2000: I started losing my voice, literally. Diagnosis: spasmodic dysphonia.
I started writing a novel at work based loosely on my life as a Special Agent with the U. S. government and as an owner of a small oil and gas company. The title: Dead and Dying Angels.
2001: I self-published the novel.
I moved from Texas to California to work for the U. S. Forest Service as a Civil Rights Manager. My family stayed behind.
2002: I read an article in People Magazine about a small publisher in Texas who flukily published the sequel to Bridges of Madison County, and then became a bigger publisher overnight. I emailed the first page of my novel and heard back within 15 minutes. He wanted to see the rest of it.
2 weeks later, I signed a 4 book publishing contract.
2 weeks after that, I tried to kill myself. These were unrelated events.
2 months later, my wife filed for divorce. That was a related event.
2 days later, I quit my job, gave all my worldly possessions to my wife and kids. Moved back to Texas, bought a bike and became pretty much homeless. Well, there were those flophouses.
2003: I don't remember.
2004: With a loan from my publisher, I bought an old run down house in a tiny Texas town and began fixing it up.
I met the most wonderful girl in the world. She became my editor...then my wife (skatebard, aka Sid).
2005: My novel, Dead and Dying Angels is sent to press for publication. Advanced review copies have been sent out to newspaper, magazine, etc.
2 weeks before the novel is due in bookstores, my publisher gets a call from producer, Bruce Gilbert, whose films (The China Syndrome, Coming Home, 9 to 5, On Golden Pond) have been nominated for 26 Academy Awards. He wants to option Dead and Dying Angels for film.
We sign the contract for a 4 year option.
I see my name in Variety magazine with the title "Gilbert Flies with Angels."
It was a VERY good day.
2006: the second novel of the trilogy, The Vinegaroon Murders, receives great reviews in Texas Monthly, the Houston Chronicle and various other publications.
The Vinegaroon Murders wins the Violet Crown Award for Best Fiction. My 4 children attend the award ceremony at the Texas State Capitol Building.
It was another VERY good day.
Bruce Gilbert meets with New Regency Films, shortly after they made a gazillion dollars from Mr. and Mrs. Smith, with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. They love Dead and Dying Angels and are willing to finance the entire movie...IF Gilbert can attach an "A" list writer, director or actor to the project.
Gilbert meets with Brian Helgeland, Danny Boyle, Gene Hackman, Tommie Lee Jones...and contacts representatives for Brad Pitt and Russell Crowe.
I find out what a big deal a screenplay is. They ALL want to see a script.
2007: My voice comes back.
My wife and I start writing children's books together. Our publisher publishes the first one. It is optioned for public schools by an Israeli educational software firm.
It was a VERY good year.
2008: The final year of the option and the annual check doesn't come. I email Bruce Gilbert and do not hear back.
My wife does some internet research and in the society section of the New York Times, finds out that Bruce Gilbert has just married possibly the richest widow in Manhattan.
I get a call from Bruce Gilbert. He tells me he has retired from the movie business.
I am devastated.
2009: I don't remember.
2010: With the help of my amazing wife, I get back to work on the 3rd book in the trilogy, Stalking Azazel.
Our publisher, who has become a very good friend, is diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer.
2011: We finish Stalking Azazel.
I discover HitRECord.
2012: Our publisher, and dear friend, dies.
We self-publish Stalking Azazel.
I take up photography again. And then so does my wife.
2013: We are still hopeful for another film option contract, but in the meantime we're enjoying Hitrecord, our photography journeys, and life in general.
Oh, and as we say in Texas, I'm fixin' to start on a western novel I set aside several years ago. The title: The Dead Country.
It has been a VERY good year.
*It's been a whirlwind 13 years, so some of the dates may be a little off...but then again, I may be too.
"Today I will fly," said the penguin. And he did.
The jet pack helped.
The sign said:
"Broken Hearts/We Buy and Sell"
I reluctantly entered
So many hearts upon the shelves
Cracked and splintered
I asked, "...