About the Author

Growing up an Army brat offered a unique view of our world. From Denmark, Britain, Germany and points between, the weight of our past stood writ in stone as much as the history books. Castles, cathedrals, bridges and watchtowers all spoke to the lives and ambitions of their builders; and in their ruins, to their deaths.

It was in such ancient ground that my imagination found a lifelong fascination with our past. And foremost amongst all the tales told in the rock and stone, the rusted steel and bone of history, Rome it was that captured my young soul.

Still captured, though no longer quite so young, I owe much to those who have fed my dreams, who have nurtured that wonderful exercise of the imagination – But what if? – over the years. To writers such as Frank Herbert, Steven Erikson, J.R. Tolkien, and Dorothy Dunnett who have shown us to what heights a good tale can soar. But, oh . . . the list goes on and on, doesn’t it?

Life is a surprising adventure we are but flung into, full of twists and turns unforeseen, choices made for ill or good. But in the end, a gift we hold dear. My own included. I write from prison. A choice ill made these many years past. But I write. And that is a gift. Besides writing, I am a musician, father and grandfather, and count myself graced with some few friends. All food for the soul.

Family lore has it that I was born to American parents living in Linz, Austria; delivered in a Munich hospital by a Chinese doctor; and all on a snow-blown winter’s night that nearly saw the last of all parties concerned. I can only vouch for the parents, Colonel and Mrs. John W. Dobson. The rest makes for a good story. And as Mom always said: Never ruin a good story with the truth. So there you have it – a little fact, a little fiction, one babe near-born in a snowdrift somewhere in the Austrian Alps, or maybe it was lost in the Black Forest. Wherever, it wasn’t dull.

I had the grand fortune of growing up on both sides of the Atlantic. From a haunted pre-Civil War schoolhouse in Virginia, to a thatched farmhouse in Denmark, to a castle built by Ponce de León in Puerto Rico, life and living was the best of educations.

Fast forward a bit. I graduated from Culver Military Academy in 1970, and after a short stint with the University of South Carolina, toured the roadhouses and bars of the south playing blues and soul. Eventually I moved to Nashville, starved, played music, and starved some more. Thank God for blood banks! A time of unfettered freedom, choices made, consequences lived.

Fell in serious love, married, and joined the army in ’75. Out four years later and a single parent raising my daughter, Rachael – a high point in my life. Returned to Hilton Head Island, SC where I discovered what, of any possible career, was and could have been my most rewarding life’s work – teaching second grade. Looking back I only wish I’d followed the little voices inside of me and taken that fork in the road. Sadly, such is life and the follies of our choices.

Soon remarried, our family grew with the birth of my son, Collin. Though estranged now these many years, and by some estimates my just punishment for faith broken, as those truly amazing junctures in life can be, it was a time of hope, happiness, and dreams.
Jump again, but this time into the valley of self-made woe. Began doing a rather lengthy prison sentence with the Feds in 1988. Still there. Still a parent . . . a grandparent, actually . . . and blessed. Still a musician, avid reader, crochet master, and hopefully, author of an epic fantasy shared with thousands. Hell, let’s go long – with millions of readers.

(This is damn near an impossible task)

Favorite band: Steely Dan
Favorite jazz style/musician: Al DiMeola, Michael Camilo, Eliane Elias, Paquito D’Rivera, Miles Davis, Tomatito
Favorite albums: Aja – Steely Dan; Live at Fillmore East – Allman Brothers
Favorite Sci-Fi author: Frank Herbert – Dune, The Dosadi Experiment
Favorite fantasy author: Steven Erikson . . . gods above and below, the list could go on.
Favorite fantasy series: The Malazan Book of the Fallen . . . and on.
Favorite historical fiction author: Dorothy Dunnett – The Lymond Chronicles, House of Niccolò, King Hereafter
Favorite movie scene and score: Last of the Mohicans, the final chase – Promentory; Platoon, Sgt. Elias’ death – Adagio for Strings; The Black Stallion (’71), boy entices and rides stallion across the beach, Arabic percussion; Rob Roy – Fireside scene with cut to chase, scene, Gaelic acapella.

My Cast of Supporters