Author's Note for The Emperor's Harvest

Warning: Spoiler’s Below!!!

Author’s Note

In December of 2012, I was a Deputy Attorney General, prosecuting criminals, which meant that I regularly witnessed the worst side of human nature. I longed to escape to a world where unlikely heroes sought to find and do the right thing.

A family outing to see the movie, The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey, changed my life. As we were leaving, I started spouting off information about how C.S. Lewis and Tolkien formed a writing group called the Inklings. My son Ryan said, “We could do that.” I laughed. Then he turned it into a challenge, and R.A. Denny the fantasy author was born.

By day I continued my work as a criminal prosecutor, but by night I escaped to the world of Tzoladia. Starting the project was fun and flowed easily, but I never would have completed my five book series without the help of my “Inklings.” It has truly been a family affair. Many of my best ideas came from bouncing my thoughts off of my son, author Ryan Hauge, who also spent countless hours formatting the books and encouraging me not to give up my dream. “Do what you love,” he advised. After completing the draft of my first book, I retired from the Department of Justice to do what I love: writing. I have never looked back.

In addition, I read drafts of this entire series to my father, Cleve Denny, who patiently listened and made suggestions. He went to be with the Lord at age 92. I profoundly miss his wisdom and encouragement. My Dad always made me feel like I could rise up to the stars, even when the weight of the world was crushing me down.

My first draft of this book was entitled Mud, Rocks, and Trees. The idea of three young people going on a quest from three unique regions came to me when I was listening to a lecture from The Great Courses tape in which Professor Gregory Aldrete describes the way that ancient societies developed differently based on the environment in which the people lived.

A naturally curious person, I love to jump down rabbit holes to do research. Hidden within my books are dozens of tidbits of real history, science, and traditions. I like to picture readers having their “ah-ha moments” as they recognize a piece of real-life in fantasy.

So what in this fantastical novel is based on real-life? It’s time to find out. I’ve listed some below. I would love to hear from you about others that you have discovered. I have placed this author note at the end of the novel, due to the spoilers below.


The Tzoladian Empire

Many places in Tzoladia  correspond to places on earth:

·         Ortaz Sea = Black Sea

·         Hattom = Cappadocia (underground cities exist)

·         Arvuk = village along ancient river swallowed by Sea of Azov.

·         Kalpok = Carpathian Mts. Romania (Mesmeringa’s are imaginary)

·         Alfon River =  Olt River (waterfall is imaginary)

·         Lanzur River = Danube River

·         Vargar River = Mures River, Romania

Plato spoke of Atlantis. Could Atlantis have been buried under the Black Sea in a great flood?



·         Glides = patagium, soft flaps of skin on flying squirrels.  Wing-suit gliding is an extreme sport, but due to bone density, gliding from tree to tree would not be possible.  The largest gliding mammals, colugos, weigh up to 4 lbs. 

·         Mesmeringa trees = shaped like Kapok trees, leaves and hanging pods like gigantified Moringa trees.  Moringa seeds purify water.  Moringa leaves contain protein and other nutrients, and have medicinal qualities.

·         Whistling language = The whistlers of Kuskoy, Turkey and La Gomera in the Canary Islands still communicate across long distances with a tonal whistling language.

·         Writing with knots in strings = Quipu, used by the Incas.

·         Colonization = The ancient Greeks sent people away in ships to found new colonies.

·         Banishment = A form of punishment used by many ancient civilizations that is still used by some Native American tribes today

·         Elder Council = Gerontocracy.  Plato wrote that elder men should rule and the younger should submit. 

·         Unanimous Decisions = loosely based on Iroquois.

·         River men = Varangians (Vikings), who ran a lucrative slave trade by capturing Slavs, transporting them downriver, and selling them in Constantinople.

·         Lormonkeys = Brachiate and whoop like gibbons, bite like slow lorises, and are the size of chimpanzees.  Slow lorises lick a gland on their arms to obtain a secretion that when mixed with saliva creates a toxic bite.

