Blood Seed fans in Indianapolis 
At the Detroit Working Writers conference.  
I'm one of the panelists at Indie Author Day at a local library.
Here I am, Vernie the introvert, after accepting the invitation to dance alone on stage at Cancun's Coco Bongo. The crowd was  enthusiastic and graciously accepting of me, and the music united us all in one big happy whirl. 


How can failure lead to redemption? How does love take root in the worst of situations? These are the questions that drive my fiction. As a pastoral minister who's worked with people in crisis, I have been inspired by those who find the courage to turn away from despair, work through the darkness, and emerge from failure with strength. 

Although spiritual undercurrents run through all of my work, my main goal is to tell a whopping good tale. So my writings include ghosts and ancient blood-rites, a dark lord called the Spider-king, a subterranean stronghold where fire is forbidden, and rivals who battle each other with Powers like Needles and Saw.

Even though I write fantasy, my books are realistic in the sense that the twin brother protagonists face the same challenges many of us do: dealing with a dysfunctional family, struggling to believe in our own power for good, and longing for a closeness that often eludes us. Haven't many of us felt that insistent inner call to something greater and must decide what to do about it? So my writing isn't only about the dark journey, but also about finding the light at the end of the tunnel. It's about hope. 

My inspiration for the Coin of Rulve series was Tolkien's concept of "eucatastrophe," in which a tragic event can become redemptive. (See more about this on the "For Readers" page.) The challenge to believe our lives have a purpose and that we have the power to achieve that purpose is a theme that is woven throughout the series.

Part of my writing education included a week at Viable Paradise, a fantasy and science fiction workshop held on Martha's Vineyard. There were only twenty-eight writers accepted that year, and I could hardly believe I was one of them. We got a chance to spend time with such stalwarts in the fantasy and science fiction fields like Elizabeth Bear, John Scalzi, Steven Gould, and Debra Doyle---all of whom generously shared their time and expertise.

I also had the opportunity to work with agent Don Maass at a Breakout Novel Intensive Seminar in San Antonio, receive encouragement from award-winning authors Marcus Sakey and Ann Tatlock at the Midwest Writers Workshop in Indiana, and learn from fantasy author Jim Hines at the Rally of Writers in East Lansing, Michigan. It was also quite an experience to meet two of the Klingons at Starbase Indie and have a drink among the Ferengi in Quark's Bar in Las Vegas.


I'm a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the Alliance of Independent Authors, and Detroit Working Writers, a Detroit 300 Heritage organization that has been encouraging high standards in creative writing for over 115 years.
My favorite book characters are divided into the logical thinkers like Sherlock Holmes, Spock, and Data and the intuitive heroes like Frodo, Dag Redwing Hickory, Ged, and Fr. Emilio Sandoz.

Awesome Moments

     Other than the really big ones--like getting married and having children--one of my most awesome moments occurred in January 2016. After working on the Coin series for over a decade, the first book, Blood Seed, was published. Other awesome moments include touching the skin of a grey whale off the coast of Baja California, being overcome with emotion in the presence of DaVinci's David, and standing within inches of hot lava flowing over a highway in Hawaii.    
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