EDITING BOOKS

EDITING BOOKS — MY PASSION

Edited books of recent years

Edited books of recent years

For a time I called myself a Forest Guide; it was a way of explaining my passion for editing to new, usually first-time, authors. I would guide them through their forest of words, especially when they had gotten to that place where they couldn’t see the forest for the trees, as the old saying goes. Lately, I’m conceiving of myself as a midwife, who helps in the sometimes torturous process of giving birth. The birthing pains involved in creating a book and then sending it out into the world is a lot like having and raising a child. You’ll always feel attached, much like the author does. But you inevitably must let go of your book (child) to make its way in the world.

Before I started editing books, I spent years editing newspapers and magazines. Working with words—twisting them around, rearranging, deleting, finding a more concise, more understandable way of saying something was a wonderful challenge. I’ve always loved editing and the more I’ve done it, the faster and more accurate I’ve gotten. I was an early and avid reader, from Nancy Drew stories to fairy tales and then on to the gods and goddesses of ancient Athens and Rome. I remember accompanying my mother to libraries wherever our military family was stationed. I became an early enthusiast of historical fiction.

In high school and college, English (an outdated word for the subject) was my favorite subject. I majored in English in college but managed to take a variety of history courses, a never-ending passion that would lead me to writing Melaynie’s Masquerade when I got older. As a high school freshman, I became serious about writing and I wrote for the school newspaper. In college I continued my reporting for William and Mary’s Flat Hat newspaper and was delighted at one of the school reunions years later when I saw a couple of my articles in a scrapbook on display.

Journalism has been a great teacher. It requires precise, easily understood truthful writing to explain: who, what, when, where, how and why to a reader. And the information is provided in a descending order—the most important facts are given in the beginning. Books are usually not written that way, but a foundation in journalism has stood me in good stead for many years.

I’ve edited over 100 books in the past 15 years and each one has been a special journey. No matter how much I’d read of each book in advance, there were always surprises. A book develops a life of its own, which proves the baby analogy I mentioned in the beginning. Because many of my clients were “newbies” to the world of writing, I became a co-writer in many instances.

I have edited almost every genre of book from how to save for retirement to what a young man experiencing the singles scene learns about sexual success and failure. Needless to say, I’ve learned a great deal in the process since my clients have experienced amazing things in all areas of the world.

A few recent books include: Once Upon a Man by Debra Pauli (dating tips for the single woman), Beyond Time by Carey Jones (simplifying some of the ideas in A Course in Miracles), The Gods Who Fell from African Skies by Dick Mawson (memoir of growing up and living in Rhodesia and South Africa), Parents Take Charge by Dr. Sandy Gluckman (alternative solutions for children with ADHD and the like), and eight books so far for Tim Gurung (a Nepalese native who lives in Hong Kong), which includes Dignity and A Nation of Refugees (fictional story of a couple passionate about finding solutions for the worldwide problem of refugees). I’m currently editing a biography about character actor Strother Martin by Madelyn Roberts and another book by Tim Gurung.

If you need an editor or co-writer, check out my website: www.victoria4edit.com.

 

EDITING BOOKS IS FUN

editedbooks

Some of My EditedBooks

For a time I called myself a Forest Guide, it was a way of explaining editing to new, usually first-time, authors. I would guide them through their forest of words, especially when they had gotten to that place where they couldn’t see the forest for the trees, as the old saying goes. Lately, I’m conceiving of myself as a midwife, who helps in the sometimes torturous process of giving birth. The birthing pains involved in creating a book and then sending it out into the world is a lot like having and raising a child. You’ll always feel attached, much like the author does. But you inevitably must let go of your book (child) to make its way in the world.m

Before I started editing books, I spent years writing and editing newspapers and magazines. Working with words—twisting them around, rearranging, deleting, finding a more concise, more understandable way of saying something was a wonderful challenge. I’ve always loved editing and the more I’ve done it, the faster and more accurate I’ve gotten. I was an early and avid reader, from Nancy Drew stories to fairy tales and then on to the gods and goddesses of ancient Athens and Rome. I remember accompanying my mother to libraries wherever our military family was stationed. I became an early enthusiast of historical fiction.

