Tuesday, January 8, 2013




Author Doug Dillon's Bio





The Early Years
Up until age fifteen, I had no permanent home. No, I wasn’t actually homeless. My dad served as an officer in the U.S. Air Force which meant my mom and I moved with him to new assignments on a regular basis. I lived in many different states and even spent three years in Germany.



High School Days
When my dad finally retired from the military, we took up residence in Central Florida. Besides attending Winter Park High School, I hunted snakes on weekends and sold them to Gatorland  south of Orlando. One time when I captured a live alligator, my parents finally drew the line. They told me in no uncertain terms to take the thing back to the lake where I found him. Even though the gator was small, I later had to admit that grabbing him in the first place was not one of the smartest things I had ever done.



College and Career
Never having been a great student, I surprised myself by earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida  and then a master’s from Rollins College. Those little pieces of paper led to many years of working in the public schools of Central Florida, quite a few of which I spent in middle and high school classrooms. For a good chunk of time, I also worked in the administrative division of Orange County Public Schools. This included serving as the Director of Staff Development & Volunteer Services. The most difficult yet rewarding part of my career in education was working with high risk students in Orange County’s SAFE Program.
After retirement from public school work, I administered projects for the Community Service Center of South Orange County. That position gave me the opportunity to do community outreach, create an anger management program for young people and to work with other wonderful nonprofit organizations like Goodwill Industries.


Writing and Family

I didn’t start writing for publication until the early 1980’s when my wife Barbara and I published our nonfiction book titled, An Explosion of Being: An American Family’s Journey into the Psychic. Later on, I wrote mostly for Boys’ Life magazine, the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling, and Mitchell Lane Publishers.
Ideas for the development of The St. Augustine Trilogy began in 2004.
I have three adult children, Nicole, Greg and Fred. Somehow they all survived having me as a father and for that I am most thankful.



Currently
A number of years ago I established a regular practice of meditation that has continually given me great peace of mind. I’m able to deepen that practice by participating in activities of the Orlando Insight Meditation Group like taking classes and going on meditation retreats.
One last thing. My current community service project is volunteering for Hospice of the Comforter. The hospice organizations around the world do wonderful work with the dying and their families, so let me recommend them to you as terrific places to express your compassion and your humanity either through donations or volunteer assistance. Note: Hospice organizations often take teens as volunteers.


Copyright © 2011 Doug Dillon. All rights reserved

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Review

I’m pretty hard to please with Young Adult paranormal books, but this one was very good.
This is the story of 15-year old Jeff Golden discovering, accepting, and learning to use his psychic powers with the assistance of a shaman named Lobo and his friend, Carla Rodriguez.  In the beginning of the story he is plagued by nightmares that keep him from sleeping at night.  He shares this with Carla who  introduces him to Lobo.  Jeff learns about the supernatural cause of these nightmares and the three characters go on a paranormal adventure to a historic battle to deal with it.  The battle isn’t fictional, and the obvious research that Dillon used in his descriptions of that conflict and its participants is impressive. 

Jeff is a likeable character, a typical teenage boy trying to do the right thing but resisting every inch of the way for most of the story.  He learns many things in the course of the story.  One is that he can control his reactions to things that happen in his life - a valuable lesson for anyone to learn.

Carla is also very good character.  She is sassy and strong and a good friend to Jeff.  She has her own powers that Lobo helped her deal with previously, so she can relate to Jeff’s current dilemma and is eager to help him.  I liked her very much.

Lobo is a good character but a bit flat.  He’s stern, doesn’t smile, doesn’t like to be bothered.  He is extremely wise about supernatural matters.  Although there are times in the story when Jeff senses a hint of possible concern from Lobo, he seems largely indifferent, outside of anger and impatience.

While I would have liked more character development, the plot and the setting were exceptionally well done.  The plot kept me curious, kept me reading, wondering what would happen next.  Descriptions of St Augustine were striking, creating clear images of the setting in my mind.  St Augustine itself was almost a character in the story.  Historical themes in fiction are hit and miss with me.  Sometimes I find them hard to follow, but that was not the case here.  Dillon’s account of historical events throughout the story were clear, easy to understand and engaging.  His ability to connect history with the setting and Jeff’s life is impressive.

There were two things that bothered me.  One was the lack of development of the character of Jeff’s mom.  It felt like the author made a decision to write her off as a disinterested mom instead of including her in the story.  All we know about her is that she likes to drink and sleep at her boyfriend’s house.  There are a few references to the death of Jeff’s father.  I would have liked to know more about how that affected her and the relationship between her and Jeff.   She could have added a fascinating layer to the story. 

The other thing that bothered me was the relationship between Jeff and Lobo.  It was fun in the beginning but became monotonous.  Their reactions to each other and interactions with each other became predictable.  Given the intense experiences they have together this relationship could have developed in some interesting ways.

I recommend this for a Young Adult reader, and I think that some adult readers would appreciate it as well.  Despite some weaknesses with character development, the book is well written, and fun to read.

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Author Links:

Blog: http://dougdillon.com/news/
Web Page: http://dougdillon.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Doug__Dillon
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheStAugustineTrilogy
Central: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005ZEJTJ4
Goodreads' Author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/580090.Doug_Dillon
Amazon Book: http://www.amazon.com/Sliding-Beneath-Surface-Augustine-ebook


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