Blaine Coleman

Biography

A lifelong resident of Virginia, I grew up in the rural southeastern part of the state with a large extended family. I majored in Religious Studies and minored in Creative Writing-fiction at Virginia Commonwealth University. I now live in a rural area near Richmond where five year old beagle, Leah, and her new companion beagle, Billy, have room to run. I spend my free time with my favorite activity, gardening, participate in Midlothian Wordsmith's Workshop, and read and write as often as possible. At university, I was fortunate to have many incredible writing teachers, the most recent being authors Clint McGown, and Sheri Reynolds, bestselling author of RAPTURE OF CANAAN among others. I learned from Clint McGown that prose can be as beautiful as poetry and I gained a love of southern fiction from Sheri Reynolds.
In 2012 I began writing stories about a boy growing up in the south in the 1960’s. Those stories became the collection THE ASDVENTURES OF ROLAND MCRAY. All three volumes are also in print and audiobook. My books are available in or can be requested at many Public libraries and paperback versions can be ordered from several major offline book retailers.
I also have a new book that is a radical change from the ROLAND MCCRAY series- FALLING WATER (Stories and Poetry)- a well-received collection of unusual short stories and poetry that is also available in print and audiobook (narrated by Charles Kahlenberg). Among other projects, I'm currently working on a science fiction novel that I hope to complete in 2017.

Smashwords Interview

What motivated you to become an indie author?
I feel I have a story to tell and a message to share, but most of my work is in short story form (many of them very well reviewed) and poetry, but few if any agents represent new writers who only have short story collections to try to sell to a traditional publisher. I truly believe what I've written has and will resonate with many people on multiple levels and, to make my work available, indie publishing is the only viable option. For one book, I had a well-known professional voice-over artist- Charles Kahlenberg- contacted me and, although it isn't the genre he normally records, it moved him enough that he asked to be allowed to narrate it if I was willing to allow him to work on it during his other projects. Of course, I was honored and accepted his gracious offer.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I lived in Petersburg, Virginia, until I was eleven years-old, then on a farm in the county south of Petersburg. Petersburg was the site of several major battles in the Civil War, so I grew up immersed in that history. My childhood neighborhood was sandwiched between a national battlefield park built around the "Crater", and a cemetery at the historic "Blandford Church". The church boasted (and still does) thirteen stained glass windows, one for each state of the Confederacy. A Ladies Association commissioned Tiffany to create the one-of-a-kind windows. Thirty thousand Confederate dead were buried in the surrounding cemetery. The "Crater" referred to the huge hole in the ground left when an important Confederate fort was literally blasted into the sky by Union forces in an attempt to disrupt the supply lines to the capitol of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia. Of course, being kids, we ignored the "Stay off the earthworks!" signs and rode our bikes around and through the crater and sledded there whenever it snowed. There was just no better place for bike riding than along the tops of the old earthworks and through the crater. It was a great place for a young boy to play! I flew kites and caught insects for my bug collection in the large field in front of the Crater, attended a small church, "Crater Hill Baptist", that sat on a low hill across from the park entrance on "Crater Road" (the extensive use of "crater" in the names of the road and church denote the importance "The Crater" in local history). According to local legend, General Robert E. Lee stood on that hill and watched what became known as the battle of the crater. True or not, it's a great story for locals to tell.
A narrow strip of woods between my backyard and the big field led into the deeper woods behind the crater that were a wonderful place to play. Being so young, the wooded hills and creeks that laced them seemed mysterious, almost magical to me, and I spent a great deal of time playing in them. My friends and I caught frogs and salamanders in the creek closest to our neighborhood. We didn't keep the frogs we caught, just played with them and then put them back into the water. I was fascinated by the hard-to-catch salamanders but when I brought one home to keep, it only lived a few days so I stopped catching them. Sometimes, we even collected the jelly-like egg cases of frogs and kept in an old aquarium one of my friend's had in his family's garage and watched them hatch into tadpoles and become frogs. Amazed to watch the changes they went through, I'd check on them every day, then, when the baby frogs were large enough, we'd release them back into the creek.
Even the cemetery, with its elaborate tombstones, Confederate monuments and mausoleums, and steep, shaded roads, was a quiet, peaceful setting. And a great place for us to ride bikes away from the neighborhood. With the fields and the woods to explore and the creek down the hill from my neighborhood, plus the old cemetery, I can't imagine a better place for a young boy to spend his early years!
When I was eleven years old, my father moved us to an old family farm in the country, and I left my old friends behind. The farm had been empty for years and it showed in the rundown house. But it was surrounded by fields and forests that hadn't been cleared in at least a century, and a swamp of black water that crossed one edge of the property, deep in the woods, gave me a place to fish, which I hadn't had when we lived "in town". I'd been warned to stay away from the marl pits that the forest has grown around, that if I fell in tree roots that had grown into them would drown me, and even that a tractor was in the bottom of one. But I found them anyway, without intending to--I was walking through the woods and crossed a little rise between two trees when I realized there was water on both sides. Water so black, like tar, and so still, it reflected the trees above like a mirror.
An old, small family cemetery, in a different part of the woods--nothing more than a few broken, limestone grave markers, no longer readable--was on the "pond road", which, obviously, led to the what remained of an old mill pond where a water-driven saw had cut trees into planks that were used to build the first house on the property (lost in a fire around the turn-of-the-century) and a large barn that still stood. A concrete room built into the dam had housed the equipment powered by the pond's water and when the retaining wall broke, most of the equipment was removed. Most of the pond drained into the swamp, a few hundred feet father into the woods, and forest reclaimed much of the pond's area many years before I first saw it.
Most of the old barn's wall planks were either missing or had been replaced decades before, but the timber structure was still intact. Another place I was told to avoid because it was dangerous. Which made it all the more interesting to explore.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Blaine Coleman online


