Two books of prose and one of poetry

Ever try to write a story? It’s the damnedest experience you can imagine. Everyone approaches it differently. Some start with tons of notes, maps, directions and plots. Others get the seed of an idea and start writing off the tops of their heads – knowing they can go back and edit it into a logical and readable form later. It can be an immensely creative and satisfying task, and it usually becomes a formidable challenge at some point, to really do it right.

I started writing fiction a while back, and had absolutely no luck at all with it. So, I took a writing class. I learned only two things in that class, the bare basics of writing, but they’ve both served me extremely well. One, write what you know. Two, show, don’t tell.

I’ve written what I know. And I’ve written the truth – unless I’m pulling my reader’s leg, and then they always know it. For instance, in one of my books I’m just crawling out from under my old truck after painfully installing a new fuel pump. I feel it just ‘patted me’ on the back, as a gesture of thanks. Now come on…who out there doesn’t know I just gave their chain a tiny tug? Oh, the rest of that thread? Sure, I used the perceived ‘pat’ to send me straight downtown to the bar for a cold one on a hot summer’s afternoon. And that’s the truth.

My books and my book of poetry are for sale, but they were not written as any kind of financial venture, but as memoirs for my son, so he’ll have references to my life – and his history – in these stories. It’s my way of handing down my stories and my family’s stories as the Native Americans have done for centuries. Oh yeah, I guess I’d kind of like to sit down with him occasionally and tell him these things. But this is America, in 2011. That’s not a strong feature of our culture these days. Not only that, but the several times a year my son and I get together, there’s no way we’re going to sit around and listen to me tell the family history, no matter how potentially entertaining. We’re too busy being out and about together, playing pool, bouncing around in the high country together, or playing video games. Can’t you just hear it… “Dad, you’ve already told me how Granddad knocked the stuffing out of that guy at the watermelon stand. Sigh. Grab your controller…please!” So, I write. And I self-publish them. Why?? Try to imagine a book publisher reading the resumé of a musician and thinking he should be published. Nah. Probably not. Best to just do it myself and keep the creative juices – such as they are – flowing, rather than get all caught up and stuck in trying to sell  myself as a writer and get all frustrated because it’s not happening.

I don’t have a publisher and I don’t have an agent and I don’t spend a penny on promotion of my books. Nor do I have a garage full of books that won’t sell. See, life in 2011 can be a wonderful thing. The technology available to us today is awesome.

You can purchase my books here, or you can email me here and I’ll sell you one. And if you’re ever in Southwest Montana, swing by and I’ll give you one for free. I recommend Deep Into Paradise:Essays On Life In Montana. It’s an easy read, fun, and touches on some good topics along the way, like fishing, cussing, drinking, talking to one’s truck, retirement, the feeling of being WAY up in the mountains by yourself, how to live a happier, more contented life… it’s a busy little bugger. And, don’t be afraid of my book of free-verse poetry…

…It’s called Thoughts Along The Road to Home: Vignettes In Free Verse.

‘Thoughts’ is composed of 90 vignettes, dealing with the author’s – that’s me – thoughts and feelings as he drives a U-haul & trailer across the country from Atlanta, Georgia to Montana. He muses about the life he’s leaving for good, why he had to leave it, and the foggy future he’s headed into, as well as dealing with feelings on being newly retired… and divorced.  There’s a little angst, some regret, but a lot of humor and hopefulness as well. The author is not necessarily introspective, but he’s also not afraid to give some thought and words to an occasional pithy topic, including life and spirituality. 119 pages long, it is the author’s first attempt at self-publishing, and it’s a respectable first attempt.

A funny story about it… when it first came out I gave a copy of it to my favorite mechanic. He seemed fairly excited about it. Saw him three weeks later, asked him if he’d had a chance to read it yet. He replied, “Oh yeah, I read it. But I thought it was gonna be interesting, I thought I’d learn something. But it was just all about you…”

Not even I could spin that as a positive response.

My latest book, The Land Cruiser Chronicles: A Story About Relationships, tells about a ’68 Toyota Land Cruiser we had in our family for years. It tells about our experiences in it, as individuals, as a family, and how it brought connections into our lives we weren’t even aware of at the time we were enjoying it. It’s only five chapters, short on pages, long on emotion and sentiment. Some have told me it’s their favorite book of the ones I’ve written. Yeah, right… because it’s the shortest??? I’m very sensitive about all this. If you want to know more about the history of the Land Cruiser-and you should, it’s pretty interesting how it all went down – then visit the Toyota Land Cruiser Association for the skinny on those wonderfully rugged beasts. Or, get my book…just click on the book covers below.

The Land Cruiser Chronicles

We've all come from a family of sorts, be it functional or disfunctional. Mine, luckily, was functional - a small, one-child family who loved and supported each other and grew together, laughed together, played together. There is no life strife here, no deep difficulties, only sweet memories of a time passed, all glued together by - a Toyota Land Cruiser.

Deep Into Paradise

Steve comes home to Montana after leaving for a 35-year career back east. The culture shock, dealing with early retirement, a search for his new self in this known environment that had changed over the years. It's a story about discovery - of how the world is now, who the author is becoming, and of realization of how we never cease to grow, as long as we continue to acknowledge it and welcome it.

Thoughts Along the Road to Home

This is the story of Steve's thoughts, emotions and experiences on the cross-country trip from a "forced" early retirement to his hometown of Virginia City, MT, that he knows will change his life forever. The book is written in free verse, a loose style of poetry that isn't required to rhyme, match numbers of syllables, anything. Thoughts and emotions are often completed in a single line... which is probably the original reason for free verse in the first place.