Where are you from
Currently living in Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA
A little about your self `ie your education Family life ect
My education, believe it or not, comes not from the literary or artistic pursuits of academia, but the sciences: primarily math and physics.
I have eight children: 3, 4, 7, 9, 10 11, 17, and 35. I am currently “happily divorced.” Some things are better left to follow their own course. Had I not been married, I would not be the proud father of such wonderful children. Had I not been blessed with the wisdom of getting a divorce, I would have never met the love of my life, Yvonne Bishop. At the moment, we are apart until personal things are resolved for both of us, but when we are united later this year, it will be paradise!
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My latest news is that this year I have probably four novels coming out under Blaze McRob. After so many years of writing novels for other authors, it feels good knowing my own voice will be established.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I wrote my first novel in 1986. There was a story inside me that needed to be told, so I told it. I had brain cancer at the time and wasn’t given much time to live, so I figured it was time to do it.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
From the first word of the novel. The words just came out. It was easy for me.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
The Cold War. Things were winding down then, and I was thinking what might have happened had a few things from the past not been huge factors in post World War II.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I do, now that I have no constraints as to fitting into another writer’s whims and fancies. It’s very liberating to say the least. I don’t like to be over descriptive when I write: just enough so my readers know what’s going on and a visual can form within their minds. I like to enable my fans to add in their own descriptions as suits their own lives, allowing them to tailor the books to their wants and needs. For example; if I describe three out of four chairs in a room, the fourth chair belongs to the reader. It’s their chair.
I like all my stories to flow. To me, that is the most important thing. A good solid story that moves along, bringing the reader into it is huge with me. For that reason, I don’t outline at all. In fact, I never know how my stories will end. My story people dictate everything to me. What could be more fun than that?
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
For the title of my next novel to come out, ” ’68 Buick,” I merely brought into play the biggest part of my story that sets it apart from all other Grim reaper novels: the vehicle used to deliver the souls to Hell.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
All my novels have a message. ” ’68 Buick” is no different from the others. Good vs Evil is the biggest part, but I also wish to portray the fact that conventional dogma related to such understanding is open to interpretation and not under the strict auspices of what organized religion might foist on us. I’m not putting down the religious beliefs of anyone, but who can really determine the one TRUE religion? Certainly not me. And I also will not be told that I will roast in the fires of damnation forever because I’m a Baptist instead of a Catholic. We all need to look inside ourselves and see if we are good, decent people; regardless of our religious beliefs.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
All of my fiction is based on non-fiction. I delight in allowing my readers to think, “Hey, could this part be true?” How a writer embellishes the non-fiction is the determining fact that it is fiction.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The experiences in ” ’68 Buick” are based on people I know-or have known- and events in my life. No sense in lying about it. That’s the way it is.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
Anything Edgar Allan Poe, in particular “The Pit And the Pendulum.” Also, “Of Mice and Men” by Steinbeck; “The Old Man And the Sea” by Hemingway; “The World As I See It” by Albert Einstein; “The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer” by Mark Twain; “The Book Of Revelations” by St. John the Divine; and all of the musings of Will Rogers. I have to end here, because I would not be able to stop.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I have no mentors. I enjoy reading and learning from great authors, but I do not wish to emulate anyone. I merely want to be the best me that I can be. Like any art, writing is subjective. There is no ONE way.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
You really have me here, Fiona. I am reading an exquisite piece of poetic prose for about the fourth time, but I am not at liberty to discuss what it is. When the time is right, I will let everyone in on it.
I also am reading books from some of my favorite authors that I will be doing reviews on soon.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Long, long list: Serenity Wickford, Stacey Turner, Carole Gill, Lisa McCourt Hollar, Cindy Keen Reynders, William Cook, Patricia Matthews, Scott M. Goriscak, Nomar Knight, Marissa Farrar, Kathy Rowe, T.K. Millin, Sue Midlock, Rebecca Treadway, Mark Edward Hall, Tim Marquitz, Mikel Classen, Armand Rosamilia, Sirrah Medeiros, and on and on. I haven’t even gotten warmed up yet.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
“Bokor,” the sequel to ” ’68 Buick; a ghoul novella; “The Mists Of Papoose Pond,” a zombie novel I’m writing online; “The Devil’s Tongue, ” a horror trilogy; “Last Chance,” a novella about the end days; “The Names On The Wall”, a political thriller; “Say It Again Sam,” a non-fiction book: and a bunch of short stories and flash fiction pieces. I also have in the vicinity of twenty completed novels I need to do my final edits on- I keep finding more in my storage shed all the time.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
No family members have ever supported me. Yvonne Bishop has been here for me since my jumping on to the scene as Blaze McRob. No wonder I love my little lady!