In high school and college, English (an outdated word for the subject) was my favorite subject. I majored in English in college but managed to take a variety of history courses, a never-ending passion that would lead me to writing Melaynie’s Masquerade when I got older. As a high school freshman, I became serious about writing and I wrote for the school newspaper. In college I continued my reporting for William and Mary’s “Flat Hat” newspaper and was delighted at one of the school reunions years later when I saw a couple of my articles in a scrapbook on display.

Journalism has been a great teacher. It requires precise, easily understood truthful writing to explain: who, what, when, where, how and why to a reader. And the information is provided in a descending order—the most important facts are given in the beginning. Books are usually not written that way, but a foundation in journalism has stood me in good stead for many years.

I’ve edited over 200 books in the past 17 years and each one has been a special journey. No matter how much I’d read of each book in advance, there were always surprises. A book develops a life of its own, which proves the baby analogy I mentioned in the beginning. Because many of my clients were “newbies” to the world of writing, I became a co-writer in many instances.

I have edited almost every genre of book from how to save for retirement to what a young man experiencing the singles scene learns about sexual success and failure. Needless to say, I’ve learned a great deal in the process since my clients have experienced amazing things in all areas of the world.

A few recent books include: Once Upon a Man (dating tips for the single woman) and a spiritual book Where is God by Deborah Pauli, Beyond Time by Carey Jones (simplifying some of the ideas in A Course in Miracles), The Gods Who Fell from African Skies by Dick Mawson (memoir of growing up and living in Rhodesia and South Africa), Parents Take Charge by Dr. Sandy Gluckman (alternative solutions for children with ADHD and the like),  A Nation of Refugees  (fictional story of a couple passionate about finding solutions for the worldwide problem of refugees) and Afterlife (spiritual-what happens when the body dies) by Tim Gurung, and Feng Shui for Career Women by Patt Sendejas. Most recently, I was editing a book about Hitler and Eva Braun, and I’m currently editing a biography about character actor Strother Martin.

For more information about my editing and writing check my website. www.victoria4edit.com

 

EDITOR, VICTORIA GIRAUD – MY PASSIONS

A few of the books I've edited

A few of the books I’ve edited

For a time I called myself a Forest Guide, it was a unique way of explaining editing to new, usually first-time, authors. I would guide them through their forest of words, especially when they had gotten to that place where they couldn’t see the forest for the trees, as the old saying goes. Lately, I’m conceiving of myself as a midwife, who helps in the sometimes torturous process of giving birth. The birthing pains involved in creating a book and then sending it out into the world is a lot like having and raising a child. You’ll always feel attached, much like the author does. But you inevitably must let go of your book (child) to make its way in the world.

Before I started editing books, I spent years editing newspapers and magazines. Working with words—twisting them around, rearranging, deleting, finding a more concise, more understandable way of saying something was a wonderful challenge. I’ve always loved editing and the more I’ve done it, the faster and more accurate I’ve gotten. I was an early and avid reader, from Nancy Drew stories to fairy tales and then on to the gods and goddesses of ancient Athens and Rome. I remember accompanying my mother to libraries wherever our military family was stationed. I became an early enthusiast of historical fiction.

In high school and college, English (an outdated word for the subject) was my favorite subject. I majored in English in college but managed to take a variety of history courses, a never-ending passion that would lead me to writing Melaynie’s Masquerade when I got older. As a high school freshman, I became serious about writing and I wrote for the school newspaper. In college I continued my reporting for William and Mary’s Flat Hat newspaper and was delighted at one of the school reunions years later when I saw a couple of my articles in a scrapbook on display.

Journalism has been a great teacher. It requires precise, easily understood truthful writing to explain: who, what, when, where, how and why to a reader. And the information is provided in a descending order—the most important facts are given in the beginning. Books are usually not written that way, but a foundation in journalism has stood me in good stead for many years.

I’ve edited over 150 books in the past 15 years and each one has been a special journey. No matter how much I’d read of each book in advance, there were always surprises. A book develops a life of its own, which proves the baby analogy I mentioned in the beginning. Because many of my clients were “newbies” to the world of writing, I became a co-writer in many instances.

I have edited almost every genre of book from how to save for retirement to what a young man experiencing the singles scene learns about sexual success and failure. Needless to say, I’ve learned a great deal in the process since my clients have experienced amazing things in all areas of the world.

