Authors Among Us – Part 4
Our “Authors Among Us” series shines the spotlight on some of the accomplished authors living in the Trilogy communities.
Six Trilogy writers are highlighted below, and an additional seventeen were featured in Authors Among Us – Part 1, Authors Among Us – Part 2, and Authors Among Us – Part 3. If you’re looking for a great read, you can’t go wrong with the books below, written by our talented Trilogy authors!
Backyard Beekeepers of the Bay Area
By Judith Adamson of Trilogy at Rio Vista
About the Book: Backyard Beekeepers of the Bay Area explores the current state of the honeybee and the urban apiculture movement in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. The honeybee is vital to our ecosystems and existence. With the recent and escalating onset of threats to her survival, more and more people have taken up backyard and rooftop beekeeping in an attempt to protect her.
Backyard Beekeepers of the Bay Area can be purchased at www.BackyardBeekeepersBayArea.com or on Amazon. The author’s sister did the watercolor illustrations at the beginning of each chapter. They add a lovely, spontaneous, ethereal quality to the book, and can be purchased as reproductions to frame or as trivets, either through Judith’s website or by calling her at 374-5350.
What was your inspiration for writing this book?
I knew nothing about honeybees when a friend suggested I write a book on the “rogue” beekeepers of Kensington, CA. In our little neighborhood, beekeeping was illegal, yet there were several people with hives tucked away in their backyards. This intrigued me, and I agreed to write the book, which my friend would publish. Before conducting interviews, I wanted to learn as much as I could about honeybees.
The deeper I delved into life in the hive, the more I was drawn into the dazzling world of the honeybee. Every beekeeper I interviewed knew other beekeepers in the community who I just had to talk to; so just as the honeybee forages far and wide, I found an ever widening circle of beekeepers throughout the Bay Area. They ranged from novices to life-long professionals, and interviews took me – often dressed in a bee suit – to many places: from the roof of the Fairmont Hotel where Chef Foster kept hives; to a one-acre homestead a few miles from downtown Oakland; to a perfumer’s garden in El Cerrito; to a wedding florist’s apiary; down to the Google campus in Mountain Air where physicists and engineers tended hives painted in Google colors; to a beekeeper in Sebastopol who showed me how his honeybees let him go into the hive gloveless – slowly, gently, peacefully – never getting stung.
I’ve rarely met a group of people more eager to talk than these beekeepers. They eagerly shared not only their knowledge of beekeeping, but their philosophical and spiritual approaches to this ancient art.
What do you hope your readers will learn from your book?
I hope that readers will gain a greater understanding of the importance of the honeybee, and how essential it is for us to do our part to protect her. The interviews with the beekeepers of the Bay Area create a narrative, which conveys the plight of the honeybee and the deep concern of many to support the urban beekeeping movement whether by keeping bees, planting bee-friendly gardens, or keeping abreast of the latest political shenanigans that contribute to the further demise of the honeybee…and therefore ourselves.
What is your writing experience outside of creating this book?
I am a personal historian and I have a business called Recollections, through which I record people’s life stories. I can either leave the recordings as an oral history on a CD or transcribe, edit and create a narrative to put in book form, complete with photos, as a legacy for future generations. I also help people write their own memoirs.
By Gloria MacKay of Trilogy at Redmond Ridge
About the Book: Chalk Dustings is a poetry book, plus. Gloria’s publisher, Aquillerelle, who had featured a bit of her poetry in their magazine, suggested that she publish a book. Since Gloria was new at producing poetry that really said what she intended, but had broadcast and published short family-style essays for a long time, she combined the two styles of writing and came up with Chalk Dustings. Both her poetry and non-fiction fanciers are pleased.
Gloria’s first book of essays, Throwing Sticks and Skipping Stones, was published in 2003 by DLSIJ Press. They went out of business and she ran out of books. She now has a new version (with a new cover but the same essays) available online at Third Place Books.
What inspired you to create this book?
It just happened that I became focused on reading and writing poetry at the same time. Maybe that’s what inspiration is: good timing. My writing of poetry began online, tip-toe time with dim lights and no commercials.
The reading of poetry took place because of a surely throw-away click on Coursera, a free online source of university classes. I went (in the depth of an evening) from “free? sure!!” to “which course will I pick?” I chose the University of Pennsylvania: Modern & Contemporary American Poetry. ModPo, as we call it, is based on a course (English 88) Kelly Professor Al Filreis has taught for thirty years.
Who are your favorite poets?
My favorite poets are William Carlos Williams and Emily Dickinson (she’s growing on me).
Who are your favorite authors?
