Book Reviews & Interviews

Welcome to David’s page for Book Reviews and Interviews. Whether you’re here by the surf or checking  this page out from the site, enjoy these reviews and interviews about David and his writing.  The reviews of David?s books are listed first, and we’ve selected two, very in-depth, interviews with David, that follow.  But before you begin, check out this neat new blurb from David’s friend and fellow author, Steve Hamilton.

“David Walks-as-Bear delivers all the action and suspense you could ever want, but beyond that there is so much wisdom in everything he writes.  And so much humanity. In a world of pretenders, David Walks-As-Bear is the real thing.”

—-Steve Hamilton, author of Michigan ‘s Upper Peninsula, Alex McKnight mysterie s

If you have a question, please send us an email, located at the home page of: And, if you want to know more about David and his writing, go to: and punch in his name.  You’ll find much about him located there, including samples of his syndicated newspaper column, entitled: The Bear’s Den. Finally, regardless of how you got here, we’re very glad that you’ve arrived.

I >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> I : + : I <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< I

Book Reviews

The following reviews are on David’s newest book,

“Shamus Ghillie U.S. Secret Service


Western Fiction Review

The full title of this book is Shamus Ghillie U.S. Secret Service in Medicine Hat . It’s billed as the first in a series and I’ve been told there will definitely be two more at least and this also David Walks-As-Bear?s first western.

The opening scene is full of tension, even though you know the assassination can’t take place, and it’s here that the character of Ghillie grabs the reader’s attention, making you want to read more about him. As you do a fascinating tale unfolds, full of well-drawn characters, such as Lieutenant Johnson, a man who will ride with Ghillie through much of the book, a man who will struggle to understand, and trust, Ghillie.

The story moves fast and is told in a very easy to read style. David Walks-As-Bear slips in a number of lesser-known historical facts, such as the Indian story of the Canadian town of Seven Persons. There are also a number of real people too, including President Grant and Wild Bill Hickok, the latter is in the book only briefly and reveals a bit about Ghillie’s past.

All through the book the reader begins to believe they know who Ghillie is, but right at the end David Walks-As-Bear slips in a twist making the reader begin to wonder all over again, and hopefully makes the reader want to read the next book in the series to learn more about Shamus Ghillie and the horse he rides? I for one will be eagerly waiting for the next book.

I >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> I : + : I <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< I

Mystery Fiction Review

Shamus Ghillie meets General Grant on the occasion of the announcement of the end of the Civil War, just at the time he planned to kill the general. With his plans changed Ghillie disappears into the wilds of the west.
Later as President Grant finds a need for a man able to undertake a certain task, he sends for Ghillie. Ghillie’s employment must remain a secret and so must the job he is given to do.

Talented author David Walks-As-Bear has crafted a tale of the old west with a cast of interesting and fun characters who give the reader a look at the rough and tumble reality of that time. There is excitement, suspense and danger with a dash of romance blended into the mix for flavor.   This tale is recommended for any reader who enjoys the old west without stereotyped characters set in the rugged realism of the frontier. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as I did.

I >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> I : + : I <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< I

You Got to Read Review

Rating: You Want to Read

This is a good western/historic/thriller. I enjoyed reading this story. It was a reminder of the way things were as the whites were displacing the Indians. I was glad Shamus was always saving Charlotte. The story is well written, and the ideas spread throughout make it well worth the read. The characters were all well written, and I especially liked the interaction between Grant and Shamus. Also that Charlotte would fall in love with the wilderness man.

I >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> I : + : I <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< I

Midwest Book Review

Shamus Ghillie is an Irish/Choctaw Indian. He has led quite an interesting life, once as a Confederate solider; he planned to kill, U.S. Grant. However, the war was ending and he spared his life. Later on in time when Grant is President he needs the help of Shamus Ghillie to kill a very evil man, Tom Barter, who is causing trouble in the U.S.A. and Canada. His evil is done as his men disguise themselves as Indians to have the blame placed on them and cause trouble between the white man and the Indians. Grant knows that Shamus is an honorable man, one of courage, and one that he can trust. The only man who could do the job that needed doing. Shamus is also made the first secret service man for the government. What a great tale.

I truly enjoyed this story, one that kept me glued to the pages of the book from beginning to end. The author does an exceptional job of bringing Shamus to life in the mind’s eye. I liked Shamus, his integrity was to be admired and I liked the wisdom of life that the author gave to him. David-Walks-As-Bear brings a historical element to the story that I loved, the locals were so vivid and alive, as were the people and events. It truly felt as if you were walking through the wilderness, seeing the landscape through the eyes of the riders, and traveling the distance with them. The characters of the time were also well developed. Rough, tough cowboys, soldiers, evil desperadoes and hard working, God fearing settlers crisscrossed the pages of the book bringing the story alive and personal.

Romance is not forgotten as the author also brings into play a tender love between Shamus and a beautiful woman, Charlotte that wraps around your heart and is laced with both sadness and joy. This is a wonderful read. It flows smoothly, has a main character that is truly a hero in so many ways, and evil ones that you love to hate. It has action and depth and tells a story that perhaps is fiction but certainly has elements of reality threaded within its very core. Very well done, as usual a winner for David-Walks-As-Bear.  Recommended.

I >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> I : + : I <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< I

Best Reader Review

Website Contest Winner

Richard A. Gesiakowski, of Spring Lake, MI

This reviewer of MEDICINE HAT has won a character name in the upcoming third Ely Stone novel: WITIKU the Shape Shifter

I have been reading fiction, history, and mystery books for as long as I have known how to read. In all that time I have never read a western. I can honestly say I was not disappointed by David Walks-As-Bear’s western book Shamus Ghillie U.S. Secret Service in Medicine Hat. It was hard to put this book down once I started reading it.

Shamus Ghillie is a half-Choctaw Indian half-Irish elite ex-Confederate soldier/sometimes bounty hunter who finds himself being summoned by President Grant of the United States for a Secret Service mission into Canada. Shamus, his special horse Shiloh, and a green horn Lieutenant Keith Barent Johnson will be investigating the worst kind of human scum, sidewinder Tom Barter, notorious murderer, armed robber, and gang leader.

Shamus inner turmoil of not trusting government in general versus doing the right thing is an interesting sideline to the story. It is ironic that Shamus works for a government he does not trust, but this goes back to a man of character doing the right thing. Shamus has a simple outlook on life, which is, say what you mean and get on with it. Shamus is a hard as nails soldier that will need all of his elite training to accomplish his mission.
If you’re looking for adventure, suspense, with a realistic amount of history thrown in, or a book that you just can not put down I highly recommend David Walks-As-Bear’s Shamus Ghillie Medicine Hat.

I >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> I : + : I <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< I

Best Media Review

Website Contest Winner

Suzette Martinez Standring

Syndicated Columnist, GateHouse News Service

This reviewer of MEDICINE HAT has won a character name in the upcoming third Ely Stone novel: WITIKU the Shape Shifter?

This western rocks! The hero Shamus Ghillie fascinates as an ex-Confederate soldier and the almost-assassin of President Grant, who later calls on him to perform a secret mission. Ghillie possesses steely-eyed focus and uncanny ability.  The dialogue surprised me regarding the origin of many common phrases.  I soaked in historical facts as I rode along with the government’s first secret agent.  The story was by turns exciting, horrifying, tough and tender. I’m typically not a fan of the Western, by like Charlotte, Ghillie’s love interest; I couldn’t help but fall in love.

I >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> I : + : I <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< I

Reader’s Favorite - The Amazon Professional Review

Shamus Ghillie is Irish/Choctaw Indian, aka known as The Big One among the different tribes. He was a former Confederate soldier. At one time he planned to Kill General U.S. Grant. He never followed through. The Civil War is over and Grant has become President.

President Grant, sends an Army LT. out west to locate Ghillie and bring him to Washington. Ghillie was known as a skillful hunter. The American West was growing. Indians were being dispersed. A man known as Sidewinder Tom Barter is the head of a small gang that disguises themselves as Indians. They robbed the stagecoach raped the women and then murdered everyone. They also treaded the Indians blankets that were from diseased white folks. The infected tribe would die. The Government tried to capture Barter but he would escape across the border and reside in Canada where the army could reach him. This is why the President needed Ghillie.

Ghillie was the first secret service man for the Government. It was easy to get caught up in this book. The action is intense. The reader is there as Ghillie’s woman is kidnapped and as he acquires his horse Shiloh. This adventure captures the essence of the nation in the middle 1800′s.

I like the way the author brings history to life. This is a fictional novel but felt real. This was a great read! Young and old alike will enjoy reading about the west.

