I retired from the United States Army in 1995 after twenty-seven years of service. I was honored to have led soldiers and civilian employees of the Army at a variety of locations around the world. Those experiences were profound. They changed my thinking about many things, shaping me into the person I am today. After the Army, I worked for Walt Disney in Singapore, returning to the U.S. in 1999, determined to go back to a profession of service rather than profit. I chose public education as an administrator serving at-risk youth at several alternative high schools.
When the U.S. economy crumbled in 2009, I watched politicians at every level of government scramble. The accusatory finger-pointing between them solved nothing. In the meantime, people, many of them my age, nearing retirement, saw their homes foreclosed, IRA’s devalued and the idea of a comfortable retirement slipping away. I was particularly distressed at the state of affairs in Flint, Michigan, a city solely dependent on the auto industry for its existence. Like Rock Graham, the hero of Winter’s Bloom, I wanted to help, but what could I do? The answer: write the book!
I am blessed in many ways. I have a loving wife who supports my writing with her encouragement and critical commentary. I have a circle of friends, some of them writers themselves, who provide support and encouragement. Eight years ago, I stumbled onto Sydney, our border collie, a 7-week old puppy turned out on a frigid, late-November night by someone I hope I never meet. This bundle of energy keeps me moving and is the inspiration for many of the events that occur in Winter’s Bloom. On top of all this, I live in a richly beautiful part of our country. Northwestern Michigan, in the summer, is dominated by mild temperatures and Lake Michigan, both of which draw people from around the world. In the winter, it is empty, snow covered and magnificent beyond words. Some call it Up North. I call it Paradise.