I think it all started when my Dad invented bedtime stories about a place “deep in the thick jungles of Africa, where there lived a man… called Tarzan.”
I listened, spellbound, as he described the cool jungle streams–punctuated loudly by Tarzan and Cheeta’s dives and splashes–quicksand pits laying in wait for unwary poachers, and coconuts flying liberally to dispatch sharp-toothed crocodiles (“Bonk! Bonk! Bonk!” he’d say, rapping his knuckles on my chest). The best part was how each night brought a new Tarzan story to life. I think this is where my desire for creating stories–and someday building a massive tree-house and zipline in my backyard–originates.
So, what do I do? I write stories. That is, when I’m not teaching High School English, or playing downstairs on the play structure/rock climbing wall/monkey-bars with my wife and four kids, or picking up the mess from the same four Tasmanian devils. If you stopped by for a visit, likely you’d hear several admonishments before the sun goes down: “Wait–that is too tall to jump off of!” “Who can run the most laps around the house?!” and “Don’t dive onto the cushions with your face covered in spaghetti sauce!”
For now, I live in America’s heartland, near Lake Michigan. But my goal is to live and join forces with other adventurous, creative people/families in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon.
Another major goal is to get my current manuscript, The Games of Ganthrea, published. If you enjoyed Ender’s Game, The Magicians, or Harry Potter, then The Games of Ganthrea is meant for you. I hope to publish it this year. Here’s the back cover:
Brenner Wahlridge is good at playing the odds: the near certainty he’ll be humiliated in gym, the high probability his parents won’t be home, and the slim chance he’ll get in trouble exploring the woods of Colorado. But things stop being predictable when a stranger named Windelm appears behind the locked door of his tree-fort with an offer: spend a lifetime without magic on Earth and forget the conversation, or journey to Ganthrea, a world he didn’t know existed.
Throwing odds out the window, Brenner encounters cities built into mammoth trees, and Valoria, an academy which accepts pupils who outsmart—and survive—its 7-stage stadium test. There, Brenner learns to levitate boulders, battle bullies, and most difficult of all, talk to tricksy, clever girls like Gemry. His success at the academy’s paintball-and-chess game plunges him into the life-or-death Games of Ganthrea.
But Brenner doesn’t realize rebels take advantage of the games to buy slaves, amass an army … and forcibly recruit the best players. Brenner is pulled in two directions as the games reach the final matches: his head pushes him to leave Valoria, winning prestige and gold abroad, but his heart tells him to stay another term with Gemry, and not lose his first love. Then again, if the rebels draft him, he won’t get to do either.
Let me know if you’d like to be informed when The Games of Ganthrea launches.
Lastly, if you ski, bike, parent, write, paddle, save wisely, windsurf, or huck ultimate discs, please feel free to share your expertise and thoughts in the comments section; you may also suggest blog post topics. And if you live in Hood River or Bend, Oregon, perhaps we could meet up sometime.
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org