I >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> I : + : I <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< I

Reviews of David’s other books

Futures, Mystery & Anthology Magazine
Review by Stephanie Lynch

OLD MONEY The 3rd Ely Stone novel

October, 2006
by David Walks-As-Bear

Tribal Officer Ely Stone has a problem. The woman he loves is being standoffish and he is having some dreams that won’t leave him alone.  In David Walks-As-Bear’s second Ely Stone novel, you will be plunged headlong into a wild ride. You may even think that Mickey Spillane has been whispering in Walks-As-Bear’s ear.

Ely Stone hits the pages hard with the very first paragraph and doesn’t let up until the end. The dreams are from Ely’s ancestors and they want him to pay attention. Through this vehicle we are shown characters from the past who made things the way they are today. Ely Stone is called upon to be a warrior again, only this one takes him into the mysterious world of the Hawaiian magic.

If you enjoy hard-boiled characters who have hearts of gold and do what’s right no matter what the cost, then you will find this book an entertaining read. You can find plenty of history, mystery, romance and adventure to keep you engrossed and turning the pages.  So join Ely Stone as he looks for the lost writing of Mark Twain that could be a treasure map to a fortune. Hang on for a wild ride from snowy Michigan to warm Hawaiian waters as Ely chases mystery and a few women along the way.

I >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> I : + : I <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< I
Midwest Book Review
August, 2006
Shirley Johnson,
Senior Reviewer

I wonder how I can begin to describe this outstanding novel by David Walks-As-Bear.   Inside the covers of this book you will find Tribal Officer Ely Stone, a man with a heart of gold and a life of mystery and adventure, one that is about to embark on another spiritual journey to right the wrongs of the past.

Ely is on another case and you can be sure despite his regrets his ancestors are making known to him by dreams and visions that something must be corrected. We find Ely’s true love Nettie still at arms length and are introduced to some new found women friends who add just the right amount of spice to this work.

What does old money have to do with anything? Mark Twain seems to have left a famous writing which may well hold the secret to a fortune and lives will be lost and changed forever as the race is on to make sense of the mystery. Traveling with Ely in his mind we are privy to information that is revealed to him in dreams and vision as Ely struggles to make sense of the picture show that plays within him. We are taken from the past to the present, introduced to men of old who played a pivoted part in the present day affairs and we are favored to meet new characters with interesting personalities and see again those from previous works whom we have come to enjoy.

Let me say this, as with all of David’s books this one is no slacker. It is full of history, mystery, mysticism, adventure, romance and has a just plain down-right great storyline that keeps you glued to the pages from chapter to chapter. This book is well worth your time, a top-of-the-notch read that will entertain you in every area a good book should. Highly recommended!

I >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> I : + : I <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< I

Winner of the 2006 MWSA Distinguished Honor Award

Book Review: “The L.P.”
Military Writer?s Society of America
July, 2006
Reviewers: Bill McDonald & Joe Fabel ? MWSA Review Board


David Walks-As-Bear has done it again, showing off his talents as a creative novelist and master writer of the thriller genre. His newest book, “The L.P.” (Which is military lingo for a “listening post”.) is filled with tons of action and suspense dealing with the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The plot of this story is what makes this book so damn interesting and frightening as well. What the men in this unit over hear and learn about is so diabolical in nature and outright evil that they have to pass this information on to their superiors even if it may cost them their own lives attempting to deliver it.

The author mixes some great characterizations in with a well thought out and terrifying plot that makes an explosive mixture that entertains. He will have you completely hooked on the storyline within a short period of time and it will become difficult to set the book down to go to bed, or to eat, or to do anything until you finish his book.

The dialog is strongly written and the interaction between characters seems believable. The chemistry of the whole reading experience seems to work well. This book gets the MWSA’s HIGHEST BOOK RATING of FIVE STARS!   This book has my personal endorsement as a must read book!
B. McDonald
“The L.P.” Review by Joe Fabel ? MWSA Review Board

Yes, this story is fictional. Yet the author has researched using countless military personnel who ?were there, done that.? The facts of combat are evident throughout the telling.

The L. P. (or Listening Post) was a most important function of troops going into battle. It was truly the eyes and ears of the platoon, especially when ?in country? where the dangerously unknown was just over the hill or down by the river.

While countless scenes of battle are presented, a small group of ?grunts? are assigned to establish an LP in a large building. While ?clearing? the building, the men discover two Iraqi women hiding in the cellar. Upon questioning them, the ?Sarge? comes to believe that one has knowledge of impeding terrorists attacks planned for several countries around the world.

The mission now is to fight their way back to the friendly lines so the intelligence services can debrief the women. Many of the troops are wounded in the attempt. You must read the book. The story is exciting and full of action.

I >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> I : + : I <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< I

Military Writer?s Society of America
May, 2006
Reviewer: Bill McDonald, President.

A Mystery, Spy, Supernatural, Native-American, Spiritual Thriller!

Although, The Murmurings took me a while to read it was well spent time and it never lost my interest. Author and story-teller, David Walks-As-Bear, takes the reader into a world of the Pukaskwa Tribe in northern Michigan. He artfully weaves his Native American philosophy, the supernatural, and the spiritual into a masterfully told spy and mystery thriller. The wording and the phrasing is part of the joyful experience of reading the book. He carves out feelings, emotions and observations in his characters and moves us along on a story line that is full of action and suspense.

There are lots of bad guys, good guys, people who could be either, along with Chinese spies, Russian agents, Air Force operatives, and our hero a retired Coast Guard Officer who has to deal with making sense out of everything that happens. The action centers around what is on and what is going on Muskrat Island.

This book has more than just a great story and plot but offers up lots of insights on people, the environment, and how government agencies work and even a little insight into tribal affairs. I found myself absorbed with Ely Stone the hero and central focus of this tale. I could picture this book becoming an action movie. It has a most unique and unusual plot. This is original, creative thinking that is highly entertaining. It is a must read book. You will find yourself liking the hero of this book. One just wonders how much of the author’s own personality and that of Ely Stone are the same. David Walks-As-Bear has created an image of this hero that seems very much alive; like he could almost walk right off the pages into your house.

The Military Writer’s Society of America (MWSA) gives this book its TOP BOOK RATING of FIVE STARS!

I give this book my personal endorsement and highly recommend it for your reading pleasure. It may even, in its own odd way, inspire you and cause you to think.

I >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> I : + : I <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< I

“The L.P.” by David Walks-As-Bear
Book Review Cafe – March, 2005
Genre: thriller / adventure / historical fiction
January, 2005
Review Rating: Highest

I have to admit I groaned when I first saw this book. I wasn’t excited to read a military story that I was sure was filled with phrases and experiences I would never understand; however, once I began this book I could hardly put it down.

Set in Iraq during the 2003 invasion, we have an infantry squad that is given an assignment they will never forget. They set out to establish a Listening Post in a home on the outskirts of Baghdad and leading them is the newly promoted Sergeant Parker. Beginning their assignment Parker deals with constant fears of making mistakes as his men themselves wonder can he keep them safe. Only time will tell.

Finding two women in the home, the men soon find out they have stumbled upon knowledge of a sinister plan that they have to live to tell. The fate of the entire world lies in the balance and the safety of these women is paramount.

Unfortunately they are forced to hide in a wine cellar as the house fills with the enemy. Life and death decisions must be made and soon they learn the importance of unity and trust in one another if they are to live to see another day.

The author does a superb job in drawing you into the emotions and challenges that the characters are living and feeling. He brings to light the realization of the war that is being fought and the true reasons why. I was almost hypnotized by the raw emotions that were penned in this work and although fiction, it touched a core within me of respect and honor to those who put their life on the line daily for our liberty.

This is a read that I can truly recommend from my heart as one you should not miss, male or female, this story will stay in your thoughts forever. A storyline that is so vivid you will think, ‘Could this have really happened?’ Outstanding read.
I >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> I : + : I <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< I

The Grand Rapids Press, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Books News & Reviews Section
‘Iraq War Setting For Tense Adventure Story’
by John Messer, GRP reviewer
Sunday, January 02, 2005

David Davis, a local author who writes under his Shawnee tribal name, David Walks-As-Bear, makes a dramatic turn away from his usual American Indian themes in The L.P. (Publish America, $19.95) This tense story explores battlefield leadership and heroism during the coalition’s advance on Baghdad in the Iraq war.

Cpl. Ryan Parker is the only reservist among the five survivors of a 10-man infantry squad riding in a truck that is struck by a rocket. Suddenly, Ryan finds himself a sergeant commanding what remains of the squad manning a forward listening post in the ruins of a once palatial home.

The squad finds two young Iraqi women hiding in a concealed room, claiming to be the daughters of an Iraqi colonel with vital intelligence that must reach the coalition’s leaders at once. They say the intelligence is so important the woman are being hunted by an Iraqi commando team with orders to kill them on sight.

Ryan realizes the only way the squad can escape is to travel farther behind enemy lines before attempting to find an American unit. The squad’s harrowing challenges and surprising ending make a great adventure story.
Reading critiques of “The L.P.”

