.  And this past week, the opening to a new thriller novel gripped me, and I had to write it down.  If I didn't keep a notebook and pen in our car, I would have lost the words and missed out on a new adventure.  New characters.

As school supplies fill several aisles in Walmart, I found some one subject, college ruled notebooks priced at $.17 each.  I bought dozens of these to ensure I have one handy at all times.  Some authors fear a blank page, but I greet each one wondering what will eventually come to life here?  Sometimes, it's an interesting beginning that leads to a dead end, but often, the plot situations take root and propagate into a splendid world with vivid characters.

If you love to write, stock up on some cheap notebooks while the back-to-school sales are going.  It's the best time to find the bargains.  May your muse gift you will new realms unknown.


Leonard D. Hilley II

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Letting Go is Hard

In two days, my wife and I take our son to MSU for his first year of college.  He will be living in a dorm and away from home for the first time.  Already, the memories flood my mind.  Where did the time go?

I've always known this day was coming but never did I imagine that eighteen years would pass by so quickly.  Seems just yesterday that we brought him home from the hospital.  So little and helpless.  Then, before we knew it, he was toddling around the living room with his little football wanting me to wrestle and tackle him.

He was an adventurous young boy at the park, often climbing on the monkey bars and jungle gym equipment and making me hold my breath when he'd get higher than what I wanted him to.  But he'd safely climb his way back down.  Oh, the days for Happy Meals at McDonald's and the Playland tunnels where he never wanted to leave.  Once I had to climb through those tight tunnels and get him because he thought if he hid at the top, we wouldn't have to go.

His aptitude to identify and learn words came easily.  He read words off flash cards at age three.  Then came preschool where he was quick to make friends.  Good friends.  And when he entered first grade at my Alma Mater, he made new friends.  He had good teachers that made learning fun, and he discovered new subjects that have kept his interest all these years.

He learned to swim quickly and like a fish, he loves the water.  There were the glory days of Little League Baseball and basketball.  Hiking, fishing, and rock climbing.  The Giant Corn Maze in Huntsville.  Six Flags.  Camden Park.  King's Island.

We've had many pets--mice, rats, snakes, spiders, chickens, ducks, frogs, turtles, dogs, and cats--over the years.  Our mini-zoo.  Like his parents he loves science.

I have so many memories and mental photos that I treasure.  And now, my little boy is a man.  He's grown and matured into a wonderful person that I am so proud of.  I am honored that he is my son.  And yet, I have to wonder how eighteen years crept past me at such a rapid pace.  In some ways, it seems like I blinked and here we are.

Son, study hard and do well.  We love you, and we're always here for you. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Seeking the Facts

"You can't handle the truth!" Jack Nicholson's line in A Few Good Men.
Great line, but the sad fact is most people cannot identify what's true in this world. Most accept lies and deceit as fact. Or maybe it's laziness and the unwillingness to dig and research to discover the truth for ourselves. Weigh reality. Look closer. Maybe we'll all see something we've overlooked. The truth is out there. You just have to search for it. Don't let others dictate what the truth is. Find it for yourself.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

New Chapters and Steps Forward

After a few years in the making, Ann Linden and I have finished the screenplay for Predators of Darkness: Aftermath.  So many readers have commented on Amazon in their reviews that the novel would make a vividly dark movie.  And now, we have the screenplay ready, and the next chapter in this work begins.

The hunt is on to find an agent, manager, producer, and/or director who will read the script.  Things don't get easier, but having a good story and script is the first step.  Of course, Morton has already starting packing and sporting Hollywood shades.  He's always ready for new adventures, and he knows how to steal the show.

More details later . . .