Where to buy in print


Books

Butterflies- The Adventures of Roland Mccray
Price: Free! Words: 7,680. Language: English. Published: June 30, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Anthology
These two stories offer a free introduction to “The Adventures of Roland McCray”, a collection of stories that see every moment as its own adventure, rather than adventure stories in the action-packed thriller sense. In "Butterflies", Roland discovers that not everything as it seems, and in "Poke it with a Stick", Roland learns to cherish what he has even when it isn’t what he wanted
Falling Water: Stories & Poetry
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 38,810. Language: English. Published: March 12, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author, Fiction » Inspirational
This collection takes an incisive, penetrating look at life and that offers an insightful look at the realities we all face- the highs and the lows, hope, happiness, joy and the inevitable grief and suffering that must accompany the good. These vignettes are from handwritten journals I’ve kept for several years. There is sadness, as in life, but also hope in the redeeming goodness it offers.
Tunnels in the Briar Patch (The Adventures of Roland McCray)
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 53,130. Language: English. Published: July 13, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Themes & motifs » Family sagas, Fiction » Inspirational
Set in the 1960’s, Roland McCray’s adventures recall a simpler time when kids played for hours outdoors, instead of hours on video games. His mother took him to a Baptist church every Sunday, but it was his grandfather who taught him that real faith is not just for show; it is a quiet and unwavering belief that all things work for the good of those who seek good.
Finding Roland McCray (The Adventures of Roland McCray)
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 87,630. Language: English. Published: June 30, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author, Fiction » Inspirational
(Bks 1 & 2 in 1 volume) This is a slice-of-life look at Roland McCray from ages 8 to 18. A child during the turbulent 1960’s, Roland comes of age in the 1970’s in a town rich in Civil War history. Seeing bloody scenes of the Vietnam War on television, Roland knows war is evil. He wants the faith his grandfather lives and seeks his own Path, but fears he'll have to lose his religion to find God
Finding Luck with Roland McCray (The Adventures of Roland McCray)
Series: Tales of Roland McCray, Book 2. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 39,400. Language: English. Published: March 7, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Themes & motifs » Spiritual & metaphysical, Fiction » Inspirational
(5.00)
These stories follow Roland McCray into those angst-ridden teen years. Roland, no longer a child but not yet an adult, learns the pain of loss and the indescribable joy of first love. He begins to understand the need of forgiveness and acceptance in an often confusing world. Enticed by more temptations than ever, Roland seeks the quiet, unwavering faith his grandfather lives.

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