Wednesday, January 19, 2011


After two decades as a police officer I earned a retirement.  I truly loved my job and would probably have done it forever, but Southern California was "squeezing" me.  The cost of living and unbelievable traffic, coupled with the fact that I would have to work into my late 60s to afford to retire there, made me take a look at re-locating.  We (the wife and I) did an Internet search and discovered that taking everything into account, the Charlottesville, Virginia area was the #1 area in the country to live.  I held my breath and took the plunge.  We sold our house in California and with the proceeds paid (no mortgage) cash for a 3000 square foot house on land that was measured in acres, not feet.  We set up our new lives outside of Charlotteville, just down the street from Thomas Jefferson's old house.  It was a drastic step.  I left the city, everyone and everything I had known for my entire life and started over living in the country.  It was DIFFERENT to say the least, but in a good way.  Rush hour traffic was two or three other cars with you on the 2 lane highway leading to town.

Life was good, relaxing.  My wife Sherri took a position as a nurse in the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of  University of Virginia Medical Center.  It was rewarding work that she really enjoyed doing.  I spent my days remodeling our Queen Victorian house and taking care of so much land that it takes a good 8 hour day to mow the lawn on a ridin mower.

In late January 2009 Sherri was diagnosed with a milignant tumor in her left breast.  Her family history was grim when it came to Cancer.  She had lost her mom to Breast Cancer at a very young age, so she decided that the best course was to have a radical mastectomy.  Removing both of her breasts seemed to be the best way to ensure her survival.  The initial surgery was only the beginning, and the rest of the year turned into the same type of physical and emotional turmoil that we had gone through with my leg, 10 years earlier.

Recovery was slow, with a lot of down time and anxiously waiting for test results and prognosis about the future.  In an effort to keep my mind occupied and off the different scenarios we were facing, I pulled Kelly Bloodsworth's story out of the drawer. 


A big part of Kelly's story revolved around technology.  I have always loved electronics and I had integrated a lot of "toys" into the plot.  A lot had changed since 1999.  Complicated computers, and everything associated with them, had morphed into commonplace household  items.  The Kelly Bloodsworth novel needed tweaking to bring it into the 21st Century.  A floppy disc, with it's huge 1.2 MB storage capacity was a central plot point.  (If you don't know what a floppy disc is, look it up)  Now that a USB thumb drive's capacity is into the two digit Gigabyte range it needed to be changed.

I started from the beginning and went line by line, page by page and modernized my story so that it was up to specs, tech wise.  Even as I was writing, things were changing so fast I had to go back an change / add to them again, just to stay current.

When I finished the last page, creating Kelly's world had once again helped me through a rough patch in my life; and there was good news.  Sherri's tests all came back negative.  The Cancer was gone, and she was not a strong candidate for it coming back in other places in her body.  Her nodes were clear so no radiation or Chemo was necessary.  By the magic one year mark, February 2010, she was cancer free, reconstructed and back to work with her premmie babies, and I had a 300+ page baby of my own that I still wanted to share with the world. 
I sent my pages off to my best friend, best critic, and one of the people I most hated leaving, John Godfrey.  John is a teacher back in So. CA.  He "dusted and cleaned" the story and returned it to me with praise, constructive criticism and spatterings of red marks.  I turned all of his red ink, black, and I finally had a finished product.  Now I was ready to hit bricks and get an agent for sure.

1 comment:

  1. I love the way your work got you through a tough time, and I also love the way you had to update the story to current technology. The thing is, in 10 years, even that updated technology will be obsolete-- in ways we can't imagine now!

    Great pic of Uncle John and you :)