Archive for the ‘book preview’ category

Updates

November 28, 2011

        This post is to update folks on my art projects. As my last post indicated, my brain cancer diary in now on Amazon. We also hope to publish it in a booklet form soon. You can look it up in Amazon under Kindle Store and “Brain Cancer Boogie.”

“Grandpa’s Mandolin Book,” a coloring book for children of all ages, is now at the prototype stage. It still has some flaws and will go through at least one more revision before it goes to press. A half-dozen prototypes are in the hands of musicians, both professional and amateur, for advice. I hope it will be available after the first of the year, no later than late winter. More details are in my blog archives.

I am almost finished with my final edit of “Acquisition Syndrome.” After that it goes back to my editor Dorrie for her final touches and then on to my agent and the publisher. We are still on track for a spring release. I always liked old Bones Robertson. In this story he shows more than ever how to be decent person but not be trampled on. The lessons were so powerful I felt compelled to pass them on before I’m out of here. (There is no evidence my time is near, so don’t worry yet) In addition there is plenty of bluegrass subplot here, this time with more banjo in the mix. (Can’t have bluegrass without banjo huh? (( except for the “Manzanita” LP perhaps) 

“The Kid and Dr. B” A mandolin duet CD with Darin Aldridge that also features story-telling and a bit of doctor advice. I anticipate early spring on this one.

In January 2012 I plan to start a mandolin instruction book with Wayne Benson called “Practical Theory for Mandolin.” It is based on Wayne’s lesson plans. ((I have taken from him once a month since late 2007)  I plan to devote most of 2012 to this project. This book is designed for the amateur mandolinist who wants to get involved in jam sessions, be in regional bands and play for small festivals, church socials, fundraisers, and private parties. A working subtitle might be “How to play Mandolin if you thought you could only play the Radio.” So if you want to sound like Wayne, my pal Darin Aldridge, “Cuz” Alan Bibey, tone master Adam Steffy, rocking Sam Bush, Darren Nicolson of Balsam Range, red-hot melody man Emory Lester, Mike Marshall or Chris Thile….well, this book alone will not do it; be prepared to start young and spend six hours a day.

        Instead this book is designed for folks who do something else for a living but still want to play the best they can. I am of the opinion that if you start the mandolin as an adult, have a job, kids, bills, etc that it is unrealistic to for most of us (me included) to expect to play at a top shelf professional level, but my hope is this book will allow you to approximate that level of play after you learn some fundamental improvisational skills out of Wayne’s play book. He is going to proof every stage of this project because it is based on his knowledge and lesson plans. 

        After 2012? Who knows? I might be a little less productive on the blog for the rest of this year. My wife loves Christmas, (I call her “The Christmas Queen”)  the kids and grandchild will be in, and I love the holidays with all of them. I will be in touch though so don’t give up on me.

Dr. B

Acquisition Syndrome: The Great Charles Thombley

June 16, 2011

        Charles Yhombley is a negotiator and the best one there is. He is from Atlanta. His people go back to before the Civil War there. They made their fortune in real estate futures right after Sherman came  through, and never looked back. Mr Thombley’s hobby is the financial revitalization and re-organization of small churches in need.

         Most of Mr. Thombley’s work is highly confidential. By his request and by necesssity to continue his mission, it was imperative the truth of his work be shown in fiction and not told in fact. This will be done in “Acquisition Syndrome.”

        I am making progress, and my condition at the moment renders me on summer vacation until August. Don’t worry; I limit my work to two hours per day and devote the rest of the day to healing; however, writing is also part of my therapy.

        Mr. Thombley ony had one ultimatum in our physician bluegrass fiction writer contract. He would only allow me to fictionalize his part of the story if I, Tommy Bibey, promised he would have a full head of hair in the novel. So in “Acquisition Syndrome” if you see a man who has code name of Del and has a hair like Del McCoury, you will know it is Mr. Thombley.