A few recent books include: Once Upon a Man by Debra Pauli (dating tips for the single woman), Time’s Illusion by Carey Jones (simplifying some of the ideas in A Course in Miracles), The Gods Who Fell From the Sky by Dick Mawson (memoir of growing up and living in Rhodesia and South Africa), Parents Take Charge by Dr. Sandy Gluckman (alternative solutions for children with ADHD and the like), and A Nation of Refugees by Tim Gurung (fictional story of a couple passionate about finding solutions for the worldwide problem of refugees). I edited all of Tim Gurung’s books, eight so far.I’m currently working on a biography by Madelyn Roberts about character actor Strother Martin.

I’m always looking for new editing clients because of my passion for editing. Let me know if you’re looking for an editor and get in touch. An estimate is free.

AN EDITOR’S PASSIONS

A few of the 150 books I've edited.

A few of the 150 books I’ve edited.

For a time I called myself a Forest Guide, it was a way of explaining editing to new, usually first-time, authors. I would guide them through their forest of words, especially when they had gotten to that place where they couldn’t see the forest for the trees, as the old saying goes. Lately, I’m conceiving of myself as a midwife, who helps in the sometimes torturous process of giving birth. The birthing pains involved in creating a book and then sending it out into the world is a lot like having and raising a child. You’ll always feel attached, much like the author does. But you inevitably must let go of your book (child) to make its way in the world.

Before I started editing books, I spent years editing newspapers and magazines. Working with words—twisting them around, rearranging, deleting, finding a more concise, more understandable way of saying something was a wonderful challenge. I’ve always loved editing and the more I’ve done it, the faster and more accurate I’ve gotten. I was an early and avid reader, from Nancy Drew stories to fairy tales and then on to the gods and goddesses of ancient Athens and Rome. I remember accompanying my mother to libraries wherever our military family was stationed. I became an early enthusiast of historical fiction.

In high school and college, English (an outdated word for the subject) was my favorite subject. I majored in English in college but managed to take a variety of history courses, a never-ending passion that would lead me to writing Melaynie’s Masquerade when I got older. As a high school freshman, I became serious about writing and I wrote for the school newspaper. In college I continued my reporting for William and Mary’s Flat Hat newspaper and was delighted at one of the school reunions years later when I saw a couple of my articles in a scrapbook on display.

Journalism has been a great teacher. It requires precise, easily understood truthful writing to explain: who, what, when, where, how and why to a reader. And the information is provided in a descending order—the most important facts are given in the beginning. Books are usually not written that way, but a foundation in journalism has stood me in good stead for many years.

I’ve edited over 150 books in the past 15 years and each one has been a special journey. No matter how much I’d read of each book in advance, there were always surprises. A book develops a life of its own, which proves the baby analogy I mentioned in the beginning. Because many of my clients were “newbies” to the world of writing, I became a co-writer in many instances.

I have edited almost every genre of book from how to save for retirement to what a young man experiencing the singles scene learns about sexual success and failure. Needless to say, I’ve learned a great deal in the process since my clients have experienced amazing things in all areas of the world.

A few recent books include: Once Upon a Man by Debra Pauli (dating tips for the single woman), Time’s Illusion by Carey Jones (simplifying some of the ideas in A Course in Miracles), The Gods Who Fell From the Sky by Dick Mawson (memoir of growing up and living in Rhodesia and South Africa), Parents Take Charge by Dr. Sandy Gluckman (alternative solutions for children with ADHD and the like), and A Nation of Refugees by Tim Gurung (fictional story of a couple passionate about finding solutions for the worldwide problem of refugees).  I’m currently editing another Tim Gurung book: Old Men Don’t Cry, and a biography by Madelyn Roberts about character actor Strother Martin.

TIME’S ILLUSION

I love working with words—those that come from my own ideas to create a bi-weekly blog and those I use to create the books I’ve written. I’ve dubbed myself a Word Wizard since I have been blessed with a talent to edit others’ words into various formats. What an enlightening education editing has been for me over the past 30 plus years.

