My earliest recollection of writing is from around 1974-1975. I was a fan of the "Tarzan" comics published by DC and Marvel during those years. I remember sitting
in my tree house in the backyard and writing a story in which I was
Tarzan. After that I don't recall writing--or wanting to write--as a way
of expressing myself. My dream was to be an artist (preferably drawing
comics for Marvel and DC). I created my own "Avengers"-style comic
with my friends and I as the heroes (naturally!) I knew I wanted to
pursue some sort of career in the art field so my attentions were
In 1979 and 1980 I discovered "Dungeons & Dragons." By this time
my appetite for fantasy had moved from Tarzan to Conan the Barbarian,
Tolkien's "The Hobbit" (still one of my favorite books of all time) and "The
Lord of the Rings," and anything else I could get my hands on. Little did I
know that my introduction to D&D would lead me to where I am today.
Some friends and I created a gaming organization on our college campus and after a while there were different people running games and different playing games nearly
every night of the week (fantasy games, superhero games, science fiction games, and
more). However, as the 1980s progressed I found myself becoming
burned out with D&D. I looked around for another game and genre
to explore, and came across "Call of Cthulhu." Having been a fan
of horror movies and horror fiction all my life, I knew I had found
my new game!
I began reading everything by H.P. Lovecraft (and his colleagues)
that I could get my hands on, and began running a "Call of Cthulhu"
game campaign. As the 1980s transitioned into the 1990s, I began writing my own game scenarios for my friends to play through. And at one point I remember reading a CoC game scenario (no, I don't remember which one and wouldn't say if I did) and thinking to myself "I could do better than that!"
That was my launching point. Around that time "The Unspeakable Oath," a CoC fanzine appeared. I submitted scenarios and articles to it, and after a few issues I was in print! I didn't get paid a penny (but I did get a free contributor's copy, which at the time was just as good!) Through that fanzine I became acquainted with Kevin Ross, Scott Aniolowski, and the late Keith Herber, all of whom wrote freelance for Chaosium, Inc. (the company who made "Call of Cthulhu"). With their help, guidance, advice, proofreading and suggestions, I started submitting full-length scenarios to the company. By the mid-1990s I had my first (paid!) work in print with several others in the pipeline. Being influenced by Lovecraft and others, I tried my hand at short stories that aped his work. Two got picked up for publication in anthologies (shown below).
By the closing years of the 1990s I was set on a different--and unexpected--career path: I felt a call into ordained ministry. After three years in seminary to earn my Masters of Divinity degree, I started serving a large church in Cleveland, Tennessee, as the youth pastor and associate pastor. My writing morphed from gaming material to sermons, youth devotions and Bible studies. In 2005, I moved to pastor my own church and continue to do that to this day. But it wasn't until 2010-2011 that I began to think seriously about trying to write a book.
I had written a devotional--Carrying on the Mission of Jesus--for my church to use, and decided to see if I could polish it up and find a publisher. After many rejections, rewrites and lots of prayers, Dove Christian Publishing picked up the manuscript. The devotional was published in 2013.
That was a difficult time for me spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically. I was leading a church at that point that was divided over a great many issues. Some people wanted to move forward; others wanted to stay the same or move back. I was bullied by a clique of powerful people within the church, and it was those experiences that became the genesis for my second book, aptly titled Bullied! Confronting and Overcoming Six Major Obstacles to Church Effectiveness. It was picked up by eLectio Publishing and released in 2016.
Around this time I began writing DVD and Blu ray reviews for "Screem" magazine. I average two reviews per issue (you can find them here). I also wrote a
couple of book reviews for "Video Watchdog" before it unfortunately ceased publication.
Knowing that I could write non-fiction, I wondered if I could
also write fiction? So toward the end of 2015 I began to do some research for my first novel. I bought and read books that would help me develop my fictional world, and I started jotting down anything that came to mind that might be factored into the story. Much of 2016 was taken up with research, character creation, world building, and plot development. It took about a year to finally get to a third draft and a place where I am confident in shopping it around.
The Witchfinder is the first in a proposed trilogy, set in a post-apocalyptic world that has returned to a medieval level of sophistication, technology and understanding. The story follows Malachi Thorne, Witchfinder Imperator of the Church of the Deiparous, as he zealously seeks to enforce the Church's laws. But an escaped heretic sets him and his men on an epic journey that shakes their beliefs to their very core, and threatens to reshape the realm of Deiparia (formerly the United States) into something much worse.
It's my hope and prayer that if you've read this far, you're interested in what happens next (both with The Witchfinder and with me!) Please scroll to the bottom of the page and sign up for my newsletter. I won't spam you mindlessly, I promise! I'm looking to build my reader base and platform, and I hope you will consider becoming part of it.
I live outside Chattanooga, Tennessee, with my wife, Felicia, and three dogs. We have two boys, Brett and Matthew.
I made some amazing new friends on a mission trip to Ghana, Africa, in 2004
Halloween 2015: Even though I grew up in the 1980s, I never did get the chance to front a hair metal band
My oldest son, Brett, and myself on a mission trip in Vimperk, Czech Republic (2010). Since entering the ministry I've preached on four of the seven continents (North America, Africa, Europe, and Asia)
Sunset over Ocean Beach, San Diego (2008). The beach is one of my favorite places.
The family: Matthew, me, Felicia, and Brett (2017). Dogs not included.
"The Raid on Innsmouth"
role-playing game scenario (1997)
"Cross My Heart,
Hope to Die"
role-playing game scenario (2001)
role-playing game scenario (1998)
"Configurations of the Flesh"
role-playing game scenario (1996)
role-playing game scenario (1994)