        One of my goals with my effort to write was to bring new people to our music. The Great Mr. Thombley is a sophisticated, highly intelligent, savvy Altlanta businessman. I have all respect for him. After he got to know me he became a fan and he is now true bluegrass. I guess I’m doing something right, huh?

Dr. B

1952 Vincent Black Lightning’ and “Cool Whip, Indie!”

December 9, 2009

        Every time I hear the Del McCoury song ‘1952 Vincent Black Lightning’ I think of my old pal Indie.  He loved motorcycles.  His favorite was a ’47 Indian Chief former Nevada Highway Patrol bike that he and his buddy Blinky restored one winter.

        When Indie was a young doc there was a little French foreign exchange student in town who loved that bike, and was enthralled with Indie too.  She’d hop on the back, grab Indie by the waist, and sing some French song as they buzzed down the back roads.  She wasn’t much of a student.  The whole time she was here she only learned two American phrases.  “Motorcycle ride” was one and “Cool whip, Indie!” was the other. 

        Mrs. Jenkins was not amused.  Indie might have gotten into the Jim Beam too much at times, and he could fiddle all night long, but he was harmless.  Other than what happened in ‘The Mandolin Case’ that girl was the only time Indie ever got in any real trouble. 

        I hate it happened, but in a way you could see how it might.  Even though I was just a boy at the time, you couldn’t miss the fact this was some kinda good-looking woman.  That girl wore a sweater in a quite memorable way; she had better curves than a slope shoulder guitar.  No man in town ever forgot her, and I’m sure Mrs. Jenkins didn’t either.

        ‘The Mandolin Case’ was quite an ordeal, and put a hurting on Indie, but I always thought that one mistake with the French foreign exchange student weighed much heavier on him.  When he got old he told me it was the one thing he wished he could change in his life.  Mrs. Jenkins forgave him, and Indie finally made peace with it before he went to his maker, but it was hard on him.

        I forgave him too.  None of us are perfect, but at least Indie was truly sorry, and he was faithful to Mrs. Jenkins the rest of the way.  All we can do is our best, and after that girl I always thought Indie did that. 

Dr. B

Book Cover Contest ‘The Mandolin Case’

December 7, 2009

        As the book draws closer, we have begun to think about a cover for ‘The Mandolin Case.’  I have ideas, and my agent and editor also have theirs.  I’m certain the publisher will have yet another vision in mind.  Before all that gets too far, I thought it would be fun to get your input, too. 

        I guess it isn’t fair to call it a contest per se,  ’cause I have been around editors and agents enough to know it is unlikely anyone will take a concept and apply it without some revision.  Still, if someone goes up with an idea that dominates the theme for the cover I’ll credit that on the jacket.  If there is more than one we will acknowledge that, too.

        Of all you who’ve read my blog a while are pretty far inside my head, but I thought it might be a good idea to stimulate your imagination.  To do so, I need to let you in on the major symbols in the story.  First off, the cover design obviously has to involve mandolins.  The instrument is credited in the title because the mandolin stands for the truth.  Also, my editor wanted to include some roses, as they are important in the story.

        There are other symbols with significant meaning, too.  The river is a major one.  While the novel is not strictly a religious book, that symbolism runs through it.  The river is quite redemptive.  Indie loved the river. 

        Native American themes are prominent too.  Like Marty Stuart and Tony Williamson, I have a deep respect for our Native Americans.  I never thought they were done right, and part of the symbolism speaks to those injustices.  Besides, Indie was part Choctaw, and he was the best friend I ever had in the doctor world.  And of course there was the Navajo, and…well…. uh, …I guess you’ll have to read the book for that part.

        You remember the mandolin case I had Marty Stuart sign?  It now has the signatures not only of Marty Stuart, but my old pal and mandolin young’un Darin Aldridge, my mandolin brother Wayne Benson, and Rebecca Lovell.  I don’t know Rebecca near as well as Darin and Wayne, but I’m as proud of her as if she was my mandolin granddaughter; the young woman is already a very fine professional.

