Monday, February 3, 2014


As of tomorrow, February 4, 2014, my novel, SNIPER, will be available at most book retailers and online. It's hard to express how much this means to me, it is my first publication in a book format (I have previously published short fiction and one early novel in eBook format). I started the novel in the late fall of 2002 and got side tracked on several other projects placing it on a back burner (forgive the cliché!). But there were some people without whom this day would not have happened:

First and foremost was my late wife, Connie. She supported me through those early years when I thought I knew how to write. I resisted some of her comments early on, but that's usually the first symptom of "I know what I'm doing-itis". I've always said that the difference between being intelligent and being ignorant, is intelligent people know what they don't know--ignorant people don't have a clue and don't care enough to see the light! I would bring my latest chapter or short story to Connie, wanting praise, instead I got her honest opinion. She would say something along the line of: "There's too much profanity." I of course, being ignorant, only heard the praise. I was like Mark Twain, who once said (don't take this as being an accurate quote, but the gist of the quote is accurate): "When I was 17, I didn't think my father knew anything; when I was 27, I was astounded by how much the old man had learned..." As I progressed as a writer, Connie just got smarter and smarter.

Second on this list of Geniuses, was Paula Munier, my friend and now my agent. Paula and I met in the summer of 2002 at a meeting of the New England Chapter of Mystery Writers of America. Later that year, she created the first writer group I had ever been a part of. I took the first chapter of one of the novels I was working on to that first meeting, expecting to hear how wonderful it was. That evening I met Skye Alexander and Susan Oleskiew, both published authors and editors (did I mention that Paula was also a professional editor?) They listened to my wonderful work (by now I assume you know where I'm going with this...) and then politely and I may add, professionally, ripped it apart! I left that first meeting limping from the chewing I'd been subjected to, swearing that I would never return. (They too assumed they would never see nor hear of me again). I got home and bent the ear of my primary support person. Connie smiled and said, "Maybe they're right." I was shocked, how could she say such a bride of 32 years nailed me with, "You think you take criticism well, but you don't. These women have all been published and are to a greater degree than you, succeeded at doing what you want to do. If you don't want to listen to their opinions or take their advice, don't. I mean, look at how successful you've been doing it your way." I limped down to my office feeling as if the little bit of my ego that the writer group had left me had just been taken by my wife. I dropped what was left of my fanny into the chair and took every bit of feedback they'd given me and rewrote the chapter. When I was done, I read it aloud and half-way through paused to say: "Hey...this is good!" I tell this story to every new or aspiring writer I meet. Yet every once in a while when Paula does an edit (even though she's my agent she is still an editor) and tells me to rewrite something or to cut something, I get my hackles up. Nevertheless, I do it...because that's how I got a book publishing contract.

In 2006 cancer took my beloved Connie and two years later I lost my full-time job to the most recent recession. I still mourn losing Connie, but not the job. I looked at my situation and realized that I could no longer afford to live in southern New Hampshire. I relocated to Maine...far northern Maine. A five minute drive past my house and you reach the end of civilization as we know it! Now I have time to write full time. The only impediment is me...I can put off procrastination! So, I did what I knew I had to do, I sought out and found a new writer group. The members may not have the resumes similar to those of my first group, but they still make me sit down and write and they still tell me what I need to hear; not what I want to hear.

Connie is gone now and I have a new first reader, my domestic partner Jane. She's not as critical as Connie and the others, but thank God she's getting there!

So, in closing...thanks to Connie, Paula, Skye, Susan, the Breathe writer group and Jane. And all of you who buy my book and enjoy it.


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