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
After all the novels I have written, and all that are on the way, I would say that yes, writing and I are career partners.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
My Dad’s Dad, an old man of the sea, told me so many stories that I knew I had to become a story teller as well.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Quote:Chapter One “’68 Buick”
It’s here. I feel it. The pressure is immense, pushing on my lungs, making me gasp for every breath.
I open my eyes, as if that’s going to do any good: I’m totally blind in the dark. What the hell do I think I’m going to see? And if I could see in this absence of light, would I see what’s really here anyway? Often enough, I have caught glimpses of what might be present, framed against some subtle light filtering through the cracks in my room, only to have everything vanish into nothingness. But the presence never leaves.
My room. That’s a laugh for you. My room is my garage; my bed is an old couch. While the rest of my family sleeps in comfort, I suffer the indignity of sleeping in an overfilled garage with barely enough room to walk from the house to my bed.
I reach over and turn on my lamp. Once my eyes adjust to the sudden onslaught of light, my suspicions are confirmed: I can see nothing but huge piles of boxes stacked everywhere – the ultimate storage area. I leave the light on for only a short time. My pounding head needs darkness now. Whatever lurks here is secondary to me at the moment. My pain overcomes the fear.
It’s midnight. I have two more hours to sleep. That’s if I can return to it. When was the last time I was truly able to sleep? The pain, the constant pain, never leaving – how long have I endured it this time around? And this…this presence, whatever it is, crawling over me, pushing on me, leaving a disgusting mold-like stench in my nose. I can hear it too, making almost a cackling sound, taunting me, laughing at me, daring me to do anything about it. But I never see it. Right now it envelops me with its horror. It attacks my body and my mind. Reality and fiction are blurred. Weird visions pop in and out of my brain, tormenting me with things I have never seen before: dark and obscure beings with evil at their core, moving slowly through fog filled landscapes, their red eyes shining in the darkness, greeting everything they encounter with hideous laughter before dragging them beneath the fog.
“ Show yourself, damn it! Show yourself!” I holler out.
Whatever it is doesn’t show itself, but neither does it leave. It never fucking leaves.
I slip in and out of sleep, too restless and in too much pain to stay asleep, but needing some sort of rest. Something comes crashing down at the far end of the garage, and I hear little scurrying feet moving around towards the cracks alongside the overhead door to escape whatever is there. Even the mice know it’s here, disrupting my life, tossing torment at me from every conceivable angle. The little furry bastards have no courage: for now, they retreat, but they’ll be back when things settle down. How could they possibly refuse the smorgasbord of delight spread out before them? My wife insists on storing flour and cereal out here – easy pickings for the little vermin. And when they’re done munching on that, they hop up on my couch in hopes of…in hopes of what? Nibbling on a couple of fingers for desert? I don’t think so. I can remember nights in Vietnam, lying down in the rice paddies to avoid detection by the ‘Cong, the rats – huge, hungry creatures swarming from everywhere – running all over me. It was tolerable as long as they kept moving, but when they stopped, planted on my chest just inches from my face, it scared the shit out of me. If they bit me, there would be a chance of rabies; if I moved too much, I would alert the enemy to my position. Fortunately, I was never bitten. These little mice in the garage are not my favorite sleeping buddies, but they are not as terrifying as the rats.
Until my alarm goes off at 2:00A.M., my unseen nemesis stays with me. It relishes most the moments when I have the dream: Vietnam, having just escaped from the POW camp, carrying my best friend in my arms, running barefoot for two days and two nights through the jungle, collapsing against a tree when I finally reach freedom, only to find out my friend is dead. My tears and my angst make this monster laugh.
“You always get fucked over, don’t you?” it says, this time distinct enough that I can tell whatever it is is male. “You never win; you always lose.”
Yes, he’s right, but I’m not going to give in to him. He scares the shit out of me, so close I can feel his breath on my face and smell his decaying, moldy odor. The stench is at once putrefying and suffocating; the pressure returns to my chest. Tasting his foulness, I must get out of the garage.
I slip into the house and use the john, my adversary choosing to remain in the garage. After that, I put a mug of coffee into the microwave and set it to boiling. For me, coffee has to be hot. While it’s heating up, I down my pain medication, grab an ice cube, and drop it into a cup. When the coffee is ready, I bring everything to my recliner: my morning ritual. Every morning, it takes me a good hour to attack my headaches. The ice, so deliciously cold against my head, starts working its magic. Nature in motion; the most basic of therapies. It makes a mess at times, the droplets cascading down my face, but what difference does it make? This isn’t a fashion show; this is pain, and I need to deal with it.
This morning the pain is especially bad and it takes two mugs of coffee and three ice cubes before I’m ready to go to work. For me, going to work is a little more involved than popping the key into the ignition and barreling down the road. I run to work. The pain makes it insufferable at times, but I have to do it. The blood needs to be shoved around my body, bringing its life force to every conceivable part of me. I brush my teeth, put my working clothes and lunch inside my backpack, check on my children, and I’m out the door.