Helping an author craft his/her book is very satisfying and my authors benefit from my enthusiasm. One of my latest favorite projects was the spiritual Time’s Illusion, Miracles, Dreams & Finding My True Reality by Carey Jones. His inspiring book was recently published in paperback by Pauli Publishing House (PPH), owned by Debra Pauli, a longtime editing client of mine.

Time's Illusion Cover

Carey says in his foreword, “As a young man I learned a law of time, which contradicted my day-to-day experience of it. The discovery led me on a search, a search that would take most, if not all, of my future adult life…these questions led to a transformation in my thinking: an awakening that changed how I look at the world.”

In one of the chapters, Carey says, “Native Americans stress the importance of our interconnectedness to everything around us. In the Himalayan mountain regions, in places like India, Nepal and Tibet, a deeper spiritual search for the meaning of existence has been happening for millennia. Buddha lived 2600 years ago! But in the West, we have purposely separated ourselves from a deeper understanding of existence…technology has insulated us and separated us from the greater reality.”

In a clear and understandable way, Carey writes about his quest for answers to metaphysical questions about the greater reality. Along the way he learned more about Einstein and his theory of relativity that explains time is elastic. Carey says, “Time is a paradox. Time can release as well as imprison. It is experienced differently by each and every one of us.”

He also explored the ideas in A Course in Miracles, which can be described as spiritual thought that teaches the way to love and peace. He points out that according to the ancient Chinese philosophical classic Tao Te Ching, “We are one with all things.”

Some of the chapter titles describe his themes aptly: Fear; Ego and Forgiveness; Living vs. Thinking; Guilt and Experience; Sickness and Health; Compression of Time; Truth, Mind Training & Revelation.

Time’s Illusion is Carey’s second book but far from his last. He began his writing career with Faraway Thunder, A Journey through Army Life & the Gulf War a few years ago. For more information about Carey Jones and his books, visit his website: www.careyjonesbooks.com.

Carey Jones visiting Germany

 

 

 

EDITING — A LIFE OF WORDS

Newspaper reporting/editing, writing an historical fiction novel, the continent of Africa, and a divorce led me to spread my wings and edit books to make a better living. Interestingly enough, Africa has played several pivotal roles in my life. I lived in the North African country of Libya as a teenager and was always intrigued with the history of this ancient continent.

A few of the books I've edited

A few of the books I’ve edited

Once single, I was out socializing and met an older gentleman, L. Dickson Griffith, in a local Southern California watering hole. He had been in NYC advertising (like a Don Draper on the AMC-TV show “Mad Men”) and went on to work as a technical advisor for Roone Arledge of ABC-TV in organizing and coordinating a TV show, “American Sportsman” that featured American celebrities who hunted big game. The “reality show” (although not known by that designation in those days) would feature actual hunting expeditions, and they’d begin the series in Africa. They were starting the first episode in a camp about 150 miles from Nairobi, Kenya, with actor Robert Stack and General Joe Foss, a WWII Medal of Honor winner and former Governor of South Dakota.

Dick Griffith knew many larger-than-life characters through his own interest and skills in big game hunting. He gathered his interviews and recollections of various hunting trips into a colorful book complete with photos and even fine art paintings of a few wild animals; the leopard on the books cover is by artist Gary Swanson. Dick called the collection of stories In the Hearts of Famous Hunters. Some of the other hunters featured in the book included Roy Rogers, Chuck Yeager, the flyer who broke the sound barrier; and Astronaut Wally Schirra.

Dick Griffith, Author, Hunter, Ad Man

Dick Griffith, Author, Hunter, Ad Man

What a privilege it was for me to be associated with this project, and my name is in the acknowledgements. Later, I helped Dick by editing his fiction novel, Adam’s Horn, which was also set in Africa—Uganda during Idi Amin’s cruel reign.

When we finished the writing and had the hunters’ book published in 1992, Dick Griffith had a book signing party in Westlake Village, and Robert Stack came to celebrate. I still have the beautiful book but not the photo taken with Dick and Robert Stack.

Most books appear on the Internet, but when I first looked for Dick’s two books,  they seemed like lonely sentinels. Open Library had some basic information on In the Hearts of Famous Hunters but no way to purchase it, and Amazon had one copy of Adam’s Horn.

