I started writing in 1985 with a western, Skinner, and sent three chapters off to Doubleday. The editor, Pat LoBrutto, called and said to send the whole novel. I did and he promptly sent me a contract and $2,000. But that was back in the days when you didn’t need an agent to get to a publisher.
I began by writing westerns due to all the Zane Grey novels I had read as a boy and caught up in action and the west. Now I also write historical novels such as Soldiers of Conquest and The Far Battleground and general fiction such as Girl in Falling Snow, and The Harvester. To aid the reader in picturing the landscape upon which the characters perform their roles of violence and love and death, I have on most of my books described how the landscape was formed over millions of years of geologic time.
My early years were lived in Ohio. At 16 I dropped out of school and went to work in a factory making door and windows. Becoming tried of eating sawdust, I started hitchhiking west. Ran out of money in Colorado and worked as a bellhop in Estes Park. After a time and with a few coins jingling in my pocket, I caught a ride north to Montana where I herded sheep near Miles City. Tiring of that, I jumped onto my thumb and rode it west to Seattle, Washington. There I tasted the salt water and saw all the Naval warships sailing off to war. Again I jumped upon my thumb, pointed it to the east, and rode it to Ohio. I talked my mother into signing me into the navy. Well, I wasn’t yet 17 the minimum age, and so the navy put me up in a hotel for a day and them swore me in. I served five and one half years with most of it aboard the Seaplane Tender Timbalier, AVP 54.
By education, I am a geologist. First job out of college was prospecting for uranium for Eureka Minerals in Utah. The second was with the Ring-Mack Oil Co. where I oversaw the drilling of oil wells in Kansas. I then joined the Bureau of Land Management, a bureau within the Department of the Interior. I worked up through the ranks to District Manager where I oversaw the multiple use of Public Domain Land in eastern Oregon. Following that I became an environmental consultant in Phoenix, Arizona. Now I’m writing more novels.