I am in love with California, especially the California Gold Rush, and what happened because of the fantastic lure of gold. I write about pioneers, hardships, their dreams, and the reality their dreams led to. I cannot cross a river without thinking of those daring, desperate people. I came across a gold mining camp hidden within a gorgeous and heavenly valley of the Sierra Nevada. Emblazoned on a tall sign were these words: “We are a drinking camp with a mining problem.” Because I am a native son born in Burbank, I am in love with the raw spirit and humor that clawed its way to California some 170 years ago and still survives in the Golden State of dreams. I write simply and with vivid words. I know things empathically and poetically (like the poets knew the earth was round before the scientists figured it out.
The Goldfinder Series is a 4-book set about Petr Valory who was called “The Goldfinder”. Book One, The Gold Hunter: Petr discovers Gold Lake, high and hidden, an old volcano vent, a place sacred to the Indians for visions, and also the entrance to the motherlode. Petr falls in love with an Indian medicine woman, Minoah, but gold destroys their love.
Book Two, The Gold Shaper: His life destroyed, Petr travels to San Francisco to find a gold master who will show him the art of shaping gold, and a gift to win Minoah back.
Book Three, The Gold Soldier: The pursuit of love and golden dreams leads to despair. Minoah scorns him. Petr goes East to destroy himself in the Civil War and ends up a hero at three horrendous battles: Stones River; Chickamauga; Missionary Ridge. Ordered to Washington to receive a medal from President Lincoln, he asks Lincoln a favor. Lincoln promises he will “help the Indians” after the war.
Book Four, The Secret of Gold Lake: Petr returns to California to find a beautiful, mysterious woman living on the old Valoryvale place who looks like his little sister Annabel would have looked like if she had survived her plunge into Gold Lake long ago. Books One and Two are available from Amazon.
After my brother Roger died 25 years after serving in Vietnam (he got a bayonet wound) I felt a huge urge to honor the soldiers and understand that awful war, and I came to understand it by writing about it. My sincere desire after reading all the views of reporters, intellectuals and soldiers, was to write a compelling and dramatic Final Story on the war.
The Black Butterfly Woman (available at Amazon) was my first completed novel and follows a frightened GI who dares himself to enter the tunnels beneath Vietnam, to discover the secrets under Vietnam. I believe he found those secrets.
Writing is a magical experience for me. I am where I write, where I imagine myself to be. Even while I live in the heart of Iowa I am wherever my next novel takes me.
“Good-hearted love gone wrong” seems to be a repeating theme of my work.