Kim and me

Kim and me

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I logged into my blog account this morning with the intention of writing about our upcoming vacation to Romania starting tomorrow. 

I have to admit I was blindsided and sidetracked by a friend's blog I read before I had a chance to start my entry. It was written so well, and after a little research I understood why it was so poignant. Please read the following blog entry from a Police Dispatcher I use to work with before becoming an AMT with American Airlines.

A community lost a hero today.  He was a silent hero - I didn't know him until today and it was too late.  I look at the picture of him, his wife and his little boy that one of the news agencies posted and it breaks my heart.  The little boy, who looks to be about two years old, will grow and slowly, but surely, forget pretty much everything he knows about his father.  The only things that will strike his memory are the things that his mother and others who loved his father tell him.  Sgt. Derek Johnson didn't deserve to be gunned down in his car as he drove to help someone in need.

Rest In Peace Sgt. Derek Johnson
May you watch over your little boy
from the heavens above
I've worked in public safety a very long time.  Not many have surpassed the amount of years I've put in - only a few have hit the milestone that I'm at now.  Nobody in this world, myself included, knows what it is to walk in the shoes of a police officer or a firefighter.  There are a lot of armchair quarterbacks out there who openly suggest they could do it better or that the cops are all but human, but, those guys would crumple and cry if they had to spend even a day in their shoes.  The things they have seen - mothers holding their dead babies who have died from just not waking up or at the hands of someone who just wanted to stop them from crying, mangled bodies pulled from the wreckage of a horrific car crash, women who think they are loved who have been beaten again - and may even turn on them when the officer has to arrest the perpetrator, burned bodies from someone running back into the fire to save something and losing their own life.  They also deal with the mundane - burglary after burglary, fender bender after fender bender, traffic stop after traffic stop.  But, I can only imagine the pain they feel when they drive up to a scene only to find one of the brothers or sisters in arms dead or nearly dead because someone decided that day they had the right to turn a weapon on their comrade.

When I started my job so many years ago, I walked in one January day to turn in my application - so long ago, you actually did it by hand and not on the internet.  I walked in to hand it over and was told, "Um, I think everyone is at the funeral".  They were talking about Sgt. Ron Heaps funeral.  He was gunned down, much like Sgt. Johnson was today, while answering a call of duty.  Sgt. Heaps was going to check out a suspicious vehicle - when he and his backup knocked on the door, a man opened it and also opened fire - killing Sgt. Heaps and critically injuring the other officer.  Gunfire was returned and the suspect was also shot and killed.  It just goes to show, things don't change.  There are bad people out there.  Those bad people will do stupid things; either out of evil or desperation.

My grandson who is eight years old has a superhero fixation.  One day, he told his mom how he knew that he really couldn't be a superhero when he grows up, so he decided he wanted to be the next best thing to a superhero - and that would be a police officer.   In some ways, I really hope he doesn't get his wish.  I don't want him to have to deal with the assholes and idiots that one day may decide that he can't go home ever again and there may be a little boy of his own waiting for him - and I would hate for that little boy to not remember anything about him.
Also please read the following article from the Deseret News related to Sgt. Derek Johnson and the story of his life and tragic death.