My favorite authors are Haruki Murakami, Zadie Smith, and Ian McEwan.
The Waza Series: Te Waza and Shime Waza
By Bill Dearing of Shea Homes at Ardiente
The Waza series of novels by Bill Dearing (who writes as E.C. Dearing) mixes action, mystery, and adventure set in the exciting world of professional martial arts.
About the Book, Te Waza: Jesse Standard, a former international judo competitor, now a respected professor of Asian studies, is asked by his friend, benefactor, and martial arts movie star Tiger Radelle, to help launch Radelle’ s most ambitious project to date. In fulfilling his obligation to his mentor, Jesse is drawn into a takeover conspiracy, which results in a baffling series of murders that only Jesse, with his knowledge of secret techniques, can solve. Te Waza delivers!
About the Book, Shime Waza – The Breath Stealer: Professor Jesse Standard returns in the sequel to Te Waza. This time the action begins in Canada where Jesse avoids an assassination, meets a mysterious government agent and rushes to Greece where he is drawn into combating a conspiracy that will paralyze Europe, if successful. New alignments are created and new adversaries are revealed as Jesse and team rush to expose this conspiracy that will have dire consequences for Europe and the world.
Both books are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many other online dealers. Search for E. C. Dearing or the book title: Te Waza or Shime Waza, The Breath Stealer. Visit www.ecdearing.com to learn more about these novels.
Who inspired you to write a book on this topic?
Roula, my wife, suggested it. She was a reader of Dick Francis novels. Francis was a professional jockey who wrote successful mystery novels using horse racing as his background. Her suggestion was for me to use judo in the same fashion. I simply enlarged her great idea to incorporate other styles and kept what I knew best as a central physical theme. With over forty years’ experience in martial arts that touched many aspects, including the business side, I feel comfortable with this world as my backdrop.
Who is your favorite author?
I am a voracious reader and read anything that piques my interest. History is my favorite topic. Currently I am reading a biography of C.G. Dennison: Zulu Frontiersman. For inspiration, I have studied Mickey Spillane, the author who created hard-boiled characters such as Mike Hammer. Spillane, who preferred “writer” over “author”, had the unique idea to treat his readers as customers. As a “writer-provider” he mostly exceeded what his customers expected of the characters. For current fiction mystery writers, Max Allan Collins can’t be beat. The late, great and prolific writer, Elmore Leonard was fantastic, and for great villains, l tip my hat to Ian Fleming.
Who is your favorite character in your book?
My favorites are any of my leading villains. They are challenging to create and require unique back-stories. A highly intelligent villain has far more plot latitude than the protagonist who reacts to their schemes. I believe that my villains must have reader appeal, rather than be simply repulsive. However, as with every superb villain, they must be ruthless.
What do you hope your readers will most enjoy about your book?
I want the story to be suspenseful, entertaining, and possible to happen. The physical activity must be accurately described and realistic. First and foremost, I want it to be a fast and enjoyable read. The characters and plot line must be understood by all readers, not only martial artists.
Was your road to publication long or short?
The creation is always the most challenging. Coming up with the idea/concept and following through with the interminable writing and research process can be a lonely business, but the final reward is great. Today’s opportunities to publish are varied; no longer must new authors depend on three or four majors to get their product out.
What is one piece of advice you would give to others who have always dreamed about writing a book?
Write and write again. Never give up writing.
By Dr. Richard T. Baran of Trilogy at Vistancia
About the Book: Tidge Mackiewicz, patriarch of his family, received several orders from his dying father, Kid Scream. One order stated that Tidge should quit believing in Santa Claus and stop acting like every day was Christmas. Tidge should also abandon his belief that the Luftwaffe shot down Santa Claus on Christmas Eve in 1944 and Santa survived. Approaching fifty, Tidge still wears a scuffed and stained Army Air Corps flight jacket given to him as young boy by his late uncle, a Navy aviator and Korean War hero, who claimed it belonged to Santa Claus. His uncle also believed that the jacket possessed a special magic. It is “The Jacket” and the spirit of Christmas that brings eighteen family members to Tidge and his wife’s magnificent log chalet located in Wisconsin’s Northwoods on Lake Namakagon for the Christmas holidays. Tidge can now carry out his father’s final order of unscrewing his screwed up family and much more.
The Jacket is now available at Books-A-Million, Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. The author’s next project, Where Have All the Go-Go’s Gone? will be published shortly, followed closely by its sequel, When Will They Ever Learn? Visit www.richardbaran.com to learn more.
What inspired you to write a book on this topic?
