My Gratitude


After three years of intense effort, RASPUTIN’S LEGACY was fully released today, July 28, 2017. There are so many people to thank, beginning with my 5th, 6th, and 7th grade teacher, Irene Fisk (RIP), who forced academic excellence on me despite my most grievous attempts to avoid it. Then my beloved wife, Barbara, and our great kids, who suffered through keeping noise down in a cramped apartment while I eked out my first novel writing efforts.

For Rasputin’s Legacy, Carmine Zozzora has a special place in my heart. He did what a true friend should do: told me what was wrong with the book as written, and how to fix it. That began with, “Get and read The Elements of Style, and then apply it.” I was taken aback a bit, because I was sure I already knew how to write. I quickly learned that I had a lot still to learn. Carmine patiently mentored me through a year’s worth of structuring the story for better, more enjoyable reading. It is far superior than it would have been without him. I was smart enough to listen; he had been the producer of Die Hard with a Vengeance and Color of Night. Not listening would have been foolhardy.

When finally, I had passed Carmine’s muster, he sent me to editor Bill Thompson of Carrie and The Firm fame (by Stephen King and John Grisham, respectively). Bill was always so upbeat and encouraging, and he coaxed me through the final polish on the story. I have to thank Charles Brandt, author of I Heard You Paint Houses (soon to be a major Martin Scorsese/Robert De Niro motion picture) for making the call to Bill. Then proofreader Stephanie Parent buffed it to a high gloss.

Along the way, many good family members and friends provided moral support and/or read and re-read the manuscript versions, and offered exceptional advice. My brother, Bob called often to check on progress, offer encouragement, and express his confidence in the quality of the final product. My two sisters, Anita and Margee, caught details I had missed, and provided perceptions of reactions to characters and events in the book. John Shephard gave firsthand insights into the personality and character of our late, great president, Ronald Reagan which led directly to how various elements of the story were told. Another friend (who must remain anonymous) kept me on the credible side of CIA involvement and pointed me toward crucial information regarding Chinese history; NYT best-selling author Joe Galloway, Benghazi hero Kris “Tanto” Paronto, Lieutenant General (Retired) Rick Lynch, and West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner took time to read my manuscript and offer valuable comments and encouragement.

A guess is that no manuscript is ever written without its own sets of mishaps, and in this case, it was almost catastrophic. Good friend Bob Cymbalski recovered my manuscript from the nether regions of lost digital files after I thought it was gone in its entirety, for good.

Then there was a host of friends who read the manuscript and provided valuable insights: my son Christian (who advised that I review my dialogue); Tom Mitchell, Angela Beck, Barbara Hall, Bobby Hall (a jet pilot who sanity checked my description of landing procedures), Rich Trotter, Larry Acker, Rand Ballard, Sam Stolzoff, Jim Vaughn, Candy Silcott, Ralph Masi, John Dinnell, Lance Gatling, and Stuart Stirrat. Each contributed in a way that gave me an objective, three-dimensional view of my own work, and/or encouraged me to press on.

I also have to thank my wonderful Advance Reader team. They sent back great comments and corrections. In particular, I must mention Mandy Walkden-Brown, who caught a grievous inconsistency between Curse The Moon and Rasputin’s Legacy.

Special mention must also go to Stuart Bache. He designed the spectacular cover for Rasputin’s Legacy. Stuart designed for some of the most notable authors, including Stephen King and John le Carré. He caught me at a particularly discouraging point, walked me through the elements of a good cover design, and then produced magnificent designs for me.

Also, special thanks must go to Mark Dawson, author and instructor extraordinaire; one who cares deeply for his fellow authors. He made a suggestion that brought life back into marketing for Curse The Moon, which is Book 1 of the series; and, he made the introductions to Stuart Bache.

Then there was Natasha Johnstone who ran my initial public awareness campaign during the pre-order phase. Here enthusiasm, energy, creativity and dedication. She executed an incredible plan to make Rasputin’s Legacy known in the furtherest reaches of the globe.

Finally, my appreciation would not be complete without extending it to my great Egyptian friend, Dr. Osama Shams. He knows why.

My sincere gratitude goes out to these wonderful people who participated in one form or another to bringing Rasputin’s Legacy into publication.

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