WEST VALLEY CITY — Remembering him as a dedicated public servant who always had a trademark smile on his face no matter what he was doing, a community said goodbye Friday to fallen Draper Police Sgt. Derek Johnson.
But while his physical presence is missed, his family said they know Johnson is with them. Desirae Johnson called her brother her "guardian angel" and said she felt him with her when she went running the morning he was shot and killed.
"I love you and I am so proud of you for giving your life to what you loved and believe in. I promise I will never forget you and look for signs of you wherever I go," she said. "I know you are always with us, watching over us and will protect us."
Johnson's brother, Darin Johnson, asked the audience to pause to feel his brother's presence at the Maverik Center.
"He's here with us," he said.
The funeral services were held at the Maverik Center. Johnson was killed Sunday morning while driving back to the police station to end his shift. He came across a broken-down vehicle with two people and was shot multiple times without warning while he was still in his patrol car.
"There's not a moment that will go by that I will ever forget you. I love you," Darin Johnson said, speaking directly to his brother at the funeral.
A common theme among many of the speakers, as well as those who knew Johnson who attended the funeral, was his broad and infectious smile.
"Most of you know Derek as a smiling man," his sister-in-law Amanda Fralick told the congregation after tearfully reading his obituary. "Please make sure you smile today because that's what he would want."
Though Friday was meant to celebrate the life of a man who everyone agreed served his community nonstop, there were many tears in what was overall a solemn ceremony.
Six bagpipe players led Johnson's casket into the arena, draped with an American flag. His widow, Shante Johnson, followed while carrying their 6-year-old son, Bensen Ray, who had his arms tightly wrapped around his mother's neck and his head buried in her shoulder.
Johnson was remembered as a dedicated family man as well as one of the hardest working officers in the Draper Police Department.
"He could spot a criminal anywhere, and frankly I did not like working overtime shifts with him because we'd never go home. He'd keep catching bad guys," said Draper Police Sgt. Pat Evans. "He was the best."
Evans and Johnson were each other's best men at their weddings. They grew up together, lived together for awhile and entered law enforcement careers together.
"Derek was the hardest working person I ever met, and probably ever will. And I'm very proud to say he was my best friend," he said. "Derek was the ultimate go-to guy. … We will never fill the void Derek left behind."
Despite working all those hours at the department, Johnson still found time to help his neighbors with Christmas lights and other tasks, Evans said.
"There's all these people running around downtown right now dressed like superheroes. We've got the superhero right here," he said, referring to the ComiCon convention in Salt Lake City.
Just before the tragic shooting, Evans was leaving for a vacation in Alaska. Johnson sent him a text before he left: "Dispatch is calling you, it's time to go." Johnson was in Alaska when he heard the news about the shooting and he went immediately home. Friday, he "returned" Johnson's text message.
"Derek, heaven is calling you, it's time to go. Godspeed, my buddy."
Elder Mervyn B. Arnold, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Quorum of the Seventy, said it didn't take long for him to learn from talking to other officers about Johnson's great community service work.
"He could make a difficult situation as best as it could be," he said. "God gave him such a great sense of humor. God gave him such a great nature."
"He was a hard worker. I had to send him home a lot of times. 'Just go home. You've been here all day and all night. Go home and be with your family.' And that's the kind of guy he was. He never stopped," said Draper Assistant Police Chief Russ Adair. "That's the kind of guy he was, and we're going to miss him dearly. It's going to be tough to replace him."
His father, Randy Johnson, read a paper Johnson had written for an assignment in sixth grade. Even then, he wrote that he wanted to be an officer, "because I hate to see people rob stores or steal."
"I'm truly going to miss Derek," his father said.
Sometimes, Johnson's smile was a "mischievous smile," his friends and family joked, that couldn't always be read. Generally, it meant the practical jokester was plotting his next prank.
Desirae Johnson joked about how her brother would "practice" being a police officer when they were kids by hitting her pressure points, knocking her down and then handcuffing her to a dresser. But her brother was also the one who always stood up for her.
"Derek was my protector. I felt safe knowing he was my brother. I felt safe because he took care of me," she said. "He was proud to make the world a little bit more peaceful every time that he worked."
Three weeks ago, all of the Johnson brothers and their father were able to spend time together when they went on an annual hunting trip. Randy Johnson said they aren't very good at bow hunting. But they've made it a tradition to all set aside time to be together.
Hundreds of officers, all wearing black bands across their badges, attended Friday's services. Several thousand attended overall.
Draper Mayor Darrell Smith said Johnson reminded him of Robin Hood.
"He certainly always gave more than he ever expected to receive," he said.
Smith referred to a time when he watched Johnson conduct police K-9 training and get tackled and dragged to the ground by a service dog. "Just getting that Sgt. Johnson smile … as if to say, 'Man that was fun,'" he recalled.
Gov. Gary Herbert encouraged everyone to follow the example set by Johnson and "be anxiously engaged in good causes."
Two large TV screens showed a continuous slide show of Johnson and his family as people filed into the arena.
Several tables filled with photos of Johnson and his family were on display. Johnson and his wife met in middle school, and several of the pictures dated back to their high school prom. Other mementos on display included Johnson's law enforcement awards as well as the bow and arrows he went hunting with, his baseball glove and cleats.
Hundreds of motor officers led the funeral procession from the Maverik Center to Larkin Sunset Gardens, 1950 E. 10600 South, for the interment. The procession was so long that the last car was still leaving the arena when the first motorsquad arrived at the cemetery. It took more than an hour to move everyone to the interment.
After dedicating the grave site, officers folded the flag that had covered Johnson's casket into a triangle, placed the shells from the 21-gun salute inside the flag, and presented it to Shante Johnson while Taps played. Additional flags were then presented to Bensen and to Johnson's parents.
Four helicopters flew overhead in a missing man formation, meaning one breaks away from the group and flies off in another direction. A "last call" was then made by dispatchers for Johnson, traditionally an emotional moment at officer funerals when a dispatcher will make a call for Johnson, only to hear silence in reply, and then declare an "end of watch."
After the interment ended, Shante and Bensen Johnson approached Johnson's coffin and each placed a flower on top. Draper police officers then gathered in a group around the casket to say their final goodbyes.
After the ceremony, there were many hugs between officers and their families, and exchanges of "I love you" with family members.
"Today was such a special moment," said a grateful Draper Police Chief Bryan Roberts, reflecting on all the people who lined the streets of Draper for the procession. "Such an incredible outpouring of support. … I'm taken back by the services here."