“…by far the best modern military thriller I’ve read this year. Quite good.”

“…change the terrain to jungle and the colors to O.D green and you have me, a 19 year-old buck sergeant in Viet Nam, circa 1970. This book captures the fear and emotions of youth in combat  just exactly as they are – a great thriller.”

“…as realistic of a portrayal of modern combat as you can get.  Excellent plot and storyline.”

I >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> I : + : I <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< I

“The Murmurings” Review by Cornelia Read, Author/Mysterious Press, April 11, 2005

One of the things my intrepid spouse and I enjoyed most at LCC El Paso was hanging out with author David Walks-As-Bear. This is a guy whose humor and conversation are of such fine, rare quality that you want not merely to savor but to outright *wallow* in the pleasure of his company.

He’s an old-school raconteur who’s seen a fair share of adventure in the Coast Guard, not to mention his work as a deputy sheriff and a game warden. If you try impressing on him how much he kicks butt in the anecdote department, however, he’s likely to drag a toe across the ground and say something like “telling stories is just what old fat Indians *do*…” before insisting he never would have tried his hand at books if his wife hadn’t cracked the whip and forced him into it.

I came home with a copy of his first novel, THE MURMURINGS, which I enjoyed a great deal. Inspired by the “real-life” disappearance of a U.S. Air Force F-89c jet fighter over the Great Lakes in late 1953, THE MURMURINGS charts the present-day exploits of cynical ex-”Coastie” Ely Stone. Hired by the Black River Pukaswa Band’s tribal council to oversee casino construction on a forbidding island in Lake Michigan, Stone is thrown into the heart of an international conflict as deadly as it is covert.

The book has some rough edges from an editorial standpoint, having been self-published through the 1stBooks Library branch of Author House. Despite this, THE MURMURINGS is a fine debut. It is in fact that rarest of finds, the true diamond in POD rough.

Ely Stone is a compelling protagonist richly endowed with both smarts and wit. Through him, David Walks-As-Bear nails voice, character, sense of place, and cultural insight in these pages, and I look forward to reading a great deal more of his work.

I >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> I : + : I <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< I

The Grand Rapids Press, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Book News
Tribal Investigator examines 50-Year Old Mystery?
by John Messer
August 24, 2003

Murmurings is a very ambitious first novel by West Michigan native David W. Davis, perhaps better known by his Shawnee name, Walks-As-Bear. He writes articles, columns and news pieces that appear in the local press and national magazines.

The story’s hero, Ely Stone, is the product of many of the same experiences as Walks-As-Bear. Stone, like the author, was raised in a traditional American Indian family and retired from the Coast Guard as a Chief Petty Officer after a career that included service as a special agent in intelligence and drug enforcement.  The book?s title derives from the Indian term, Se Se Kwa, meaning the whispering of the trees; recurring voices that resonate with the hero.

Walks-As-Bear’s experience as a deputy sheriff shows up when Stone is called upon to coordinate the tribe’s law enforcement with other police agencies. Similarly, the author’s upbringing and reverence for tribal customs is embedded in Stone’s character.  The story begins with Coast Guard veteran Stone being hired by the Black River Band of the Pukaskwa tribe to coordinate its plan to build an upscale casino on Muskrat Island, a rocky projection in Lake Michigan. The island was the scene of mysterious radar contacts in the early 1950s and the disappearance of the aircraft that was scrambled to intercept the unidentified intruder. A secret Air Force team and foreign intelligence services are competing to solve the riddle.  Stone’s position places him directly in the path of these lethal forces converging on the small island. The story’s abrupt and stunning conclusion equally affects Stone, the tribe and the reader. Walks-As-bear’s story provides one of an infinite number of possible explanations for a true event that was shrouded in secrecy for decades – the reader is left to ponder this and other possibilities.

Walks-As-Bear reports that he is working on another Ely Stone adventure; one that will involve Mark Twain. Given the author’s vivid imagination, this next yarn will be well worth the wait.

I >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> I : + : I <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< I

The Coast Guard Reservist Magazine,
Headquarters, USCG, Washington, D.C.
March/April 2003 Issue
Book Review

If you like mystery novels, check out ‘Murmurings, by Coast Guard Reservist PA3 Dave ?Walks-As-Bear? Davis. Coasties will enjoy Davis? occasional references to the Coast Guard, especially since protagonist Ely Stone is an ex-Coastie. When Stone takes a position as a special agent for the Pukaskwa Indian tribe, he gets more than he?s bargained for. There?s something sinister about Muskrat Island, and Stone is obstructing Air Force and Chinese agents plus a former Russian spy who are all after something on the island. Some of the language and content is directed to an adult audience. Davis is a private game warden and outdoor writer. His ambitious first novel is 600 pages and is available in paperback and hardcover at local bookstores, Barnes & Noble, via or directly from the publisher.
Reading critiques of “The Murmurings”

“…shades of Tony Hillerman, Steve Hamilton and Clive Cussler…”

“…I’ve only read several books in my lifetime where I actually thought ” I ” was in the protagonist’s head. This writer does the un-doable.”

“…fantastic. History that is interwoven with Native American spiritualism. Excellently done!”



Military Writers Society of America Interview
Author: David Walks-As-Bear

Books: Ely Stone novels: “Old Money”, “The Murmurings”. Other novels and books: “The L.P.”,
“How To Become A Swamp Creature”, “Mystery of The Medicine Pipe” and others in the works. Interviewer: W. H. McDonald ? President of the MWSA

W. H. “Bill” McDonald: David Walks-As-Bear is a Shawnee Indian and former president of the Native American Preservation Council. He is retired from a long career in the U.S. Coast Guard. He has worked as a reporter, a high school journalism teacher, a magazine staff writer, and a free lance photojournalist. He has also been a forest ranger in Alaska, a park ranger, a deputy sheriff and forest fire fighter among other jobs. David lives in Michigan and Hawaii with his family.

Q: First off I have to ask you about your book “The Murmurings” and how you got the ideas for that story? What was the inspiration?

A: Ah well, sir, there’s always the old adage, “Write what you know.” And, I guess that I know something about most of the stuff that’s in that tome. ‘Murmurings was my first novel, and for me, personally, if I were going to write a novel, then I would have to write it about something that interests me, hence the little mystery that’s in the Murmurings story, sir.

Q: How long did it take you to write that book? I have heard that you are looking at re-editing it to make it more compressed and easier to market ? what is that process like for you? I mean editing down your wonderful work seems like it could be painful for a creative story teller like yourself ? what brought this possibility to focus?

A: With the research, I scribbled it in about eight months, more or less. My wife ? who got me into the dumb novel-writing thing, kept saying that it was getting too long. But by then, I was wrapped-up in the tale and having way too much fun telling it, eh. I could also see the sequel and was laying the groundwork for that future book.

Creative storyteller? Well, okay, Bill. But this is the last one, sir ? I mean it. I can?t afford to keep paying you for complements ? I just can?t! All joking aside, ?The Murmurings? novel is indeed being re-edited. The man that?s working with me on it is a great guy and a well-known and highly respected editor ? a real pro. I know that the dumb book?s too long and I have no problem cutting it down. Really, my only angst comes from what I call the ?Tomato ? Tamah-toe? syndrome in any editing process. In essence it?s when what one person calls special and what another person calls mundane? come into question. In this instance, I think it?s like the dealer in a black jack game ? the writer should get the extra point, eh. If it?s just personal preference, then let the scribbler have it his or her way. I haven?t run into any problems with the guy that I?m working with on the ?Murmurings book, but I have seen it with other editors in the past.

Another thing that I have trouble with in regard to editing is the so-called ?accepted industry standard?, or whatever. When I scribbled ?The Murmurings?, I knew nothing about all this. So being a dumb Indian, I just wrote it the way it felt right to me ? writing the protagonist in the first-person present and writing the other characters in the 3rd ?person past. I hear that that?s a bit unorthodox. For me, I figure that if the story flows well ? who gives a rat? In a nutshell, I figure that editing is always a hard thing for any writer. So, I?m just a member of the group in this regard.

Q: From conversations with you, I detect something which is very rare now-a-days in writers and that is a lack of ego ? one could almost say you are very humble. Was that something you learned growing up in your family or through your culture?

A: Ah heck, I used to have one of those, sir. Nice little car, built in Serbia, I think. No wait ? that?s a Yugo ? not an ego. Okay, okay. I?ll quit goof?n.

I actually I do have an ego, and it?s a normal enough one. Probably what you see as having a lack of ego is actually? just confidence. I do know who and what I am. I?m pretty much aware of my abilities, capabilities and my many limitations ? and, more or less, I?m satisfied with it and them. That?s sure not to say that everyone else is. But, like Popeye says, ?I am what I am?, sir. So, maybe that?s what seems odd today ? I?m not sure. I don?t take myself too seriously because, well? there?s nothing too serious about me. And, it?s my opinion that there?s nothing too serious about anyone else either, so? there you are.