·         Poetic song about Grumbler causing first Gliders to fall from paradise  = C.S. Lewis portrays a woman who is reduced to nothing but a grumble in The Great Divorce


·         Hibernation = Herodotus wrote in The Histories about a tribe of people who hibernated for six months out of the year. The fat-tailed dwarf lemur is a primate that hibernates. Russian peasants in the Pskov government hibernate during winter famines.  Family members take turns watching. Scientists  are investigating the possibility of astronauts hibernating.

·         Meditation = Some Tibetan monks can raise or lower the temperature of their bodies with meditation.

·         Naturally Armored = Pangolins are mammals with scales. Pangolins are adorable creatures that just happen to be the most trafficked animals in the world. Save the pangolins!

·         Spinning Rituals = loosely based on whirling dervishes in Turkey

·         Yakamas = Combined attributes of llamas, yaks, and skunks. Some people claim that yaks have pink milk.

·         Chamois = real chamois

·         Hydois = No animal has both canines and horns, (except for possibly the golden jackal, which sometimes grows a tiny horn at the back of its skull). See also the extinct Carnotaurus, which means “meat eating bull.”

·         Jug kebabs = Testi kebabs served in Turkey.

·         Dualistic religion = Some forms of ancient Zoroastrianism were dualistic and emphasized a cosmic struggle between two opposing gods.  See also Manichaeism.

·         Lizard Skin Drug = Lizard skins can make people high.  Note that the initials for Lizard Skin Drug are LSD.



·         Webbed Feet = Many people (even one of my relatives) are born with webbed toes).  Some say mermaids were created as a result.

·         Underwater sight = The Moken people, called Sea Nomads, have adapted so that they can see underwater.

·         Mud region = The location would now be under the Sea of Azov.  But the villages are patterned after ancient Mesopotamia.

·         Cylinder seals = Ancient carved stone cylinders seals were common throughout the Near East. In the Bible blue is the color of the stone of the throne of God. See Exodus 24:10 and Ezekial 1:26. Many Bible translations refer to the stone as sapphire, but it was more likely lapis lazuli.

·         Repetitive Dreams = Joseph in the Bible spoke of repetitive dreams as sent from God in Genesis 41:32.  Many ancient cultures such as the Egyptians interpreted dreams.

·         Leviathan = Mushussu, the Mesopotamian dragon from the Ishtar Gate, and the leviathan from the Bible, although its feet are webbed.

·         Landi = Galli, men who actually castrated themselves during the worship of the Phrygian goddess Cybele. They bleached their hair and wore women’s costumes, mostly of yellow.

·         Gepathi = A combination of women who pretend to be caring individuals, but are truly narcissists.

·         Wadukian sexual ritual =  Ancient Sumerian rituals.

·         Temple of Waduk = Ziggurat

·         Tides of Waduk = In the Bay of Fundy in Canada, tides reach 50 feet.  These tides result from the unique shape of the Bay of Fundy. Another similar phenomenon may be found in the Severn River in Great Britain.

·         Mudflats = The Wadden Sea off the coast of Denmark, where mud trekking has become popular.

·         Mud volcanoes = Active in the Sea of Azov region.

·         Webby hospitality = Greek xenia, which is important throughout Homer’s poems.

·         Royal child raised in anonymity = Numerous stories tell of royal children being raised in anonymity in some remote place, including King Arthur, but my idea for Amanki’s background came from tales of Cyrus the Great of Persia being raised by a shepherd.


Samalitans (Cat riders)

·         Cave lions = Cave lions (panthera spelaea) were giant lions that are now extinct. Frozen cave lion cubs have been found, and some scientists speculate that DNA from these cubs could be used to bring back cave lions. They were much larger than today’s lions, so I imagine that perhaps people with great skill and courage could ride them. Even today, some ligers grow to an enormous size. However, the problem of keeping such lions well-fed would probably make their domestication for riding quite impractical.

