Archive for the ‘Publication Schedule’ category


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


A Coloring Book for Both Children and Adults

October 9, 2011

        Over the next month to six weeks I plan to update you on my artistic projects in the works. I’m going to do this in the rough order that I anticipate their release.

The first of these projects was inspired by the announcement that we were going to be grandparents. As soon as we got the news my son and daughter-in-law appointed me as lead mandolin instructor. (when the time comes and if the child shows interest; I will not push but will lead by example) After they broke the news I’d lay awake at night and dream of the best way to teach a child music. I had some experience. I taught my boy mandolin, banjo, and guitar and he his mom learned the bass together. My daughter took piano and  played violin and bass in the high school orchestra, and picked up some mandolin and guitar from me.

        Our kids turned out fine but I broke a lot of the rules. I always read that you should not be a friend but a parent to your children. I pretty well ignored that one. We were best friends. Of course I was nothing but a large child who was fortunate to have a decent grown-up doctor brain.  In fact, after she was in about the third grade my daughter ’bout half raised me. (My boy helped too, esp on the golf course) My only rule of music was if the venue wasn’t suitable for a child I didn’t sign up for the gig. Consequently I played a lot of church suppers, charity fundraisers, small festivals, and private parties. We didn’t do the bars or “drunk fests.” So after all those years I had a dream we could put some of our family ideas in a format that could be transmitted by the printed word. The result of all that was a children’s coloring book for both children and adults.

So you might ask what does that mean? Well this book could be approached on several levels. The initial prototype will be strictly an old-fashioned coloring book. On their own a child could color in all the pictures, have fun, learn a little music, and not hurt their development. (In medicine we always say, “first, do no harm.”) However, to take it to a higher level, the book is designed to be an interactive adventure between an adult and a child. By going through it in a systematic fashion and following the instructions the adult will also learn some basic music. It is my belief that even an adult with no background in music whatsoever could teach their child or grandchild something about the mandolin and music in general via this coloring book if they follow each step of the adventure as prescribed.

        Think of it almost like a treasure hunt. And remember; I’m nothing but a big kid. If nothing else you’ll have a lot of fun. I took Jesus, family, heart attacks, cancer and big GI bleeds seriously. Most of the rest of life was a whimsical lark for me. I played music at the highest level I could, but I figured if I missed a note no one died. This little book adheres to that philosophy.

        I had my banjo pal Kristin Scott Benson look over some very early versions of this book. It appealed to her even more as a mother of a four-year old than it did on the basis of her experience as a professional musician. She thought the book had a lot of potential to bring people to understand the fundamentals of music and even if they had no training or background in it. I also talked to the great jazz and Scruggs banjoist Alison Brown of Compass records about the project. She has not seen the early prototype yet but said she would be glad to try it out on her children, which is a thrill to me. Check out Compass Records. They have a fine roster of traditional artists. Compass’ll keep you pointed in the right direction. 

This prototype will not be an expensive item. If it is well-received then we may get it on iPad and other applications. I will say that any book that finds a way to integrate Pythagoras, ancient Greek theories of scales and harmony, Bill Monroe, Roy Huskey Jr., the light spectrum of the rainbow, and mandolin music in a simple enough manner that a child could put the concepts together and do it all from one little coloring book, well……it’s a fun project and I guess it would take some old doctor with a big imagination and too much time on his hands to dream it up.

        Again, I’ll try to present my projects in the order that I think they might see publication. I hope this one will see press by the first of next year. I would love to have it by Christmas but I think that is a little optimistic. Look for posts from me every Monday for a while about what all I’ve got in the works. I appreciate your interest in my work. After I turned up with a brain tumor and did not have the full-time doctor gig I had to do something to feel useful. My music, art, and the writer gig are all a big part of that. I will only be a part-time Doc until next summer when I finish chemo. I hope to get my books off the ground by then so if I improve and can return to full-time Doc status my artistic projects will already have legs and I can concentrate on my patients. In the meantime, if it weren’t for Faith, Family, Music, and writing I don’t think I would have coped with all this nearly as well. Bless all of you for being a part of my healing.

Dr.  B

New Publication Schedule

June 22, 2011

         Hello all. At least while I deal with this illness (brain tumor) I am going to go to a once a week publication schedule for my blog. The Monday Morning post will be here every week. Also, I do plan to continue a daily short post on FaceBook, “The Song of the Day,” every day, so you can catch me there too. In addition my publisher maintains the official “Mandolin Case” page on Facebook and will post new things there also.

         I will use the time well. Most of it will bededicated to trying to kick my tumor, (“Long Gone”) out of its unlawful residence, and we are making progress. I’ve had a lot of time on my hands and I’ve made good progress on “Acquisition Syndrome,” the sequel to “The Mandolin Case.” I believe I will have very solid draft to the publisher by August 1. (They will take it from there to editor etc. Also I am at work on an essay on how I dealt with cancer and I anticipate it to also be publisher/editor ready by August 1. (this will be an inexpensive item; I will dedicate a Monday post to it soon.) I can not predict how long it will take from there to publication. It might not be all that long for the essay/pamphlet. The book of course will take a while.

