Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Big 5-0

Folks deal with the 'Big 5-0' in their own ways, I suppose. Some jump out of airplanes. Some go ahead and have that midlife crisis. Some look at their children and career and relish in all they've achieved. Some hang on tight and keep on trying to survive. And some raise a glass to old friends who didn't quite make it this far.

I suppose in some way, all of those represent acts of courage. They're confrontations of mortality and legacy; considerations of how one has lived, and of what they'll eventually leave behind.

I hit that milestone quietly a couple of weeks ago, choosing to spend a quiet day on the coast with family, armed with my camera, treated to visits to a couple of favorite restaurants. And while I'm not big on birthdays -- and *really* not big on jumping out of airplanes -- I needed to find my own act of courage to celebrate the occasion.

So here it is: For my Big 5-0, and after nearly two years of unceasing daily labor, I published my novel.

I've been a writer for more than three decades, having discovered the craft and the joy in the wake of the poorly timed Kansas City move back in 1983. That vocation has taken the form of journalism, business writing, web geekery and more, allowing me to eke out a modest living doing what I enjoy, emerging with my conscience and ethics intact.

But being an *author* -- getting a book on the shelf -- has been a goal of mine for years, prominent on my bucket list since the beginning but never quite brought to fruition. You know how it is. Sometimes dreams get postponed in favor of daily life's demands.

And while Print On Demand and E-Books have indeed made it possible for anyone to string together a few thousand words, sell a couple of copies and call themselves an author, I didn't want to do that. If I was going to publish, it had to be something I could take pride in. A story I simply *had* to tell, that would leave people moved.

So after setting aside early-morning hours for the last two-and-a-half years, investing that focused time in writing and revision and polish, I've reached my goal. And here it is.

My book is titled "Davey's Savior," is a work of literary fiction, and is now available through the link below.

Davey's Savior, on Amazon.

So what's "Davey's Savior" about? One friend described it as 'a great beach read with depth.' I believe it's a story that hasn't been told before, an intimate drama taking place mainly over four days in a California beach town. It's driven by memorable and interesting characters, bearing themes of fatherhood and misplaced faith, with tension and poignancy that brought several of my early readers to tears and left them with a warm feeling at the end. So far every reader has taken away their own interpretation and meaning, but all so far have come away moved and satisfied. Here's the text from my back cover:

Avila Beach. Peaceful, relaxed, hidden along the Pacific. Where tourists ebb and flow, and locals keep to themselves. The perfect place for a wanted man to hide in plain sight.

When a spectacle appears on the beach one morning, some see it as just the attraction Avila needs, setting their sights on off-season profits. Others see it a miracle from above, a sign from God. But four-year-old Davey — in hiding with his fugitive father — sees it with wonder, wanting only to explore. 

As eyes and cameras converge, Davey is unaware of the threat they pose to himself, to his father, and to his very life. After years in hiding, will a miracle expose two people who cannot afford to be found? And who will be Davey’s Savior?

If you enjoy or appreciate books that tell great stories while challenging you -- like John Irving's "A Prayer for Owen Meany," Annie Proulx's "The Shipping News," or Colum McCann's "Let the Great World Spin" -- "Davey's Savior" is for you. For the moment it's print-only; the Kindle version should appear in another week or so, and yes, I will announce its availability.  

Have no doubt that releasing something you've invested so much of your sweat, tears and time into upon the world is an act of courage. I risk exactly the same outcome as a failed skydive, which makes it an appropriate celebration of the occasion.

But that said, knowing that that distance, expense, and my commitment to full-time fatherhood tends to keep me close to home, I offer this:

If you would have raised a glass to celebrate the Big 5-0 with me, consider ordering a copy. Spend some time with the characters I created and the story I tell. Raise that glass while reading it, and maybe even send me a pic when your copy arrives. Review it on Amazon when it appears there. Escape from our troubled times for a while, in the pages of literature created by an old friend.

In gratitude for your consideration -- but especially for your friendship and love over these five decades -- I hope you'll enjoy it.

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