·         Lion/Human interaction = I watched videos of Kevin Richardson interacting with African lions, and I observed my own pet kitty. Ramses the Great kept a pet lion named “Slayer of his Foes.” In the Sundarbans in Bangladesh, fishermen wear masks on the back of their heads to protect them from tiger attacks.

Sparaggi Horsemen

·         Sparaggi = Ancient Scythians.  According to Herodotus, Scythian warriors scalped their victims, drank their blood, made their skulls into cups lined with gold, and used their skin to make leather items. Archaeology has confirmed these claims.

·         Bladar = The name Bladar comes from Bleda, Atila the Hun’s brother.

·         Sparaggi horses = Arabians and Akhal-Teke.  Instead of the stocky horses of the Scythians, the Sparaggi horses look more like Arabians, which I love to ride.

·         Royal child hostages = Atila the Hun and the Roman General Aetius were child hostages who eventually met each other in battle.

·         Severed hands for gold = Archeologists have found piles of severed hands in Egypt which they believe were trophies which ancient Egyptian soldiers turned into the king in exchange for gold.



·         Animals predicting earthquakes = Some animals can sense earthquakes before they occur. See for instance the study of frogs abandoning a pond in L’Aquila, Italy.

·         Guest star (new star) = Supernova explosion.  These can last for months and can be as bright as ¼ of the moon.

·         Prophecy about a star = Star of Bethlehem

·         Society of Word = 12 men like 12 disciples in the New Testament.  The need for studying wisdom for 20 years before joining the Society is based on Caesar’s observations of druid priests.  The rule that the Society does not write down its wisdom is from Plato’s Phaedrus, in which he tells a fable in which writing creates forgetfulness because people stop using their memories.

·         Roc, magpie, and duck constellation = Cygnus (each group named after the bird with which their society was familiar), A supernova explosion occurred in Cygnus thousands of years ago, leaving behind the Cygnus loop, which can be seen under the wing of Cygnus.

·         Zoltov’s royal clothing = Semitic god, Dagon.

·         Rival Royal buried alive = Artaxerxes III of Persia buried his own sister alive.

The Bible

·         Advice from Elder Lepton to Brina = God’s advice to Cain before he kills his brother, Abel, in Genesis 4:7.

·         Amanki wrestling with Adon = Jacob wrestling with the angel of God in Genesis 32.

  • Numerous other biblical references are listed in an earlier blog post on this website.


Truth is often stranger than fiction and creative works of fantasy are nothing more than the separating, gathering, and reorganizing of what we experience in the real world. Thanks for joining me on this journey!

Lastly, if you enjoyed The Emperor’s Harvest and want to make my day, please leave a review! Writing is a lot of fun, but it’s a lot of work too, and for me, the best reward would be to hear from you. Thank you!


R.A. Denny

Quotes from The Emperor's Harvest based on Bible Verses

The Emperor’s Harvest is a work of fantasy fiction, but at times characters say or pray words of wisdom and faith that are based on Bible verses.  In my author’s notes at the back of the book, I set forth many of the historical and scientific realities that my fiction is based upon. I also direct readers to this website for biblical references.  So here they are!  And these are free of spoilers! Please let me know in the comments below, if you think I missed any.


            Prophecy: “Out of the depth of the rocks we call.  Hear our cries!”  (Based on Psalm 130:1-2)

Chapter 19 - Rocks

Rhabdom to Moshoi: “Man does not live just by eating food but by digesting every word that comes from the mouth of Adon. The Word will shake the earth and the heavens so that which cannot be shaken will remain.” (Based on Deuteronomy 8:3, Matthew 4:4, Hebrews 12:25-27, Haggai 2:6) 

Chapter 20 - Mud 

Baskrod’s prayer:  If Adon had not been on our side, they would have drunk our blood.  The flood would have engulfed us, the torrent would have swept over us and the raging waters would have carried us away.  (Based on Psalm 124: 2-5).

