Promise of Protection


I shared a very surreal moment with Rick last week when I opened the brown cardboard package and removed the proof of my very first book. It was so exciting to see it in a format other than on my computer monitor or a manuscript on printer paper. It actually looked and felt like a real paperback novel! Aside from a page in the back that said in big black letters - PROOF, it was an actual book. 

I told myself that I would write a novel this year. It has been quite the learning experience going from screenwriting to book writing. Honestly, for many years even though I wanted to write a book, I just never thought I could. 

But, storytelling is storytelling. And I enjoy developing and molding characters within a fictional world. My hope and intent always being that the viewer (film) or reader (book) will be transported out of their normal everyday surroundings and into another place even for a short period of time. That they will find something in the story they want to think about or discuss further with a friend.

While taking on this first book project, I have increased my own level of reading. As with filmmakers, authors are each unique in their approach. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that my style will be different as well. My hope is that there will be many that will honestly enjoy my method of storytelling.

The story was actually an idea for a feature film. I came up with it a couple of years ago as I traveled alone from Phoenix to San Diego. My goal for the drive was to create a story that took place mostly in a small town. How ironic that now I happen to live in one! (At least temporarily.) 

 Here is the synopsis:

  • After 25 years of estrangement from his father, Joe Tenning is unexpectedly summoned to the bedside of Charles Tenning. Suddenly, he is pulled into unraveling the disturbingly bizarre and ethically questionable work in which his father has been covertly engaged. Uncertain who to trust in the small town, Joe accepts the help of Dr. Lillian Kent who has her own unique brand of patient care. Despite the desire to return to his quiet life running his winery, he now must wrestle with the effects of his father’s work on himself, his loved ones and the lives of many others. 

I have been mired in proper formatting for the past few weeks. Just as screenplays have their own set of rules, guidelines and quirks, so do manuscripts. Especially when you want them to look professional. Thankfully there are many resources available on the Internet, in books and via podcasts. Almost too much information at times. When it felt overwhelming, I just focused on one thing at a time and keep going. When I thought it was all figured out…it wasn’t and I continued to rework it some more. I hope that everything is perfectly formatted. Fingers crossed!

Re-reading and re-writing could continue forever in order to adjust to every person’s opinion. I have found in my past that you try your very best to follow proper due diligence, but at some point you just have to move forward. It is a creative endeavor after all. I think back to all the films I’ve done and realize every experience contains lessons and it’s all about getting better. There is nothing wrong with that.

I want to especially thank Teresa Young who was my editor. She caught things I looked at a dozen times and missed. She was wonderful and made me wish I had paid more attention in English class!

A big thank you also to Trenton and Deanna for designing the book cover. And to all those who encouraged, supported and gave me feedback. 

As I was recently explaining to Rick, it’s not a matter of having to come up with my next writing idea, it’s a matter of trying to choose which one to pursue first! I have way too many in my head. Kind of like film script ideas, I suppose. Anyway, 2015 will bring on new projects and I can’t wait to get started. In fact, I’ve had a hard time sleeping the last couple of nights as a new idea for a book series began taking form in my head!

For those of you that are interested in reading PROMISE OF PROTECTION, you can order it now through Amazon either in paperback or on the Kindle by clicking HERE

If you do read the novel, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Many of you already have my personal email or you can email to And if you like the story and would be kind enough to leave a few quick comments on Amazon, that would be super helpful. These days many people make buying decisions based upon those reviews especially if they are unfamiliar with an author.

Thank you for receiving and reading my eclectic blog posts. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones!

— For more information on my latest film (Blue Copper) or my novel (Promise of Protection), please visit my website at

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Screenplay to Novel

This photograph was taken in January 2013 during a short personal writing retreat. One day was spent snapping photographs around beautiful Sedona, Arizona, but most of the time I was working on a feature length screenplay.

I had no idea that just one short year later, I would be living in a tiny town in Southern Texas writing my first novel! Life can be so unpredictable sometimes.

Making the transition from writing screenplays to writing novels has proven to be quite interesting. I love both, by the way. But, they are different.

One of the most challenging things for me has been changing from writing in the present tense to writing in the past tense. When I reread a paragraph, often I find the tenses all mixed up. Habits formed over the past ten years are hard to break.

The coolest thing has been being able to write all the colorful description that my little heart desires! Typically in screenwriting, the idea is to communicate your vision in as few words as possible. Then, the writer gives that all up and everything becomes the vision of the director, set decorators, visual effects artists, and other competent individuals involved in filmmaking. With a book, it’s all mine! Hahaha! It’s completely my world and I can design and describe it with grand broad strokes or with as much minutia as I want. 

One similarity between screenwriting and novel writing has been the enjoyment of getting totally into the characters, having them develop into living, breathing people complete with problems, challenges, joys, and triumphs. However, in novel writing, I am afforded the luxury of being very clear about how a character feels and what he is thinking. Although still important, the dialogue doesn’t have to be the only way to convey a characters experience.

For those that know my writing habits, I still create with appropriate music playing in the background for inspiration, usually movie soundtracks. And, drink lots and lots of hot tea!

I have found many useful links and resources in researching about the world of authorship. One website which has some really useful articles and podcasts is The Creative Penn.

Even though I am concentrating mostly on this first novel, I have several other ideas for more writing projects. Some authors take years to write one book and then other writers are more prolific and churn out a new book every month. This article by Dean Wesley Smith talks about how fast you write makes a difference in quality – or NOT. Loved it, since my tendency is to work to finish projects faster rather than slower.

It’s fascinating but not surprising that getting your novels noticed is much like getting your films noticed. Takes networking and marketing for both. There are also tons of viewpoints and information on publishing. I’m working through those so when it comes time, I’ll know where to begin.

I will be finishing the first draft of my first novel in the next couple of weeks. But, like with screenwriting, the first draft is just getting everything out onto paper. Then, the editing, massaging, and rewrites begin. I am definitely familiar with rewrites.

There is still so much to learn about writing a book but I am thoroughly enjoying the challenge. Since, I don’t write on the weekends, when Monday rolls around, I can’t wait to get back to my computer.

Of course, the ultimate experience would be to merge my two passions. My novel writing being adapted for the screen resulting in an independent film. Exhilaration!

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