Sunday, December 16, 2012


I write thrillers.

I write about normal, everyday people forced into unlikely situations to overcome personal tragedies: painful divorces, addiction, mid-life crisis...even serial killers.

I have been known to travel to some pretty dark places to provide conflict for these characters.

Just ask SAMI SAXTON, my flawed, anti-heroine in A PERFECT HUSBAND...and soon to be released A PERFECT SETUP.

Readers ask me, "how do I go there?"

I smile.

I was raised in a small town in Ohio.

I was born into a family of women. Probably one of the reasons I gravitate to writing strong female characters. My father was absent. My mother was a single, twice-divorced woman trying to juggle six children on monthly alimony payments -- whether the checks arrived or not. Life was chaotic, unsafe and over-the-top. I was always one-step away from a foster home. My security and sanity was kept, just barely, by several 'angels' in my young life. An unknown woman (to this day, I still have no idea who she was) paid my yearly YMCA membership. I submerged myself in physical activities which kept me away from home and exhausted.

And... the library. There I was, sneaking my precocious, adolescent self past the elderly librarian through the cranky turnstile into the glorious world of adult fiction. Freedom. At last. Until I got caught. With money I earned from my paper route, I joined the Double-Day-Book-Club. Remember when you could buy six books for a penny? The excitement I felt, adrenaline- filled anticipation running home after school, looking forward to that little brown packaged box filled with my personal, private literary choices. To this day it still makes me grin. (Still makes it difficult to read from a Kindle!)

... CATCH-22, MIDNIGHT COWBOY, VALLEY OF THE DOLLS... these were some of the titles I purchased and devoured well before I hit the seventh grade. (Precocious, I did say that!) Those books, among others catapulted me into exotic worlds and make-shift lives where words expressed on paper allowed a portal for my escape. A place to hide where I secretly read, viewed and related to other people's troubles far away from my own.

I was a sensitive boy, inward and not overly confident. I had few friends and even though I was well-liked in school, I was far from popular. My attempts at masculine imitation were futile. I was the one-off, the left-of-center, always trying to find that place to fit in, belong...a home.

I expressed my hidden self, that secretive part of me with words. My voice, full of emotional angst and pubescent longing -- rage -- found a quiet resting place on the page. And, my 10th grade English teacher nurtured that innocent discovery. For whatever reason, she took an interest in my poetry. (I know...poetry?) Her attention to my writing instilled an inner confidence in me, a willingness to continue, a way to move past my fears. An avalanche of emotions gushed forth, an outpouring of feelings experienced -- past, present and future. For once, I was able to represent myself without intimidation or embarrassment or shame. Pain became a metaphor, new but interestingly mysterious and useable.

Through some difficult patches in high school this teacher also became a friend. She allowed me to sign hall passes, forging her name when anxiety grew too great to arrive to school on time, or when the pressures of my seemingly overwhelming life bogged me down to a complete, sloggy hault. There was even a time when a group of us shared pizza at her upstairs, quaint apartment. I remember her nestled, guru style before us, leaning against tie-dyed covered furniture wearing a 60's collared shirt and exhibiting hip! The color was turquoise.

My gratitude will always be to my 10th grade English teacher.

Teachers DO make a difference.

On graduation day, before I left for the Navy, this specific teacher gave me a gift, a book called THE PROPHET by Kahlil Gibran. Inside was a note, now framed in my home. She wrote:

'Doug, you have a definite talent for writing. Your style is simple. This is important because wordiness sometimes conceals all the meaning. Truth does not need embellishment. Life should be simple ~ simply beautiful...'

I will always have a deep appreciation for this teacher. She gave my dream wings... my words flight...

Thank all the teachers who have touched their student's lives in ways they may never know.
Thank you...from the bottom of my heart, PATSY GRIMM, my 10th grade English teacher for always believing in my true, authentic self. But, more importantly my...voice.

My next book, Patsy will be dedicated to you!

Much love,


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