YBF: Your Free Book

To celebrate Independence Day, my novel, XPOSURE, will be available for FREE as an eBook (KINDLE) beginning on June 27th for five days!



Strange flashes appear in the sky; now so commonplace no one much cares…

A skeletal relic from a Qumran cave alarms a Dead Sea Scroll expert… 

Four world leaders are mysteriously summoned to the Vatican…

The true third prophecy of the 1917 Fatima vision is finally unsealed…

And a conflicted Soviet “sleeper” agent, US Navy SEAL STAN STANISLAW, reneges on a deal his parents made in World War II, and now without a country, tries to survive long enough to put it all together…to expose a plot that threatens more than an antiquated Cold War agenda.  It’s a brand new millennium and the future of the human race is up for grabs.

Some very nice endorsements too:



–Dale K. Myers,Emmy award-winning animator and author (With Malice: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Murder of Officer J.D. Tippit)



–Brain Mallon, Actor (Gettysburg, Gods and Generals)



–Lee Martin, Screenwriter (Shadow on the Mesa)



–Daniel Darling, Pastor/Author (Real, Owning Your Christian Faith)



–Patrick Gorman, Actor (Gettysburg, Gods & Generals)



–Ron Forseth, Vice President, Outreach, Inc.



–Kevin Lartigue, Fitness Professional



–Shane Hagedorn, Director/Filmmaker



–Michael Sudds, Sports Columnist



–Don Douglas, SVP-Programs, ICM



–David Goetz, Author 

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BREAKING NEWS: “To Appomattox” Kickstarter Officially Launched!

BREAKING NEWS: “To Appomattox” Kickstarter Officially Launched!.

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Your Honest Moment: WIRN

What I’m Reading Now



When I wrote the first draft of my screenplay Something Gray, there were many unique challenges.

The chief one was using the dialogue of the 1800’s for authenticity, but without making it too hard to read.  (Initially, I didn’t use any contractions as folks spoke more formally then.)

This was especially challenging with slave vernacular (who made up contractions in their slang all the time) and rural phrases that we no longer use.  I kept as many of them as I could when the scene made the dialogue’s meaning clear.

Here’s two examples of Aaron Burton, Mosby’s dear friend…and his slave:

“Well sir, I s’pose most figgered me just his slave, but them who rode with the 43rd knew how it cut.”  

“We’d a whooped ‘ol Billy Yank sure, ifn’ Bobby Lee fought like I done taught the Colonel.  Our fightin’ woulda’ warmed an Egyptian mummy.”

Eventually I had to tone in down quite a bit so as not to distract the reader from the scene.

Slotkin doesn’t do that in Abe: A Novel of the Young Lincoln.  He picks you up and then slams you down into 1809 “right quick.”

I wonder if Lamar Trotti had the same problem in writing the screenplay for Young Mr. Lincoln with Henry Fonda.

At any rate, Slotkin caught my eye when I read his most recent book  The Long Road to Antietam.  The first third of that book is a masterful explanation of Lincoln’s politics and McClellan’s Democratic obstructions.  One of the best books I read last year and definitely worth the price of admission.


Well, back to this current read…Slotkin makes it purty dang hard to read, but stay with it for the first 20 or so pages.

His rough style is purposely visual and choppy, dodging into character’s heads and bouncing descriptions offin’ arn, just like the times were for Abe growing up in Kentuck, and further west to the frontier in Indiana and Illinois.

Consider the frontier “house” in Illinois that his father, Thomas Lincoln, died in here:

Lincoln cabin

But don’t give up cuz’ it’s hard.  Some of his lines are priceless, like this tight gem describing a steamboat:

“The small sternwheeler’s single stack dashed a black scrawl on the overcast.”

It’s also worth the price of admission to get to Slotkin’s Promised Land:   “…how Moses would grow up tall, and whup the man that whupped the children, change the serpents to sticks and break the sea so the children could get over, and home to their milk and honey…”

One more clip with another Lincoln to help you visualize the novel, with Raymond Massey (a fine actor when you contrast his performance as Jonathan Brewster in Arsenic and Old Lace):

A great read…honest!

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Your Hitler Moment: WIRN

What I’m Reading Now


I just finished reading this book about Hitler’s last days on the planet.


What a sad and depressing end for someone with so much power that could have been used for so much good.

We all share in our disgust for Hitler’s crimes against humanity, one of the worst tyrants ever to rule a country, but I wondered what might have been had he used his influence for good?

And what transpired in his young life that transformed him into such a wicked and insecure beast who murdered millions?

Did his family betray him?  Was he bullied?  Did someone break his heart?  I wonder what went wrong for him.