Amanki: “Adon hid his face.” (Based on Psalm 13:1).

Manhera’s prayer:  “Adon is our shield.  We have found shelter under his wings.  He is the cup from which we must drink our blessings.” (Based on Psalm 91:4 and 16:5)

Manhera’s song: “You alone rescued us…” (Based on Psalm 31:4)

Amanki wrestles with Adon (Scene based on Jacob wrestling with the Angel of the Lord, Gen. 32:22-31)

Chapter 22 - Mud

Baskrod: “May Adon save us from that evil, for vengeance belongs to Adon.” (Based on Deuteronomy 34:35; Romans 12:19; Leviticus 19:18)

Chapter 24 – Mud

Baskrod:  “Do not let the floodwaters drown us or the depths swallow us whole. Lead us into still waters.” (Based on Psalm 69:15, and Psalm 23:2)

Chapter 30 - Rocks

Moshoi quoting Rhabdom: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” (Based on Proverbs 18:21)

Moshoi’s father to Tuka:  “May the gods give you the dew of heaven, the fatness of the earth and plenty of grain and wine.” (Based on Genesis 27:28, Isaac’s blessing to Jacob).

Chapter 31- Mud

Baskrod - If we trust in Him, He will make straight our paths.” (Based on Proverbs 3:6)

Chapter 36 – Trees

Elder Lepton to Brina:  “You must remember that you are called to rejoice, whatever your circumstances.” (Based on 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, Nehemiah 8:10).

Elder Lepton to Brina: “If you do what is right, you will be accepted by the Great Creator.  But if you do not do what is right, evil inclination is crouching at your door like a lion on the prowl, it desires to have you, but you must rule over it and be its master.” (Based on Genesis 4:7 and 1 Peter 5:8)

Chapter 38 - Mud

Baskrod - Trust in Adon with all your heart.”  (Based on Proverbs 3:6)

Chapter 42 - Trees

Brina’s prayer: “Though I am in the midst of lormonkeys and lions, I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings, oh Great Creator, until the disaster has passed. For great is your love, reaching to the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches to the stars.” (Based on Psalm 17:8-12, Psalm 36:5) 

Chapter 40 – Rocks

Moshoi’s prayer:  “Out of the depths I cry to you, Adon, Hear my voice.”  (Based on Psalm 130:1-2)

Chapter 48 - Rocks

Moshoi’s prayer:  “Deliver us from our enemies, Adon.  Protect us from those who might rise up against us.  Deliver us from those who work evil.  Save us from bloodthirsty people.” (Based on Psalm 59:1-2) 

Tuka’s prayer: “He alone is my rock, my fortress where I will never be shaken.” (Based on Psalm 62:6)

Chapter 52 - Rocks

Gwedom:  “If a man rolls a stone, it will roll back on him. (Based on Proverbs 26:27)

Moshoi:  “I had acted like a dog who returns to his vomit.”  (Based on Proverbs 26:11)

Moshoi: “Take captive my thoughts, bring them under your submission so that I may believe.”  (Based on 2 Corinthians 10:4, Psalm 19:14, Proverbs 3:6)

Chapter 53 – Mud

Baskrod: “Ask Adon and he will answer. Those who seek, will find. We will find Manhera and the seal.” (Based on Jeremiah 29:13; Matthew 7:7) 

Baskrod: “He will never leave you or abandon you.”  (Based on Deut. 31:6, Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5)

Chapter 54 - Rocks

Moshoi quoting Rhabdom:  “Man is not sustained just by food…” (Based on Deuteronomy 8:3 and Matthew 4:4)

Chapter 55 - Mud

Baskrod’s prayer: “…you desire mercy and submission to your greatness, not human sacrifice…” (Based on Hosea 6:6)  “There is no god but one.  We love you with all our hearts, our souls and our strength.  (Based on Deuteronomy 6:5) It’s what comes out of our mouth, not what goes in it that separates us from Adon.”  (Based on Matthew 15:11, Proverbs 13:3)

Amanki quoting Baskrod: “Adon is wiser than the wisest of men.” (Based on 1 Corinthians 1:25, Job 28:28)

Chapter 58 - Trees

Brina - Baskrod had taught me that the Creator, Adon, did not dwell in one place but would go with me wherever I went. (Based on Isaiah 66:1; Acts 7:49)

Elder Lepton taught Brina:  “You must remember that you are called to rejoice, whatever your circumstances.” (Based on 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, Nehemiah 8:10).