Dick has passed on, but I’m sure he must be hanging out with the souls of the many hunters he interviewed, wrote about, and counted as friends. I will always appreciate the opportunity he gave me to edit his books.

Gods

Since Dick Griffith’s book, I connected with another man named Dick, in this case Dick Mawson, who wrote his life story of growing up and living in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and South Africa: The Gods Who Fell from the Sky. He has had the book published and has planned a second  volume. Mawson overcame losing his right foot and ankle at age eleven to eventually become a daring competitor in racing hydroplane boats and later built and raced saloon cars. And that’s just a brief account of his exciting life.

INTERNATIONAL AUTHOR—TIM GURUNG

When I began a career in journalism as the Editor for the Acorn, a local weekly newspaper in Southern California, little did I imagine the invention of the global Internet and how my life would expand because of it.

Since then I’ve edited books for writers like: Tim Gurung, who was born in Nepal and now lives in Hong Kong; an English-born writer who grew up in Rhodesia; a writer whose American book was translated and printed in Russia with my name as editor written in Cyrillic; a writer born in Hong Kong and later educated in Hawaii, and writers who have come from Armenia, Germany, England, and from all over the US.

I’ve called myself a Wordsmith, a Forest Guide (when writers can’t see the forest for the trees), and a Midwife (helping writers give birth to books)—fun titles for my passions—writing and editing. I’ve written a screenplay, an historical fiction novel, six short novels, and over 500 blogs. And I’ve been editing newspapers, magazines and books of all kinds for over 30 years. I really enjoy the editing because I feel like a creative partner and cheerleader for a wide variety of writers who create books in all genres—about 150 books over the years.

 

Five Steps Novel

Five Steps Novel

Tim Gurung and I have worked together for several years and during that time, I’ve edited six of his books: Five Steps, Missionary or Mercenary, A Tree Called Tenalpa, Afterlife, The Cursed Nation, and A Nation for Refugees—all now available on Amazon. He wrote them all and I edited them before he went into the publishing process. Since he keeps enthusiastically writing, we’re currently in the process of editing Hong Kong.

What I find the most amazing is that Tim, a man born in Nepal, speaks five languages and chooses to write his books in English, a difficult language for English speakers, much less those who grew up speaking Nepali, an Indo-Aryan language spoken also in India and Bhutan. Gurung has a fascinating background: he became a Gurkha soldier for the British Army at the age of 17, just like his father and uncles, and served for 13 years in Hong Kong. After an early retirement, he went back to Nepal, got married, had children, and soon after found a job in Hong Kong and brought his family there.

He is self-educated and self-motivated. Writing is his passion and once he’d established his business and made his family comfortable, his goal was to retire and spend the rest of his life writing books and plans now to use the proceeds from book sales for his ISSLCARE FOUNDATION charity, which will donate the money to the poor and needy.

Tim believes “Writers should write for global readers, not limiting or restricting themselves within certain boundaries. They should write about global problems.”

Tim Gurung’s first book was Five Steps. The main character is John, who loses his family in a freak accident. When he finds a memory chip at the site of the incident, he decides to investigate the telephone numbers on the chip to see if they had anything to do with the accident. The ensuring whirlwind journey takes him to Okinawa, Lhasa, Kashmir, New York and Portland Island in the UK. The journey changes John and those he meets in positive ways as he learns to see life from different viewpoints.

All of Tim’s books have inspiring stories and I’ve enjoyed working with him on them. It’s been an adventure and an education for me learning different viewpoints, just as he’s written about in Five Steps!

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFRICAN ADVENTURE–A TRUE STORY

My connections to the continent of Africa have created some of my favorite adventures—both in person and with books I either edited or wrote. I wrote about my own years as a teenage military brat in Tripoli, Libya, in An Army Brat in Libya available on Amazon. When I first began editing books some years ago, I edited Dick Griffith’s book, In the Hearts of Famous Hunters, which told of the exploits of famous fellows like Roy Rogers, astronaut Wally Schirra, test pilot Chuck Yeager, and LA Times publisher Otis Chandler on African hunting expeditions.