        Folks like Alan Bibey (Cuz), Tony Williamson, and Mike Marshall know about the book, and I’m sure they will sign the case next time I see them.  I plan to secure the signatures of as many great players as I can.  There are some, like Norman Blake, who I have heard play but never met, and I hope to get them to sign it someday. That way as I travel around I can tell my readers why our music is so important; it is about our people who play it. 

        Anyway, I’ve saved one spot on the ‘Mandolin Case’ case where my friends know not to sign.  Whatever we come up for a book cover with will grace the headstock area as a decal right above the IBMA logo.   Wherever I go it will not only represent the book, but all my friends who have contributed in some way. 

        After all, not only is Ranger Dog is still in the mix, but there’s a beauty operator named after a Missouri bluegrass girl, a lawyer who goes by Ted Davidson, and a number of other characters who were inspired by my electronic friends. I hope the publisher will see fit to leave ‘em all in, ’cause they are all important.  Someday I’m gonna see all of y’all in my book store travels and thank you in person.

        So let me know what you think.  The greatest pleasure of this journey has been all the friends I have made, so I might as well continue to involve you in each step of the process. 

        If by chance the publisher decided to use a cover design exactly as submitted, my agent said he would insist on compensation in line with industry standards.  If I believe any submission was influential in the thought process but not used exactly as submitted, I’ll at least be sure the artist is credited.

        I know this:  I appreciate all of you.  It takes a community to raise a doctor and my art friends in the bluegrass and writer worlds deserve a lot of credit.  After all, my wife couldn’t be expected to do it all alone, and this overgrown boy was quite a project.  

Dr. B

The Imagination Will Set You Free

September 26, 2009

        I had a patient who was confined to home her entire adult life.  Before the Internet she had a good life and many friends from all over the County, but after the Internet came in, she extended her connections around the world.  She could describe Australia better than many people who had been there.

       She was an early book editor for me and even inspired the character Mason Marley.  I would send her chapters by e-mail and she would read them and send back suggestions.  She once told me the installments reminded her of the eager anticipation of the “Saturday Evening Post’ as a child.  

         She especially loved to help embellish Mason Marley.  “Oh, have her smoke a cigar here, Bibey.” 

        “C’mon Mason, you don’t smoke.”

        “I can’t in real life ’cause of my lungs but I can in fiction.” 

        She wrote a book herself and had a lot of good advice on agents, editors, and lawyers that I follow to this day.  My only regret is the process is so long.  I would have given anything to be able to hand her a signed copy.

          I used to ask her about confidentiality.  “You know, as your doc, I’m supposed to protect your privacy.  I worry a little about this.  I’m afraid people will figure out who you are, or least who inspired the character.”

        “Oh Bibey, you are such a silly boy.  I hope you tell the whole world.”

        When I finally get around to that, I’m gonna tell you about her book too. She was one of the most special human beings I’ve ever known.  She knew the imagination had no limits to unlock a life of grace and dignity.  She showed me how every time I visited her. 

         Before she died I had not only permission but her encouragement to tell her story.  Mason understood with literature we can have a bit of immortality, and she cheered me on towards the finish line at every visit.   When I get there, much of the credit is to her.  

Dr. B

Glory Hallelujah Gonna Lay my Burdens Down

September 4, 2009

          I turned in my last deep revision of ‘The Mandolin Case’ to my editor, Jenny Lynn.  This was the same night I was getting shed of a kidney stone.  “Glory glory Hallelujah, I’ve laid my burdens down.”

         I was humbled by the fact that Ms. Sharon, a young lady all the way over in Australia, understood ‘The Mandolin Case’ was more than just a book or a project, but like a kidney stone was something I had to get out of me.  Women are so intuitive.  She picked up on it right away.  It’s like the English Professor’s wife said, “when a man writes like that there is a reason.”

        I have been blessed all my life, but I have seen a lot of wrong.  Somehow I’ve avoided trouble all these years.  There were rough spots along the way, though.  To me medicine is all about praying you can help a few sick folks.  I am sad to report to you to some it is about power and money and greed, and the story is not always pretty. 