Perhaps it began with his rejection from art school, where according to this New Yorker article “he often slept in a squalid homeless shelter, if not under a bridge. Intent on becoming an artist, he twice failed the art academy’s admission test; his drawing skills were declared unsatisfactory.”  http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2002/08/19/020819craw_artworld

Look at what he did as an artist:  http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/news-hitlers-paintings

Perhaps a small lesson for us all to be kind to one another, not knowing what harm may result from our own small wickedness.

I recall going to the movies as a boy to see Alec Guinness portray him in Hitler: The Last 10 Days (Trust the Fuhrer, Luke).

It was an impressive performance, but so sad…what a waste of power!

Here’s a clip from that:

And also the great Anthony Hopkins makes you think he really is Der Fuhrer in The Bunker:

If you don’t know much about the real man, then check out this documentary on his demise:

And then consider another wicked man, Phil Robertson, and his “legacy.”  What a difference can be made when we yield.

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Your His Moment: Ten Things

On the eve of the holiday that Abraham Lincoln established to give thanks to God for all of His many blessings, it seems appropriate to share this reminder to be thankful, as we see in this new trailer for The Ultimate Life movie, a sequel to The Ultimate Gift (here’s the full movie):

Pay special attention around the one minute mark of The Ultimate Life trailer when the train jumper changes the main character’s life with his “10 things.”

So despite a difficult year, or maybe even a difficult five years, we all have at least 10 things to give thanks for tomorrow.

Here’s mine:

1.  My faith in Jesus Christ, who “Psalm 40’ed” me when I didn’t care about Him.

2.  My wife, who is a true gift from Him.

3.  My kids, both wonderful people who I am very proud of every day.

4.  Our health is not an issue.

5.  Other than our home mortgage, we have no real debt.

6.  My writing ability (from Him), and finishing a book and a screenplay.

7.  Getting to see my mom and dad again, as well as some very famous people like Lincoln, John Adams, Lee, and Stonewall Jackson.

8.  Being able to approach His throne of grace any time I want with any request, and knowing He hears me, and like any good father…longs to give me my desires.

9.  My childhood, and my parents who made it so wonderful, especially my brothers.

10.  Death isn’t scary anymore… just a door to an eternal life of Paradise:

A Door, A Jar

What made hospitals smell so bad?

I stepped off the elevator and turned left.  It wouldn’t be long now.

The doctors thought Monday at the latest.  We hadn’t discussed it much, not at all really.  Perhaps that was my fault.  Maybe it was mutual.  Probably wishful thinking on both our parts; trying to ignore the inevitable, I guess.

But we both knew it now.

You could feel it in the room the last time.  It was almost like “it” was an unseen person.  We couldn’t pretend anymore.  Sort of eerie, like something was slipping away, something that you couldn’t stop.  I was glad that I’d taken the time to write it all down.  With a deep, unconscious breath, I pushed against his heavy door.

“How ya’ feelin’ today?”  I asked with a cautious smile, pulling up a chair.  It felt awkward and stiff.

“Not much different.”  He sighed heavily.  “Physically, anyway.”  He seemed to know how bad he looked.

He was very matter-of-fact.  No real emotion.  Almost as if he’d just resigned a chess match.  I probed a bit more.

“Are you afraid at all?  I mean, have you thought about….”

“Yeah.  I guess.”  He cut me off, thankfully.  “More like curious excitement, mixed up with…fear.”

There was a long, long silence.  And then, just as I opened my mouth, he spoke again.  Slow and deliberate.

“Ya’ know, Phil.”  His voice cracked a little.  “We’ve never really talked about dying, not in a real way.  Whaddya’ think’s gonna’ happen first?  I mean, as a pastor, what do you think goes on?  Will I see Him…right away?”

Our eyes met.  Mine watered.  I think I sniffled a little too.

That’s when I handed it to him, the same paper you’re reading now.  It felt like it weighed fifty pounds, then.

I cleared my throat.  “I thought it might be easier to read about it, instead of trying to talk about it; so I put this together.”  I lifted it up tentatively toward his bed, not sure if he’d want it.  His eyes fell on the first sentence….

In the movie Pattonwith George C. Scott, the general is reflecting on the glory of battle and makes a stunning remark to one of his officers.  Amidst the haze of battle smoke, he says, “Did you ever stop to think that death might be more exciting than life?” 

What an amazing statement to make on a battlefield strewn with dead and dying men!  But precisely what the Apostle Paul said in Philippians:  “…to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much the better.”  And in Second Corinthians “…to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”

Is it possible that to be dead is a good thing?  No, a great and wonderful thing?

That’s what Patton wondered.  Is it just a door to a better existence with more wonder than this shadow we call “life?”

So what does happen at the precise moment of death?  In that twinkle of a millisecond when our heart has just beat and pumped it’s last, what actually takes place?

I’ve often wondered about it, passing into the world of spirits and vacating our clay jar.  What actually occurs in that first sliver of true timelessness?  Perhaps it’s something like this….