Gods

More recently, I edited Dick Mawson’s book The Gods Who Fell From the Sky, also available on Amazon and doing marvelously well with sales. Shortly after WWII, as Dick tells the story, his English parents decided to make a fresh start in life and flew to Africa with their very young sons in a small twin-engine plane. After a non-fatal but heart-stopping crash into the bush not far from their destination, the family was rescued by native African villagers. Luckily, one of the villagers spoke English and sent word by runner to Ft. Jameson, fifty miles away. Nine days later the English chief of police in Rhodesia had assembled some trucks for the rescue, and the Mawsons eventually made their home in the capital of Salisbury.

Crashing into the southern part of Africa as a child was just the beginning of Dick’s amazing saga of overcoming adversity during an exciting and heartbreaking life. At the age of eleven, he lost a lower leg in a farming accident, and at sixteen, as a daring boat racer, seriously damaged his good leg, among other injuries. He managed to overcome both hurdles to achieve consistent winning status in car racing in Africa, Europe and England. He’s over 70 now, and living in southern England, but he’s still racing cars and building them as well.

Along the way, Dick was happily married to his lovely Penny (he’ll tackle those challenges and her death in his second book), had children and now is the grandfather of five. Despite all his racing wins and business successes, he says his family is his greatest achievement. Dick Mawson shown below with two granddaughters.

Mawson+grands

Editing Dick’s book was an adventure for me. After the basic facts, I wanted to know more about the wildlife, the bugs, the plants and the people. Dick had many tales to tell and together we flushed out the important and entertaining parts of his story. As an energetic, “never say die” man, he had many hilarious incidents to relate about his life. He even found humor in the really tough parts—handling his injuries during several accidents and once having his false leg slip off, which terrified a woman in a London subway tunnel so badly she fainted.

According to Dick Mawson, “It’s pointless looking at what one can’t achieve in life when there is just so much that one can achieve. There is nothing that I have found to be impossible. There are always ways of reaching your goal and the biggest thing along the way is to have fun doing it.”

EDITING – CRUCIAL TO THE BIRTH OF A BOOK

EditedBooks

For a time I called myself a Forest Guide, it was a way of explaining editing to new, usually first-time, authors. I would guide them through their forest of words, especially when they had gotten to that place where they couldn’t see the forest for the trees, as the old saying goes. Lately, I’m conceiving of myself as a midwife, who helps in the sometimes torturous process of giving birth. The birthing pains involved in creating a book and then sending it out into the world is a lot like having and raising a child. You’ll always feel attached, much like the author does. But you inevitably must let go of your book (child) to make its way in the world.

Before I started editing books, I spent years editing newspapers and magazines. Working with words—twisting them around, rearranging, deleting, finding a more concise, more understandable way of saying something was a wonderful challenge. I’ve always loved editing and the more I’ve done it, the faster and more accurate I’ve gotten. I was an early and avid reader, from Nancy Drew stories to fairy tales and then on to the gods and goddesses of ancient Athens and Rome. I remember accompanying my mother to libraries wherever our military family was stationed. I became an early enthusiast of historical fiction.

In high school and college, English (an outdated word for the subject) was my favorite subject. I majored in English in college but managed to take a variety of history courses, a never-ending passion that would lead me to writing Melaynie’s Masquerade when I got older. As a high school freshman, I became serious about writing and I wrote for the school newspaper. In college I continued my reporting for William and Mary’s “Flat Hat” newspaper and was delighted at one of the school reunions years later when I saw a couple of my articles in a scrapbook on display.

Journalism has been a great teacher. It requires precise, easily understood truthful writing to explain: who, what, when, where, how and why to a reader. And the information is provided in a descending order—the most important facts are given in the beginning. Books are usually not written that way, but a foundation in journalism has stood me in good stead for many years.

I’ve edited over 100 books in the past 15 years and each one has been a special journey. No matter how much I’d read of each book in advance, there were always surprises. A book develops a life of its own, which proves the baby analogy I mentioned in the beginning. Because many of my clients were “newbies” to the world of writing, I became a co-writer in many instances.

I have edited almost every genre of book from how to save for retirement to what a young man experiencing the singles scene learns about sexual success and failure. Needless to say, I’ve learned a great deal in the process since my clients have experienced amazing things in all areas of the world.