Q: It is not hard to see that your hero in your books Ely Stone bears a close resemblance to your own personality and appearance in some ways. Was this intentional or just a natural flow of creative energy from you? And are we going to see more Ely Stone novels coming out?

A: Just a part of that ?write what you know stuff?, I reckon. I had never written a large piece of fiction before, and it just seemed like the easiest way to go. So, it was intentional in that respect. But, when I wrote Murmurings, it was mostly just to get my wife off my back. She?s a retired librarian and was just positive that I could write a good book. Of course? she drinks a lot, too. (Just fun?n ?bout that.) She kept riding me to write a novel, and it was, and indeed still is, she who gives me the inspiration to scribble stuff. There were no creative writing classes in college, no snappy jobs writing ad jingles ? just an idea for a story and that?s it. I?ve never been in a writing group and don?t have anything but a journalism background in writing.

So, I had absolutely no clue about the writing or publishing world when I wrote the book. I just told the story ? period. I did have a blast doing it though. I?d always written for newspapers, magazines and military pubs before. So spinning a yarn like this was, and is, akin to old-time Indian storytelling for me. Whenever I speak somewhere about my writing, I always tell the audience that if this were 400 years ago, I?d be doing this orally, in front of a big fire, eh. So, if I had to nail it down, I?d call it the natural flow of writing energy, I guess.

And yep, there?ll be more Ely Stone novels. ?Old Money? is book two in the series and it just came out. I figure that I could write ten books in this series and then maybe another ten prequels. The protagonist had a 20-year career as a Coast Guard intelligence agent while simultaneously serving on a clandestine Defense Intelligence Agency team. So there?s plenty of fodder there for this dude, eh. Each book in the Ely Stone series is based on an old, but true, mystery, many, that somehow changed the course of the world. The next book in the series brings old Ely Stone back to Michigan and another eerie tale involving Indian mysticism. I have that tale? stuck in my fat noggin, too. It?ll be fun to pen.

Q: Your books lend themselves very clearly as good vehicles for an action film. Have you been offered anything along those lines or is your book agent still looking around for the right fit?

A: There?ve been people who?ve said that ?Murmurings would be a great film.  Honestly, I don?t see it, but heck ? what do I know? Now, I personally think that ?The L.P.? novel is an ideal candidate for a movie. It?s a thriller tale about the 2003 invasion of Iraq, so it?s topical as all get-out. The story is one that Uncle Sugar?s Soldier machine probably would get behind quick, too. The squad is from the 3rd Infantry Div ? that?s Audie Murphy?s old bunch, eh. So, there would probably be plenty of support from the Army; and due to the small cast, type of locations needed, props, etc, and it could be a very cheap flick to make.

But that?s probably what appeals to me most ? the fact that a good picture could be made from it inexpensively on a topic that?s in the news daily. So, that?s how I look at stuff. I always see the best for the least versus the biggest for the most. There had been a British film company sniffing around about ?The L.P.?, but we lost contact with one another when I had successive ankle surgeries on my Achilles tendon. ?The Murmurings? story? ? maybe? yeah, I guess. I?d sure go along with it if someone wanted to give it a shot.

Q: What was your time in the USCG like for you? You made it a career and even went into the reserves when you got out I believe ? so I would think that for the most part it must have suited you?

A: Actually, my whole career was as a reservist. I started out as a Civil Air Patrol cadet and then went into Army ROTC in college. The only place I seemed to excel was in military settings. And man, all I ever wanted to do was a fly a helicopter. I?d qualified for flight school and was Ft. Rucker-bound when it suddenly stopped. They said I couldn?t go because my blood pressure was too high for flight at that time. They wanted me to consider, instead? going Special Forces and I even had a slot at jump school all ready for me. Then I?d go to Ft. Benning. Even as a punk kid, I was incredulous because, I mean, geeze, if I could jump out of an aircraft then I should be able to fly the dumb thing, eh. But no amount of talking would change it because as you know, sir, military guidelines are military guidelines. I?d have to wait another year if I insisted on going to flight school. So, I got out of the program and went into the Coast Guard Reserve as a Direct Petty Officer. They?d let me be aircrew there, so what the heck.

Now, few people know this, but the whole US Coast Guard is smaller than the New York City Police Department. And yet, the service?s activities range all over the world. The CG has fought in every war that this country has been in, and was, in the beginning, the only Navy that we had. So, it?s the smallest branch of the armed forces and it used to be the most informal. Your brother would know that cause he?s an old Coastie, huh, sir? And heck, the CG Reserve is integrated with the active duty side nowadays. So, when you see a CG small boat or cutter, it?s probably manned by both reservist and active duty Coasties. Heck, actor Humphrey Bogart was a CG reservist in WWII and many famous others have served in this branch. So, I was always in good company ? past and present. Over my 20+years, I did a lot of stints of active duty ranging from 30 to 60 days at a pop. And yes, sir, I love the Coast Guard. It was a fun ride.

Q: What duty stations did you serve in while in the USCG? Was there any place that you liked best or would think about moving to some day?

A: Hawaii. Yep, the answer to that is positively Hawaii. Uh? did I mention that the answer is Hawaii? Because it is Hawaii. It?s absolutely Hawaii! Just saying the name Hawaii? makes my mouth water. I love that place. Hawaii is like one big Indian reservation, and I ain?t kid?n. Q: Your books bring out all kinds of what appears to be Native American philosophy. How much of that is passed down from your family and tribe histories and how much of that just your own personal outlook ? or are there any differences any more between the sources?

A: Hmm. How the heck are you camouflaging the Doctor of Psychiatry behind your name, anyway, Bill? That?s a shrink question ? if ever I heard one, sir.

I?ll try to answer a part of it, though. Although I?ve been to a lot of them, I didn?t grow up on a Rez. There basically are no Indian reservations in the South. Most all of the recognized Indian nations that used to inhabit those states were marched to the Indian Territories (Oklahoma) on the Trail of Tears. Those that didn?t do the hike, faded into the deep woods and hills. My people are their decedents. Just the same, the philosophy I hold is that of a Southern Hill Indian of Shawnee lineage – that?s the predominant strain – but there?s Choctaw, Cherokee and Blackfoot mixed in there, too.

I have ties to the East of the River Band of Shawnee in Ohio. As an aside, Author James Alexander Thom is married to a gal in this Band, eh. Anyway, I served a five-year hitch as president of the Native American Indian Preservation Council and during that time, I learned this most important fact ? ?Mitakuye Oyasin? ? we are all related. North American Indians are pretty much the same from band to band and nation to nation in regard to their philosophy and belief structure. An Indian outlook does dictate all of who I am and how I approach life. I may not wear fringed buckskin regularly, but I do at least an hour of prayer outside every day ? no matter where I am or what I?m doing ? that?s just the way it is. In an easy-to-explain nutshell, this philosophy means that? if I don?t see it in nature? then I?m not supposed to be doing it. Simply put, this American Indian philosophy is the predominant difference between right and wrong and I was taught this as a child and into adulthood. I, in turn, have taught it to my kids. Life experience has only added to and proven the validity of the process for me, sir. So, at this stage of the game, the two are irrevocably intermeshed within me.

Q: I have to ask about the PC of the term ?Native American? and ?American Indian.? I have seen you use the term ?American Indian? and I see all the newspapers and universities using ?Native American? as the standard. Does it make any difference to you or to others which is proper? Is this more a concern of non-Indians trying to be PC?

A: I get that question a lot, sir, most recently while in England from another writer in the audience. I wrote a column about this not long ago, and it was one of those that produced tons of comments. Let me know, and I?ll send it to you if you like? And nope, I almost always refer to all original peoples of this continent and myself as simply American Indians. I mean, as a generic term, that?s what we?ve always been. There is nothing wrong with being called a Native American, if you were born here. And, shoot Bill, I?m betting that you were slapped the very first time? right here in the good ole US of A. Ipso facto, you are a Native American. Sorry, but that?s a fact, and everyone? knows it. You may not be an American Indian, though, and therein lays the difference. The ?Native American? terminology started in earnest back in the 1990s when political correctness was at its Zenith. I don?t know who came up with the Native American moniker, but I?m laying odds that it wasn?t an Indian. Most of us refer to each other and ourselves as Indians and prefer that name overall. So, as far as most Indians are concerned, either saying fits. There are a small few, as there are in every group, which would indeed get offended at NOT being called by their politically correct name. All I can say is that I?m not one of them and neither are most Indians. It?s just too silly to contemplate further, sir. And that?s my take on the PC of the NA.

Q: Growing up did you have much contact with your tribe? Was there someone (an uncle, grandfather, an elder or just a neighbor) that added to your knowledge of your Indian heritage or gave you reasons to be proud of it?