        ‘The Mandolin Case’ is about some Docs I knew who did their best to live right.  It wasn’t easy.  They became involved in a very ugly and complicated human confrontation.  The docs were able to reach the far shore and lay their burdens down.   They were able to do so and not compromise their dignity or integrity.  They were careful to protect the privacy of people involved, even the guilty ones who did not deserve that discretion or earn the privilege to be treated with respect.  I have to give Indie most of the credit for how they pulled it off.

        The night I finished my revision, as I struggled to pass this stone, I had peace.  I knew I was gonna get my job done.  I laid my burdens down.  Illness always reminds us we are mortal.  I told my family, my agent, and my editor if anything were to happen to me press on and get it out there, because it has to be told.

        “The Mandolin Case’ is more than a book.  It is a saga about how to face adversity, learn from it, and come out better on the other side.  And in ‘The Mandolin Case,’ except for the few who were wicked beyond human hope, everyone involved came out with a deeper understanding of what it means to be human.  I still pray for the ones who didn’t get it, but I ain’t the Judge.

         We meet with a publisher in late September.  I hope they take it on because it will see a wider audience for their efforts.  But if they don’t I have no fear.  I’ll self publish and “have mandolin will travel” will see you out there in 2010.  My story has to be told.  My dream is that humans will put aside their differences and always seek the truth.  I hope my book and my music will be a small part of that.  I’m not a Pollyanna.  I know it isn’t gonna happen in my lifetime, but it ain’t gonna stop me from trying.  After all, a man has to have his dreams, and mine is that in eternity I’ll get some small little corner where I can lay my burdens down forever.

Dr. B

My Editor is a Genius

August 19, 2009

        Jenny Lynn has now outlined the first major edit of  ‘The Mandolin Case.’  I like this lady.  She took her time and asked a lot of questions.  We began to work on a few minor things while she got her thoughts together.  Now we are ready to dig in.  I have much work to do but she is convinced my draft will be ready for consideration in the meetings we have scheduled this fall.  After that, she plans one more start to finish tune-up, then it should be ready for 2010.

       Jenny is a genius.  She has been in and out of Harvey Country several times, and has been able to get some things done even Dr. Bibey could not do.

        What I’m getting ready to tell you is what we call ‘graveyard talk’ around here.  You will know things few outside of Harvey County know.  It is only fitting.  If you have read this far you deserve a leg up on the general public.  When you read ‘The Mandolin Case’ you will understand some things the naive reader will have to guess about.

        Somehow Jenny Lynn figured out how to get people to talk.  Maybe it was that fiddle.  I sent her some old tapes of Indie’s and she did some serious woodshedding.  Anything that reminds people of Indie tends to open them up a bit.  She negotiated at length with a major player in ‘The Mandolin Case,’ and has now secured his permission.  His name is Bones.

        Bones no longer lives in Harvey County but his heart is still here.  I knew him as kid.  He will not allow me to disclose his current location.  I was aware of his role in the case, but he would never agree to let me discuss it until Jenny talked him into it.  In a way I was willing to take the hit for him;  I thought his part of the story needed to be told.   After Jenny talked it over with him he decided that wouldn’t be fair and gave in.

       You may wonder about all this secrecy.  There are many reasons.  The most important is patient privacy.  It is imperative,  but there are are other reasons too.  With ‘The Mandolin Case’ I’m gonna take you deep into a world of money and power, a world few folks know about, and one the players would rather I not discuss.  I can promise you the money crowd would prefer I not talk.  Therefore the story either has to be encrypted or it can’t be told.

          As I have said before, there is a Lit Professor quote I love.  “For it to be good fiction, it need not necessarily have happened but it must be true.”  To that end, I have been careful not tell tell any facts, but still show the truth.

        After Jenny Lynn discussed it with Bones he was O.K. with it, but he still won’t let me give him up.   And I always keep my promises.    His whereabouts, his career plans, and his deepest secrets are safe with me.

Dr. B


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