A few recent books include: Once Upon a Man by Debra Pauli (dating tips for the single woman), Beyond Time by Carey Jones (simplifying some of the ideas in A Course in Miracles), The Gods Who Fell from African Skies by Dick Mawson (memoir of growing up and living in Rhodesia and South Africa), Parents Take Charge by Dr. Sandy Gluckman (alternative solutions for children with ADHD and the like), and A Nation of Refugees by Tim Gurung (fictional story of a couple passionate about finding solutions for the worldwide problem of refugees). Most recently, I was editing a book about Hitler and Eva Braun, and I’m currently editing a biography about character actor Strother Martin.

 

EDITING AFRICAN ADVENTURE STORIES

I’m a big believer in the connections of life. The oddest connections happen to me because, no doubt, I’ve grown up and lived in many places in the world, have written for newspapers, live in Los Angeles, and write a blog about my various adventures and synchronicities in life. This story about L. Dickson Griffith attracted Bill, a fellow from Atlanta whose father was a good friend of my friend Dick. Bill’s father has passed on, as has Dick, no doubt. Bill found Dick’s book I edited, In the Hearts of Famous Hunters, among his father’s books and it was signed by Dick. Bill was nice enough to get in touch and tell me about his connection.

Newspaper reporting/editing, writing an historical fiction novel, the continent of Africa, and a divorce led me to spread my wings and edit books to make a better living. Interestingly enough, Africa has played several pivotal roles in my life. I lived in the North African country of Libya as a teenager and was always intrigued with the history of this ancient continent. Thanks to a new friend who works in Libya several times a year, I have seen photos of our family home location from the 1950s in Tripoli. I’ll write more about that fantastic coincidence soon.

Once single, I was out “among ‘em” and I met an older gentleman, L. Dickson Griffith, in a local Southern California watering hole. He had been in NYC advertising (like a Don Draper on the AMC-TV show “Mad Men”) and went on to work as a technical advisor for Roone Arledge of ABC-TV in organizing and coordinating a TV show, “American Sportsman” that featured American celebrities who hunted big game. The “reality show” (although not known by that designation in those days) would feature actual hunting expeditions, and they’d begin the series in Africa. They were starting the first episode in a camp about 150 miles from Nairobi, Kenya, with actor Robert Stack and General Joe Foss, a WWII Medal of Honor winner and former Governor of South Dakota.

Dick Griffith knew many larger-than-life characters through his own interest and skills in big game hunting. He gathered his interviews and recollections of various hunting trips into a colorful book complete with photos and even fine art paintings of a few wild animals; the leopard on the books cover is by artist Gary Swanson. Dick called the collection of stories In the Hearts of Famous Hunters. Some of the other hunters featured in the book included Roy Rogers, Chuck Yeager, the flyer who broke the sound barrier; and Astronaut Wally Schirra.

Dick Griffith, Author, Hunter, Ad Man

Dick Griffith, Author, Hunter, Ad Man

What a privilege it was for me to be associated with this project, and my name is in the acknowledgements. Later, I helped Dick by editing his fiction novel, Adam’s Horn, which was also set in Africa—Uganda during Idi Amin’s cruel reign.

When we finished the writing and had the hunters’ book published in 1992, Dick Griffith had a book signing party in Westlake Village, and Robert Stack came to celebrate. I still have the beautiful book but not the photo taken with Dick and Robert Stack.

Most books appear on the Internet, and when I first looked for Dick’s two books, but they seemed like lonely sentinels. Open Library had some basic information on In the Hearts of Famous Hunters but no way to purchase it, and Amazon had one copy of Adam’s Horn. I was delighted when Bill found a copy of Dick’s wonderful book. Who knows, there may still be a few out there.

Dick has passed on, but I’m sure he must be hanging out with the souls of the many hunters he interviewed, wrote about, and counted as friends. I will always appreciate the opportunity he gave me to edit his books.

Since Dick Griffith’s book, I connected with another man named Dick, in this case Dick Mawson, who wrote his life story of growing up and living in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and South Africa: The Gods Who Fell from the African Sky. He has had such a fascinating life that we finished the first volume this past summer, but there’s a second volume to come. Mawson overcame losing his right foot and ankle at age eleven to eventually become a daring competitor in racing hydroplane boats and later built and raced saloon cars. And that’s just a brief account of his exciting life.

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