First Book Journey

brown wooden desk

Years of storytelling gave way to putting pen to paper, or keys to screen, when I finally decided to write my book. What began as a stream of consciousness word-vomit resulted in a rambling thread of a story short on stakes. Conceptualized as a ‘Catcher in the Rye’ where something happened gave birth to a story of fiction drawing on years of disparate experiences.

In 2020, I finished a first draft and quickly put it away just before the birth of our daughter. Letting it sit for nearly a year, it was finally time to tackle the revision process. What started from a rough-draft 89,000 words short on stakes (and story), ballooned in to a monstrosity at 125,000 words in deep need of refinement. Through support of beta-readers and constant editing – I think it was eleven rounds – Dishonored is now distilled to an 85,000 word mystery.

Now, my journey has me on the path searching for an agent and eventually publishing. Below is my query. Stay tuned!

Navy Lieutenant Jeff Coburn returns home to pick up the pieces after his uncle commits suicide. Jeff loved his uncle who shared his affection for music and puzzles, but it was hard to stay close with the man who’d grown increasingly reclusive as the demons from the Vietnam POW camp ravaged his life. 

Then Jeff discovers a letter revealing his uncle received a dishonorable discharge. He’s shocked, not only at the revelation, but also because a POW being discharged other than honorably strikes him as a travesty. As Jeff investigates, he becomes skeptical his uncle committed suicide.

Newly embedded in the Pentagon, Jeff unwittingly involves himself in a meeting of high-level Pentagon officials where he repeats a rumor he heard on deployment about asbestos in the air-conditioners. This triggers a Pentagon investigation.

The more Jeff digs in to both his uncle’s mysterious death, dishonorable discharge, and the present-day asbestos scandal, the more he realizes they are intertwined.  Against the background of his own Appalachia-inspired playlist and evocation of home, Jeff embarks on a path leading to generational Defense Department fraud in the Pentagon, the U.S. Senate, and the mountains of the rural southeast.


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