A searing flash of light so bright that your eyes are useless, but you can see it all!

You can make out what you know to be your close friend and you know beyond a doubt that he’s more than that; he’s your angel.

He is so familiar to you!  He’s enormous, at least three times your size, and with a smile that’s so reassuring that you feel it more than see it.  He’s so real and vibrant, in every detail.  It’s like he’s lightening frozen into form.  No, more like solid flames in a white-hot fire.

There is such a silent excitement around you!  Now a strange sensation of being pulled toward him; but from behind you, a heavy sense, like thick, syrupy water parting from your form.  Something has definitely separated itself from the back.

You feel freed from the heaviness and slide joyously closer to your guardian angel.  There’s an awareness, an overwhelming air of emotion, like tranquility or gentle peace.  But it’s not around you, per se.  You are part of it!  It’s inside of you.

So nice; refreshing, like something you once knew, but somehow forgot.  How?!  How could anyone forget this?  It’s all so recent, so …perfect.  A firm sense of goodness, or is it love?  It’s overpowering, like a fragrance.

An inescapable fog of goodness, kindness, and some other emotion that’s new, rushes through you.  All of it is gushing quietly and calmly through your form, exhilarating every sense you thought you knew.  It feels like you’re grinning uncontrollably.

As you rise toward the angel, an undeniable presence of safety and confidence securely grips you like a vice of velvet.  It has a hold on you somehow, by the middle area, or from within maybe.  Are you floating?  There is definite movement though, of some kind.

There’s a flowing  sensation, but no “wind”.  Thing’s are passing by, and you’re rising higher.  You’re moving together.  Are you talking or listening?  It’s both.

You know his name, but you don’t know how you know.  The stars gleam intensely all around.  And then you’re standing…before a great and massive door!  It’s mammoth!  You’re awed by how tiny and insignificant you are in front of this door.

The whole moment, up to this point, seems like a blink.

It slowly and silently swings inward and there He is!!

At the end of an aisle.  It’s Jesus, seated upon a glowing, thundering rainbow throne!

You sense trembling as your angel releases you.  On either side of a long runway are millions upon millions of cheering saints–you know them all!  You recognize every single face!

But you’re not facing them, yet you see them all.  Your “eyes” are riveted upon the most absolutely divine face.  It’s Him—-Jesus—sweet, wonderful King!  He’s magnificent!

As you near the throne, you’re aware of the cheers from your friends.  He rises to His feet and extends a hand…right to you!

There’s brassy music, soothing and silvery notes you’ve never even thought of that are like a memory, from childhood?  No, before that.  As a baby?  Or maybe even before that, if that’s possible.

There’s the scar on his wrist.  The music, seemingly alive, pierces like a sword of brass and strings.  You can’t stand any longer, but you can’t seem to fall either.

And then He speaks, audible words, like golden crashes of a thousand waterfalls, “WELL DONE, GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT.  ENTER IN TO THE JOY OF YOUR FATHER.”

What a voice, like your dear mother, tender and firm.

It radiates throughout the hall.  A hush falls over everyone, hanging on the melody of God’s pure voice.  It seems to echo in your soul.

Everything is right, so very right.  It’s as if you’d never been anywhere else.  And so, we shall ever be…with the Lord of all, forever and ever.

His eyes, now glistening, look up from the trembling paper.  The first real smile in weeks told me I’d jarred him back to the reality of what it means to be a true believer.

Death can be more exciting.

His door, on the way out, never swung so easy.  And the busy hallways didn’t really seem to smell that bad anymore.  “Oh, death, where is Thy sting?”

I thought,  “Yeah…where is Thy sting?”

So, what are your 10 Things?

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Your Hopersberger Moment: 7 Things


Hmmm…let me think now.

Recently a friend on Facebook assigned me the number 7, to talk about 7 Things most folks don’t know about me.  I don’t normally engage in any of the FB “games,” but this might be interesting.

1.  I was hung once as a child.

We were playing cops and robbers, I got caught, and sentenced to hang.  Up on a milk crate, hands tied behind my back, he tossed the rope over a big pear tree branch, and…kicked the crate out from under me!  As a six-year old, I thought it was all just pretend until I was strangling!

I twisted in the wind for some time, before his mom and aunt happened to see me and cut me down.  I had a rope burn on my neck for several months.  Years later, when I was 12 or 13, I beat the crap out of that kid.

2.  I got in a big fight in a Howard Johnson restaurant in Los Angeles when two guys came after me, thinking I was my older brother, Biker Jack (as they knew him…I was only 16).

The one guy was huge and came after me with a crowbar in the parking lot, tapping it against the palm of his hand as I backed up…until I bumped into a half wall.  I was trapped.