Brina learned from Baskrod: “Why are you downcast, oh my soul?  Why so low to the ground?  Put your hope in Adon.  I praise him, my savior and my god.”  (Psalm 42:5)

Chapter 60 – Rocks

Moshoi - Rhabdom had taught me not to desire the honor of men but to seek to bring honor to Adon.  (Based on Galatians 1:10; Proverbs 29:25; Isaiah 2:2; Jeremiah 17:7)

Chapter 62 – Mud

Amanki:  “Save me, Adon for water has flooded my soul.” (Based on Psalm 69:1)

Amanki’s prayer: “For Adon has plans for me, plans for me to flourish and not to harm me, plans to give me hope and a future.” (Based on Jeremiah 29:11)

Plague Doctors

Coming to a village near you…

Coming to a village near you…


People in the Middle Ages called it “the blue sickness or “the great mortality,” but many people today refer to it as “the black death.” (This has nothing to do with Black Friday, a shopping tradition that was named by Philadelphia police because of the mayhem that accompanied the shoppers.)

Most scientists think that the deaths were caused by the bubonic plague. Arriving in Europe from China, the Black Death killed off perhaps half of the medieval population in Europe.

Imagine the terror of knowing the plague was coming to your village! A person would receive a letter from someone in infected areas to the south or east, and panic. Pilgrims who returned from trips reported seeing whole families drop dead within hours. Whole villages were wiped out. People in its path would not know what to do! They just knew they were next.

Most of the doctors just ran away. People tried everything. They repented it droves and found creative ways of doing penance. Some would walk through the streets whipping themselves (flagellation). Others walked around carrying bunches of sweet smelling flowers. Still others changed their lifestyles and refused spices which came from the East. But nothing worked. The plague spread and killed.

Artistic themes such as the dance macabre showed up in churches and other sites.

In later outbreaks, during the 16th century, plague doctors sprang up. The doctor donned a mask with a long beak, and filled it with scented material such as rose hips and straw. He avoided breathing any of that “bad air” emanating from decaying matter that was believed to spread the plague. He also wore a long coat made of goat’s leather and covered with wax to protect him from the “miasma.” On his head he wore a traditional wide rimmed physician’s hat, to let people know he was a doctor. The outfit looks like it’s right out of a fantasy novel!

People broke out with large blue buboes filled with a vile smelling pus. The plague doctor would lance the buboes or put leaches on them. When the patient died in spite of such treatment, it was the plague doctor’s duty to keep records, and perform an autopsy.

Nostradamus was a plague doctor whose predictions became so popular that people are still reading them. Nostradamus told his patients to drink boiled water, sleep on clean sheets, and leave the area of infection. He invented the “rose pill” from rose hips, which we now know contained high levels of vitamin C.

Plague can be bubonic, septicemic, or pneumonic. Bubonic is spread by fleas from rats, Septicemic is spread through contact with the blood of those infected, and pneumonic is spread through the air. Bubonic victims suffered agony for days before coughing up blood and dying. Pneumotic victims died quickly, sometimes after just a few hours of contracting the disease.

Some scientists believed that the plague of Athens in 430 B.C. was an early outbreak of Bubonic Plague, but Typhoid and Ebola are also possibilities. Thucydides described the symptoms as including an unquenchable thirst, a desire to be naked, and a preference to be submerged in cold water. The great statesman, Pericles, died during this outbreak.

