Let’s Chat! Lighthouse Author Alfred Bates

Welcome, Friends!

Our guest author this week, Alfred W. Bates–also known as Al–wrote The Wickie, a novel set around a lighthouse on the Oregon coastline in the 1861. A storm tragically takes the life of assistant lighthouse keeper Wyatt Saunders and sets in motion events that forever change the lives of his family; the head keeper, Gus Crosby; and the new assistant keeper, Jesse Fayette. 

Gather ’round as we chat with this gentleman of gentlemen. Join the chat below, and you’re entered into a drawing for a signed copy of The Wickie.

GIVE-AWAY RESULTS: The winner of Al’s give-away is Marilyn R. Congratulations, Marilyn!

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Lighthouse Al Before Lighthouses

Born and reared in Ohio, I am the older of two siblings. Our parents were Alfred and Alice Bates. I worked with my father on the farm as a young boy. In later years, I worked for farmers in the summer to make money to buy my first car.

After graduating from high school in 1955, I married my high school sweetheart, Rose. We had two boys. Our younger son died at the age of twenty-six.

Service to Country

At the age of seventeen, I joined the Army National Guard and served forty-two years, retiring from the Army as Chief Warrant Officer CW4. I also worked Federal Civil Service and retired with thirty-one years service.


After retirement, we sold our home in Arizona and began traveling this great country. Initially, we had not chosen any particular places to visit. Our goal was to just enjoy the sights and people we would meet along the way. One of our first destinations was to visit friends who had moved to Pennsylvania but were vacationing in New Jersey. They were entertaining their adult children on the day of our arrival and suggested we visit a lighthouse down the coast. We visited the lighthouse and got hooked.

Inspiration from a Lighthouse

This was the beginning of our joyous ten year trek of visiting lighthouses. We saw over 300. For two summers of those years, we enjoyed serving as tour guides at Umpqua River Lighthouse in Oregon where I gained more knowledge of lighthouses.

Due to Rose’s health, we ceased traveling after ten years and settled down in Texas. She died approximately two years later.

Inspiration to write my book, The Wickie, came while serving as the lighthouse tour guide. (Tweet That!) After learning historical events associated with the two Umpqua River Lighthouses, the work of the keepers, their families and lifestyle, I knew there were other people who would enjoy reading about those times. I titled my book The Wickie because the keepers in the old days nicknamed each other Wickie. They had to trim the wicks on the lantern to enable the light to burn bright.

The Wickie Debut Experience

I found it enjoyable, yet challenging, to collect data and pictures for use in The Wickie. I had written many letters and documents during my years of service and thought I knew how to write. But when I joined a writers group, I soon realized writing a novel is different.

My writing journey slowed with the death of my wife, but time passed and God gave me another chance at life. I met my second wife, Linda, in a local grief share program. She likewise is supportive of my writing.

After finally completing my manuscript, I chose a publisher in Oregon who worked with writers wanting to self publish. Their staff was very organized and carefully guided me through those unfamiliar publishing steps.

My first experience with transmitting an entire manuscript via the Internet was somewhat frightening. I soon adjusted, knowing my manuscript would become a book. I felt proud the day my books arrived at the house. All the stress and hard work I’d endured over the years finally paid off.

Insight and Looking Ahead

While looking at the stacks of books, I quickly realized those books wouldn’t sell themselves, and I would need the marketing materials I purchased with the publishing contract. Time has taught me self publishing is hard work and marketing the book is a challenge in itself.

Currently, I am writing a sequel to The Wickie. The working title is “Spirit of The Lighthouse.” Before starting the sequel, I took time to write a novella and a novelette to improve my writing.

A Final Note From Al

You can find me as Alfred W. Bates on Facebook: http://bit.ly/2ovwoeo

Twitter: @awbates1955

And on my blog: http://AlsLighthouses.blogspot.com

Links to Amazon and Barnes and Nobel are listed on the blog for your convenience. Select the store of choice and enter The Wickie to purchase copies.

You may also purchase from me via email to: AWBates1955@gmail.com.

May you let your light shine to those around you.

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Thank you for joining our circle this week, Al. What an honor it has been to share you with others. You’ve captured our imaginations. Can’t wait to read your book!

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Lord, You order our days, even those that transpire in the deepest valleys of sorrow. You’ve done so in Al’s life, and we receive with gratitude the blessing of The Wickie, a story where Your light shines through darkness, pointing the way to You.

Jesus is Meaning. Without Him I’d be purposeless, rudderless, and joyless.

6 thoughts on “Let’s Chat! Lighthouse Author Alfred Bates

  1. Marilyn R

    Thank you for introducing Alfred Bates to me as a reader. What a great chat with Alfred and The Wickie will be an interesting novel to read. His sequel will be a necessary read, too. I have always been enjoyed seeing pictures of lighthouses, but have never tour one.

