I’ve always liked the line by Lao Tzu that said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” It reminds me that often it’s the little things that add up to the sum of their being. It’s reassuring in that it makes the impossible reducible to the things we can do. With this in mind, I have passed two more mileposts in my journey.
The first is that yesterday I finished the rough draft of my third book. Some rough patches will need some sanding before I trust my poor test readers with it, but I feel that it’s a good tale. It shows promise, and I look forward to seeing how polished I can make it. It also has a name that I will share in public for the first time. My third book in “The Sons of Texas” series will be called “One more Silver Dollar.”
For those who have read “Dark Jury,” the double meaning is evident. I have some exciting news for those that haven’t because my second milepost is that I have successfully negotiated with the talented Toby Tomplay to do the audiobook recording for “Dark Jury.” I learned during the first audiobook that the process is mercurial, but the good news that it has begun.
Finally, there has been a bit of personal chaos going on in my life. I know that for a lot of you, things are going on, as well. As a result, I want to take a moment and tell you “thank you.” For those who have given me support, taken a chance on writing, or shared a kind word, please know that it’s appreciated. I’m excited that Covid is beginning to wane, and I wanted to announce my final milepost for this update.
I will be doing a book signing on April 24th in Waxahachie, Texas, at my favorite brewery: Rail Port Brewing. I’ll be there between 2 pm to 8ish. It’s a favorite of mine; they have a great food truck on-site, the live music that day is a banger, and I’m personally welcoming you to come down and try some epic brews. I’ll have had my first shot by then, so between my Covid anti-bodies and modern medicine, we can finally share some high-fives, bro-fists, and handshakes.
Living in Texas, snow days are relatively rare. The Panhandle sees ice and snow a little more regularly than the DFW area. Austin and Central Texas hardly ever get to experience anything more inspiring than a light flurry. Houston falls in that category, as well. That is why when we get winter weather in the Lone Star State, it’s like the scene of Bambi on Ice. We are not people that prepare for water in a solid-state.
Winter tires are not sold here. A major city might just maybe have a single snowplow. We don’t store up salt for roads, and I know no one who wraps their pipes. We are not prepared for the cold because it seldom visits in a meaningful way.
The end result of this is that people watching go from “amusing” to “frightening/insane/awesome” pretty quickly. A trip to get gas, get groceries or get the mails can become a “classic fail video” in a heartbeat as long as you have your phone out.
I try to avoid the stupid because I’m older, have a few surgeries in my medical history, and don’t like drama. Instead, I’ve been at home watching over the kids, taking care of family, and finishing chapters 18 and 19 of the newest book. I still have no title, but I’m feeling good about my self-imposed May deadline for a release date.
Additionally, I want to thank everyone that has read my books. If you went that extra mile and left a review on Amazon or Goodreads, please know that helps me more than I can express. Ratings help promote my viability in the eyes of the all-mighty algorithms that populate search engines. Eventually, I hope to get relevant enough to get canceled for being me. It’s a small aspiration, but then that’s when you know you’ve made it.
Finally, in light of Texas’ winter weather being in the news, I leave you with this. It’s a collection of people documenting this moment for us.
Stay warm, stay safe, and I’ll keep writing.
My sister travels a lot for work, and this weekend she was in the Atlanta airport waiting for a flight to Kansas City. There were other people there wearing Chiefs and Bills jersey’s giving each other some good-natured razzing when a man wearing a Dallas Cowboys jacket sat down near her.
“Look as these idgits.”, he said to her.
“Yeah, they’re fired up,” my sister replied, “by the way, I’m a Cowboys fan, too.”
“I could tell you are someone with some common sense,” he said. “I guess it’s true that Texans can spot Texans.”
At this point, I have to mention that my sister said it was evident that the man she was talking to was military. He was the right age, had the haircut, had the build, and had all of the military habits that service members pick up. She knows how to spot that being the wife of a Navy man. But I digress…
Then the man says to my sister, ” It’s a lot like this book I read recently where it talks about ‘the Spirit of Texas’ and how it bonds the people together… I can’t remember the name of it, though.”
“Could it be ‘The Stars at Knight’ by Rob Bartley?” she asked.
“That’s it!” he replied, ” Have you read it?”
“Yes, I know the author,” she replied, “Have you read the second one?”
“I finished it a week ago. We’ve been passing it around the barracks.”, he replied.