        I thank all  of you for being my readers. You are more than that, you have become part of my heart, spirit, and soul. You are a big part of my healing process and I’m grateful for every one of you.

Look for me here every Monday and on FB daily. See ya there.

Dr. B

Guest Posts

July 26, 2010

        Not long ago a young lady blogger named Melissa asked me if I would do a guest post for her blog. I decided to do so, and I’m glad I did. It forced me to think about how to write to a different audience. After all, the whole world does not consist of old doctors and bluegrass pickers.

          At first I wondered what I could write for a group of young people. I walked by a picture of my daughter, and it came to me. Write about what you know and love. Easy enough.

        I recalled the words of my agent several years ago.

        “Son, you need to start a blog.”

        “What’s a blog?”

        “Here’s one to check out.” He gave me a link to click on. “A new writer has to have one. Your readers will teach you how to write.”

        He was right. Over the years I have gotten a lot of feedback from readers and have learned something from all of them. On my last post I got one from Sharon of Australia that said a lot about why we write. I love this comment.

        “Good writing is so much more than stringing pretty sentences together. Good writing is connecting with people; it’s writing what everyone knows, but most cannot express; it’s delivering a good story that others can recognise and identify with.”

        After my guest post for Melissa, and then Sharon’s comment, I decided to expand this interactive process, and would like to open my blog for guests. I post twice a week, so I’m gonna revise my publication schedule. I’ll post on Monday and Wednesday, but I’d like to leave Friday open for my readers to weigh in with their perspective.

        As usual, I’m laissez faire about the whole process. I don’t have too many rules about the blog or life in general. If you want me to be serious, book an appointment to talk about cancer or heart attacks, but this is art, so let’s have fun. After all, writing isn’t a matter of life and death; it’s much more important than that.

        I’d like to hold each post to less than 800 words, ’cause I have found if I exceed that by too much no one reads mine. Also I do ask that you limit it to PG-13. My mom reads my blog, so anything stronger than that I’ll have to ax. Other than those restrictions, I’m flexible and prefer to let it run wherever it might go.

       I’m gonna reserve the first Friday for Melissa since she inspired the idea. Here’s the link to her blog: I hope Sharon of Australia will consider the second one. Sharon’s blog is: I’d like to see Ted Lehmann, Cindy, and slightly do one, and I hope over time all my readers will have their say. Also, I’d be happy to return the favor for anyone who wants me to. We’ll see where it leads.

       To update you on “The Mandolin Case,” I’m pleased with the early progress. It has some nice reviews on Amazon, my friends all seem to like it, and my wife and I are having fun promoting it. We’ve already made a lot of new friends, and have been asked to several festivals we’ve not been to before.

        We have two stops in Chattanooga this weekend. On Friday July 30, I’ll be at Smoking Ed’s Barbeque for a late lunch (1:30) and then at the Signal Mountain Opry that night for a second book signing and jam session for the day. I’m off-limits Saturday and at a wedding my wife is in, so I’m gonna be a good husband and leave the mandolin in the case. After that, I’ll be back at the Doc gig for a while. We’ll be at IBMA this fall, and also have a couple Saturday outings close to home planned.

        The first month I got carried away and booked too much, so I’m gonna try to limit it to one weekend and one Wednesday a month. When you’re on the road, get homesick, and long to listen to your monthly CME tape on “Advances in Urinary Incontinence,” I guess old Doc is still afflicted with the “I wanna be a country doctor and help people” syndrome. Co-dependency can be a beautiful thing if you harness it right.

        If you have places you’d like for me to show up with my strange physician bluegrass fiction dog and pony show let me know. I’ll do my best to work ’em into the schedule over time.

       It’d be the least I could do ’cause my agent was right; you are the folks who taught me to write. Y’all think about a guest post; I’d love to have you come visit.

Dr. B

Message in a Blog Bottle

November 9, 2009

        I sit here at the Deep River Blues Coffee Cafe and I’m in awe.  When I was growing up here we only had the Billiard and Bowl until Hardees came in, and pizza was an exotic international food.  I can’t believe Harvey county has come far enough to have our version of Starbucks. They got all kinda coffee in this place, and I can’t pronounce the names of any of ’em.  Usually I just get the house black but every so often I’ll order a new fangled one.  “How ’bout one of those high-test hoop-tee-do cold caramel ones with the crushed up ice?”  I asked.

         “Tough day, Doc?”  The kid at the counter is a blonde haired girl, but she acts about like a bartender.  “You mean the frappacino?”

        “Uh yeah. That’s fine. Make it a double shot of that espresso jazz and put some whipped cream on it.”

        “Yes sir.  Coming right up.”

        I slumped into the corner easy chair and tapped into the Wi-Fi.  When I was a kid Hi-Fi was fancy.  We’ve come a long way.

        I e-mailed a friend in Australia.  I’m about like Jimmy Stewart.  I love the old hometown, but there was also a part of me that wanted to fling responsibility to the wind and see the world.  In a way the Internet has allowed me that without leaving home, but has also whetted my appetite. 

