Although my day job is as an educational consultant (see my webpage to learn more), I have always loved creating and writing stories. Like so many others, I fell in love with fantasy through J.R.R. Tolkien, whom I encountered at a very young age, well before I could understand much of anything about the true depth of the world he had created. For years thereafter, I obsessed over Tolkien’s world of Middle Earth, and by middle school was convinced that I would make my mark on the literary world by writing a sequel to The Lord of the Rings. Fortunately, after only a handful of pages of poorly-conceived screed, I came to the realization both that I was not up to the task, coming as I did from a very different sensibility from my hero, and that such a work was completely unnecessary and uncalled-for. And so I began to create my own worlds.
The first seeds of the world that was to become the setting for Kern Heights and other works were planted when I was still in high school. Like many young nerds my age in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I was a player of Dungeons & Dragons, thrust into the Dungeonmaster’s seat because I was the one most willing to put in the time needed to run the campaigns. But I quickly became disenchanted with the worlds of the game, which never seemed to make enough internal sense to be believable as places where real beings might live and plausible magic might exist. And so I set out to make my own world, one where the laws of nature applied, where magic was based on principles of how it worked rather than game effects, where thinking beings behaved in rational ways and had means of supporting themselves rather than sitting in some room in a dungeon waiting for adventurers to show up and kill them for their treasure. Some of the characters in Kern Heights had their origins in those early adventures, which continued through college, and in my senior year I ran a campaign with some college friends which became the basis of the story of Kern Heights itself, though I graduated before the tale could be resolved. During that time too, I began writing my own stories, though they never went very far, since studies and other distractions never allowed me to make much progress.
After college, I had little time and no group for such games, so I turned my efforts to writing, beginning with the half-formed Kern Heights story as a way of writing something I thought would be quick and easy before I got to the meatier parts of the mythology I had been stewing over for years. As it turned out, it was neither quick nor easy, what with graduate school, work, getting married, and having two kids, not to mention completing a draft only to look back and discover that it was pretty lousy (as is the way of first efforts, sadly) and have to start again from scratch. And of course there were other projects too, the Doorwalkers series, written for my kids, though they grew faster than the books did, and various short stories. But finally, after 20 years of intermittent work and the evolution of Kern Heights from a single massive volume into seven, an immense amount of help from Mark Anderson and my wife Rosemary, both as sounding boards and, in Mark’s case, co-creation of the look of the world, I finally have something to show. I hope you enjoy what you see.
As you may be able to guess if you spend enough time on this page, I love history, particularly ancient and medieval history. I am also very interested in religion, nature, and philosophy. After a long hiatus, I got back into tabletop roleplaying when my kids became old enough to play, and I am now running a campaign with them and their friends using The One Ring, a game set in Tolkien’s Middle Earth, my first fantasy love. Beyond that, I am a religious education teacher at my church, an avid collector of music, and a movie enthusiast.