Two Thoughts Colliding

I’m often asked why I wrote my debut novel “The Dead Boy’s Legacy,” which centers around a family grieving the loss of their beloved son and the evolution of the monster responsible for abducting him. Most people want to know why I chose this particular subject matter to write about. To break it down simply, the overall story is about love, tragedy, loss and hope. The subject centers specifically around missing children and serial killers. Quite a combination of subject matter, huh? Inevitably, those who are intrigued with the story ask me why I have written such a book. Questions range from… What made you decide to write this particular story? How did you come up with the concept for your book? Was your son, or a family member’s son, abducted? Do you have a fascination with serial killers? Why did you write such a dark and disturbing book?

To answer the first question; what made me decide to write this particular story that revolves around the missing children cause. I will tell you that I feel like I didn’t decide to write this story. That it wasn’t necessarily my choice to write this story. To be honest, I feel like the narrative chose me. I know that sounds a little crazy, but I firmly believe that there is a force greater than us at work in our lives. I discussed this a little bit in my previous blog about protecting your dreams. I truly think that I was destined to write this story, this book. It had been percolating for years.

The genesis for the story evolved out of my work with author Jeff Mudgett on his book “Bloodstains” about his great-great-grandfather, Herman Webster Mudgett, who was known as the notorious serial killer, Dr. H.H. Holmes. As a byproduct of working on that book I had done extensive research on serial killers. At the very least, I think that I bring an educated perspective to the serial killer storyline. And, the dark and at times disturbing subject matter fascinates me to no end. It’s not the violence, blood and gore that interests me, but the psychological aspect of it all that fascinates me. For those of you who are intrigued by these monsters and their actions I think you know what I’m talking about. So, I felt compelled, and wanted to explore the evolution of one of these monsters by detailing it in novel form.

The other reason for writing the book was my interest in the missing children cause. A close family friend’s son, Mark Himebaugh, tragically went missing in New Jersey on November 25th, 1991. He was only 11-years-old. He has never been found. His loss shattered his family. When I learned of Mark’s disappearance I had so many questions. I couldn’t stop asking them. How could this happen? Why did this happen? And there was no good answer for any of my questions. I had no idea about the profound impact that this tragedy had on me at that time.

Fast forward some 20 years later, and I’ve just finished assisting Jeff Mudgett with his book, and the story of Mark Himebaugh is ever present on my mind. I have a story to tell about his loss. At the same time, images and thoughts of serial killers have taken up residence in my mind. The two thoughts merge, colliding like trains on the same track. It’s a derailing, earth-shattering moment. I reel from the thought, trying to reconcile it my mind. I begin brainstorming, as I usually do, about the creation of a story. The story begs me to create a fully conceptualized piece. It’s like even when I’m sleeping, or working during the day, that I’m thinking about the story.

For days and months I mull it over. I become obsessed with this evolving, developing story about a missing boy and his serial killer abductor in my head. The concept slowly begins to crystallize, taking shape, finally becoming a viable story. Then it happens. It hits me like a lightning bolt. I have a vision, a staggering image, about a man standing beside a truck talking to a boy who is wearing his Little League uniform on a deserted road in the rural landscape of a small town. By the way, miraculously this image was captured masterfully by cover designer, Greg Simanson, on the front cover of my book. Subsequently, my novel, “The Dead Boy’s Legacy,” is born.

I don’t know if I ever thought about the book being dark or disturbing as some readers have mentioned when I was writing it. I will confess that I have read other stories about similar subject matter and felt the same way. However, the subject matter of those other stories so intrigued me as an objective observer that I couldn’t stop reading what was written. I wanted to, just had to, keep looking at the darkness, utterly fascinated by it. It’s like people who rubber neck over a terrible traffic accident. Why do they, meaning we, do that? We really don’t want to look, but for some reason our eyes are drawn to the blood, mess and darkness. Why is human nature drawn to such things? It’s fascinating stuff about our nature as human beings isn’t it?

I will tell you that I don’t feel the darkness or disturbing nature of the subject matter when I’m in the middle of the writing process. When I’m done working I may feel the ever present gloom more fully than while I am writing. But I don’t get caught up in it when I’m translating my thoughts to the page. I’m not sure why this is. I think it may be because I am acting as a conduit, or intermediary if you will, between what I am seeing in my imagination, and completely enthralled with depicting it as accurately as I can on the blank page. I guess that I am more focused on being truthful, or honest, with what I am translating to the page. That’s why I always say that if I were to describe my writing in one word it would be truthful. That means no matter how dark, disturbing or violent the narrative is my focus is on telling an honest story.

I hope that this helps answer the questions that people have about my book, and the story of “The Dead Boy’s Legacy.” If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me through the contact form on this website. I try my very best to answer any and all questions that I receive. So, please submit your queries. And, thank you to those of you who have sent me kind messages, and questions, about me and my book.  Btw, my book is now available for only .99 cents on Amazon. How great a deal is that? :)

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Protect Your Dreams

SPOILER ALERT! (If you haven’t seen the movie “Field of Dreams” please feel free to skip over the next paragraph.)

