Now, a little about me.
I was born and raised in a small western Massachusetts town, a place rarely heard of even by people living in Massachusetts. It was a simple life of making mischief, exploring nature, and dreaming of the world’s mysteries.
The narrowness of my experience spurred a desire for adventure. I was always fascinated by the history and culture of China. So one day, I decided that my life’s journey should continue there. This revelation was in 2004, and China was a much different place than it is now.
This significant life transition all began after earning my undergraduate degree and was during a time of uncertainty. One day, I looked around, and things seemed hopeless. I was still living with my parents, efforts to get a job with my Psychology degree were fruitless, and I worked nights in a terrible job at the US Postal Service. I was worn out and depressed. Finally, I said that’s it, and decided to move to China. It was perhaps the most impulsive decision of my life, but the best decision I’ve ever made.
I contacted a third-tier university in Baoding City, Hebei Province, and signed a teaching contract. The small industrial city of Baoding (small by Chinese standards, the city has a population of 2 million) is about two hours outside of Beijing. It had the grim distinction of being one of the most polluted cities in China. Why Baoding then? It was close enough to the staples of the western world found in the capital (like coffee and cheese), but still certainly in the “real” China, and I had a connection at the University through one of my college professors (connections or guanxi are very important in China). The experience would change my entire life. I spent two years living and working in Baoding, teaching English to a full swath of society (from CEOs to kindergartners), and, most importantly, for this venue, writing fiction.
I feel that I am a seasoned writer, just new to the publishing world. I enjoy writing a variety of stories, but a central theme of my work is placing people in isolating situations and letting them find themselves. In this vein, I’m inspired by nature, ancient mysteries, and the paranormal. My favorite author would have to be Clive Barker, but I don’t have the bravery to be as risqué or violent, which probably makes my work accessible to a broader audience. I also enjoy a good mystery, science fiction, or fantasy novel.
Along with writing, I find solace in other creative pursuits such as painting, drawing, playing drums, and carpentry. I will share some of those endeavors on this site as well. I also love traveling, seeing new places, and meeting new people. It is a perfect fuel for good books.
My writing story is not necessarily unique for a writer. I have an active imagination and feel compelled to put it down on paper. I’ve been writing full-length novels for more than 15 years. Although the Island of Stone is the first novel I’ve chosen to make available through Amazon, it is my sixth novel.
I’ve run the gauntlet of traditional publishing several times. I’ve had agents request my work and have come close to a traditional book deal. It is a cut-throat industry of disappointment and stress. I am not bitter (well, maybe a bit). It’s just the truth. Right now, I don’t have time for that rigamarole. In my youth, I had dreams of being a bestseller. Now, I just want to share my stories with others. I’ve been sitting on these yarns for far too long. Writing continues to be a passion, but unfortunately, I have rarely had time to indulge in full vigor. It will always be a dream to do this for a living, but I understand that I won’t be quitting my day job anytime soon. I write when I can, on the weekends and before and after full-time work as a higher-education administrator at MIT.
In the end, my first published book, the Island of Stone, took ten years to complete. The bulk of the story was relatively easy to put down, but getting it to where it is today, took longer than expected. About eight years ago, I thought I had finished it, but I was never quite happy with the ending. It would keep me up at night, and I couldn’t be content until I fixed the issues. The premise was always the same, a grieving man, alone on an isolated island in the wilderness. I could have kept it there, exploring the realms of grief and isolation, but I am not comfortable in the confines of literary fiction. I love darkness, mystery, and the paranormal just too much not to add that spice.
I changed jobs, bought and personally remodeled a house (we can talk more about that later), and generally lived life. I would work on the Island of Stone for a bit, get distracted, and then work on it a bit more. Every time I was able to get back to it, I would start from the very beginning. Before I knew it, a decade flew by. I’ve read the story probably thirty times and gone through three significant rewrites. As any writer will tell you, I now have a bitter-sweet relationship with the book. Like watching a child grow, I enjoyed the journey and loved the product, but I am happy to see it go out the door.
The Island of Stone will be the first book in a series. The next installment is in the works and will be available soon. I’ve started writing it, and hopefully, it will move along quickly. I am also working on another series of books, called the Tocharian Gospels, comprising 4 to 5 books. I’ve written much of the series and the first book, The Slaying of the Bull is available now!
As you can see, I’ve been busy during these times of isolation. COVID-19 has been a life-changing experience, but the silver lining is that without the 2+ hours of my daily commute, I have much more time to write!