BACK-STORY for RAiLBAK ON: Vol I & II and RAiLBAK Adventures Vol II Conversational Novella. For a full-on dedicated manuscript writer like me; writing short stories years ago just seemed like creating  impulse-driven tweets before we knew what tweets were. Especially considering my favorite book was; (and still is); The Count of Monte Cristo; emblematic of my preference for protracted, descriptive character- driven works. In fact I simply had to reread The Count a few years ago after watching the movie: The Shawshank Redemption; laughing uproariously as prisoner Heywood, while opening boxes of donated books for the prison library, read one title as: The Count of Monte Crisco…by: Alexandree Dumb-Ass; Dumb-Ass. Many years before in undergrad school I elected to take a creative writing class taught by a visiting prof, reputed to have received an award for short story of the year in a literary competition. I learned from the prof that The Count was based on concepts from Alexandre Dumas and a ghost writer’s short novel Georges. That’s all I needed to hear to commit to learning more about short story writing; and in short order I realized short-stories were as difficult to write as my frequently-rejected 130,000+ word manuscripts. By example I think I shaved over 25,000 words off of my first RAiLBAK Adventures novel using some of the techniques I learned creating short stories. I had been hooked on what I interpreted as Dumas’ approach to his writings while creating my pre-tumor manuscripts; and going so far as to reference the genre of my un-published manuscripts as historical fiction, a takeoff from The Count’s categorization as a historical novel. I had knowingly filed my new found short-story knowledge deep away in my literary memory bank until recently when I reread a number of the Irish literary greats including James Joyce’s Dubliners because our youngest was dating an Irish lass. (Who is now thankfully his spouse named Deirdre; a name I love, reminding me of one of my all-time fave Montana authors: Deirdre McNamer). This time around I marveled at Joyce’s ability to bind a bunch of short-stories together in one amazing creation; so I thought I’d give it a try and enjoyed the process. I don’t pretend to write at any of my literary influencer’s lofty levels and remain a committed full-on book writer. However, as I considered all the vignettes I have catalogued from my years as a parent and the many entertaining events and characters I encountered during my semi-unique work-years. I’m pretty sure I have more than enough grist for the writing-mill to produce more entertaining RAiLBAK ON volumes in my literary future. Like another of my fave authors, Michael Crichton, I completed one of my manuscripts during post-graduate school in New England. That is sadly for me where the similarity with Crichton ends. I’m pretty sure I set the record for rejections for my works. Opposite to Crichton’s strategy, I started writing under a nom de plume later in life after cancer and brain tumor diagnosis; in an effort to evolve my life into a completely different reality. I remember reading A Case of Need and thought it was marvelous. Yet searching for more works by the author Jeffrey Hudson proved unsuccessful. It seemed Hudson mystically dropped out of the literary grid. When The Andromeda Strain transfixed me; I discovered Crichton’s history of pseudonym’s prompting me to read a couple of Crichton’s John Lange books and then over the years exhausted the library of Crichton novels. I come from Montana which thankfully produced many globally-recognized western authors like Dorothy Johnson and A.B. Guthrie. Two of my fave Montana writers are Deirdre McNamer and the late Ivan Doig. Deirdre’s Rima in the Weeds was read by our designated road-trip-reader; my wife; to me and our 3 kiddoes as we cruised down the highways of the Northwest on our frequent swim trips. Short stories might have worked better on shorter trips so perhaps RAiLBAK ON books will be read out-loud by parents cruising around Montana. I am probably the only driver on earth who hoped he would be stopped by the notorious phalanx of red lights snarling traffic at our notorious hometown malfunction junction because for years I stashed a car-book under the seat which I would drag out at any sign of delay. I rarely worked on trains while commuting in the East or flying. I would pull out work and soon would be engrossed in my latest read or making notes on my ever-present 3×5 cards; story-boarding future works. My collection of story-board cards and writer’s notes spans nearly 5 decades so my brain tumor has thankfully offered me the time and dedication to act on this lifetime of ideas by reading and writing full-time; since the majority of my other purposeful life’s pursuits are forever in my rearview mirror. Always remember; one of the ways to become a better writer is to read more. I appreciate all you readers investing in my works; more than you will ever know. Happy Reading. Tc

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