As he got close enough to swing, I leaned back on the wall, and as quick as I could, and with all of my might, I kicked him right in the face (I was wearing boots and put the heel right on his chin!).  He went flying and I hopped over the wall, raced around to the front door, and ran inside to warn my brother (who was in the bathroom).

When we came out, Jack’s girlfriend (who I had been walking out with after our dinner and got separated when the two guys came after me) pulled a pistol out of her car that made the two guys fly out of there in their El Camino, the big bloody mouthed guy diving into the back as it peeled out!  I remember he said to her, “Don’t you shoot me!”

We left and filled Jack in on everything that had happened while he was in the bathroom (he admitted he’d heard there was a “contract” out for him and they thought I was him…long hair, leather jacket…an easy mistake), but when we got back to his apartment we realized he had left his keys in the booth at Howard Johnson’s.

So back we went.  This time I stopped into the bathroom, while Jack and Shelli went to our booth to find his keys.

Now the scene reversed, as Shelli came flying into the bathroom to tell me Jack was fighting the two guys and to come quick (they had returned and were sitting in our booth!)!


I came flying out just as Jack threw the smaller guy to me, who I grabbed in a choke hold, while Jack beat the daylights out of my boot-lipped friend, and kicked him out the door.

All the while I’m screaming for Shelli to give me a ketchup bottle to bust over the guy’s head I’m holding (and everyone having dinner is scrambling to the other side of the room, grabbing their kids, managers on the phone calling the cops…PANDEMONIUM!).

Long story, but suffice it to say we got the keys, they got a serious whoopin’, and we bailed out of there as the sirens approached.

Jack by the pool

3.  My mom saw a vision of a ram on his haunches in a sunset as a teenager (she called her aunt over to see it at the same time to make sure she wasn’t crazy and she saw it too!).

Forty years later, when I arrived at MSU each of the six dorms in my complex had a Zodiac sign on the outside…my dorm had Aries…a massive ram on his haunches, which is the same building where I gave my heart to Jesus in 1980.

4.  I’ve written a novel and a screenplay.  Here’s the trailers for both:

5.  As a teenager, I was at a Rainbow concert where Ritchie Blackmore (formerly of Deep Purple) broke his guitar and threw it into the audience.  I caught one of the two pieces, along with another guy.  He had a better grip, so after a brief struggle I let go.

Several years later, while in college in that same dorm, I was comparing past concert experiences with my roommate…who turned out to be that very same guy!

I also got to go backstage afterwards to meet Ritchie and the band.  We partied and sang old Beatle tunes around a baby grand piano.

6.  I went to every home game for the Detroit Tigers’ World Series in 1984.  Each ticket was under $15.00!  Here’s one of them:

Tigers 1984

7.  I hoisted the Stanley Cup over my head, when my good friend, Dan Bylsma, beat my Red Wings as the Penguins head coach (I doubt Mike Babcock would have let me do that at his Cup Party, let alone invite me!).

Dan, Stan, and Me!

Here’s a story I wrote about that:  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/185865-this-red-wings-fan-is-okay-if-bylsmas-penguins-win-the-cup

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Yer Hawkey Moment: Who Was The Best?



Years ago, during my son’s hockey tournament in Toronto, our family went to his restaurant and it was fabulous.  Great service, wonderful food (my son’s hamburger had 99 burned into it), and it felt just like a hockey museum.

A few interesting tidbits from all the memorabilia inside.

He had a Honus Wagner baseball card on display valued at $500,000, but with Wayne’s signature on it the value doubled!  Imagine anyone else defacing a trophy card like that, but The Great One’s scrawl actually increased the value.

He also has his rookie sweater hanging next to his hawkey idol’s rookie sweater, Gordie Howe. Quite a treat for fans of the game.

There’s also a plexiglass case with about 40 of his game used sticks.  My son noticed that they were really short, about the same length of his stick as an eight year old (then).  I asked the waiter why they were so short and he explained that Wayne’s hunched over skating style was the result of cutting off an inch after each period (to keep him leaning over, the proper form for skating).

Later we went to the Hall of Fame and Wayne practically had his very own wing. Quite impressive and appropriate for all his records–he holds or shares 61 NHL records!

He’s also a big fan of his fans.

When I was playing hawkey at Penn State, one of my teammates said his high school coach was Wayne’s best friend and if I wanted he’d ask Wayne to sign my Gretzky book by Rick Reilly, which had just come out.  I didn’t really believe Brett, but gave him my copy to take home for Christmas break.

So what’s he been up to since leaving the limelight of the NHL?


If you want to visit his restaurant or attend his fantasy camp (on my Bucket List), here’s the link:


Oh yeah, Brett brought back my book with Wayne’s signature and a note on the inside…and Brett lived in Ohio.  Amazing!  How does Gretzky have time to do that?

One more Great to add to his Greatness!

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