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Mother and Dad gave  me books at Christmases and birthdays, instilling a love of reading and stories that continues to this day. Their parents, siblings, aunts and uncles were born story-tellers, and they delighted me with tales of family escapades and mysterious personal experiences which they couldn’t explain - or wouldn’t - to scare me, kindle my curiosity, or keep me from opening the closet where the skeletons were stored.

When I was a kid I lived to play baseball, and I’d play today if physical limitations were not a reality. Although Dad was my mentor and biggest fan, he believed in the adage, “Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop.” Consequently, I spent many hours planting, tilling, fertilizing, harvesting, and looking for and squashing tomato worms the length and girth of my index finger. 

A sampling of a few of my favorite authors in come-to-mind order: Mark Twain, William Sidney Porter, Amor Towles, Howard Zinn, Harper Lee, William Shakespeare, Kurt Vonnegut, J.R.R.Tolkien, Henry Thoreau, Wallace Stegner, Henning Mankell, Peter Lovesey, Louise Penny, Flannery O’Connor, Donald Westlake, Kate Quinn, Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, Michael Gilbert, and Graham Greene.

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