As for post can wait. Just know that Kim, Heather and I are very excited to leave tomorrow.


Friday, August 30, 2013

Writing this new non-fictional story is amazing! I'm having so much fun learning and then writing about heroes from World War II. 

The style for the story is different than anything I've ever read. It's about two people, a Frenchman named Robert Mourand and a US serviceman/waist gunner on a B-26 named James Weldon Melody. They have a chance encounter when Sgt. Mellody's plane is shot down over France when he is taken prisoner and marched through the town square of Elisabethville. 

A picture was taken to record the event. In the picture is both the airman and the Frenchman who is saluting the downed American.

The reason this is different than most stories is...the beginning is all about Robert Mourand. It's about his job in Paris and then France's declaration of war against Germany. It is very Robert intensive with no mention of Weldon until near the halfway part. Then the writing covers both men equally about the time they meet. From that point on the story is Weldon intensive, talking about his time in Stalag 3 POW camp, the death march, and lastly liberation.

What makes this story so cool is that both families came together in 2011 when descendant of Robert found the photograph and through the process of elimination and much research, discovered the the captured American was. he contacted the family and they have become lifelong friends.

I've never seen a story like this and hopefully it will be told by me skillfully, honestly, and respectfully.

I hope you will all be interested in reading it when its complete and check back here for updates as the writing progresses.

Again, sincere thanks to both families for giving me this opportunity to honor heroes from both sides of the pond. 

Chris A. Hale

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

How am I feeling?   Excited!  Today all 4 of my novels are on their way to a publisher in Northern Utah. I have good vibes about this......keeping my fingers crossed.


If the publisher decides not to publish my stories, I will self publish it myself just like the first three.

My reading public will be taken care of.    :)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Exciting Times ahead for my writing - 

Sunday my 20th article was published in the Deseret News. You can find the article at this link

Edinburgh was a fantastic trip! I hope I did Scotland justice in this piece for the paper.

Also, in other news...

I've finished preparing my submission for Cedar Fort Publishing of "The Eye of Magog". I have a positive feeling about this submission; I hope I'm not excited for nothing. I feel good about it because they are looking for submission of exactly what I write. Word count, number of pages, content are all in line with what I do in my books. Keeping my fingers crossed and hoping you are too.

In addition to sending "The Eye of Magog", I'm also submitting the actual paperbacks of my three previous books. How exciting would it be for them to pick up the entire series? I'm praying this happens but if it doesn't, I will publish "Eye" by Create Space like I self published the previous three.

Also, in other news, I'm writing away on my non fiction novel which to this point is untitled. This is an entirely different type of project that requires extra care since real people are involved. I'm loving the story and thank you so much to my wife Kim for her support, counsel, and love she gives me every day.

And, in a side note - Heading to Miami for 5 weeks. Leaving on Sunday the 28th of July, I'll begin my first factory aviation school. I'll be learning the Airbus A-320. This should actually give me some time to write without distractions. I'll have my own hotel room and lots of spare time.

Thanks for following my blog and if you like to read, pick up one of my books and enjoy!


Saturday, May 25, 2013

My latest article in the Deseret News was published online about twenty-four hours ago. It's about Sintra, Portugal and how if given the opportunity, I'd retire there. The little city is absolutely beautiful, well, instead of writing more about the community, just read the article at

I was amazed to see how many page views it was getting. In one day it had achieved more than any of my articles and I didn't understand why. I was getting comments from people living in Sintra and had never really believed that the Deseret News had such an international following. After a little research, I found the article had been linked to more than one website in Portugal which explained what was driving it. 

Thank you to my new friends in the beautiful Iberian country.


Monday, April 22, 2013

'The Eye of Magog' is finished and headed to the editor. I think it's definitely my best story yet!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Getting really excited about the progress I've made the last few weeks. I'm currently four chapters and twelve pages away from finishing my rewrite of 'The Eye of Magog'. After which, it will be sent to an editor. 

This story is my best to date. I think the writing is better as I recognize the little bad habits I've had in my writing in the past and hopefully, I've been able to eliminate most of them.

And the story itself is soooo cool! Especially for those who like the Daniel and Kylee Richards series of stories I've written so far. 

My goal is to have it out by the end of the summer or early fall at the latest.

