Sunday, January 18, 2015

Why Novato

                          Some have asked me why I chose Novato, California for the town in my book. Well, for those who know me the answer is easy. From the age of ten, I grew up there and my children were born there.
As the Greyhound bus pulled into town, I honestly got goosebumps up and down my arms.  There was something in the air that made me know, I was home. Finally, after years of traveling from Nashville, Tennessee to San Diego, Lakeside and more. I just knew this was where I belonged.
When I stepped off the bus that warm day back in August of 1962, I fell in love. The smell of eucalyptus sailed through the air. I remember watching a man sweeping the sidewalk out front of a small corner store. The thing that touched me the most, was as I sat down on a bench near the old train station waiting for my mom to pick me up, he smiled and waved. I also saw a boy hanging out at the train station and yes, he really did make me blush and my mom honestly thought I had a fever, just  like in the book.
Little did I know I would meet my life long best friend and others who would remain planted in my heart forever and a day.
The things I remember so fondly were long, lazy days filled with walking on tin cans, saving enough money to go to Berkley Farms for a milkshake or ice cream. Those days also included, Western day weekend, cardboard sliding, and of course Novato Theater.
 There were many teachers that touched my heart, but none as much as Mr. White, my sixth grade teacher. He planted seeds of knowledge and wisdom with his kind words and opened spirit. I’m not sure I’d be a writer today had it not been for him pushing me to reach for the stars. The second teacher ended up later on becoming his wife, Mrs. Scott. Her ability to read a story and bring it to life, made me dream of writing a book someday. Those two teachers were the biggest influences in my days of growing up.

 Astonishing how a wonderful teacher can influence you so deeply. 

                                    When you wish upon a star

Monday, January 12, 2015

Both Books in Saga now available. 

                              Read first chapter of Seasons of Love and War.

    Chapter One- Seasons of Love and War

A hush fell over the sweltering jungles as Kaylob Shawn O’Brien and Walt Shaffer anchored their bodies to the putrid ground alive with fire ants and spiders. Although the humid air grew thick with giant mosquitoes, Kaylob focused on worse threats like snakes, tarantulas, and the Viet Cong.

The moon cast a mellow glow over the landscape in contrast to the chaos below. The stench of sulfur brought Kaylob back to the moment. He looked over at Walt, his inseparable buddy since boot camp. He liked the guy. He was the brother Kaylob had never had.“Stick close, kid,” Kaylob whispered. “Don’t wanna get my ass shot trying to rescue you.”

“No way, man.” Shaffer placed his hand on Kaylob’s shoulder. “Gotta get you home to the redhead.”

Kaylob nodded and swatted away a bug. “Groovy, and we gotta get you home to your mama too. When’s she sending some more of those chocolate chip cookies?”

“Kiss my... ass.”They shared a quiet laugh but stopped abruptly as an eerie silence blanketed the air. 

Kaylob raised his finger to his lips and stared at Shaffer. In the next instant the silence was shattered. Something exploded close to them. Dirt particles stung Kaylob’s face. 

They needed to move.“Shaffer, follow me.”Kaylob moved through the bush, flinching as more grenades blasted around them. The deafening sounds sent mud and rock flying into the air.

 He glanced back. No Shaffer. Son of a bitch. Where was he?Silhouettes of enemy soldiers appeared against the moon. They closed in as the smell of smoke, earth, and death enveloped him. Shit. He’d lost sight of Shaffer. A figure emerged out of the darkness, not more than a foot away.

“Shaffer, is that you?”No one answered. Then, a shot rang out and something warm hit his arm. A dark splotch of blood spread over his uniform. Kaylob watched Walt pause and saw his eyes widen. As if in slow motion, Walt crumpled and hit the ground.Damn it, no… Oh God, no...Kaylob dropped his M16 in the mud, pulled his buddy into his arms and saw his eyes roll back. Shaffer took a last rattling gasp. Tears slid down Kaylob’s face as he rocked his best friend.Shaffer's body was there, but he was gone. It was over.

“Walt, I’m so sorry.” Kaylob sobbed. “I swear I’m gonna kill those bastards who did this to you.” He kissed his friend’s head. “I love you, buddy. Your death won’t be in vain, I promise.”Kaylob felt like his heart was shattered, but he knew he had to pull it together. You had to stay focused in war or it could mean your life or the lives of others. No way would he let those bastards kill any more of his buddies. 

He’d hated it when he’d been drafted, but now he felt dedicated to help his brothers-in-arms.The fighting continued all around him, but Kaylob barely heard anything as he laid Shaffer in the thick underbrush of the jungle, vowing to return. The Army didn’t leave its dead behind, and he sure as shit wasn’t going to leave his best friend.More bombs blasted fire, shrapnel, and dirt. Fury roared through him. He picked up his M16, his face dripping with sweat and tears as he fired his weapon into the night. Damn them, and damn this war.All he wanted in that moment was to settle the score, and he would find a way or die trying. As much as he loved Beth Ann, he couldn’t let his friend die in vain. He’d seen too much goddamn death.Once again he fired his gun into the night. “Walt, this is for you.”

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