A: Nope. Just traditions, carry-overs ? that kind of thing. And yeah, my uncles were strong passers of both honor and tradition. My oldest brother taught me about war and another taught me about hunting and still another taught me life circles. My mother and aunts lived wisdom that I will never fully comprehend, and my dad, as best as he could, taught me the balance between youth and manhood. Kotha (My father) spent WWII as a B.A.R. infantryman with the 314th of the 79th Infantry. He was a variation of the Pima, Ira Hayes; Indians, war and alcohol don?t mix. They never have and never will.

Q: How did you come by your name ?Walks-As-Bear?? Was this formally given to you or added like a nickname later on in life?

A: As is done with my people, a male elder gave it to me. My uncle named me Walks-As-Bear when I was little. We did no ceremonies when I was a kid. We were traveling back and forth between Michigan and Tennessee a lot. But I don?t think they would?ve done this anyway. That part of the culture had been dormant a long time. All five of my kids have gone through their naming ceremonies though. So, it?s kind?a like auto restoration, sir. You can always bring it back to what it once was.

Q: You have been married almost forever to your wife so how did that happen? Where did you meet each other and was it something that you thought would eventually end up in marriage? How long have you been married?

A: I don?t know. I?m still trying to figure out what I did wrong. (Just fun?n.) We met June 24, 1974 at the local drive-in theater. One of my buddies was working security there and had me set-up with this tall, lithe, stark-raving black-haired beauty named Carmel. And that?s what she looked like, too ? something so dangerously inviting and sweet, it seemed exotically sinful. And this chick wanted to go out with me! I was the envy of all the guys I ran with. So Saturday night comes and I?m there, hanging out, watching one of the Billy Jack flicks, waiting at the concession stand for Carmel to get off work. But there was something about this mousy little chick sitting at the cash register, ringing people up.

She had her light hair pulled back into a ponytail and had on a smock about five times too big for her. She couldn?t have been five-feet tall. To top it off, she was wearing a pair of those monstrous glasses that were popular back in the ?70s. She sure wasn?t too appealing, but man? there was something about her. So later, when my buddy came to tell me that Carmel was going to have to work about an hour later than normal, I asked him who the cashier girl was. He said that he didn?t know and that this was her first night on the job ? just hired – but she would get off in fifteen minutes. So, I asked him to ask her? if she wanted to meet me. He looked at me like I was nuts, asked why I wouldn?t just wait for Carmel and then, finally… just shrugged, and said okay. He stopped by the car a few minutes later and said that she had agreed to meet me at the back door of the concession stand. When she walked out the door, I thought I had crossed over into the next land. She was the prettiest thing I?d ever seen, the sweetest girl I?d ever known or imagined. She had this long golden brown hair and the brightest, most gorgeous gray eyes I?d ever seen on a two-legged. In a tenth of second I knew? just knew, eh. I knew innately that I would do any and everything I could to be with her from that point forward. Every single breath and thought I had involved her, and fortunately or unfortunately? it still does. We?ll be married 30 years September 4, 2006.

Q: You write about things supernatural, even about UFOs ? is this something that goes deeper within you or just something that comes out when you write? What do you really believe and accept about our present reality?

Okay, Bill. I may?ve been guessing before, but? you are a card-carrying member of the US Psychiatric Association, ain?t?chu? Hey, what?s with the white jacket? Why does it have all of those straps on it? That?s strange. Man, those sleeves are long, aren?t they.

Hmm. Well, probably, if you want to pick my id? we?ll have to do it over a beer or sarsaparilla sometime. I?d be more than happy to do that, sir, and would enjoy it, too. But some of my responses here could possibly lead to my incarceration in a padded room, and I can?t sleep on a pillow? know what I mean? So as to the writing, I just write what I feel and believe, whenever and however I can.

I do remember this though. One of the reviewers who called me for a follow-up on the review that they were writing on ?Murmurings was prior career military. This person said that they were retired from the US Army as an E-8 and wanted to ask? most of all? was that round ball the actual power source? They quickly added that they completely understood if I couldn?t say. They did understand the military?s take on some of these kinds of things. Sooooo, see?

Aw come?on, Bill. Thanks, but you can put that funny-looking jacket away, Bill. Really, I don?t want to wear it, okay???

Q: Do you have any personal heroes that have inspired you or help to motivate you? How about growing up?

Oh man, a lot of them. Personal heroes for me were both in-family and out. My grandmother, my mom, my brothers, my uncles and aunts ? almost all of them were heroes to me. Tecumseh, Crazy Horse and Chief Joseph, Black Elk and Sacagawea and a lot of other Indians were, and still are, idols of mine. Teddy Roosevelt was the greatest president, in my opinion, and Ronald Reagan was the best. George Patton was the greatest warrior of the 20th Century and Robert E. Lee was the best of the nineteenth.

But as ?crazy? at it seems to most guys, there has never been a hero of mine who was a sports star. I played football, but only because everyone else did. I could care less about any of that stuff and could not tell you who won last years? super bowl or World Series. I don?t chase little white golf balls, bowl or ski. So…

Hey, why are you interested in that funny-looking jacket again, Bill? We?re not through with this interview, yet? okay? Come on. Put it down, will ya.

Q: How hard was it for you to leave home and go into the USCG and be gone for such a long part of your life? What was that like for your parents?

I was married when I entered the service so my folks already had my old room re- painted, eh. Basic training was hard, being away from my wife and little one and home for the first time. But, you adjust. You know how that goes, sir. It?s like anything else, and my experience was, and still is, being mimicked by thousands of military folks every day. But, even for me back in the 1980s & 90s, I could usually get to a phone. Not so for you in ?Nam 20 years earlier, eh? And the poor guys in Korea and WWII only had mail. But jeeze, compare that to the people fighting in Iraq today. They can call home or instant message right from the dumb field. Being away in the service is never easy, especially when one is so young. But, it?s do-able and it builds character. You and millions of others are living proof of this, sir.

Q: You have done a variety of jobs in your lifetime including teaching high school. Was or is there any job that you really enjoyed best or one that you would still like to try?

I love flying most of all. In Alaska, we flew Beavers and Otters, old WWII vintage aircraft; they?re still the best bush planes in the world. We?d drop out of the sky and straight down into a tiny little puddle that was a high-alpine lake. We?d land, take care of business and then take-off again. I loved all of that. Military flying has always been the same way with me ? I loved it all. I was also romantically attached to my little water cop job when I had it, too. Like the game warden occupation that I have now, you have to be simple-minded to enjoy this kind of work. I?d sometimes get a road deputy assigned to ride with me in the boat for a special event and they?d be bored out of their mind. But heck, all I needed was to see a big bass jump by the boat and my whole day was made. In Alaska it was seeing whales and bears, and nowadays, it?s deer, otters, fox and the like that make my day. But I really enjoy the writing a lot. I write a weekly newspaper column called The Bear?s Den and I do some outdoor stories, too. That?s how I keep my hand in on the journalism side. But, by writing the novels and kid?s books, I get to play with the creative part of writing, and that, sir, has been the most fun here lately.

If I can ever get my ankle to work right again, I really want to get my helicopter endorsement. Being an old ?Slick? rider, you know that there?s a lot of footwork in flying a whirlybird, huh, sir? But, man? that would be something.

Q: When you write a novel, what is that process like for you? Do you write an outline of the story and then fill it in as your flesh it out ? or do you just begin at the first word and allow the story to unfold from your mind? Can you share what it is like to create one of your books with us? How long does it take to write your novels and what times of the days or night do you work on them?

No, I don?t write from any kind of an outline. I have the whole story stuck in my fat little head right between my pointy little ears. So, I just start researching while laying down the tale, interspacing the facts where needed as I go. Research is important to me. If I?m going to state it in a novel, then I want it to be accurate. Still, as I said before, I really have no idea what is proper and improper about writing a novel. I just tell a story ? period. I have learned stuff, but as to processes, I don?t know what to say. For me, it?s just getting the chance to sit back down and pound out the tale. So, honestly, I don?t have a clue. For me, it?s a burning desire to tell this story; that?s my impetus. I hope that folks will like it, but well, if they don?t, then they don?t. It?s what motivates me to write ? the need to say it and get it out of my head and onto paper.

I?m sure no Steven King as far as being driven goes, but I do understand his motivation and need to write. So, there is no special time or place. This goes back to when I was a kid and even after I got married. My wife would go to bed early, and often I?d sit up late writing a story long-hand. When it was done, I?d read it over, make changes and then read it again. When I was satisfied, I?d wad it up and toss it. I?d told the tale, as it were, and I was done. My wife would find it the next morning. She?d straighten it out and save it, saying that it was good and that we were going to do something with it some day. This happened over and over again. We never did anything with those stories, but there you go. Right now, I have ideas for five novels kicking around in my head. So, that?s the ?why? I write, I guess.