10 Novels in which Characters Play Board Games

  1. The Tempest by William Shakespeare.

Shakespeare The Tempest.jpg

In Scene 1 of Act 5 in The Tempest, when the curtain is drawn, Miranda is seen playing chess against Ferdinand while they flirt.  But the game of Chess lurks behind the entire plot.  Prospero’s power was taken away when he was banished to the island. He spends his time plotting revenge on the king.  Throughout the play, Prospero moves his people in to place, trying to corner King Alonso to win his Dukedom back.  Check mate!


2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

Old games.jpg

Card games are featured throughout the book including: commerce, vingt-un, whist, loo, quadrille, and lottery.  After dinner, at fancy parties on large estates, the cards are brought out.  Commerce, lottery, and loo were round games, meaning there were no specific number of players.  Vingt-un is similar to blackjack.  The aristocrats passed their time playing card games since they could well afford to lose a little money at gambling.  Near the beginning of the book, Elizabeth declines a game of loo saying she prefers books to games. But in truth, she enjoys card games, but can’t afford their high stakes.  Later the aristocrats seem to have trouble interacting socially after dinner without card games.  This showcases the differences between the aristocrats and the common people.    


3. Edge by Jeffery Deaver.

Go game.jpg

Jeffery Deaver utilizes board games in many of his books, including his series about a quadriplegic crime solver named Lincoln Rhyme, who is taught Go by some Chinese passengers on a ship.  In the novel, Edge, the protagonist, Corte, collects tabletop games.  As a “protector,” he goes head to head with a “lifter,” using game theory and explaining it as he goes.  During the novel, Corte visits a game club in DC to play such classic games as Risk, Go, and Chess. 


4. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling.

Harry Potter Chess.jpg

Hermione thinks wizard’s chess is barbaric.  In the enchanted chess game, giant pieces move on command, often taking other pieces violently. But Ron Weasley, who has always been in the shadow of his brothers, turns out to be a terrific player.  Commanding the giant chess pieces, Ron shows that he can think quickly, act strategically, and take charge.


5. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey. 

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.jpg

McMurphy, who likes to gamble, talks the other patients into using real money when playing monopoly, with a real penny representing a monopoly dollar.  One game goes on for three days.  McMurphy convinces the others to take more risks in life as well as in Monopoly.


6. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.


The female protagonist, Offred, is chosen as a breeder, useful only for having babies.  When the Commander invites her to play Scrabble in the forbidden room, she feels more like a person again.  She spells valence, quince, zygote, limp, and crisp.  


7.  The Emperor’s Trap by R.A. Denny.

The Emperor's Trap cover.jpg

Outside the Gates of the Underworld, the soldiers gamble while playing the board game Mud, Rocks, and Trees.  They play to win money, but also to predict player’s fortunes, much like the Royal Game of Ur.  Colonel Pilizer takes a special interest in young Tuka’s skill at play, and bets against one of his own veteran soldiers, adding fuel to the soldier’s jealous anger.

In the Tzoladian war camp, Colonel Fineas wins a pile of tzfards from other officers by playing the part of mud in the dice and race strategy game.  As long as his winning streak and the beer last, he becomes more amenable toward the soldiers from the mud regions of the empire, giving them a spark of hope. But will it last?


8.   Lord of Chaos by Robert Jordan.

Lord of Chaos Jordan.jpg

Sha’rah, Stones, and Snakes and Foxes are games played in The Wheel of Time series.  According to Robert Jordan, Stones is very similar to the game Go.

In Book Six, Lord of Chaos, Mat and Olver play Snakes and Foxes, a children’s game based on the lore surrounding the Finn.  Adults know that it cannot be won without cheating.  In the game, which is played on a web-like board, two human tokens try to escape from the middle without being touched by the snake and fox tokens.  The game beings by reciting: “Courage to strengthen, fire to blind music to dazzle, iron to bind.”


