Twenty four years ago I walked out of the U.S. Coast Guard Station in Portland after having completed all three phases of the 25 Ton Masters License plus the optional commercial vessels towing permit with a perfect score. I was ready to go, soon returning to Clam Gulch, Alaska with a brand new prototype 24 foot off shore boat. We mortgaged everything we had to invest in the lodge and now in the new boat. I had a nearly new river boat for guiding on the Kenai. For the last two years I had accompanied and picked the brains of some of the best guides who shared their secrets with me. I, in turn, had filled their boats with paying customers and they were grateful for that and the guarantee of future business.
I set about building a steady clientele from Anchorage who would fish several times a year. I loaded their coolers with big Halibut and filled their heads with stories of my 25 year career as a Fish and Wildlife Trooper in Oregon. Most of my career was on the Columbia River enforcing sport and commercial fishing rules as well as time in the woods and game enforcement. One group of attorneys suggested I write a book as the many stories never changed; eight years later health forced me from guiding and into less strenuous pursuits. While working with Coastal Conservation Association I submitted a story of one of our exploits on the Columbia. It was published in their national magazine, The Tide, and I received a healthy check in the mail! I was off and running! I had kept careful notes on my small laptop and began writing Outlaws on the Big River. Once started, I could not stop as the stories poured from my memories. I submitted a rough manuscript to Frank Amato, an outdoor publisher in Portland. Shortly he replied that he did not print anything but how to style books, but headed me to the library of publishers. A couple of quick turndowns and stories from authors who had been published, of the meager royalties, loss of marketing control, even self-promotion, convinced me to go to Createspace, a publisher who walks one through the steps, assists with cover design, layout and print on demand.
Outlaws on the Big River hit the shelves and quickly paid the costs of publishing, printing and distribution. I spent free hours hitting local book stores and businesses on the river to sell copies of the book and locate more outlets.
The success of Outlaws on the Big River prompted me to follow with Outlaws in the Big Woods that immediately became a local favorite in the northwest. Book signings, Lions Club, Rotary and outdoor clubs produced unexpected revenue, most of which was donated to the groups and outdoors causes.
A third book, Big River, Big Woods, Big Games followed. All three are available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or by contacting me at [email protected] A Christmas special is available for all three books at $30 if ordered from my email. Books retail at $15 apiece.