I'm also excited to have my first vacation since October. On Tuesday, the 30th of April, Kim, Logan, and I will be jetting off to the UK. And yes, there will be a Deseret News article about our adventures. 

We plan on renting a car in London and driving to Cardiff Wales for a night, seeing Stonehenge on the way. The next day we will drive to Edinburgh Scotland and spend three nights there visiting Edinburgh Castle, Rossalyn Chapel, Holyrood Palace and so many other things. We even plan on taking a ghost walking tour through Greyfriar's cemetery and the Covenentor's prison.

Our last night, after a long drive back to London, will be spent most likely doing brass rubbings at the brass rubbing center off Trafalgar Square. 

After our return, I'll be doing prep work for my upcoming non-fiction novel about Sgt. James Weldon Mellody; my first attempt at a real meaningful story that in itself is incredible.

Thank you to my friend and rifle collecting partner James and his family for allowing me to write this fabulous story. 

Also thank to my wife Kim for her continuing support, and my children for just being tolerant of me when I haven't always been there.  (Megan, Amber, Heather, Connor, and Logan)

Stay tuned and get excited!

Friday, March 22, 2013

During the 1980's I had a real interest in guns. At that point I'd owned a .22 Winchester model 190 that my father gave me for Christmas when I was about twelve or thirteen. After my mission I became pretty good friends with my Bishop, who was a hunter, and my best friend at the time was also a hunter. During the course of two years, I purchased 4 rifles and a couple of hand guns. 

When my first daughter started to walk, I sold my guns even though I had them locked away in a safe. The money that I got helped to put me through A&P school. I have not owned a gun since until two months ago when I purchased an inexpensive world war 2 Russian Mosin Nagant. Since then, I've purchased 3 other military surplus, world war 2 circa guns.

I have been told that if I'd had this interest when I met my wife, it would have been a deal breaker. 

Wondering now, what has gone wrong.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

On March 30th, it will be one year since my father passed away. I'm just wondering, does it continue to get harder the more time that goes by? Lately I've been waking several times a night and dreaming about both my mom and dad dying. Very sad dreams. I miss them both so much! And, for me anyway, it gets harder and harder. I miss their unconditional love and support...their kind words and dad's sense of humor and my mother's work ethic. I hope at some point, it will begin to get easier.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Working hard on the re-write of 'The Eye of Magog'. Hopefully, it will be completed by the first of May and then sent off to an editor. After editing, Kim will have the final say on any last minute changes. With a little luck and hard work, it will be out in the fall.

I'm extremely stoked to begin my next project. I have no idea what the title will be and it will not be a fictional work in the Daniel/Kylee series. Instead, it will be a non fiction book about Sgt. James Weldon Melody, the grandfather of a friend I work with. His B-26 was shot down over France and he landed in a tree in Elisabethville. After 305 days in a POW campe he came home and didn't say too much about his war experiences. There is some real remarkable events that happened after his death in 2004 that add to the story a great deal. Stay tuned!

Friday, February 8, 2013

It's been a while. It's now a new year and hopefully a better one than last year.

In 1975, my father had his first open heart surgery and i lost 3 of my grandparents to old age. My mom complained to my dad's heart surgeon about what a bad year it had been. He disagreed and said it had been a banner year...You're three parents are happier than they have ever been and we saved your husband's life. This heart surgeon was named Russel M. Nelson, pioneer in open heart surgery and future apostle.

2012 was my banner year. I lost both my parents within five months of each other and then within a month of my mom's passing I lost my dog to throat cancer.

Now it is February and things are looking up in some respects. First, we got a new dog last December. Winston, or Winnie to his friends, was found wandering the streets of Keller Texas and spent some time in the animal shelter before we adopted him. It was a close call because he was slated to be put down. And now, we have a wonderful Daschund mix who loves us every day.

On the other hand....some things aren't any better but instead much worse. My daughter Megan is having some of her own problems which I have been praying about all week. I hope it works out for her so she can be as happy as possible.

I"m writing again, I've deleted World of Tanks from my computer and steadily working on 'The Eye of Magog' which is book 4 in the Daniel and Kylee Richards series. Hopefully it will be available sometime the end of this summer or early fall. It's my favorite story so far.

I do have an exciting project coming up after the 'The Eye' is completed. It will be my first attempt at a non fiction story and will require Kim and I to do some traveling to France. More on this as it gets closer to me starting.

I'm still writing articles and had two published this year so far. One on New Orleand and one on Copenhagen Denmark. I am currently writing an article on Sintra Portugal that should be completed very, very soon. Anyway, here are two links for the two that have been published.

This year is looking up for me. I pray continually for Megan, Amber, Heather, and Connor as well as my new family of Kim and Logan.

Winston Churchill Hale