9.  A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin.

A Feast for Crows.jpg

The Dornish Court is enamored with the game of Cyvasse which arrived on a galley from Volantis.  Princes Myrcella Baratheon learns the game from her bethrothed, Prince Trystane Martell and beats him more often than not.  Dorian tries to use the game to teach his daughter Arianne to study a game before trying to play it.

Tyrion Lannister plays Cyvasse on his voyage on the Shy Maid with young Griff, and by winning learns the boy’s true identity.  When Tyrion is sold as a slave, he brags about his Cyvasse skills.  In The Winds of Winter, after a skirmish, the white dragon piece ends up at Tyrion’s feet, but blood stains make it look like it has veins of blood.  According to George R.R. Martin, Cyvasse is partially inspired by Chess, Blitzkrieg, and Stratego.  A fan has created a copy with rules.


10.  The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss.


Tak, Pairs, and Corners are games played in The Kingkiller Chronicle.

Tak is a game of abstract strategy and logic played in The Wise Man’s Fear.  Kvothe describes the rules as simple, but the strategy complex. In the land of Vintas, Bredon, a noble in the court, befriends Kvothe and introduces the game to him.  He claims the point is not to win but to play a beautiful game. Later, Felurion of the fae plays a lovely game of Tak with Kvothe.

Actual Tak and Pairs games have been created and are available online.


What novels would you add to this list? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Poem in Honor of my Father

Today would have been my father’s 93rd birthday, but recently he went to be with the Lord. In the days following his death, I wrote this poem. I would write a little, then cry a little, and then write some more. It’s not formal, but it is from the heart! I’m posting it today, on his birthday, to honor him. I feel so blessed to have had such a wonderful Dad.

Cleve was born in Dallas, a Texan through and through;

An only child, his cousins were like the brothers he never knew.

My Dad grew up in Comanche, in the middle of the state;

Where flat fields stretch to meet the sky, and things aren’t good but great.

Childhood in that small town was everything that a boy could wish;

After school they’d go hunting or out in the lake to fish.

His Grandfather was a homesteader upon the western plain;

Who had learned to grow fruits and vines in a land with little rain.

His Dad taught him fishing skills, how to cast and row;

But the secret to make the fish bite was to hold your mouth just so.

We all loved his story of frog gigging at night out on the lake;

They rowed away like crazy to escape from poisonous snakes,

Then there was the time he jumped a fence to get away from an angry bull;

When he looked back at the height of the fence, he knew it was a miracle.

In Texas everyone plays football, if you’re not big you better be fast;

He was the county ping pong champ, (a talent that he proved can last).

For my father lived to 92, and I think maybe I know why

He taught me you can do anything, if only you just try.


Cleve went off to college the summer he was seventeen;

Then his country called him to duty, and he saw things he’d never seen.

Like millions of boys who were drafted, he was put onto a train;

He chose the Navy because he wanted to be on a boat, not a tank or plane.

They offered to make him a rear gunner, but instead he followed his heart;

He told them “I had rather put people together than to tear them apart.”

Into battle in Japan, they were looking for men to go;

When they drew the line on the list, his name was just below.

He served as a Corpsman and later a Pharmacists Mate;

When the bomb was dropped, it ended the war, and so it saved his fate.

Though my father lived to 92, please forgive me if I grieve;

He taught me you can do anything, if you only just believe.


At University of Texas, microbiology was his chosen field;

He never dreamed the opportunities that this decision would yield.

A professor recommended him for a job in Washington DC;

To do research in a lab on canning and food technology.

When he wrote home from the Capital, he said everything was “swell”;

Planned to stay for a year or so, but that all changed when into love he fell.

My Father was a scientist with a sharp and inquiring mind;

With over 40 technical publications that you can read online.

When you pour ketchup from a plastic bottle instead of using glass;

It was my Dad’s research that made that advancement come to pass.

His honesty and integrity was admired through 38 years at his work;

He was a man who was loyal, there was never a task he would shirk.

