I took up writing fiction after retiring from Rockwell in 1996. I enjoy writing as self-expression and wanted to pursue it as a hobby in retirement. I wanted to draft a story about international strategic planning that combined multiple nations, disciplines, and an objective for the planet. I would base my decision on my experience as a program development manager, with experience in projects such as the colonization of the moon.
The doctors diagnosed my wife with breast cancer in 1995, so I had ample time to write while caring for her. I often sat with my wife during her illness, and wrote while she was in bed, so that I could keep her company. I realized I needed to learn more about writing, so I took a course from Writer’s Digest school with Arlene Chase in Maryland. She asked me what I wanted to do first. I said I wanted to write a memoir about my wife’s cancer and the events that have happened. She said it would be OK and that she would work with me. She taught me how to paint pictures with my words. I decided to start the memoir, “A Journey Not An End”, with a chapter outlining the emergency situation when my wife had internal bleeding from cancer. After my wife died in 1999, I submitted the first chapter of my book to the Space Coast Writers Guild annual contest. It won for nonfiction writing. This increased my interest in writing, and I decided to write about old Florida; the Florida of my childhood, which I remember so fondly. I wanted to set it in a fictional city, so I looked up the names of all the cities and towns in Florida. The one available name was Coreopsis, the scientific name for the Florida wildflower. Obviously, names like Poinciana and Tangerine are taken. So, I created the town Coreopsis, and then I wanted a female heroine. I didn’t want a hero, I’m not a big Tom Clancy fan, so I wanted her to play something other than the usual detective, lawyer, soldier, doctor or other similar roles. I read about a woman who was a firefighter in Bithlo, Florida, and I modeled Bonnie McConnell after her. But I made Bonnie an EMT (emergency medical technician) because I thought there was enough action to make a good characterization. It’s a different profession–not white-collar. It’s kind of a blue collar.
I had a main character and location, but what I needed was a plot. In the fall of 1999, I attended a talk given by a ghost hunter from Daytona. This talk left me wondering how a disembodied spirit might experience incarnation in a different soul. I imagined that the possessing spirit must communicate with the possessed spirit to take control.
In December, I attended a Yule celebration hosted by a Neo-Pagan friend of mine. We threw some brush on a bonfire and made a wish for the coming year. It made me wonder what the best wish I could make would be. After some deliberation, I decided to use the phrase, “Show me the truth,” which is the theme for “Psychic Redemption”. The working title for “Psychic Redemption” was “Truth Fire.” I used “The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing” as a guide to outline the novel, participated in a critique group, and joined an online course, “InspireaBook,” presented by Julie Salisbury of Trafford Publications. From InspireaBook, I learned how to structure a novel for publication. It took five years and seven rewrites to publish “Psychic Redemption” in 2009. Republishing “Psychic Redemption” with ReadersMagnet in 2023 gives me a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.