The early morning air feels good on my tortured head, the coolness helping combat the pain. It’s not cool enough for sweat pants today. That means I’ll be battling the heat on my run back.
Work is only three miles or so from my house – yes, house: I have long since stopped calling it home. My seven children are here, but I can’t live with their mother any longer. While I’ve been fighting this pain inside me, she’s been playing slap and tickle with a former flame. Good woman: I work my ass off for her and my children, and she snubs me, even to the point of admitting it to me. “There’s enough love in my heart for both of you,” she says. What? Is this the stuff of marriage? Is this the for better or worse, in sickness or in health part?
The run always helps. I would be nothing without it. Nothing. It is the one semblance of peace in my erratic day. I enjoy my work and can escape within its insanity of schedule and chaos, but running makes me feel free. It is me; I am it.
My morning run is my favorite of the two. I can’t see in the darkness, but I can feel the contours of the road through my feet, and by keeping my stride short enough so my center of gravity is always stable, I won’t tumble if I hit a pothole. It’s worth it to enjoy the solitude, the almost virginity of the day, as if nothing like it has ever occurred before. And yet…
Peace is finally hitting my pain wracked body, and I begin to almost float along, lost in thoughts far removed from any I had last night. I am lulled into a sense of false security and don’t notice when a car jumps at me from the other side of the street. Its lights are off and the engine is purring so smoothly that it is almost like some sort of a phantom car. What the hell is this idiot doing driving around like this in the dark? Thinking of nothing better to do, I flip him off and holler at him to turn his lights on and watch out. This only seems to infuriate him more because he turns around, guns the engine, and comes after me again. I dart between a couple of parked cars and veer off across a dividing island. This puts some distance between us, but he makes it up rapidly, speeding around the corner like a demon possessed. As fast as I can move, I make it to some two story apartment units and run up the stairs. I’m safe up here. He certainly can’t drive up to get me. If he gets out of the car and comes after me, that’s one thing – that doesn’t bother me: I can defend myself from some road rage driver out of his car. A gonzo idiot behind the wheel of a big chunk of metal is another story.
The driver roars to a stop at the very edge of the stairs, gunning his engine, backing up a bit, and coming back to the stairs again. It’s almost as if he’s trying to decide if he can drive up the stairs. This is one hard core idiot here. After what seems like an eternity, he backs up and drives out of the parking lot. Shit! What do I do now? I still have two more miles to run before I’m at work. Do I hide up here in my safe haven and wait for the sun to rise, or do I get rid of my shackles of fear and suck it up like a man? This guy is probably just some drunk and might be stopped at some intersection right now, sound asleep and not even remembering having chased me up the stairs.
“C’mon, man. Get a grip. You’re letting everything get to you now,” I tell myself out loud, ashamed when I hear my own scared voice trying to calm myself down.
With as much boldness as I can muster, I walk downstairs and look around before I set out at a cautious pace, wanting to keep my guard up this time. I’m no more than a quarter of a mile away when the car pulls up again on the other side of the road, this time just ambling along, matching my speed but not exceeding it. It is still too dark to catch a glimpse of the driver other than the fact he appears to be wearing some kind of a hoodie. Oh, this is great: some stupid, wandering barrio kid on the wrong side of town. As for the car, all I can tell is that it’s not new, but it appears to have a shape built for speed. It looks familiar and yet…I don’t know; I can’t say for sure.
I pass the newly built elementary school and reach a big, wide open park – no trees at all, other than the skinny little whippets they plant just so they can say they’re planting trees in a park. He comes at me then, that finely tuned machine of his almost on me before I know it. It was all a trap! A damned trap that I was stupid enough to fall into. He has me now and he knows it. I’m his to do with as he pleases: the open target, his pawn, the morning merriment for his twisted mind. Stupid imbecile that I am, I deserve to be run over like some worthless pile of cow dung present in the surrounding prairies.
In one lucky stumble, I manage to fall just ahead of the lurching car. Turning again, much faster than I would have expected, he’s on me, and I run in a zigzag fashion to make it difficult for him to keep me dead center in his sights. He nabs me a couple of times, sending me to the ground, and my body starts wracking up wounds. Blood starts flowing freely from above my right eye and pours in, blurring my vision, my already erratic stumbling getting worse and worse. Hideous laughter pours out from the open window. He knows I’m his; whenever he decides it’s time, it’ll be over.
Lights from a car going up the hill flash on some sort of huge boulder, placed – for some unknown reason to me – in the middle of the field. I sprint for it, abandoning my zigzag approach for now; I have to get there. It’s my only hope. Just before being swept under the front of the car, I reach the massive boulder and throw myself up on it. The car makes an almost painful, hideous sound as metal meets rock. The rock wins.