    1. I’m with you about lighthouses, Marilyn. There’s just something intriguing about them. Al has hit on a fascinating setting. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    2. Hi, Marilyn;
      Thank you for taking time to read my story and showing an interest in lighthouses. I recall when I took part of my manuscript to a writers conference to have it critiqued. The person let me know that my book would be considered a Nitch book. I had to ask. What’s a Nitch book? Response: Only a small portion, or nitch, of the population will care about reading your book. O.K. I decided to keep on going with my book because not everyone likes to read mysteries or love stories either.
      Blessings, and have a great week.

  2. Alfred is an inspiration! He puts life (and a kick) into the word “retired.”

    1. I know .. right? Thanks for joining in, Clarice.

    2. Hi, Calice;

      Thank you for your kind words. Your comment reminded me of a promise I made to myself when I retired. It was: I don’t want to set in a rocking chair on the front porch and watch people drive by the house.


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Mother Love: Never Old

Mother Love

Mother love is never old. Yesterday was my mother’s 98th birthday. She wasn’t present in bodily form; she passed into Glory 22 years ago.

Mother’s spirit hovered around me all day.

Goldie Leona Banks Brooks was no shrinking violet. Or pansy. She was more like the lantana and verbena that bloom in Texas most of the year. I doubt she’d delight in this comparison, but hear me out.

First, these hardy plants thrive in heat and drought and aren’t fussy about the soil. They add bold color to the garden and require zero tending. They’re dependable and determined, and they find a place to bloom, invited or not. They don’t give off fancy fragrances, but they don’t apologize either.

Mother’s favorite flower was the rose (with the orchid coming in a close second). I think she admired their delicacy, and I know she loved the scent of the rose. It’s a good thing she was neither a rose nor an orchid, fragile and fussy about her surroundings. She wouldn’t have managed as a Great Depression farm wife otherwise. Nor would she have survived twenty-five trying years of widowhood, holding onto the home and farm land she and Daddy worked so hard to acquire.

Girl Thoughts

January 17th appears on the calendar each year, and I return to memories of growing up as Goldie’s girl. She had always wanted a daughter, but by 1941 she had given birth to three boys and buried one. So when in 1946 her doctor confirmed she was expecting another child, all she could think were girl thoughts.

Thereafter, she made a pest of herself among church friends, asking them to pray for Goldie to have a girl. (Truthfully, they learned to run the other way when they saw her coming. 🙂 She threaded her days with incessant prayers of her own. Please give me a girl. Please give me a girl. 

But in time she convinced herself it was better to build a wall of defense around her heart than to leave it exposed to disappointment. She entered the clinic to deliver her fourth child on the 5th day of September, telling herself she and Wilson were destined for a household of boys. (Would she have traded either of her precious boys for a girl? Never!) (Tweet That!)

Girl Time

So when the doctor announced, “It’s a girl,” she heard “It’s a boy.” She held tears in check until Daddy entered her room with a huge grin.

“What’re you crying about, Goldie?”

“Another boy.” Sniff, sniff.

“No. It’s a girl.”

“Stop teasing me.” Blub. Blub.

“Goldie, we have a girl.”

She shook her head and turned away.

The doctor entered the room. “You did it, Goldie. You got your girl.”

Wiping her face with the hem of a sheet, Mother sat up … 

And the rest is … Well, it’s proverbial history packed with mother love and gratitude. And a lesson learned: Pray and expect a miracle.

Later, the preacher wrote to friends who had moved away: Praise the Lord! Wilson and Goldie have a girl! Little did anyone know at the time, but eleven years later, Goldie was to have another baby–a boy again, but–oh–how great was the rejoicing.

Indeed, Mother was like our Texas lantana and verbena. Strong. Stubborn. Self-sufficient. At times, overly so. She asked no one to wait on her or tend her. But on this, the day after her 98th birthday, how I wish I could.

Lord, how weak is our faith. We often pray, doubting.
Help us to pray, trusting. For Jesus’ sake.


Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 
Philippians 4:6 

4 thoughts on “Mother Love: Never Old

  1. I truly enjoyed this, Linda! Your mom was beautiful. A kindred spirit, for sure. I live on a sand ridge in south Georgia. The only thing that thrives here is lantana. I have one rose bush. I love burying my nose in the petals. But, the lantana is the year-round visual beauty I am blessed with. I wouldn’t trade it for a thousand roses!
    Have you written a book with your mom as the main character? I would love to read that story!!

    1. Thank you for commenting, Gail! Very encouraging 🙂 There’s a lot of Mother in Ella McFarland. Mother was “sillier” at times than Ella Mc … and Mother laughed. A lot. But they are very much alike. I used the Myers-Briggs Personality Assessment and decided they are twin sisters. 🙂 My maternal grandmother Ella is in Betsy McFarland. And Lily’s story has roots in my mother’s family. Love connecting with you.

  2. You must get your spunk and sweetness from your mother! I love your mini-memoirs, which bring us back in time. You have a gift.

    1. Thank you, Clarice. Mother got into some hilarious situations. We laughed a lot. Thanks for commenting.


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