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Dirk grew up in a small college town, grounded in America’s rural heartland. Ames, Iowa was (and probably still is) routinely described as unremarkable, by cosmopolitan visitors. Growing up, Dirk would have preferred a more exciting place himself, on long, lazy summer afternoons. But Ames had the advantages of being insulated from the turbulence of the times. And  the annual migration of a sizable student population from around the world exposed the author to diversity at an early age.

In consequence, Dirk developed an appreciation for points of view and the music of foreign accents and language. By the time the author graduated from high school, he recalls, he could feel the constant tug of distant horizons on his soul.

When Dirk started writing, he had no plan and certainly no ambition to publish. He wrote in response to a vague stirring in the soul he wasn’t sure he had…some indefinable urge more felt than understood driving him to put words on paper. By the time he graduated from college, he had taken several creative writing classes and had the first vague dreams of success as an author. But as was the case in his academics, while he achieved a measure of distinction, he was never “the best” at anything. Someone was always better…at everything.

Dirk accepted a commission in the Corps the day he graduated, the times being what they were. There was a lot of that going around in the late 60’s and early 70’s.  We were still in Southeast Asia and he felt an obligation, despite misgivings about the morality of the war. Not unlike his writing, Dirk had no plans to make the Marine Corps a career. But somewhere along the way, he discovered his  communication style often inspired trust.  To this day, his humbled and honored by their willingness to go the extra distance, with him.

Sometime after the evacuation of Vietnam and Cambodia, Dirk applied for augmentation into the regular component and was ultimately accepted. In common with his academic experiences before the Corps, he achieved modest success. After twenty-some years service in peace and war, he retired as a Lieutenant Colonel with five personal decorations and legion of comrades with whom he had the honor of serving. You would recognize the names of some. They were among the best our nation had to offer and Dirk feels endlessly enriched by the opportunity to serve with them.

After a two-year sabbatical to get his Master’s degree in business, Dirk was hired by a large manufacturer of hard window coverings, serving as a corporate trainer, training design specialist and as a district manager. A casualty of financial crash of 2008, Dirk quips, he was cordially invited to leave and not return. After a particularly unsatisfying interview for his next “job,” Dirk finally succumbed to his life-long urge to write. There’s more life in his rear view mirror now, than in his windshield, but with a full backpack of memories and life lessons, Dirk has found if not his calling, at least an avocation.

WEST OF TOMORROW-2015

In West of Tomorrow, re-careered Marine Clay turned corporate trainer navigates the shark-infested waters of Corporate America, while confronting his tortured past and uncertain future, in this tale of conscience and identity. While training Sheera Prasad, a rising star cherry-picked from another company, he learns corporate has hired her to unseat their boss. He’s safe, if he goes along to get along, but what about loyalty? And if he doesn’t go along, won’t he be fired as well? Whichever course he chooses, nothing will ever again be the same. West of Tomorrow debuted to strong reviews on Amazon in 2015 and is available in both trade paperback and Kindle formats.

THROUGH THE WINDSHIELD, DRIVE-BY ENCOUNTERS WITH LIFE-Sept. 2017

Truth is a shapeshifter. Some events slam into us, like a head-on collision, altering our lives and our perceptions in an instant. Other events arrive camouflaged in the ordinary, their significance and meaning only becoming clear years later. We are at once our own jailers and the instruments of our own freedom, as we streak toward our destiny, lurking just beyond our headlights. Dirk is currently in the final throes of completing an anthology of shorter fiction under the title of Through the Windshield, Drive-by Encounters with Truth. This collection of short stories that includes Sinbad’s Sofa, a story picked up for non-exclusive publication in Chicken Soup for the Soul’s The Cat Really Did That?  anthology. Through the Windshield will be published in September, 2017.

BEST CASE SCENARIO-Late Fall 2017

Buried deep in a jumble of dreams, fashioned half from experiences and half from wishful thinking, lives Nyra’s version of her best case scenario. Hope has long whispered to her, as it does to most of us, through promise and pain all wrapped up in memories loud with hope and her youth. Deep down, she can only wonder when it’s all going to get started, for her…or if. Didn’t she dutifully tackle all challenges in hopeful optimism? She knows the answer to that. Yes, she did. So doesn’t she deserve a break? Most of us would agree she does, along with many of her contemporaries in the same boat of student debt and diminished options. But deserving a break and getting one aren’t always the same thing, as she beginning to sense.

 

TIER ZERO, VOLUME I OF THE KNOLAN CYCLE-2018

How good are your instincts? If you’ve ever been confronted with a seemingly impossible story, only to learn later that the story is true, you’ve probably wondered this before. Marty Tellus has a lot of unanswered questions from his past.

Who was his father? What was the real cause of his mother’s death while he was still so young he can recall only vague memories of her? And what is the meaning of his recurring dreams about drifting in a fog, a carpet of city lights beneath him? Are these enigmas mysteries that will never be solved, or do they have answers and if they do, will he recognize them when hears them?

All good questions, on an intensely personal level. But they’re laced with a tantalizing correlation to much larger questions most of us haven’t even thought to ask, yet. Certainly Marty hasn’t. But he soon will, because thirty-two years ago, first contact between Earth and Knola occurred, and went completely unnoticed by literally everyone here on Earth. That’s about to change.

 

From the reading at LIT UP Orange County, 7-18-17. I really enjoyed sharing Sinbad’s Sofa”  with everyone and I really appreciate all the positive feedback. Looking forward to the publication of The Cat Really Did That? anthology from Chicken Soup for the Soul, this August. All royalties are going to the American Humane Society.

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