As to the when and where, well, I can and will scribble anywhere an opportunity presents itself. Now, since I?m not doing this full-time, it means that I have to do other things to keep the heat on and the ice box from echoing. It sometimes drives me nuts when I can?t get back to writing a story, but shoot, everybody has a little rain falling in their world, know what I mean? So, in essence, I just write the book whenever I can. When I?m finished, I go back through, adding and subtracting here and there, and then we do the edit. I go through the whole thing once again, and when I figure it?s as good as it?ll get, I ship it to the publisher. Then, they and I will work on the thing if they figure it needs it. For what it?s worth, that, sir, is more or less the process for me.

Q: If you could pass along some wisdom to others in life what would you like to tell them? Is there something that you have learned from all your life experiences or have read that you feel is worth sharing?

Fight selfishness all of the time and everywhere in your personal being. It is absolutely the worst thing in the world and the number one sin. Selfishness is the Great Evil One?s best and foremost weapon against two-leggeds (humans). Everything else ? greed, lust, theft, murder, adultery, envy ? all of them ? work off selfishness. You have to have selfishness before any of the others can even come into play. So, you can spend your whole life fighting each of these individual battles, or just kick the @#^%! out of selfishness in your personal world. If you win this daily battle ? then you win the whole dumb war here on our Earth Mother. You will have balance, and that, in turn, will bring you harmony. This is an American Indian philosophy and it necessitates always doing what is right ? no matter what.

If you can?t figure out what is right and what is wrong, then pray! Don?t ask someone ? pray. That?s your job, not someone else?s. You?ll get an answer, and it?ll be as clear as a sunny day? as long as you take selfishness out of the formula before you apply it. Now mind you, the odds are good that you won?t like the answer, but? it?ll be there, just the same. If you take it and apply it to your dilemma, regardless of the pain, anguish and possible sorrow, then? things will be okay. The Creator will cover you ? He always does.

There is an old Shawnee question that each one of my five kids could answer in a heartbeat today. It goes like this: You are walking a trace (trail) and suddenly, it ?Y?s off in two directions. One way is level, clear, easy walking and appears well-traveled. The other way is up-hill, difficult-walking, rock and vine covered and disused. Which way do you go? The answer that my kids would give is the automatic. You take the hard path, the perilous trace going uphill. You do this because the right way? is never the easy way. In a nutshell, that?s what I?ve learned from life, sir. But I think that you?ll be hard-pressed to find it written anywhere.

Q: What is your next novel going to be like? Have you started it yet and when, if you have, is it due to be out?

Well, ?Old Money? just came out March 31st, 2006. It?s the sequel to ?The Murmurings.? Reviews are still pending, so I have no idea if folks will like it. But I did have a blast writing it, and that?s no lie; I just wanted to tell this story. There is a little thing going on in this book called, Neyap Zhyan Meshomas, (Visiting with the Grandfathers) It?s kind of an Indian form of time-travel. Overall, there?s a lot of spiritualism and mysticism mixed with modern-day terrorists, Confederate Navy Civil War history and an old, but true, mystery. So, there you go.

The next little tome is a science fiction thriller based on a murky, but possibly true, story. I started the basics on it a year ago. The book will be entitled ?No Green Card? and will be out in 2007. I did a lot of the preliminary research, scribbled the prologue and set it aside. I did the same thing at about the same time; with a little ?old west? thriller I?m going the scratch out, too. That one will be called ?Place of the Fate Spirit.?

So right now, I already have the story pounding in my head for ?No Green Card? ? I just need the opportunity to write it. I had to finish ?Old Money? and get it out. Now, I have to edit ?The Murmurings? novel and tour for ?Old Money?. So, I?LL NEVER GET TO IT! That?s just the way it feels, but I know that I?ll eventually get to write it.

Q: Any advice for new writers and someone working on their first novel or story?

Write what you feel and feel what you write. I know that this sounds corny, but in my opinion, it?s fact. Don?t write a story for somebody else while you?re writing it. You can decide what it?s going to be and who are the target audience and market. Then research and outline or whatever your process is. But once you start, write the story for you ? not anyone else. Writing is a tough way to make a living and that?s a truism. Odds are better that you?ll win the lottery than become successful at this game. So, if you don?t go into it thinking that you?ll be some big-time writer, then maybe you can enjoy what it is that you?re doing. Authors are no different than anybody else. There?s nothing special about them even if they?re at the top of the number one best seller list.

People are just like cars. A Ferrari may be worth a lot of money, but when everything is said and done, it?s really no different than a Ford Escort. It?s just a car. Now there are exceptions to everything. I once met and shook Bob Hope?s hand. I respected and admired that man immensely. But I can?t say the same about many actors out there today ? regardless of how much money they make or how good everyone says that their movies are. For the most part, you have to do something significant to warrant any adulation. I look at authors the same way. We?re just two-leggeds ? nothing special ? writing stories. So, I guess that I?d pass that on. Folks shouldn?t get above their raising with this writing stuff. Have a good time telling the story, and do what you can to see that others read it when you?re done. Even if it doesn?t get picked up right away and become a NY Times best-seller, keep at it if you?ve a mind to. But, ultimately, be satisfied with telling the story that you wanted to tell.

Q: You talk a lot about spiritual things and God in your books. Are those thoughts expressed in your books close to how you feel about life, the universe and God? Do you have a formal belief system or is your spiritual search more a personal one?

Well, I can and will state this one for the record. There is a God ? there always has been and there always will be. And equally, there is, and always has been, His counterpart,  too. American Indians were the easiest race on Earth to cross over to Christianity because the belief system is so similar. For Indians, God is called different versions of the same thing, all equaling the same deity. In essence, He is known as the Great Mystery, the Creator and the Great Good Spirit. Funny how that?s similar to the? Father, Son and Holy Ghost? isn?t it?

And I know this for absolute fact also. Barring those that are, or were, tetched-in-the-head? there has never, ever? anywhere, at any time in history? been a true two-legged atheist ? period. Sorry, but that there? is fact.

In answer to the second part of your question, Uh, huh, my belief system is very formal for a Kispoko Shawnee. It is suffused with my Pentecostal church attendance as a kid and adult. On a different note and in the same vein, suffice to say that I know what I know and that it?s not my fault that I know it. When I was younger, I used to think there was something wrong with me. But, eventually, the Creator clarified this, and I?m 4-0 now. In the Shawnee tongue, there is a name for that of which I speak. And if we ever have that beverage together, and you still want to know, I?ll tell you about it.

Why do you keep looking at that funny-looking jacket, Bill? I really don?t want to wear that, okay? It?d be too confining for me. Thanks, anyway, but you can put it down now, all right?

Q: Do you get contacted by people who have read your stories and given any feedback? What is that like to have someone asking about your books? Does it surprise you sometimes about what readers sometimes focus on in your stories?

Oh yeah. Sure. And mostly, it?s fun. I really haven?t gotten any negative feed-back thus far. But then again, maybe the Old Money book is going to garner that ? I haven?t a clue. I never know until the story is read and reviewed. I usually have some pre-readings of the book before it gets published, but there wasn?t time on this one. So, who knows? In the Ely Stone series, I am absolutely telling it as it is. My life experience has been that often folks may actually agree with a moral premise? but political correctness is so ingrained within their world that they have a rough time disassociating it from reality. So, I guess we?ll see, sir. And sure, sometimes I am surprised. I was down-right dumbfounded to learn that colleges were using “Murmurings” as a spiritual reading assignment. And, I?m always amazed when folks say that they felt like they were right there? in the story… while reading it. One of the comments I get a lot from readers of “Murmurings” is that they never understood the ?warrior? concept before reading this book. They?re making this comment not only in regard to Indian warriors but to military warriors overall. So, since few civilians really have clue what this unique phenomenon is, I guess maybe I did something right there.

The other part in answer to your question is this. What any two-legged is supposed to do here on Mother Earth is help others whenever they can. It?s in the job description ? check it out. So, when I can hold the door for someone, stop or alleviate someone?s pain, pass-on any info that helps, etc? well, then I?m working as We’she manito (God) intends. That?s my job as a human, and heck man, I want to stay employed, eh. So, yeah, a lot of people do contact me on the novels and the newspaper columns and stories. And I always respond. I both get and give feed-back, and we all learn stuff. For a beat-up old redskin, that?s a win-win scenario, sir.

Q: Is there anything about yourself that you would like to share that is not known about  you on your website or book jackets? Is there some part of you that you choose to remain hidden from public view?

In spite of all of the evidence? I am not as dumb as I look, sound or as people may tell you that I am.

Q: Any last comments or remarks that you wish to address that perhaps I did not cover?