My fascination with WW II history and reading “Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo” as a young boy inspired me to write this book. I also know that no family is perfect, and I wanted to illustrate that fact in The Jacket. I actually started out wanting to write a dark comedy about a very dysfunctional family. Then I discovered there was nothing funny about dark and dysfunctional.
Did you find the writing process to be difficult?
All writing is difficult. The author has to grab the reader with words that paint pictures. It’s like trying to color in each piece of a giant puzzle so the completed work comes out on the card table looking like a portrait.
Was the road to publication long or short?
“The Jacket” took roughly three years to complete, which includes the never-ending editing and revision process and waiting for editors/publishers to respond to query letters and e-mails.
Who are your favorite authors?
There are too many to list, but some of my favorites include James T. Farell, John Toole, Gary Jennings, Clive Cussler (before all the co-authors), Studs Terkel, and Charles Kuralt.
What is one piece of advice you’d give to others who have always dreamed about writing a book?
If you don’t have thick skin, if you can’t take criticism, or if you think your work is perfect, get the hell out of the profession. If you stay, don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.
“The Main Event”
By Grace Bos of Trilogy at Rio Vista
Poet Grace Bos won the Editors Choice Award from the National Library of Poetry a few years back for her poem, “The Main Event.” She is in the Writers Club of Trilogy at Rio Vista, and will soon be entering another of her poems into a contest held by Writer’s Digest.
Grace wrote this poem after witnessing major flooding of the Truckee River. When she saw the devastation, she was inspired to write this piece.
The Main Event
Like a wild beast, raging with anger, he races
past the mountain sides;
Growing ever wider, louder and moving faster,
he takes with him everything in sight.
He claims what he thinks should rightfully
be his, creating new territory and changing
the landscape at will.
This river knows no boundaries and has no time
to see the devastation he leaves behind.
Pushing ahead, he is now too swollen to take
in the millions of teardrops shed over the
destruction he is causing.
With a thunderous sound, he roars downward,
merciless in his quest to be recognized.
No, you can’t stop the Truckee River, he’s the
Though you may have many inspirations, what most often inspires you to create poetry?
Nature usually inspires me and adds to the mood I am in. Often a political or earthshaking event (like floods or fires) will set my mood to write.
My personal history has shaped me, and, though not always directly, also shapes my writing. I was born in the Netherlands, and during the war we hid Jews in our attic. My father was arrested for this and sent to a concentration camp. He survived, and when he returned home he placed our name on a list to emigrate to America. We came to this country when I was 19 years old.
Who is your favorite author?
Khaled Hosseini (author of Kite Runner, among other powerful books) is my favorite writer.
What has helped you to grow as a writer?
Being a member of the Writers Club here at Trilogy has given me the encouragement I needed to write more.
Mind Lost, Mind Found
By Joann DeJoria Smith of Trilogy at Monarch Dunes
About the Book: Mind Lost Mind Found is a true story that is based on a diary JoAnn DeJoria Smith kept during a tumultuous time in her life. This book will fascinate those who are interested in the hippie era, those interested in psychology and mental illness, people who wonder about the lifestyles of the rich and famous, and those who think about spiritual encounters. Or, if you just want a good read, Mind Lost Mind Found will keep you turning the pages.
The following excerpt from the foreword of Mind Lost, Mind Found, will give you a sense of this book.
“I wrote the foreword to this book because I know JoAnn’s incredible story is true – I was there. She had the lifestyle many people dream of, running with Hollywood celebrities and rock stars. I never knew when JoAnn would show up in a limo, so stoned she’d have the driver decide where to take here. Just as suddenly, she’d disappear and I’d get a postcard from Rio, Paris, or London, and she’d be traveling with aristocracy on a yacht. And then she’d switch companions and be exploring Europe in a beat-up old van with hippies.”
(Contributed by John Paul DeJoria, Founder and CEO of John Paul Mitchell Systems and Patron Tequila)
Mind Lost, Mind Found is available on Amazon.com and at Barnes and Noble. You can read the first three chapters of the book on Amazon.
What inspired you to write this book?
It all really happened by accident. I kept my diaries from decades ago, and an editor from a large publishing company wanted to read them. Thus the journey began.
What do you hope your readers will learn from your work?
I hope the readers will learn that no matter how much trouble they or their family members are in, there is hope.
Was the road to publication long or short?
The road to publication takes persistence and more time than most people can imagine.
What advice would you give to your fellow Trilogy members who may be considering writing their first book?
I would encourage anyone who wants to write to simply start. Work on it a little everyday.
What has been your most gratifying moment as an author?
My most gratifying moments as an author are when I get a note or email saying, “I couldn’t put your book down.”
Thank you to all of the talented Trilogy authors who have shared their work and experiences with us!