I’ve been writing stories since my days in elementary school when the teachers required summer reading, followed by a book report due on the first day back from vacation. I never read books back then, never even stepped in a library. I was too busy playing sports. Instead, I would procrastinate until Labor Day when, in panic mode, I would create imaginary stories instead of reading them.

At some point during the first week of the new school year, I would nervously take my turn in front of the class to read a summary of a story by a fictitious author. My stories were about a boy and his dog, or a boy who found a secret message in a bottle while walking on the beach, or a demon that lived under a boy’s bed and scratched at his kneecaps as he knelt to pray. My book reports always kept my class captivated and usually earned an A from the teacher. Luckily for me, it would be many years before Al Gore invented the Internet, so neither my classmates nor the teachers could easily validate the authors or book titles I reported on. There was a girl one year who pestered me to read a book I had fabricated. I think she went to three different libraries in a futile search before she finally gave up. I guess the book was out of print.

As I grew older, a pair of evil twin magnets, bad luck and trouble, guided me down a path of self destruction for almost two decades. It was during my darkest hours that I fell back on storytelling. I wrote two long novels, but aside from a few cohorts, nobody cared to read them, so they eventually became booster seats for my toddlers. Years later, I embarked on writing about my personal train wreck in the hopes that my experience would detour someone from traveling down the same path. I thought the finished memoir was compelling, so I joined a writer’s forum, posted the manuscript, and waited for a barrage of criticism. Instead, the reviews were overwhelmingly positive. Go figure. The first chapter of my memoir, Life Minus 3 ½, along with the first chapters of all my work, are featured on this blog. I invite you take a peek and kick the tires.  I encourage you to leave your comments, positive or negative, but be warned I still have mafia connections, capisce?

My current work, Gulf Boulevard, is a mystery with a lot of humor, because we could all use more laughter in our lives. It tells the story, in first person, of Jason, a burned-out accountant, who moves to a barrier island on the gulf side of Florida in an attempt to live the life of a hermit. But he soon meets his neighbor Sal, a hitman in hiding, and that’s where the trouble begins. There is a lot of Jason in me. I know if I was a hermit on a secluded beach, I’d write a bestseller.

I hope to be published someday as all writers do. What a wonderful footprint to leave for the generations that follow. But it remains an elusive goal, so I bring my work to you through this blog. Maybe you’ll find a story so enticing you’ll want to purchase the book. Or maybe you’re an agent or publisher willing to take a risk on an unpublished writer. Either way, I hope you enjoy my stories, and find my writing worthy of your time.

If you would like to help a struggling writer find his way to an isolated beach, on a barrier island, under swaying palm trees, and warm tropical breezes, so he can write the next bestseller, feel free to leave a dollar with the monkey on your way out.  Happy reading.

- Dennis Hart