Geeze, Bill, you have enough here already for your next research paper on Indian mental health problems, so I can add little. I do hope that the guys at the hospital like my answers. And really, you can put down the jacket, sir. It?s too small for me anyway? all right?

In all seriousness, I will say this though, William. This has been one of the best interviews that I?ve participated in. You ask some very unique, deep and relevant questions? queries not usually asked by an interviewer of a writer. Nice job, sir. I enjoyed this. Megwetch (Thanks).

Closing comments from Bill: On a personal note David, you have impressed me in many ways and I know it was never your intention to do so. Your gift for story telling is almost spiritual. I wish you well with your future books and creative projects. May the Great Spirit be with you my friend!

Ah, and may the Great Mystery grant you balance and harmony, too, sir.  Paselo.

I >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> X >>> I : + : I <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< X <<< I

The Book Review Cafe’
February, 2005. Interview with David Walks-As-Bear on his novel: “The L.P.”
by Shirley P. Johnson

-SPJ: How did you come up with your storyline for the L.P.?

-David: That one?s easy enough, ma?am. ?L.P.? is an abbreviation for the words: listening post. It?s a term used by both the US Army and US Marine Corp. The military does love their acronyms, eh. Usually in an infantry war, there are two distinct lines between the sides whenever an attack isn?t going on. The area between these lines is called: ?No-Man?s-Land?. Often, both sides will send small squads of infantry, equipped with a field phone, out into this no man?s land. That?s a picture of an army TA-838 field phone on the cover. The squad is there to monitor what the other side is doing during this lull in the fighting. It?s a spooky place to be for an infantryman because what happened in the book (getting caught behind enemy lines), can easily happen in real warfare. Anyway, I had the idea for this little story about a L.P. squad that gets trapped behind enemy lines and what they actually? hear. So, that?s the notion for The L.P.

-SPJ: Please tell us how you came up with the characters. Are they fashioned after people you know?

-David: Oh, sure. You bet. Especially on the military side, eh. While in college, I spent some time in the Army and these characters are directly related to men that I knew and trained under and with. I?ve also spent 22 years as a Coast Guard Reserve photojournalist. In that capacity I?ve worked with all branches of the military. So, I?ve known a lot of Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, Marines and Coasties, too. There?s a spattering of all of these guys in The L.P. characters. Anyone who?s prior service will probably recognize them. The women and the Iraqi Army characters are very similar to folks that I?ve met or known over the years from that particular neck of the ?world? woods, eh.

-SPJ: What made you decide to write this book?

-David: Boy, I don?t know, ma?am. I wanted to recognize the valor of America?s fighting forces, especially those that are fighting overseas now. Perhaps you noticed that The L.P. does not support or condemn the Iraqi War. That?s because, to those that are fighting it, it?s all about the job that they?re doing and their fellow warriors. There is no blatant heroism or hoop la going on in the novel. The plot is fast moving and realistic, but, in addition to that, it contains facts about what it?s like in modern combat over in the Middle East. Remember, everyone that?s in the U.S. military today is a volunteer – from the Reservists and National Guardsman to the Active Duty. Nobody is there that didn?t sign up for it. And many of them re-enlist when they get the chance. So, in my opinion, this generation is going to be great, too. I guess I wanted to covey that when I wrote the The L.P.

-SPJ: What, if any reaction did you receive after your decision to write this book?

-David: Well, those people who had read The Murmurings seemed disappointed to learn that Ely Stone wasn?t going to be in The L.P. His character was central to that story and the readers seemed to really connect with him. But then, I figure that those folks will get enough of him in the next installment. Other people, that just wanted to read a good story, were quite interested in The L.P. I think it?s because of the topical subject, and/or, they liked my first novel for the story appeal. The feedback has all been good on the book so far, and both men and women seem to like The L.P. It seems to be that way with ?Murmurings?, too, so I?m happy about that.

?SPJ: How long did it take you to complete your book?

-David: Boy, now you?re gonna get me into trouble, ma?am. I?ve been advised by my writing bosses to be non-committal on this question because folks may not want to read it if they know how long it took to write. But I really can?t fathom why. You either like what I write or you don?t ? it?s that simple, I figure. I usually have the whole story inside my fat little head, right in between my pointy little ears. So, putting it down on paper isn?t a big deal, eh. In the case of The L.P., it?s not a long story. My first novel, The Murmurings, ran 582 pages. It took me 11 months to write that book. Because it?s the first in a series of true mysteries that feature world-changing events, it took a little longer. There?s a ton of research in one of the Ely Stone novels and digging up old and hard-to-find facts takes awhile. The L.P. on the other hand, is only 245 pages ? all told ? and it?s very current. The research for it was a snap. So, from research to laying it out, I put it to paper in about two-and-a-half months.

-SPJ: What was the most difficult part in writing your work?

-David: Oh, I reckon just finding the time to write, edit and finish it. Like most writers, I work a full-time job in addition to scribbling. I?m married and still have kids at home. So, fitting it into the schedule is tough sometimes.

SPJ: What was the most enjoyable?

-David: Oh, this one?s easy, ma?am. Just telling the story.
That?s what fat, old Indians do, eh ? they tell stories. I?m having a blast writing fiction, and if folks like what I scribble, then heck, that?s even better. I just tell a story. I work as a game warden and I used to hunt and fish a lot. Anymore though, I hunt hunters and fish for anglers during all of these seasons. And the only other thing that really trips my wire is flying helicopters. I don?t get to do that very much anymore so; writing has become my primary hobby. I keep my hand in journalism by writing a weekly column for a newspaper, but it?s a close match as to which is more fun for me – writing fiction or flying. So, there you go. The bottom line is I?m just a storyteller, telling a tale. If folks like it, then that?s really neat. If they don?t, then that?s alright, too. I enjoy the research and weaving the yarn. So, just telling the story is the most enjoyable for me.

-SPJ: Tell us, did you find it difficult to find a publisher and if so what did you do to remedy that?

-David: No, ma?am. The first one I sent The L.P. to, picked it up, so I really wouldn?t know how it would have been received elsewhere. I had to sign a seven year contract with them, but that didn?t include film rights. Apparently, a British company has inquired about the book for a film, so we?ll see, eh. When I got this notion for The L.P., I was already deep into research and preliminary writing for the ?Murmurings? sequel, a book entitled, Old Money. I saw the whole L.P. story in my head and thought it?d make a neat little book. It wouldn?t take long to write and it was easy to research. So, I quickly wrote up a query and shot it off to the first publisher that came up on Google. They accepted – and that was that.

-SPJ: What advice would you give to authors who are looking for a publisher?

-David: Geeze, ma?am. I?m not sure how to answer this one. Since the first book, I?ve talked to a lot of authors, both published and unpublished. Some of them are very big authors but most are on the small side. The one thing they all have in common is the game. So, I always say to unpublished writers is that they have to understand the game. Writing, be it fiction or news, is a lot of work. And it doesn?t end when your manuscript is accepted. Being an author is not anywhere near as glamorous as most folks think. Everybody still puts their pants on the same way, know what I mean? And if writing is just a job to you, or if that is what it turns into, then you will have problems maintaining ? no matter what. I?ll grant that just finding a publisher is a major hurdle, but it will absolutely not be the hardest one in the writing game. Just having a book published is only a third of the battle. In addition to a myriad of other things, authors have to promote, too. It?s a solid fact of their lives. So, my advice would be to do the submissions, and if you keep getting turned down, consider a vanity press. Get the book out there, follow the routine of signings, reviews and appearances and see if what you?ve written is marketable. If it is, and you still like ?all of the game?, then write something else and have at her again.

-SPJ: If you could speak directly to publishers, what would you tell them?

-David: Boy. I?d tell them what they already know – and that?s that they?re missing some really good and profitable writers in their slush piles. They know this and yet, they don?t seem to be finding a solution.
I know that publishing houses are in business to make money. They know it, too. So, what I don?t understand is why they aren?t more creative in their money-making routine, eh. I mean, they buy a new computer when theirs is obsolete, so why don?t they change methods when theirs is archaic? As an example, consider this one, ma?am. There are literally thousands of people out there that would read MSs from a publisher?s slush pile for free or almost free, anyhow. These would be people that the publishers could know and trust. If they got a good heads-up on a book from one of them, then they should send that manuscript to another of their reading group and, etc, etc. If the reports kept coming back positive, then they would know that they had something, eh. This would probably require them hiring one person for their house just to predominantly manage this routine. And while that may be expensive, so is the new computer. Yet, most publishers stay with the same old archaic ritual. Now that said, fairness dictates that there?s always the other side of the coin, too. I really have no idea how their game goes and I haven?t walked a mile in their shoes. I?d have to guess that they?ve already pondered similar thoughts, eh. But as it stands and if asked, I?d tell them to be more innovative, especially in regard to their slush piles.

-SPJ: Do you have an agent? A publicist? How important do you think this is to a writer?

