Night Buddies - Adventures After Lights Out

What Your Favorite Authors Have to Say About Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving is almost upon us, which means great food, time with family and friends, and reflecting on all we have to be thankful for this year. But sometimes it’s hard to get past the craziness of every day life to pause for gratitude, or sometimes it feels like there just isn’t a lot to be grateful for. That’s when I turn to my favorite authors…they always have just the right way of expressing how I want to feel during the holidays. (more…)


How To Let Your Purpose Find You

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Often, career advice, love advice, and advice on how to be your happiest self is rooted in the idea of finding your “purpose.” Authors, counselors, and religious leaders express to us that we are here to do something, and staying focused on our “why” for being on this planet will result in us living our best lives.

But more often than not, I encounter people who have no clue what their “purpose” is supposed to be. They spend so much time trying to figure out how to discover their purpose that they are missing out on living the life they are in, and so concerned that they can’t be happy without a purpose that they don’t enjoy the happiness in front of them.

If you’re trying to figure out what your purpose is, I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to keep looking for it—it’s possible that in living your life, your purpose is going to find you.

For most of my life, I did not know that I was supposed to become a children’s author. I always enjoyed books and reading, and dabbled in writing short stories for adults, but I was focused on living the life I had in front of me. I was a single father living out the purpose life handed to me when it brought me my son.

In living my purpose of being a father, I would read my son bedtime stories, and eventually we started making up our own stories about a red crocodile named Crosley. Slowly, and over the course of many years, it dawned on me that Crosley could become more than a bedtime story kept as a secret between me and my son. When my son was grown, my new purpose had spent time building itself up inside me—I was supposed to write the Night Buddies books.

I’m not saying that it will be easy, or that you should put no thought into what you are supposed to do with your life. But if you do these three things, your purpose might just find you:

1. Follow your curiosity.

2. Make connections between your responsibilities and your passions/hobbies.

3. Be open to allowing your “purpose” to change over time.

Do you think having purpose is important to your life? Let me know in the comments!


The Changing Role of Fatherhood

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Regular readers of this blog might be aware that I raised my son John as a single father. I’ve written about the challenges of single parenthood, about asking for help as a single parent, and about the importance of being an active father in your child’s life. But when I came across this article, everything I believed about being an active father in my son’s life felt validated.

Titled, “Embrace Fatherhood and Your Child Will Reap the Rewards,” author Wanda Wyont explores the changing role of fathers in the home, and uses scientific research and facts to back up the idea I’ve always known to be true—children benefit from a father’s involvement in their lives. Weaving statistics together with her own relationship with her father, and exploring the changes that relationship went through during her childhood and adult life, Wyont really captures the what it means for a child to have an active, involved father, rather than just the traditional breadwinner.

If you’re a father, in a single parent family or otherwise, or a mother who wants to better understand how she can work together with her partner to keep him as involved in your home life as possible, this article is a good place to turn to. She even includes quotes from children about their fathers! It is an encouraging, heartwarming read that gives me hope.

Be sure to let me know what you think in the comments below!


4 Reasons You Need to Start Using Goodreads

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If you haven’t yet heard of Goodreads…where have you been?! All kidding aside, Goodreads is a social media platform for readers. Users have the opportunity to rate, review, and find great book recommendations—and that’s only the very basics of what Goodreads has to offer.

I’ve been a user of Goodreads for a few years now (if you haven’t seen my author profile, check it out here). I can honestly say it is one of the greatest inventions for authors and readers alike to connect the books we love to the people who love them too! Here are some reasons I love using Goodreads, and why I think you’ll love it too. (more…)


5 Things Only Book Enthusiasts Will Love

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I’m not a book nerd—I’m a book enthusiast. Or at least that’s what I tell my friends. The people in my life can always count on that enthusiasm when they’re looking to buy me a gift, and it never fails! If you’re a fellow book enthusiast, or you’re close to one, here are some fun and clever things you’ll obsess over! (more…)


What’s On My Bookshelf?