        But as my daughter always said, “Daddy, there’s not a frivolous bone in your body.”  I never would have gone without  a reason for the trip.  That reason is the reader, and we want to meet all these new people I have met in my writer journey.  My book is my travel ticket.

        Not that I want to give up my day job.  I still love it and the interaction with the patients.  But as the book draws nigh, I’m also gonna have to see the world before I get too old to  go.  Then I’ll come back home, check into Harvey Nursing Home without complaint, play bingo every Monday and teach mandolin lessons to anyone who’ll visit, ’cause I got to do it all.

          When I started my blog it was like a message in a bottle.  I tossed it out from our little desert island here, watched it bob away and drift off into the distance, and waited to see if anyone would respond.  One day someone far across the ocean found it on an isolated beach where it had washed ashore.  They popped the cork and fished out the message.  

        “My wife and I love home but we also want to see the world.  We love bluegrass music, writing, and art.  We only want to go where we already know folks of like mind.  To tell you the truth, Harvey County is a small place.  We’re a little scared of strangers.  When I finish my book can we come visit a bookstore near you?”

         The answer was yes, and to a degree I never dreamed of.  I have already learned a bunch from you guys and look forward to plotting my course over the next few years to get everywhere I want to go.

        All that is gonna take a lot of time.  As the publishers look at ‘The Mandolin Case’ some have already inquired about an outline for a sequel.  (Thank goodness I have one)  I work steady as a Doc every day and it is hard to fit it all in.

           I hope you guys will bear with me.  Today I want to tell you of a slight change in my publication schedule.  In some ways it will be more; in some ways it is less.  I plan to post a brief  ‘Thought of the Day.’ (at least most days)  Often it might dove-tail with my ‘Song of the Day’ on FaceBook.

         Instead of three long posts a week I’ll do one long one on Mondays.  I’m gonna call the ‘Monday Morning Post.’

        I hope this change will allow me to commit to the support of ‘The Mandolin Case’ I will have to give it, and also the time to write the sequel I have started.

        At the same time, I admit I fear the thought of the loss of even one reader.  I have come to enjoy your regular input.  Like a doc without patients a writer with no readers might as well call it a day.  I have learned much from you and hope you will all continue the journey with me even though my format will have to change a bit to get it all done.

        So I send another message in a bottle from Harvey County and float it out to you again.  I hope you’ll stick with me.  The total time I give to the blog might be cut in half, but I hope the books will make it up to you.  Hey, at this point y’all about gotta read them ’cause some of you made it in the story by virtue of your visits to Harvey County.

        As Tim O’Brien would say I won’t say so long ’cause I ain’t going anywhere. (or something like that)  So I’ll be in touch and see ya soon. 

Dr. B

Publication Schedule

November 29, 2007


         First of all, I want to thank all you folks for checking in on my new blog.  I’ve heard from people all over the country, and I’m learning all sorts of new things.  Only six weeks on board, and I’ve already got a bunch of new friends.

        Given just last month I didn’t know a blog roll from an egg roll,  I didn’t know what to expect, and everyone has been most gracious.  Folks like Ms. Ruby and the English professor took me by the hand, and waltzed me right on into cyberspace, and I appreciate it.

        Several folks have asked me how to predict when new posts will be published.  Well, up till now, I’d just been typing as fast as my two fingers would go and hadn’t thought much about it, so I asked my agent what I ought to do.  He wasn’t surprised, ’cause he knew when  I took typing at Harnett High I used to sneak out a ground level window at the back of the class and go to Popeye Clay’s store to eat nabs and play music, and only got a C+ in typing ’cause of it.  He said he wanted me to type up two stories a week, to post mostly on  Monday and Friday, so readers could have some idea of a schedule and a chance to respond. 

        I’d better do what he says.  Do y’all know how hard it is to keep an agent?  My last one let me go because she wanted  romantic fiction with a chick-litty voice.  I wasn’t sure what that was, but as we say in bluegrass, I was pretty sure I wasn’t cutting the gig. 

        The English Professor caught up with me too.  He sent a colleague from Tobacco Triangle U. to interview my senior English teacher over at Harnett Nursing home.  When she told ’em about how I purposely mispronounced that word in the “Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner” as sweet “Likker” to win twenty-five bucks off Strober K. (the bass player at the time) I thought he was gonna fire me before we even got going good.  I think the only thing that saved the day was when he found out I ended up with an “A” in senior English anyway after I was able to finagle an interview with Carl Sandburg.

        On top of all that, the blog was moving so fast that the president of the Mississippi chapter of the Neuse River fan club was afraid I wasn’t gonna make my gig there, and he thought I ought to take my Marfar to dinner and follow the advice of my agent.

       Well, as Jerry Clower says, it must be scripture, so me and Ms. Marfar took the night off to go the Burnette’s Bee Hive and take in a Queen Bee basket- “A Queen Bee for a Queen,” I said.

         So, the next post should be off the press come Monday morning.  I plan on it being an in-depth study of bluegrass speak, so as all our non bluegrass folks on the web can interpret our language.  Talk to you then. 

Dr. B