In 2008 with thirty-plus years and counting in the construction business in Southwest Florida, I felt I needed a change. But just walking away from what was putting bread on the table was not an option. Then, one day while driving home from work I recalled something a high school teacher had once told me, that I should be a writer. (Yes, there is a story behind that)
However, being fifty-two years old, and not possessing any experience, or formal education in the art and science of creative writing, served to amplify the craziness of my embarking on a career as a writer. But things like that never stopped me before, so I thought, why should it stop me now. As with many other things I’ve learned to do in my life, mostly self-taught, I jumped in with both feet, a baptism of fire, a sink or swim thing. That’s not a brag, it’s just the way things were for me, the reasons of which I may save for an auto biography.
I started my first novel, The Concrete Coastline, while still working as a project superintendent for a commercial general contractor. Due to the nature of construction work, most of my days started well before sunrise, and ten or twelve hours later they were done, as a result any idea of trying to write at the end of the day was just not going to happen. Fortunately, most of my workdays were confined to a five-day week, leaving my weekends and holidays open for writing.
Even then, my free time was sparse, so to maximize my time I got up very early on those weekend mornings around 3:30am to write. This gave me about four hours to sit and write before the family began to stir. After that I had to shift to all the things dads do on weekends, mow the lawn, repair a washer or a flat tire on a bicycle etc. Three years would pass before I finished that first work.
In the vernacular of car manufacturers, that first novel was a “test mule” of sorts. I needed to see if I could come up with a good storyline, with a beginning, middle and end, that I would stick with it to its completion. I’m happy to say I did.
My second novel, The Navajo Sign, was begun within weeks after completing The Concrete Coastline. My inspiration was so strong for writing The Navajo Sign that I idled that first novel in its rough manuscript stage to focus entirely on writing The Navajo Sign, again, still arising well before the chickens. All the years of early mornings resulted in its ultimate finish as a published work.
On a Caribbean Tide, my third full length novel began while The Navajo Sign was going through the lengthy process of being published. I have many more stories waiting in the wings, some on paper, and others still floating around in my fertile imagination. And Lord willing, and the creek don’t rise, I’ll see those stories come to life as well.
Taking a break from the rush of life to enjoy a date night.
This is the view from our Bungalow in Bora Bora where I wrote some of On a Caribbean Tide. As an author, you could not ask for a more idyllic setting to write a novel about a magnificent sailboat.
Me and John Posson after I flew the Mustang for my 50th Birthday. Without a doubt the coolest thing I’ve ever done!
This is my Great Uncle Rob’s general store, the seed that spawned several
other such family-owned stores. Uncle Rob first opened his store in Bonita Springs Fl. in the 1920’s
This is my father and mothers corner grocery, it became the center of our family life, with all of us kids practically growing up in that store.
My wife Darlene and I celebrating our 20th anniversary with dinner on the beach in Bora Bora.
This photo became the inspiration for my latest novel, On a Caribbean Tide. It was used as a prompt for a writing contest for which I had submitted a short story, a version of which became the opening scene for On a Caribbean Tide.
On a Caribbean Tide was a fun story to write, it takes off from the Florida Keys on an unintended journey through the Caribbean islands of the early 1980’s. The Caribbean at that time was a wild and at times a dangerous place due to the characters that plied the waters of the Caribbean Sea.
This incredible photo was taken by my ten year old son Kyle in Key West using a little throwaway Kodak camera. This photo was used for On a Caribbean Tide’s book cover.
This view of mount Otemanu during our dinner on the beach made our anniversary dinner like something out of a romance novel, it was spectacular!
Here I am pounds lighter not as gray and years younger getting final instructions before getting strapped in a Winston Cup stockcar.
My youngest son John and me standing next to a WWII B-17 bomber. I love the warbirds of WWII, and the B17, along with the Mustang, are at the top of my list. While I didn’t get to fly this beauty, I was however, privileged to fly on it with a man who was a belly gunner on a B-17 during the war. I’ve always had massive respect for the crews that manned these planes, but I have to say the belly gunners, and bombardiers, had the most nerve-wracking seats on the plane.
The 2008 Grand re-dedication of the Charlotte County Courthouse in downtown Punta Gorda Fl. One of the construction projects I’m most proud of. Originally constructed in 1927 it opened in 1928.
The old courthouse over the decades had suffered at the hands of awful remodels and additions that destroyed its majestic steps, portico and exterior, and then in 2004 hurricane Charlie nearly dealt it a death blow.
Ps. The courthouse is haunted
My mini vintage guitar collection the two in the center are a Gibson Hummingbird that is 47 years old. Then, to the right, is a very special Gibson J-45 Banner edition that was built in 1944. The two blond finish examples I bought new, on the far left is a ’77 Takamine 12 string. And on the far right is my first decent guitar, a 1974 Honner. All of them have aged far better than I have.