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Over the last year, I’ve recommended dozens of children’s books for you and your children to enjoy. But I realized I haven’t shared too many of the books I read on my own! If you want to stay updated regularly, be sure to check out my Goodreads page. But for today’s post, I thought I’d share a few of my favorites. (more…)


Tips On Welcoming a New Pet Into Your Home

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As many of the regular readers on this blog know, I am a huge lover of St. Bernards. Most recently I had two littermates—Dudley and Maggie—who I raised with my son John, and who were just like members of my family. You can read all about my journey as a breeder and self-proclaimed “dog-dad” in this post.

Seeing as they were littermates who grew up together, Maggie and Dudley were very close. So when Dudley died of epilepsy three years ago, Maggie took it badly. I knew we were going to need to find her another companion, but when we looked for another St. Bernard, none were available within even 300 miles!



Q&A Series Part V: “How Do You Write a First Draft?”

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sands writing

Hi all, and welcome back to my Q&A series, where I answer your questions in long-form on my blog! This week I decided to answer a Frequently Asked Question from Goodreads, which asks, “How do you motivate yourself to get through writing the first draft of a book?”

Writing a first draft of a book is an exciting, scary, and sometimes even emotional experience for writers, but it can also be one of the best parts of the writing process! To help you out, I’m offering you the best four tips I have to get through it as painlessly as possible. (more…)


Writing Tip: How to Complete NaNoWriMo 2016!

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Before we get into this week’s blog post, I want you to know that I am running a giveway through this Friday, October 28th, where you have the chance to win a complete 3-book Night Buddies set! Enter on my Facebook page here.


Well folks, we are only one week away from the most hectic, exciting, and difficult writing event of the year—National Novel Writing Month. That’s right, all across the globe writers are going to be taking on the challenge of writing 50,000 words in 30 days during the month of November, and I want you to be prepared to reach this milestone in your writing life! If you follow these guidelines, prepare to be a NaNoWriMo winner… (more…)


Writing Tip: Commit To Your Projects

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People often talk about writing a book as similar to giving birth to a child. You conceive the idea, spend many months forming it into existence, and then birth it out into the world to develop a life of its own. While that metaphor makes sense to me, I’ve always looked at writing the Night Buddies series a little differently…

Writing a book is like entering into a long-term relationship.

You fall into head-over-heels love with your book idea, and jump into a relationship with it. You spend long nights alone together, you envision a long and prosperous life together. Maybe you’ll become a New York Times bestseller. Maybe this book will allow you to quit your day job. This book is “the one,” and it’s about to change your life forever.

But when you’re a few months into the writing process, that puppy dog love starts to wear thin. You start trying to put some distance between you and the book. “I’ve worked on it enough this week, it’s time for a break.” You get into arguments, the plot holes start to show themselves. You realize your book is actually going to take a lot of work, and it doesn’t look so pretty and fun anymore. You might start to resent your book; you may even start to hate it.

But that’s the thing about long-term relationships—they require commitment. You have to keep showing up for them even on the hard days. You have to resist the pretty new people (or book ideas) that come along and try to tempt you away from what you know deep down is actually working. And the more you commit to it, the more it prospers and develops into something beautiful, and yes, something potentially life-changing.

The only way to ever complete a project and try to see your big dreams come true is to finish what you start. You can look up every writing tip in the book, but it won’t matter how well you write if you don’t commit to writing your projects through to completion.

Commit to writing your book through until you type the words, “The End.” Commit to editing that book until it reads exactly right. Commit to working on your book until all the kinks are smoothed out. Savor late nights alone with your project. Remember why you originally fell in love with it. Don’t give up on it, even if you send it out into the world and it gets rejected, or poorly reviewed, or ignored. Keep committing to it every single day, and you will see the benefit of that commitment change your life.

You’ll get to hold your finished book in your hands and think, “That was the best commitment I’ve ever made in my life.

Do you prefer to think of writing as birthing a child or committing to a relationship? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

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