PrologueA long time ago, in a land far, far away, a high school English teachertold me, "write from your heart." I stared at him like he was an idiot.
should I do that? My life is boring. No one wants to read it.
(A coincidence. Many years earlier, this same teacher told Rod Serlingthe same thing.)The teacher was Harold Givens. He taught English 4AP at ChamberlainHigh School in Tampa, Florida, when I met him. If you've seen that episodeof
The Twilight Zone
called "The Changing of the Guard," where the ghostsof his former students visit the retiring English professor, I just
thatwas about Mr. Givens.Most writers begin by writing their own life stories, then progress tothe more imaginative realms. I took the opposite course. I wrote wild,imaginative stuff that lacked the human element.In the 80s, I fancied myself a writer of short stories. I churned themout, mailed them to publishers, and was rejected hundreds of times. In thenineties, I gave up. Better to chase money, a house, the "American Dream."In December 1999, I sold my house in North Carolina, divorced mywife of ten years, entrusted my lovely dogs to Daddy, and visited HongKong. Not long after, I quit my job of eight years via e-mail in order to stayin Hong Kong. Some time later, I married a lovely Australian lady.Until the wedding, it wasn't legal for me to work in Hong Kong. Tothose readers who slave away full-time at some unsatisfying job, and Ipresume that means most of you, this sounds ideal. At first, it was. But thencame the boredom. I've always been a bit hyper. Oh, what to do duringthose long lonely hours? I cleaned the apartment, I fixed the appliances...But, what next?I revised all those short stories, wrote quite a few new ones, andwhipped up an anthology called
The Chronicles of a Lost Soul
.My "slush pile" also contained two novels. I edited the mess out of them both. One wound up as a novella, which I added to
The Chronicles of aLost Soul
. It belongs there. The other,
, stands alone. Thehero, quite simply, is my ideal of what my little brother (the cop) would havebeen like if he hadn't killed himself at age 20.Meanwhile, my wife-to-be was insisting that I write my own life story.Why did she fall in love with me? My beautiful stories, she said. After tenmonths, I finally listened -- I can be a bit thick -- and wrote about the first26 years of my life. The resulting novel is the best thing I've ever written.It's called
Rising From The Ashes
, and it's about how Mom raised two sonsalone. It was a 2004 EPPIE finalist.Mom's youngest, Barry, killed himself on her birthday. Four yearslater, she died of a burst aneurysm on her birthday. Leaving me, for allpractical purposes, a man with no family.