Joe David Bellamy.  A distinguished writer of fiction and nonfiction, Joe influenced me before he was an established author.  Joe taught creative writing at Mansfield State College in the late '60s and early '70s.  I was a student and local reporter.  Joe's dedication to his craft and to teaching was an inspiration that stayed with me for four decades of the good and bad times of writing.  His latest book, Green Freedom, is a masterful work of fiction. http://www.joedavidbellamy.com/

Joe David Bellamy. A distinguished writer of fiction and nonfiction, Joe influenced me before he was an established author. Joe taught creative writing at Mansfield State College in the late '60s and early '70s. I was a student and local reporter. Joe's dedication to his craft and to teaching was an inspiration that stayed with me for four decades of the good and bad times of writing. His latest book, Green Freedom, is a masterful work of fiction. http://www.joedavidbellamy.com/

Richard Brautigan. I discovered him in the crazy '60s-'70s with Trout Fishing in America.  I thought his style was what a gentle Mark Twain would be in the hippie movement.  I bought every book of poetry, short stories and novels until I tired of him.  He apparently got tired too, and committed suicide.

Richard Brautigan - Novelist, Poet, Drunkard - a Commemorative Poster

Richard Brautigan. I discovered him in the crazy '60s-'70s with Trout Fishing in America. I thought his style was what a gentle Mark Twain would be in the hippie movement. I bought every book of poetry, short stories and novels until I tired of him. He apparently got tired too, and committed suicide.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  I've read and reread just about all of the Sherlock Holmes novels and stories.  How many writers can create an icon who you recognize by either his first or last name?  Holmes was the paragon of logic, studying the newspapers everyday, knowing the criminal element and the criminal mind. It is balanced by an artistic side (the violin) and the dark side (the drugs).  Readers empathize with the drive, the passion to solve mysteries and the need for release.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I've read and reread just about all of the Sherlock Holmes novels and stories. How many writers can create an icon who you recognize by either his first or last name? Holmes was the paragon of logic, studying the newspapers everyday, knowing the criminal element and the criminal mind. It is balanced by an artistic side (the violin) and the dark side (the drugs). Readers empathize with the drive, the passion to solve mysteries and the need for release.

John Irving.  The World According to Garp, especially the opening scene, blew me away.  It was the ultimate in anonymous sex for the sole purpose of getting pregnant.  Irving's themes of love and loss run throughout his works.

John Irving. The World According to Garp, especially the opening scene, blew me away. It was the ultimate in anonymous sex for the sole purpose of getting pregnant. Irving's themes of love and loss run throughout his works.

John D. MacDonald was prolific and consistently good.  Travis McGee is one of the most well-drawn detectives in the genre.  The Pennsylvania native was also decades ahead of his time on environmental issues, especially in Florida.

John D. MacDonald was prolific and consistently good. Travis McGee is one of the most well-drawn detectives in the genre. The Pennsylvania native was also decades ahead of his time on environmental issues, especially in Florida.

Henry Miller.  The total anarchist who took on God, the Devil and everyone in between, Miller was an intellectual who loved life in every detail.  Miller was the springboard for the Beats.  His Tropic books were banned by the same sexually repressed old white male judges who banned D. H. Lawrence.  Miller went hand-in-hand with my Anais Nin phase.

Henry Miller. The total anarchist who took on God, the Devil and everyone in between, Miller was an intellectual who loved life in every detail. Miller was the springboard for the Beats. His Tropic books were banned by the same sexually repressed old white male judges who banned D. H. Lawrence. Miller went hand-in-hand with my Anais Nin phase.

Knut Hamsun was a Norwegian novelist who won the Noble Prize for literature.  Hemingway said that Hamsun "taught me how to write."  I read only one of his novels but it left a profound impression.  The main character reminded me a lot of my grandfather.

Knut Hamsun was a Norwegian novelist who won the Noble Prize for literature. Hemingway said that Hamsun "taught me how to write." I read only one of his novels but it left a profound impression. The main character reminded me a lot of my grandfather.

Jim Thompson.  The Killer Inside Me is noir at its best.  Thompson lures you gently into the mind of a cop and at the end blows your brains out.

Jim Thompson. The Killer Inside Me is noir at its best. Thompson lures you gently into the mind of a cop and at the end blows your brains out.

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