I rest for a few seconds, making sure I will have the energy to give this guy, whoever he is, what he deserves. Expecting him to be in some stage of shock after hitting the boulder as hard as he did, I’m surprised to see him pulling the car off the boulder. Not trying to pull it off, but actually doing it. Any macho thoughts of mine are totally gone now: I run out of the park for all I’m worth and take the shortest street to the railroad tracks that I can find. Once there, I’ll be a lot safer. As short as the street is, I reach the tracks and am crawling in between a couple of stopped rail cars when the car arrives.
“This time you were lucky!” the driver shouts out. “There will be a next time.”
The rest of my run is in pain. I run past the huge microwave dishes and slip in through the security gates, heading straight for the shower. One look in the rest room mirror confirms what I already know: there isn’t a part of me that isn’t bruised, scraped, or cut. No shaving today. I hurt too much to mess with it.
The hot, soothing water runs down my body. I’m in no hurry to leave the comfort of the shower. Besides, I have to wait until the blood stops pouring down the drain.
“Give in to it. Let the pain go. You’ve endured enough.”
“Shut the fuck up!” I holler.
The blood finally stops flowing and I get out of the shower. No one is here. What do I expect, anyway?
Oh, shit. Like I really need this. I almost get killed running to work, and now a voice, the same voice I heard this morning in my garage, is talking to me at work. How much more of this can I take? I can see myself walking into the VA and telling them about phantom cars chasing me, voices telling me to just let go, and unseen monsters pushing down on my chest. Here comes the white padded room. No one can drive a car into there, though. I would be safe within the confines of the room: unless the monster pushed a wall down on me.
I sit down on a chair next to the shower and take a breather. This will not be an easy day: no rest last night and this morning’s escapade through the streets have gotten me to the point where I can hardly move. Blood starts flowing into my eye again. Shit! And that disgusting mold odor is in the room as well. I retch on the bile rising from my innards and just make it to the toilet on time, forced to crawl on my knees because I can’t stand up any longer. Everything lets loose. The acidic mess flows out, replaced by blood. My hands slip on the puke/ blood mixture on the toilet seat and I fall to the floor.
“You can’t get up, can you? You’re finished; you just won’t accept it.”
I refuse to answer this time. He’s goading me, pressuring me into giving in to his maniacal demands. Demands for what? If I give in, I’m dead. Forty years of pain and I’m going to quit now? I haven’t fought this long for nothing.
Once more, I drag my worn out carcass across the blood stained floor tiles toward the shower, the grout already a disgusting shade of brown from the fusion of blood. I have to take another shower, damn it! The last one was difficult enough. At least I hadn’t dressed before: my clothes would be a bloody mess by now.
Slower than before, I get into the shower, hugging the walls so I won’t fall down. Thank God the water is still hot and I can steal its rejuvenating powers. The blood stops flowing, and I get out again. It’s somewhat easier this time because my stomach’s not forcing me to barf, but the rest of the pain and the weakness is still there. No more voices this time, so I towel down, get dressed, and do a sort of hobble, stutter walk down the hallway to the shop. It’s a long walk – almost 100 yards through this cavernous area – but by hugging the wall, I make it to the door of my shop and slip my badge across the door security code device.
I walk in and plop down into my chair, leaving the light off. I need to rest for a while. No one else will be here for another hour yet: I’m always early. Maybe I can even catch a few winks.
“No sleep for you!” the voice shouts.
Blood pours into my eye; unbearable pressure forces itself onto my chest, forcing me to gag on the blood coming from my throat; and I taste the mold before everything goes black.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
For me, writing is fun. Marketing is the challenge, but it is necessary.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Edgar Allan Poe has always been my favorite author. His greatest talent was creating a theater of the mind where senses overlapped and the unknown grabbed at your very being.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Right now I don’t have to travel, but I want to travel once my life regains balance with my affairs of the heart, soul, and physical things taking away from my creative time.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Rebecca Treadway is the artist for my co-owned publishing house Angelic Knight Press. Sue Midlock does the cover art for my novels coming out with Vamplit Publishing.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Writing is all joy for me, Fiona. There are no hard parts.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned that the people in this industry are fantastic! I have made many new, great friends. My approach to writing is laid back, and as such, it opens the door for me to meet and interface with genuine, caring people.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Don’t work on perfection for your first draft. Hemingway once said the first draft of anything is shit. He was so right. Write, re-write, and get better every time. And then, make sure you have a good editor to help you out because no writer ever catches all of their own mistakes.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Yes, Fiona, I do. Writing is important to all of us in the craft, but there are many other things that take priority: children’s laughter; good health; lovers being together. I would gladly give up all my seventy something novels if we could find a cure for diseases that make children ill and cause them to die. And for the love of my lady, and being with her, I would do anything.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done ?
I have done many things in my lifetime. Writing is the most honest, genuine thing I have had the pleasure of doing.