My father lived to 92.  Please understand why I miss him so;

He taught me to be faithful, to the tasks that I am given, in whatever places that I go.


He was the kind of father, who played with me on the floor;

He taught me silly songs like “whose that knocking on the door?”

I learned that Old Dan Tucker was a fine old man;

When I wanted a snow or tree fort, my Dad drew up a plan.

He read me Hardy Boy books, and then we wrote our own

Detective stories, with Pegleg Pete and tales of skull and bones.

He taught me the love of dance, he’d play the Blue Danube;

I’d put my feet on his feet and he’d waltz me around the room.

Into the night, under the lights, we’d be out playing croquet;

He’d send a ball to rootville, to win that’s how you play.

On walks outside he taught me the names of all the trees;

He taught me to love nature and all of its mysteries.

I’d laugh at all the scary faces he would draw for me at night;

We’d compete to draw the one that would give the greatest fright.

Whatever task that I took on, my Dad was my biggest fan;

He always had an encouraging word, he was such positive man.

When life got tough, my Dad was always right there by my side;

So whatever I faced, I wasn’t alone, he was right there for the ride.

And when his grandchildren came along, Brian, Ryan, Lara, and Drew;

He still played games and taught them things, he knew just what to do.

Whenever he would visit, we would do fun things all day;

And when he wasn’t with us, for each one of us he’d pray.

Though his ears grew deaf and his eyes grew dim, my father never got old;

He had a can-do spirit. His mind was sharp, and his heart was made of gold.

My father lived to 92, but please understand if a tear to my eye this brings;

For He taught me to have a grateful heart for all the simple things.


My father was a humble man, who gave the glory to God;

He was happy walking by quiet streams and fishing with a rod.

He always would look forward, no time for regrets to stay;

“I’m not one for spilled milk,” is all that he would say.

Though he never said an unkind word, others aren’t always that way;

But I watched him turn the other cheek, even on a bad day.

I never heard him say a curse word, no matter what anyone would do;

My father was a gentleman, kind and patient and true.

At 91, he had to be re-operated on, but he did not sigh;

“You take what the Lord gives you,” was his faithful reply.

So many days of laughter, of smiles and jokes and games;

So many people his spirit has touched, we’ll never know all their names.

My father he was faithful to his family, his calling, and his Lord;

For his sweet and loving spirit he was universally adored.

Through all life’s trials he stood by me, a rock on whom I could lean;

Never judging me but only loving me, whether I was an adult, a child, or a teen.

In grace, God called him home to heaven to take part in his reward;

For a life of faithfulness, my Dad now dwells in the house of the Lord.

I can’t find words to tell you how much I love my Dad;

He was the best friend and father that anyone could ever have had.

Wherever I go, I’ll hear his voice, he’ll always be at my side;

His love is all around me, even now that he has died.

Yes my father lived to ninety two, but please forgive me if I cry;

No matter how many years he had lived, it would be too soon, too soon to say goodbye.

Welcome! I'm glad you're here!

Welcome to my author’s website! If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you’re curious about my books, or maybe you’re already a fan. I started writing novels after watching the movie, The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey (how fitting…) when one of my sons issued a creative challenge. But I already knew that I loved to write stories. Actually, I love to do anything creative whether it’s painting, writing, or inventing tabletop games.

But what caught me by surprise, once my books were published, was how much fun it is to connect with people who have read my books! In addition, I could barely believe how nice other authors were to me. (Remember in my other life, I was a criminal prosecutor!)

I can’t begin to tell you how big my smile is every time a stranger from out there reviews my books or contacts me, and I find out how much they enjoy stepping into the worlds I have created. It is so much fun! I think in heaven people probably spend time journeying with each other to discover new and fascinating worlds beyond our current limited imaginations. After all, God loves variety. Just look at all the amazing things He created right here on earth!

On these pages I hope you’ll discover things that add to your experience when reading my books, or that just leave you wondering: #WhoKnew