-David: Yes, ma?am. I?m working with an agent on the Ely Stone Mystery Series now. And I do indeed have a publicist. When The Murmurings came out, I?d just planned a few book signings and that was about all. Then the reviews hit and they were all pretty good. Suddenly, I had invites to speak and appear all over the place, from keynote speaker at an international symposium to being on TV/radio programs and the like. And everyone wanted biography stuff, book synopsis, pictures? all kinds of things. I wasn?t ready for all of that. I work a full-time job and have a family with all of those responsibilities, too. And the publicity side didn?t go away, either. I?d just catch up on stuff then I?d have another ten requests. So, I finally hooked-up with a publicist and boy, was she ever a lifesaver. If you?re working a job and have a family and intend to write novels professionally, I think you really need a publicist. And even if you?re set financially, unless you know the publicity and PR game, you probably still need a publicist. Before I began writing fiction, I had a pretty extensive journalism background. So, I know what the game is there – the ins and outs, so to speak. But I knew nothing about the fiction writing game. Similarly, unless you have a vast background in this area, I think you need an agent, as well. They know what?s-what and just like anywhere else in life, knowing that? is paramount.

-SPJ: How important do you think it is to have reviews of your work and how did you go about accomplishing this?

-David: Oh, very important. A lot more so than I would?ve ever thought. I personally judge my own interest in a book by what is said in the synopsis and how it reads in a general perusal. So, I was surprised to learn that some readers will buy a book based solely on the reviews alone. One out of four book signings that I?ve done, I?ve had at least one person ask: ?Are there any reviews on this book?? They then indicate that they seldom buy a book until they?ve read the reviews. So, there?s that. Reviews are pretty important for almost all of the book?s promotion, too, since most of the media rely on previous reviews for background in their stories. So, there you go. In my situation, my publicist usually gives me a smaller list of potential reviewers to contact and she does the bulk of the connecting. But like I said, as the writer, I still have my part to do in the promotion process, and heck, I enjoy it. Being the author doesn?t alleviate your publicity chore ? it actually enhances it.

-PJ: How much promoting do you do? Any tips for other authors?

-David: Well, in conjunction with my publicist, I guess a fair amount. I?ve only been at fiction writing for a couple of years and in that amount of time, the promotion process has grown considerably, exponentially so, as the books have become better-known. As an example, consider this. One of the first critique reviews that I received on The Murmurings said that as a writer, I exhibit shades of Tony Hillerman, Clive Cussler and Steve Hamiliton. I recognized the first two guys but had never heard of Steve Hamiliton. So, I researched and contacted him, he read my book, I read his and we became friends. Last September, I was looking at his schedule and saw that he was going to be at Bouchercon and there was a web address for it. I?d never heard of Bouchercon, so, I sent an email to inquire about it. Shortly thereafter, I was contacted by them and invited to be a panelist at the event – Bouchercon 2004. This is the World International Mystery Writers Convention. I accepted and had a great time meeting all of these authors from all over the States and the world. And obviously, my stuff was being promoted in the process, eh. In February, I?ll be appearing at the ?Love Is Murder? writer?s conference in Chicago and at ?Left Coast Crime? in El Paso. So, promotion is very important, in my opinion. And author appearances are part and parcel of that. Libraries are one of the very best places for an author to visit. They are filled with reading groups that just love to find new authors to read and hear about. Libraries are some of my favorite places to appear. They get to learn about you and you in turn, get to learn what readers like and dislike, etc. I highly recommend them.

-SPJ: Do you belong to a writer’s group?

-David: No, ma?am. Although I?ve spoken to several, I?ve never belonged to one.

-SPJ: What has writing this work done for you and what do you hope it will do for your readers? What do you hope they will take away with them after reading your work?

-David: Well, on a personal level, I got to tell the story, eh, and that was big-time fun for me. But as to other stuff, I hope that folks take away a different perspective on how those in the Middle East view the United States and Americans. The notion I put forth in The L.P. is much different than that espoused by the nightly TV talking heads, those in our government and the newspapers, eh. The media mantra always seems to be that Middle Easterners hate Americans because they despise us our liberty. The book makes a different argument stating that Middle Easterners dislike us not because we have liberty, but rather, because of what we are doing with that liberty, eh. I hope that readers take away that concept.

-SPJ: How supportive was your family in your writing experience and how important do you think this is to a writer?

-David: My family is very supportive, and it?s my domestic boss that does all of the final editing for my books. In fact, if not for her, I wouldn?t be writing fiction. A retired librarian, she has always pushed me to write. So good, bad or in between, any of the stuff I scribble is directly related to her involvement and encouragement. I have five kids and only the last two girls are left at home. All five of them are somehow into the arts and are very supportive. Like I said, writing is a lot of work, and it takes time and effort away from other things, eh. So I get all of the propping up I need from them. If you?re serious about writing, you have to have this support.

-SPJ: Do you have any other works in progress? If so in what genre and when will they be released?

-David: Yes, ma?am. Old Money is the next Ely Stone Mystery and it?s due out this year. I?m working with an agent on The Murmurings which at present is being re-edited. I?ve also done some preliminary research for a sequel to The L.P. And I?m playing with a notion for a series of Young Adult books. So, we?ll see what happens, eh.

-SPJ: How many hours a day do you write?

-David: Boy that depends. Since I already have the story in my head, I approach it like I?ve always approached a news story. If I know my deadline and have gathered my research, then I?ll just plug away at it here and there with no specific amount of time, day or writing period allocated. On the other hand, if I?m really into the story, then I?ll lay into it every chance I get ? that?s just the way it works for me.

-SPJ: Is there a special place that you write, one that inspires you? Has there been a special person who inspired you to write?

-David: As to a special place, I really love writing in Hawaii. I feel closer to God there than anyplace I?ve ever been. But anywhere that I can look up and outside to see woods, nature and the Great Good Spirit?s design works for me, ma?am. I do get involved in the storyline. I put on some classic rock oldies or Indian flute music and lock myself away from this world and get into that of the story?s. Serenity is important, I reckon. In addition, I?d have to say it?s The Great Good Spirit?s people and creations that have motivated me to write throughout my life, eh. In regard to a special person?s inspiration well, that would be my wife. I?ve known some excellent folks and seen some fantastic miracles in my time thus far and she embodies both of these things for me. I?m not anywhere near as prolific as a guy like Steven King, but I do like to write. As a kid, I often won writing contests in school. And some 28 years ago, when we were first married, I?d get a story idea in my head and stay up all night writing it long hand. Once I?d told the story, I was done. My wife would find it in the trash the next morning, un-wad it and straighten it out, saying, ?This is good. We?re going to do something with this.? Well, we never did. But she?s harped on me all of these years until I finally wrote a novel. I doubt you could get any more inspiration than that, eh.

-SPJ: -Has having a book published changed your life in anyway and if so please share that with us.

-David: Well, I?ve gotten busier. When my hobby was just hunting and fishing, I spent a lot less time at it than this, know what I mean? I have made a couple of bucks, which to me, equates to eating the deer I used to hunt, eh. So, overall, other than a feeling of accomplishment and a good feeling about folks liking what I write, I doubt that it?s changed my life much.

-SPJ: Where do you hope your writing career will be in 3 years and what are you doing to achieve that goal. -David: Oh, shoot, I don?t know, ma?am. I?d be happy if I could write full-time. I really like it, and everything that goes along with it. If I could make a moderate living writing, then I?d do it and be happy, eh. But, I?m a realist and don?t know if that will ever come to pass. Maybe, and maybe not, too. Time will tell, I reckon. So, for now, if I can just keep writing and keep having folks enjoy the read, then I?ll be satisfied. If either of those things doesn?t come to pass, then three years or thirty – it wouldn?t matter much, eh.

-SPJ: A question a little off the beaten track, do you read and if so what genre is your favorite?

-David: Oh yeah, I read a lot. I like mysteries, thrillers and good war stories. But I?ll read just about anything if it strikes my fancy, eh.

-SPJ: Would you tell us a little about yourself, outside of being a published author?

-David: Not too much to tell, ma?am. I?m a Shawnee Indian and live that daily. I?m married to a great girl and we?re coming up on that 30 year mark. We have five healthy and happy kids and I?m a licensed private investigator and security agent, specializing in conservation and game warden work. I?ve been in either law enforcement, military or journalism work for most of my life. I?ve been to a lot of places and have seen, or been privy to, a lot in my life ? more so, I?ve learned, than the average person. I love flying, old muscle cars and traveling and I especially love the Big Island of Hawaii. Other than the writing ? that?s about all there is to me, eh.

-SPJ: Please use this space for anything you would like to share with our readers concerning publishing, writing or your publishing experience in general.

-David: Heck ma?am, I?ve already used more than the space allocated to me for this interview.  Thank you for your time and your questions.