Once upon a time, all my stories started with pictures that I drew or painted. When I was seventeen. those pictures became a children’s story—a most primitive effort. Certainly not publishable. Still, it has many elements (a white dragon, children searching for a home, magic) that I returned to in later writings.
Born and raised in Pennsylvania, I have lived in eight different states including two years in Arizona on the Navajo Indian Reservation. In addition to a career as an academic librarian, I have been an Air Force officer, a professional photographer and a photo technician. I am amateur carpenter, architect, birder and sometime caver and mountaineer. In between all these jobs and activities, I have helped raise three children, learned to play the highland bagpipe and helped design and build my own passive-solar, off grid home in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania.
When I meet people who ask what I do, I say “I am many things: a retired academic librarian, a piper, a husband, a grandfather and a writer.
At night, I think about where a story should go. Usually I resume writing in the afternoon and go into the evening. Some stories take a long time. The Nikon book and Taken Beyond the Ohio both involved years of research before I started to write.
Most of my stories begin with an image or a ‘What if?’ Often I start writing from that image and then my characters and their problems or challenges take control from there.
My grandmother, Sue May Gill, a dedicated professional artist who always believed I had talent.
When I type “the End” to a manuscript—which is only a beginning. Holding the finished, published book in my hands—which is also little more than the first step to more writing.
The networking and friends I have made who support what I am doing.
Writing about my work, including doing things like scripting webpages.
Worrying about the world we are forcing on our grandchildren.
My phone, my hearing aids in a Nikon box given to me by Goto-San—set on a small Navajo rug.
My iMac, and my cameras.
My personal motto: “Cave id esse fas.” Beware that it be right.
I have been a bagpiper for more years than I can count, and have been the Pipe Major of a pipe band for over 35 years.
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