“Well, he’s working on the third one right now.”, She informed him, “He’s trying to be done by May. You should hit him up on Instagram or Facebook.”
At that point, they announced that the soldier’s flight had a gate change, and he said good bye and left. My sister, marveling at how small a world it is, sent me a text about it and later told me the story. All I can say about it is that I love it. I’m so proud that they’re passing my books around at the barracks, and I hope they enjoy it.
The best part of having fans is that I get to share my story with people and, hopefully, entertain them for a while. It’s an extraordinary thing!
In light of that, I wanted to give a quick update and let you know that I’m working on Chapter 15 now. The story is gliding along like it’s on skids, and I’m excited about the turns it’s taking. In the meantime, I leave you with a meme.
Folks, if we can come together over mittens and memes, we’re going to be ok. Take a deep breath and relax. We have one life, and we never get this moment back. Spend as much of it as you can in joy.
My New Year’s resolution for 2020 was to “improve myself” and “take on meaningful projects.” That was part of my motivation that allowed me to write my first book. A year later, if you’ve resolved to get out there and improve yourself or take on meaningful projects, then I salute you. Make 2021 a great year, and if you want an audiobook to help, I will encourage you to check mine out on audible.
Thanks and have a great 2021!
2020 was somewhat challenging, but it allowed me to start writing, and for that, I am grateful. I wanted to let you know that with the first two books of my “Son’s of Texas” series released in paperback, ebook, and even audiobook, I’ve been relatively happy with my progress.
Today, I spent time working on Chapter 11 of the third, and yet to be named, novel in the series. The ideas have been flowing, and I’m enjoying where the story has been taking me. I believe that targeting my birthday, May 25th, for a release seems reasonable. Of course, if I hit a very productive streak, I hope to beat that date.
In the meantime, please continue to review the books and talk about them among your peers. In the end, you readers who have read the books know best the people you know that would enjoy them. For my part, I will do my best to help grow that audience, but I am very aware that I owe so much more than I can repay to those of you who have read the stories and helped along the way.
So, let me bid you all a very fruitful and remarkable 2021. Hopefully, it will include meaningful moments for you and yours.
Merry Christmas! I hope each of you has started that gentle slide towards the holidays as the gravity of expectations meets the realities of the day. I know that this year, more than most, has beaten us unmercifully with uncertainty and chaos, seemingly at every turn. While we are faced with enduring a little longer for the return of “normal,” as if that was a thing, I would like to take a moment to say “Thank you.”
I have enjoyed this part of my year very much. The chance to be creative and problem solve, and grow as a writer has been an unexpected buoy that has carried me across some of this years’ choppy waters. The fact that those of you that were courageous enough to risk the tides with me has been so supportive has been an unexpected blessing in my life.
While I think the New York Times Best Seller’s List doesn’t have to worry about adding “Bartley” to their spell-check dictionary just yet, I am thankful for each of you that have read, shared, promoted, and especially reviewed my book. Knowing that Mason and Ricardo are drinking coffee in someone else’s subconscious besides just mine makes me happy.
So, for those of you who are in the know, I made you this for Christmas:
‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through Wilson House
Only one thing was stirring, and it wasn’t a mouse;
Five stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
And Ricardo waited patiently for Santa to be there;
The Knights were nestled all snug in their beds;
Unaware of the secret that came for their heads;
Ricardo in the kitchen had planted his trap,
And listened intently for it’s steel claws to snap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
Ricardo sprung out the door to attend to the matter.
He flew past the window in his devilish dash,
he coursed through the shadows and flew like a flash,
The moon on Carol’s lawn, which was perfectly mowed,
Luminated the interloper now trapped in the cold.
The Krampus had come, as he did every year,
With chains and with fangs and a blood-thirsty sneer.
And with him a bundle of pointed birch sticks,
to skewer the Knights like giant toothpicks.
As he saw Ricardo, his curses they came.
Each one of them vile as he called him by name
“Trapped devil, deceiver, you failer of mission,
I have come again to hasten your dire expedition.
Let me kill all these Knights! In their sleep, they will fall.
Then you shall be free of this cursed hall.”
With a clawed hand on the trap, the Krampus did pry,
And it’s steel, it did snap, as it rose to the sky,
So up on the housetop, it perched on the roof,
dislodging the tiles where it dug in it’s hoof,
Ricardo wasn’t impressed; up the walls, he did bound,
It was his charge and quest to destroy these fair grounds.
