After family, Sage the dog, and biking, writing is my joy.
My career as a small business owner was cut short by Parkinson’s Disease. After the decision to sell the business was made, it became apparent that few of the buyers knew how to develop a business plan. Writing an e-book on “How to Purchase a Small Business” seemed so logical. It was a good guide with lists of questions and a sample business plan. But marketing it became another matter.
A new hobby of writing travel journals, sprinkled with a little encouragement from family and friends, sparked a desire to test my writing skills, and decided it was time for that dream job–coffee on the deck, smokin’ keyboard, e-books zooming through the Internet, and dollars collecting in the bank account.
Early spy short stories were posted on free e-book sites and developed a small following, which I thought was large enough to attempt a book. That second book was disappointing, but the experience was invaluable. And, I knew I wanted to write.
I fell back on my small business experience, and surrounded myself with the best people.
Two years later, an aspiring writer, telling stories that hopefully guide a reader’s imagination to a world of excitement, and provide a brief rest from the everyday duties.
I discovered that true writing was hard work, and quality required a lot of detail awareness. Maybe, there was still a chance of coffee on the deck…someday.
As a young boy at family gatherings, I recall listening to the men after a meal. The opinions around the subjects of politics, car brands, hippies, and rock n roll filled the room with energy like aromatic smoke from a pipe. But, when the story telling began everyone found a seat or patch of floor. We sat for hours laughing and gasping at the stories, fact or fiction–they shaped who we became and it strengthened our imaginations. Fifty years later, it’s clear a world without imagination would be pretty boring.
Marrying my high school sweetheart was my most brilliant accomplishment. We enjoy sporting events, backyard barbeques, outdoors, concerts, and travel with our friends.
What was your favorite book as a child/teen?
Basketball has always held a favorite spot in my heart. The exhilaration of the quick pace, spontaneous reaction to the defense, teamwork, and the thrill of the shot as it swished the net. But, I had one physical handicap—I was too short (even at fifteen, I could barely reach the gas pedal).
At thirteen, I discovered the town library. The first book on my library card was The Winning Basket. It is the story of a gifted ball player who was accepted at a military academy, made the basketball team, but was always at odds with the coach. He gets benched for crossing the coach. The team must win its last game to make a tournament and the foul situation dictates our hero has to play. You guessed it. He cuts the opposition’s lead and scores the winning basket.
If only I was taller.
Who or what inspired your last book?
It was a what and a who. The what was a random card from a deck of writing exercises. The card contained a reproduction of the Bernardo Martorell painting titled Saint George Killing the Dragon—a castle, princess, knight, and a dragon.
The who was Kathryn Elizabeth Jones—mentor turned editor. The assignment was to write a page and a half story inspired by the card. I was not thrilled with the assignment. I put it off until a couple hours before our meeting. With little time to proof, I had to be at my best. It turned out pretty good. Over the next month Kathryn talked me into five pages, ten pages, couple chapters, and then a book.
Thank you Kathryn.
Who is your favorite historical person?
I’m a bit of a techno-phoebe that loves art. That’s why I admire Leonardo DaVinci. He thought about helicopters, submarines, bicycles, and managed to paint some of the finest art the world has seen.
Three years ago on a trip to Italy, and recently, on a vacation in France, my wife and I were blessed with the opportunity to see his works up close. The attention to detail, blending of colors, mood, and setting were inspiring—touched my soul like nothing ever before.
What’s your favorite season/weather?
Autumn. The temperatures are perfect. The foliage is colorful. Now if they could stop playing with the time… (That’s another subject).
What’s your favorite way to spend a rainy day?
With a good book and hot tea.
We are fortunate to have access to a cabin in the Jackson Hole, Wyoming area. Early one May, Nancy and I, took a long weekend at the cabin after coming off two months of traveling for our jobs—sometimes passing in an airport. It rained, and rained some more, but we didn’t care. The two overstuffed chairs were placed in front of the French doors overlooking the Snake River, the fireplace was toasty warm, and the books were thrilling. This was the beginning of a new reading ritual for me.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with music?
Music—upbeat, new age, old rock, instrumental, and popular classical. Music creates atmosphere—at a restaurant, concert, wedding, an elevator, and almost everywhere you go. At times, I have selected music to put my head in the right mood.
What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
“Things are not always as they appear.” Being patient and gathering all the facts kept me from making some bad decisions. I have changed my conclusions on many occasions from what I originally thought.
This has also helped me in writing. The way a scene is worded paints a picture for the reader, which later can set up a surprise twist in the plot.
What is your favorite scene in the book?
When Althea and Kendrick first meet. He’s a full-grown man but still has boyish elements in his personality. She is in peasant disguise, disgusted with his reaction to her, but intrigued.
Her eyes seemed familiar. The bruise was irresistible. He had to touch it.
“Have we met before? What is your family name?” Kendrick asked as he lightly touched the darkening bruise.
She flinched uncomfortably, “No. We have not met.” The reply was quick. “What are you doing?” Couldn’t he just forget about the bump?
“It is so big and ugly,” he said.
She stood and swayed a couple times placing her hand on the cart’s edge. She rubbed her temple with the other hand.
Kendrick moved to catch her.
“Oh, you —” She staggered away.
Althea was glad Kendrick couldn’t read her mind for she found him immature, egotistical, and a boaster. She would have been happier talking to a frog. But still, something about him intrigued her.
This is the only scene left from the original page and a half exercise. The last paragraph above was the final piece of editing before the book was published.
How did you know you should become a writer?
I enjoy entertaining storytellers, especially those that can draw the listeners/readers into the story early, take us on a journey, and deliver a satisfying ending. When friends commented favorably on a few short stories, the thrill of storytelling hooked me.
And what sealed the deal was that exhilarating moment opening the first box of books.
What drives you insane about the writing process?
Occasionally, finding the right word for a key element of a story. The correct word that infers the right meaning, defines the character, or describes the setting.
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book?
It is an entertaining story with characters and relationships that grab your attention and hold it until the surprise ending.
Do you write as you go or do you have the book all planned out from page 1?
I do some of both methods.
My first step is developing the general story line—typically five to eight word sentences that represent the chapters. For example, Oscar sneaks baby into castle.
The next task is providing better descriptions and key details to a section of chapters. The work of writing turns these notes into the story. When I am satisfied with that part of the book, I move on to the next section.
One Note is great for brainstorming, organizing, and documenting the details. Lately, I have used Scapple to create a visual presentation of the key elements of the story.
Previously, I attempted to outline the whole tale, but found that the characters and the story sent me “off script”.
What’s your favorite part of the writing/publishing process?
Fine tuning the text. At this point, the bulk of the work has been completed, and the tweaking process improves the story presentation and imagery.
Describe your book in five words?
It’s a fun, engaging story.
Oscar, trusted knight of the king, is about to be exposed.
Despite abduction, assassination plots, and jealousy, the princess and her true identity has been kept a secret. The king’s most distrusted enemy, Archbishop Thomas, has been kept in the dark.
And time is running out. The Archbishop has collected every resource he needs to execute his plot, the invaders from the north are raiding deeper into the country, and the king’s recent health has become a concern.
The truth of the princess becomes even clearer when Kendrick, Oscar’s son, meets the princess. Can Althea’s and Kendrick’s relationship endure the challenges that threaten them? Will the princess survive long enough to become queen?
And what of Oscar, trusted knight of the king?
Will the truth, finally and completely, end his own life as well as the life of his only son?
1 ebook of Winter’s Thief