A New Career

Okay, now you know a whole lot more about me than you probably ever wanted to. There’s one more thing, though.

I’m not sure when I really started to enjoy writing. I guess it may have been in high school with my play Dare to Fall. I found that I had a talent for it, and that it was fun–but I wanted to use my powers for good instead of evil!

In 1994 I edited (wrote) the newsletter at my church for a while until the pastor began to have serious problems with some of my articles. After resigning, I found a lingering itch to write, and I longed to give a voice to my concerns about the direction our church was headed. I found that voice by publishing my own little newsletter of commentary, The Perilous Times, and sending it to almost all members of the congregation. It was met with both resounding support and unmitigated vitriol. Eventually, I was denounced in a business meeting, even though no one would venture to say that I had ever written a single word that was untrue or unscriptural. I issued this challenge to those who denounced me then, and it remains unanswered: If I have written anything that is untrue or unbiblical, bear witness of it. If not, then please note that it is the hit dog that yelps! Eventually, I realized the folly of whipping a dead horse and simply moved on to another church. However, I continued to publish my commentaries on a limited basis.

In 1998 I took a second job with a trade organization of which my company then was a member, the Southeastern Chapter of the Electrical Apparatus Service Association. In my position there as Executive Secretary/Treasurer, I was able to travel and visit some exotic places I had never seen before, such as St. Louis, Missouri. I also became the editor and publisher of the chapter newsletter, The Southwind, and found many occasions there to hone my writing skills. (Late in 2020, after almost 24 years of service to the association, I was summarily discharged by the Executive Committee with no explanation.)

But many years ago (too many to think about comfortably) I had an idea and wrote a short story titled Sundown at Coffin Rock. I went back later and read it, and decided that it was good. I sent it off to Guns and Ammo and The American Rifleman but it was rejected. Then I thought about a little publication that I received called The Blue Press, a catalog really, from Dillon Precision Products. I mailed my story off to them and then forgot about it. Many months later the Editor, Mark Pixler, called me and told me he wanted to publish Sundown, and they did in the April 1994 issue. And they paid me for it! Very generously! The story generated a great deal of response and interest, and is now reproduced in scores of places on the Internet, along with its sequel, Sunrise at Coffin Rock. I had a taste of success, and then a second helping when I was contacted by Shotgun Sports Magazine with another offer. Sundown was published again in that magazine (a real, live, national magazine) in June of 1996. Then, in 2009, Dillon dusted it off and ran it and its sequel once again. I finally wrote a third (and final) installment of the Sundown story, and it is published, along with its predecessors, in my anthology, Sundown at Coffin Rock and Other Stories.

A few years ago, my oldest son was complaining about the fact that he didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life. “Son,” I told him, “I’m forty-six and I still don’t know what I want to do.”

But I do know what I want to do.

I want to write.