Three Books and a Screenplay

Update: May 2, 2016

Saylor’s Triangle, and The Permanent Plan are my first two books.  With the success of Moon Over The Midnight Sun, and the frequently acknowledged quality of it, I decided to do an edit on the first two books to make them comparable.  I didn’t change the stories, I just fixed minor punctuation errors, eliminated or changed some words, cleaned up my use of subordinating conjunctions, and literally only re-wrote a half dozen paragraphs.   The end result is they are two very polished books.  I simply wanted to feel very proud of all three of my books.

The interesting part of this process for me, which was a time consuming, line by line, page by page perusal of both books, was I finished very satisfied with the stories.  For me, the stories are at least equal to the story in Moon Over The Midnight Sun.  People who have only read my last book are now going back and buying my first two books, and I wanted them to be as close to perfect as I could get them.

Having the beginning of a small library of work is a lot more fun than having just one or two books.  With the release of Moon Over The Midnight Sun in August of 2015, I can now fill a table with books for book events.  When readers can see the progression of Alaska mystery and adventure stories, it rekindles an interest in the first two books.  Moon Over The Midnight Sun is generating a great number of very positive comments from readers, and leading to more sales of Saylor’s Triangle and The Permanent Plan.  It also generates a lot of great conversations with readers who have read one or both of my earlier books.

About the screenplay:

A common element in the feedback I received from readers of my first book, Saylor’s Triangle, was they thought it would make a great movie. Even though I was naive to the mechanics of screenwriting, I decided I would write the screenplay myself.

I purchased two books about screenwriting and bought a software program to facilitate the process. In addition, I followed advice from one of the books and purchased a screenplay with similar elements to the story in Saylor’s Triangle in it…adult situations, mystery, action, and adventure.  I bought, The General’s Daughter, co-written by award-winning writer, William Goldman.

My screenwriting adventure was enjoyable, and I believe it made me a better writer of books. Through a friend of a friend and “a guy who knew a guy,” it ended up in the hands of Hollywood producer, Norman Stephens.  Imagine my surprise when he called me and talked with me for a long time.  He liked the screenplay, but told me it was much too long.  He also made several valuable comments, and told me he liked the setting, the characters, and the writing.  Accordingly, I revised the screenplay (twice) and sent it back to him.  The latest word from him (in all honesty, months ago) was that it was in the queue.

From there, I moved on to Moon Over The Midnight Sun.  For years, I have wanted to write something that would touch upon the Alaska oil industry.  It is where I spent the majority of my adult years. After three tough months in “Mud School” in Houston in 1975, I started working on drilling rigs all over the state…land rigs, drill ships, and semi-submersibles.  After six years, I moved into management, eventually becoming the Alaska manager of one of the largest oilfield service companies in the state.

The oil industry in Alaska is rich in fodder for an action adventure story, and the adult drama that characterizes my first two novels.  If you add mystery, some Alaska Native lore, an interaction with a surprising modern technology that is both real and frightening, and throw Chris Saylor in the mix as the protagonist, you have an exciting and very different story.

Chris is the young sibling of Nick Saylor and Beth Saylor, the protagonists in Saylor’s Triangle, and The Permanent Plan.

It was exciting getting my first book out, and rewarding to follow it up with another good book.  My third book is a labor of a different kind of love.  After over thirty years in the oil industry in Alaska, I have been anxious to put more of what I experienced in my former professional life into a book. The oil industry – and particularly the Alaska oil industry – is a fascinating segment of our commercial world. It is exciting, rewarding, dangerous, surprising, demanding and fulfilling.

I wanted to continue the saga of the Saylor family in this book, so Chris Saylor, the younger sibling of Beth and Nick Saylor (the main characters in my two previous books) became the protagonist in Moon Over The Midnight Sun. I had intentionally moved him from the family business to the oil industry in the first two books, and he was very much a minor character in those books. Nick and Beth are minor characters in my third book because I wanted it to be a stand-alone read but still have a connection to the other books.

I like mystery, mythology, ethereal elements, and bizarre characters. Moon Over The Midnight Sun has all of that. It also has a surprising connection to modern technology and science in the only place in America where it could happen like it does. The name of the book is a hint at the type of juxtaposition that can be commonplace only in Alaska.

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