The Krampus dark fur was all matte with soot;
He clawed at Ricardo, and he kicked for his foot!
But Ricardo had dodged him and taken his back,
he unsheathed his claws and began to attack.
The speed and ferociousness of it was quite scary
but the Krampus was no regular Christmas fairy.
As the violent attacks took a damaging toll
The Krampus’ defensive efforts did slow.
The blood from the Krampus now pooled down beneath,
and ran down through the yard and out into the street.
The body was burned despite being quite smelly,
and Ricardo still schemed like the prince, Machiavelli.
Then back to the Wilson House to clean up himself,
The hands on the clock had not quite reached the twelfth.
and there in the library and still dressed in red
Santa saw Ricardo and just shook his head.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But Ricardo heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—
“Happy Christmas, Ricardo, and that was a great fight!”
Each of us has that person who is challenging to shop for in each of our lives. Well, I’m doing my part to make your life easier. I finally have the first two books out in all of the formats that I have worked on this year. “The Stars at Knight” is out at Amazon, Audible, and Barnes and Noble. The “Dark Jury” is available on Amazon.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Rob, is this present going to be any good? To that, I ask, “Is Die Hard a Christmas Movie?” Of course, it is. This gave me the newest idea for my Christmas Advertising Campaign. I think it’s perfect. So, if you have a person that might like the books, grab them and wish them a Merry Christmas.
Not to be overly dramatic but I just received the email that my audiobook for “The Stars At Knight” is live!
The narration and voice acting is done by Toby Tomplay. He and I had an excellent time working on the book and I think the work he has done adds an interesting twist to the book. We both hope the result is something that will be enjoyed for years to come.
The link to the Audible listing is here.
The link to the Amazon listing is here.
The link to the iTunes listing is coming soon.
By the way, if you’re looking to join audible, you can get my book for free. Ironically, if you join their Audible Premium Plus, to get my book Toby and I get more money than is you buy the book outright. Who knew?
Either way, I’m super excited that the audiobook has finally dropped. I hope you all get a chance to hear it!
I have to be honest. I’m pretty excited right now.
When I wrote my first book, there was a lot of ‘hope’ baked into the mix, to be honest. I hope I can finish the book. I hope that it’s a good story. Once I released it into the wild, I was pleasantly surprised to find that most people that read it liked it. Additionally, I learned a lot in the process, and it gave me a nice sense of accomplishment.
This new book, however, is an entirely different experience. Right now, I have some very familiar feelings. It’s a mix of emotions that I am enjoying very much.
On the one hand, I feel that familiar feeling of being a long time Dungeon Master with a highly tuned game waiting for my adventurers. I’m excited to pull you into the world that I’ve created and to give you a chance to work your way through the elements my imagination has cobbled together. This time, the hope of making something ‘good’ is replaced with the confidence of having been here before and the drive to reward the reader’s interests.
On the other hand, I feel that feeling that parents have on the night before Christmas. All the work, editing, re-writing, or cost of making a book doesn’t matter one teeny, tiny bit. All I want is for people to read it. This story is SO MUCH BETTER than I could have hoped for, and I can’t wait to share it with you!
In conclusion, the opportunity to share these stories with you is an astounding thing. Your time and patronage are deeply appreciated. Each review I’ve received, comment I’ve read, and link you have shared on my behalf has been incredibly edifying. So, from the bottom of my twisted, fantastical literary heart, I present to you my next offering: the “Dark Jury”, book two of “The Sons of Texas” series.
* – (Kindle goes live at midnight)
“Not every Evil defeated in Texas’ dark history has stayed Dead.
Evil forces have amassed and are making their moves against the Knights of Texas. Mason Richardson, the newest protector, appointed by the Spirit of Texas, is once again pulled into a maze of intrigue and deceptions as his enemy’s motivations to use or destroy the new Knight clash. Still learning his powers, partners, and the path he must tread, Mason will be plunged into harm’s way to save an innocent girl. Opposing an evil plot that has been building for nearly 200 years, Mason will be forced to discover if he can navigate the webs of deception, protect those closest to him, and save Texas from its dark past.
Is the enemy of my enemy, my friend, or my enemy? Mason is about to find out.”
The newest instalment of the “Sons of Texas” series is now available for Pre-Order for Amazon Kindle and will be released on Black Friday. Paper back fans won’t be able to pre-order due to some weirdness with how Amazon handles their authors but it should be available to order later the same day.