My inspirations have always come to me through emotion, and my response to certain people I encounter along the way. Whether these are the instinctive bonding reactions I have for fictional creations, or the performers who give them life, they each etch a story into my soul that never leaves me.
I’ve been writing most of my life, but I became an active fiction writer in an odd way. I’ve told this story before, but for those who have never heard it, let me give you a quick version. Back in 1984 I used to love television, IF there was a show that caught my imagination. Not many did, I admit. But, my mom had begun watching this action adventure show called AIRWOLF, and loved it. I was a huge fan of Ernest Borgnine, and he was one of the actors starring in this series. Along with Jan Michael Vincent, and a very charming and enigmatic man named Alex Cord. I started watching with my mother, very casually, and after a few weeks, I was looking forward to each new episode, and totally intrigued with Mr. Cord’s character, Michael Coldsmith Briggs III, code name Archangel. Many of you know that this series has since gone on to be something of a cult classic, and most people admit that it was very underrated at the time of its original airing. Where is this leading? Well, simply put, I got inspired by this series, and in particular Mr. Cord’s character, who was a man of many layers and nuances. An idea came to me, a full-blown “episode” for the show, and I decided to try my hand at writing it down as a story.
The first story I wrote for Airwolf took me less than a week to write, by hand, then type into a manuscript. By the time I was done, a sequel had evolved, and I then set out to write it, as well. Once I was done hammering away at my typewriter, I was very pleased with myself. My first story as an adult had been born. Experiment over, right? Not quite. I had never heard of fan fiction, but through various newsletters and things, I had met a lady named Barbara Fister-Liltz. She and her husband were well known in fan circles, for creating stunning art and wonderful fan zines. I’d never heard of such things. I told her about my story, and she asked me to send it to her. So, I took the plunge and sent it to her, and to Mr. Cord, who had inspired the tale. Imagine my utter surprise and delight 13 days later when the phone rang late one night and it was Alex Cord calling me to tell me how much he had enjoyed reading my story for him. He encouraged me to continue writing, and later I had a note from Mr. Borgnine telling me to script the story and send it to the producer. As things happened, Airwolf was cancelled before I could get an agent to put the script on the right desk. BUT, I had been inspired to continue writing.
A few years after this, my next experience with “inspiration” occurred via another television series, this one a British import that was redefining the legend of Robin Hood. I’d long been a lover of the legend of the outlaw of Sherwood Forest, and had studied this era of British history with the only real enthusiasm I’d ever shown for history at that point. In Richard Carpenter’s Robin of Sherwood, many new spins brought an old legend to life in amazing ways. In the third year of the series, the original Robin, played by actor Michael Praed, was being replaced by a new Robin Hood–and the actor who would bring Robert of Huntingdon (Robin Hood) to life was Jason Connery. (Yes, only son of actor Sean Connery.) I was immediately drawn to the “new” Robin in creative ways, and thoroughly enjoyed Jason’s portrayal, and the aura he gave his character.
I began to write again… There was also a new addition to the legend creation, a mysterious Saracen called Nasir, played by actor Mark Ryan. These men and their presence opened up a new world for me, and the dream of writing grew stronger.
By the late 90s I’d established a pretty solid presence as a fan writer, won some awards, and was generally having a great time and wondering if I might seriously consider writing for “real” as a career. I had doubts, lots of them. A late night drama hit the air, and the third bolt of lightning struck–the series was a kick-ass action series called Soldier of Fortune, Inc. Almost overnight, I began writing what would become one of my first novels, and the entire team of characters in this show was terrific.
The casting included Brad Johnson, and Tim Abell as the most awesome sniper to hit the airwaves ever, in my opinion. Benny Ray Riddle and Major Matthew
Shepherd created sparks in my imagination, and being enthusiastic, if not particularly bright, I sent my writing to Brad, as a token of my admiration. (Tim himself asked for those stories a couple of years ago when we got chatting one night on Facebook, and I was wowed!!) Once again, the phone rang, and I found myself talking to Brad Johnson, and he told me “you should keep writing, it’s obvious you have a gift for it” – and yes, those are the words he used. I was overwhelmed. Determination grew.
As you can see, I’ve had some pretty impressive encouragement to propel me toward a writing career. There were other shows and directions, and music has always been a part of the mix, but these are the gentlemen who really made me believe it might be possible to write professionally. I adore them all, and thank them often, even though they don’t know about it.
In 2004, on a whim, I entered a contest with Amber Quill Press, and a few weeks later was informed that I’d won my first professional writing contract. The dream had arrived. I haven’t looked back since then, just driven forward, writing and releasing books with some pretty awesome publishing houses along the way.
The past years have been so busy, I don’t even watch television anymore, and couldn’t tell one actor from another. I’ve discovered that creating my own worlds is often a lot more fun than playing in someone else’s garden, but I do still go back to these special shows, and to this day, I feel the affinity and lure that made them part of my creative soul. These actors hold a place in my heart that will never fade.
In recent years, I’ve also discovered a couple of just amazing ladies who inspire through their art, too. Oddly, or perhaps not, they are both Italian, both beautiful, creative, warm and loving. They inspire through their wisdom, laughter, and the beauty of their spirits. One is singer Giada Valenti–a lady I have known for the past 8 years or so, and who I hope one day to meet. She is elegant, has the voice of an angel, and is one of the classiest ladies in the world.
The other lady is Barbara Conelli. Barb has a fabulous website called Wild and Free Creativity. It’s a great site, and Barbara’s wonderful passion for life and adventure is infectious. She in an inspiration always because, like Giada, she is always positive, and has an energy around her that touches hearts, and renews faith and hope. ALL of these people, and so many, many more who have touched my life and my heart, are the ones who have brought me to a place where I know all of you and have the opportunity to entertain you with my stories. THAT is a privilege, and I would like to thank each and every one of you for the pleasure of having you be part of my journey. I hope you’ll stay around for the rest of the adventure, I’m sure it’s going to be wonderful!!!
Love, blessings, and all the best to each of you!
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