Do you know the scene in the movie Field of Dreams where Ray Kinsella meets his father, John, for the first time on the baseball field? It went like this…

After the baseball practice has ended and most of the players have vanished into the cornfield, Shoeless Joe Jackson tells Ray Kinsella that his father is the guy with the catcher’s equipment on who’s standing at home plate.

A speechless Ray can’t believe the sight of his young looking father standing before him in his Yankees uniform. They exchange pleasantries and then Ray says, “You catch a good game.”

“Thank you,” John replies. “It’s so beautiful here. It’s like… well for me, it’s like a dream come true.”

Ray can’t even speak. He just nods.

“Can I ask you something?” John asks, “Is this heaven?”

Ray smiles, shakes his head no and says, “It’s Iowa.”

“Iowa. I could’ve sworn this was heaven,” John says.

“Is there a heaven?” Ray asks.

“Oh yeah…” John says, glancing from the sky back to his son (Ray). “It’s the place where dreams come true.”

Ray looks at his surrounding, his wife and daughter sitting on the porch and smiles, things suddenly hitting him, “Then maybe this is heaven.”

This scene comes at the end of the movie. It is the scene where you struggle not to shed a tear. Believe me, if you haven’t seen it, it’s a real tearjerker. I wanted to use this scene as an example of how you have to protect your dreams. The main character in the film, Ray Kinsella, had to fight to protect his dream of building a baseball field on his farm, even though he was in severe debt and in jeopardy of losing his farm. But, Ray persevered, built his dream field after plowing under his cornfield and achieved his dream of, in the end, meeting his father. Of course, he also realized that the dream was, after all, the life he had built for his family in a beautiful part of the country.

The message: Protect Your Dreams. They’re your slice of heaven.

Throughout my life I’ve always had to battle with the evil forces that have encroached upon and attempted to diminish my aspirations to attain my dreams. I’m not certain, but I’m pretty sure that you know what I’m talking about. I’ve heard that most people lead lives of quiet desperation. Maybe this falls into that category. You could have a dream, maybe secretly, to be a great artist, or a great singer, or a bestselling novelist, or some other worthy pursuit. And, when you’ve tried to achieve that dream something or someone came between you and that lofty objective. Like pouring water on a fire, this interjecting, malicious force knocked you down a peg by mocking your, what seems to them to be a whimsical dalliance, in a rather rude and callous fashion.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been called crazy, or a dreamer, for aspiring to achieve something extraordinary. I can’t tell you how many times I have been forced to defend myself, and my desires, against ignorant, sometimes envious, evil forces, whose sole purpose is to belittle you to make themselves feel bigger and better than you. It amazes me how these evil forces can draw such a hard line in the sand when criticizing and putting down someone else’s ambitions. I mean, why would you demean someone who is trying to lift the human spirit to a better more spectacular place? I would think that you would want to encourage them to achieve whatever their heart desires. We all, or I should say, most of us lead ordinary and mundane lives on a daily basis. So what’s wrong with someone trying to accomplish the unfathomable? What’s wrong with attempting to create magic and miracles?

When I worked in the broadcasting business (I was a television anchor and reporter) I would be drawn to the entertainment news while producing my show in the newsroom. I would watch Entertainment Tonight almost religiously. This is when E.T. was in its heyday. Leeza Gibbons and Mary Hart were the hosts at the time. I remember thinking how beautiful and talented Leeza Gibbons was, and that I would like to meet her some day. However, I knew that since I was based on the east coast, far removed from Hollywood, that opportunity had a slight chance of presenting itself. I also saw on the news images of John Stamos stepping onto the red carpet with Paula Abdul on his arm. Well, anyway, to make a long story short, two of the very first people who I met when I moved to Los Angeles were Leeza Gibbons and John Stamos. They actually became a regular part of my life. Now, I don’t know anything about visualization and the power of your thoughts manifesting dreams or thoughts into reality, but that sure seems like some pretty solid evidence to me that anything in life is possible.

Protect your dreams. Do whatever it takes, but do not let anyone tell you that you cannot achieve something extraordinary. You can. And, you will, if you keep on believing that it’s possible. Keep the faith. Even when it feels dark in your world and your dreams feel a thousand miles away, keep on believing. Even when an evil force tells you that you’re crazy for trying, keep on believing. Even when you’re broke and down on your luck, keep on believing. Do anything and everything you can to make your dreams come true. For if there’s one thing I know, it’s that anything is possible. Dreams can, and do come true.

BTW, my book, “The Dead Boy’s Legacy,” is only .99 on Amazon for Kindle right now. That’s less than a dollar! So, feel free to go to Amazon to get my book at this great discounted price! Thanks!

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