“The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.”
― Terry Pratchett
Writing, to me, isn’t just a hobby; it’s a passion and mission to change as much of the world as possible. The rough draft of a manuscript is always intriguing to me, because it is my opportunity to tell myself a story without worrying about the editing process. I get to create imaginary settings, unpredictable plots, and develop characters and watch them cope with whatever dilemma they face. There is simply magic and personal fulfillment in storytelling.
I’ve been writing for years, but it took a close friend of mine (Dottie) to really push me into the professional realm of things. After reading the rough draft of Song of the Tree Frogs, Dottie encouraged me to pursue representation, and in February of 2017, that dream became a reality when my manuscript was selected as one of twelve novels out of thousands of annual submissions to Morgan James Publishing. I wrote the first draft for the story around 2010, but I threw it on a shelf for years until Dottie asked to read something fiction I’d written. And now, it’s being turned into a full-length feature film by the award-winning Menning Films!
My next novel is a completely different genre than Song of the Tree Frogs. Around 2015, I started writing People from the Lake, and it is due out in the summer of 2019. It is a YA paranormal thriller with many intriguing characters—both living and dead. You might sleep with a nightlight on after finishing this one! You never know what might be lurking in the darkness, or hovering above you as you sleep!
I am also a film producer, and I’ve taken part in four productions involving everything from local ghost stories (Gretchen’s Lock), human trafficking (Unwavering), the opioid epidemic (Gateway to Hope: Overcoming Heroin), and the murder of five Bigfoot enthusiasts (Beast of Our Fathers). Filming for Song of the Tree Frogs begins in the fall of 2019.
I am also an educator with nearly thirty years of experience. I currently teach in my home school district in East Liverpool, Ohio, and for Kent State University (27 years to date). I receive a lot of inspiration from my students, and in education, there is no such thing as a “typical day.”
I married my beautiful wife, Connie, in 1998, and we have a wonderful daughter, Madison, who recently graduated high school. Connie is a professional speech pathologist, and Madison is a model, and will be attending college to pursue a degree in psychology and counseling. We also have some “adopted sons” we’ve been blessed with along the way. They are very special to us, and we are honored to call them family. Joey and Tony are on the back of my business cards (representing two brothers from Song of the Tree Frogs), and Matthew is on the front cover of People from the Lake.
If you have a dream, I strongly encourage you to pursue it with all your efforts. Failure is always a part of the experience, but I have learned that any kind of work worth doing often involves inspiration, dedication, ambition, innovation, and of course, a whole lot of perspiration. Always remember that inside each of us, there is a universe of stories, talents, ambitions, experiences, and dreams worth sharing with others! After all, it is others who inspire me the most, especially when they share their amazing lives with me.