A Letter from the Author

Hello Dear Readers,

I have been invited to share with you certain insights into the books I've authored or co-authored. I'll begin with the Kirk Wildman Series. The Twice-Stolen Necklace Murders was a book that evolved as a result of three influences. The early roots of the book began in my personal journal writings, first assigned by Mark and later modified by Marie to focus more on true feelings; in fact, the journal entries and letters in the novel are often quoted verbatim. The second influence came after my Realization when I was asked to share that experience privately with individuals and small groups who were seeking the same understanding. Repeated urgings that "you've got to write your explanations down in a book" helped to inspire the writing as well. The third influence came from my life-long love of mysteries that began with the Hardy Boys and never ended. The storyline I wrote out in an "Ideas for Future Writings" pocket pad that I carried. The idea for the basic plot came in the late 90's. The book ultimately developed as a result of a lifetime of seeking answers to questions after being raised in a culture that teaches us not to question-not to question parents, dogma, school authority, government authority or any authority. The answers came only after questioning everything; thus, the novel suggests that others might benefit from asking the tough questions where tough questions have been forbidden.

The sequel, The Board of Directors of Wars, also came around the same time, but the creative juices would not allow me to begin the writing process. I was driving along a rural road when the chapter ideas began to come in quick flashes. I pulled off the road and filled the few remaining pages of my pocket notebook. When I ran out of space, a tremendous fear came over me as I flashed on Coleridge. I recalled that he had emerged from a stupor and began writing his ideas for "Kubla Khan," thoughts that had come during a dream. His notations were interrupted by a knock at the door and he lost the remaining scenes. I wasn't about to take the chance of that happening as I was envisioning the entire novel in instantaneous explosions. I drove as fast as possible until I reached a small cafe in an east Texas town, raced inside, grabbed a stack of napkins, and began writing the chapter summaries on those napkins. Yes, everything you can imagine about their looks and reactions would be accurate.

I still could not write with the distractions of working in a job that I no longer found fulfilling. I determined to take all action necessary to retire from my teaching job and do what I said in college in the 60's that I wanted to do: write books professionally and fulltime. When I finally retired and began writing both of those novels, I arose very early each morning, often before 6 AM, and went into a "zone" of sorts. The words flowed generally until noon. After riding my boat on the lake, working out at the fitness center, or having lunch, I returned to the word processor and edited what I had written that day. Each of those two novels was actually written in less than a month. Editing, however, often took several hours per day for the next three to six months, including time to research specific details included in the novel. I added topical allusions to events from 2000-2003 in order to bring the works forward into the 21st century. The 50-year time span also presented a real challenge as I wanted to include references to music and shows and events that were occurring during the time frames mentioned, and the researching of that information to insure the accuracy of my memory was part of the time-consuming editing and revising process. The plot ideas for Justifiable Homicide came as quickly as those for the two earlier novels. I wrote the chapter outlines in less than thirty minutes.

A Twelve-Step Journey to SELF-Transformation was written in three parts over a seven-year period. It began as Mark and I worked the steps together. I wrote a story that typified my experience with a particular step and e-mailed it to Mark. He wrote the analysis and sent it back and I began editing. The actual experiential portion of taking me through the steps is as close to an actual recounting of the process that occurred as we could recall. Originally, it was our intent to publish only that portion in 1997, but something held us back. The second part, the Guide and the Workbook, was written years later as I began to meet a clientele who sought help via some means that showed sensitivity to certain abuses that they had suffered. The last part-the information on our eventual experiences in getting treatment for the remaining mental, emotional, and physical needs-we added in early 2004. At that point, we knew why the book had not appeared seven years earlier. Much remained for us to experience and much remained in order for the work to address all of the elements required for many to become truly free of the bondage of a baffling condition that affects most in the world.

"Living Within your Means" came as a result of the years I spent working with individuals, couples, and small business owners to apply the zenning principles of the philosophy expressed in The Twice-Stolen Necklace Murders to monetary decisions in order to restore fiscal sanity to their lives.

"Ending Financial Problems by Understanding Your Personality Type" came as a result of the fact that both Marie and I had used the enneagram in varied ways over the years and saw that a correlation existed between a person's personality type and the specific money problems that manifest for that type person.

It is my hope that you find something that is helpful in some books, challenging in others, and expansive in still others while enjoying a series of books that are varied but unique enough to all stand on their own.

The Daily Meditation Guides are each self-contained. One need not have read the novel from which the excerpts in the guides were selected to gain the benefit. Actually, the guides were written after several people who read the novel suggested that they could benefit from a regular reading of selected passages. One reader who told me he was reading the book for the third time said he was keeping a journal of key lines to re-read in the mornings. I then felt the call to write the guides.