How Long Is It (Until)

The month of May is a day or two away and this year above any of the recently previous years I have eagerly awaited the arrival of my birth nothing in a way I haven’t since I was a child. I recall that when I was in the first and second grades it was a terribly important thing, the month of May. The counting down the days until my b’day started. Anxiously, I looked forward to cake, ice cream and presents.

Mt Birthday Party 1963

Somewhere along the way, I grew older, enough so that getting practical gifts like summer clothes was more important than the hottest toy. Having grand birthday parties became a thing of the past, except for a simple family gathering to light the candles, sing the traditional song, make a wish and the annual test of sufficient lung power to extinguish all the candles so that the house didn’t burn down. That was also around the time that getting spanked for each year I’d lived became passé, which was something I was glad to see go away. (That last one ‘to grow on’ was always strong enough to propel me into the next week if not the next year.

Dad and Me 1963

The birthdays of my children were special events that I tried to honor. That was one of several things ex-wife was pretty good at – making the kids feel special on their one day a year to stand out and shine for no other reason than being alive. I think they have pretty good memories of parties and such, at least early on in their lives. As fate had it, my kids were all born within a few days of major holidays. My son arrived a few days before Independence Day; my oldest daughter was born just before Christmas. The youngest showed up around the particularly American holiday called Labor Day. As the kids grew older though, the inevitable happened. The number of candles became fewer and more or less symbolic as did many of the other traditional observances for growing older.

Rob Amanda and Sarah around 1991

It wasn’t like I ever suffered much for anything as a child. My dad and mom took pretty good care of my sisters and me and I was probably pretty much spoiled as the baby of the family and the only surviving son. I was the one who needed to carry on the family name, after all. That seemed important to people when I was growing up. I’m not so sure it is as important anymore.


This year, as my birthday approaches, my life is in transition far beyond acknowledging another year has passed since last I thought a lot about my advancing age.  Emphatically I can say that I have rarely acted my age. Early on I was precocious, probably because my sisters were considerably older and I was around adults most of the time if I was not at school or home. You see, part of a farm boy’s lot in life is following Dad around and learning how o be a farmer. The American farmer was an aging and perhaps dying breed even when I was a youth. Mass production of food and corporate farms were not he horizon and toward the end of my adolescence there were a couple of companies around the town where I grew up experimenting with production of livestock on a huge scale.

Anyway I was around older people for most of my life and so I acted more like an adult hone I was young than I do now that I have more of an excuse for being too serious and exceedingly grumpy. In a lot of ways I have become the kid I didn’t get much of a chance to be when I was younger.


2014 is the 100th anniversary of my father’s birth as well as the beginning of my fifty-eighth year – something I promise never to thing about again until I have to fill it in on some official document. I’ve started off the year going in several new directions. In March I relocated to Orlando from the Tampa Bay area and now I have found a job to cover my expenses while I continue to pursue my career as an author and publicist. These days the successful authors out of the millions who publish books each year are the ones who define their roles as both author and publics for unless you are willing and able to self promote your books are doomed to obscurity as just another collection of pages containing the words of a dreamer.

For my birthday this year I’d love to have a car (doesn’t need to be a new one) and a new laptop. But I know these things I need to save up for and get for myself. It’s been a while since I’ve had the former and seven years since I bought a new computer – my current one is a hand-me-down and is beginning to show its advancing age more so than I am. If a second is an eternity int he cyber universe, what is seven years? What I really hope for this year is something more immediately practical. If things work out extremely well it could help me in achieving my transportation and computing goals. I’d like to have a cover for my book completed by my birthday. That doesn’t mean it has to be revealed to the world just yet, but it would be nice to have a cover. For an author that is really when a book starts to feel like it is really going to be published.


As Fried Windows (In A Light White Sauce) enters the home stretch for its release on May 30, I have learned the editing is nearly finished. I’ll be reading through the final proof very soon and I’m looking forward to approving it. It will go to proof readers as well to pick at the knits for typos and such.

I’m excited to see the novel. It feels like once t is in print whether digital or paperback it is settled. Nothing more can be changed. I’ll feel more comfortable about moving on to writing a sequel and a prequel. Both are in progress but nothing comes easy with me. There will be two prequels I believe, and at least two sequels, though the main character, Brent Woods appears as a character in many other manuscripts that may be published over the next few years. Fried Windows may be a franchise in and of itself, who knows.

Then there is the fantasy series collectively titled The Wolfcat Chronicles. Brent makes an appearance or two in those books as well. There are other connections to Fried Windows, too. So think of Fried Windows not so much as a beginning of a story but as a opening of a threshold into an either new universe that, like the one in which we live, has been going on for a very, very long time whether or not anyone from this universe has paid much attention.  Me, I’m just a writer. I report what my characters want to tell me about. That’s what fiction is all about.

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