Monday, December 15, 2014

Diwakar Pokhriyal, Poet & Writer

Diwakar Pokhriyal is a writer by passion. He has completed his engineering from NPTI, Delhi, and MBA from Great Lakes Institute of Energy Management Gurgaon in field of Energy. He has written 9 poetry books and 1 short story collection which are published. He has been a part of 52 anthologies/magazines with writers around the world.

Diwakar’s works are also included in various websites. He has won “Poiesis Award forExcellence in Literature” for his short story. His work was selected by Aseem Ahmad Abbasi (famous lyricist) to be included in a Hindi poetry anthology. With a touch of music in him he is also a member of GRV Band as a rhythmic guitarist and song writer. The songs can be enjoyed on You tube channel of GRV Band.

Welcome Diwakar!

What is your style of poetry?
I had started my poetic journey through rhyming poetry.  It is hard to answer because I am still learning. I have written a lot of poetry while learning and experimenting. I have written 40 different forms of poetry that I came across and still searching for more.

I love to write poetry in its new form and style. I love each and every form of poetry. Every single form has something in it and I enjoy that flavor.  “My style of poetry” is yet to arrive.

Do you have a special muse or inspiration?
No, In fact it just comes out. I feel more relax while writing poetry and I believe that’s important for me. In this busy world if something can give me happiness and relaxation then I will be glad to accept it. I have been writing since 2001 and I am still enjoying it. I didn’t start writing poetry due to some good or unwanted incidents. It was a fun filled last session of our English literature class from where it all started.  

What life event has influenced your poetry?
My poetry mostly gets influence by my thoughts. For me poetry is a thought and how we mold that thought. In my life and my journey as a poet made me think a lot about different issues and aspects. The status of poetry around me and the negativity that surrounds such a beautiful thing is amazing. These thoughts and experiences influenced me a lot and every time when I meet a poet it takes a new turn. I love to read through the experiences of creative people and love to learn from them. 

But to be more precise when I held my first published poetry book “Words of love” in 2011, it was something inexplicable. This feeling influenced me a lot and I am still writing with same passion and zeal. 

What books have you written?
I have written 10 books as of now and here is the list of books –


Zindagi ki Kalam se (Hindi Poetry)

Fluffy Feathers (Short Stories collection)

Kavya Kutumb (Hindi Poetry)

Random Remix (English Poetry)



Why Me Yaar (English Poetry)

Solacious Solitude (English Poetry)

Words of Love (English Poetry)

Fluffy Feathers is a short story collection written by me and rest are poetry books.

Please share a poem of your own creation....

Precious Worthless Emotions
by Diwakar Pokhriyal
From my poetry book – Piercing Words…from the heart

A stupendous smile sheltered with tears
Eloquent desire resides in vain
A belief withholds the truth shining
Straying hope bashed with pain
Yet, those eyes deem
Truth, hope and belief
Sun will ascend in sinister galaxy
Conveying a colossal relief
Those immaculate gorgeous gazes
Clutching volcanoes craving to fly
Raining innocence overriding wrath
Those buoyant eyes never cease to try
They discern afar truth
Indolently dissecting future
Filthiest treatment they bag
Hardnosed & despicable in nature
Those sinuous tears so pure & divine
Ignored blatantly by reality
Yet, they incarcerate rainbow dreams
Drinking incessantly this deplorable cruelty

In your opinion, does poetry influence world events?
Poetry is a beautiful medium. It is a medium that brings together people irrespective of their financial or social status. It could a strong medium to bring peace if used in appropriate manner. The poet has power to create harmony with the verses and it influences the world. Poetry is a reason for calmness and in this way it affects world in a positive way.

Do you keep a journal of poetry thoughts and ideas?
I read poetry a lot in websites and also though books. I enjoy them a lot. I love to enjoy creating new forms of poetry and I am working on them. I love to play with ideas. Reading old and new thoughts and create one of yours. It is very important to do these things by a poet as it adds flavor to the poetic world. I, for my own benefit, jot down a lot of ideas that flies around my mind during the sleep or when I would be travelling.

Who is your favorite poet?
My Favorite poets are Rabindranath Tagore and Harivanshrai Bachchan. I have been reading their poems since my childhood. Two or three of their poems are inside my mind always. The deep meaning of their poetry, amazing style of writing attracts me towards them.

Lately I have also started writing English poetry a lot and going through different poets. Really their works are amazing. Few of their poems I really don’t understand but I am trying my level to understand them to the fullest and grasp the poetic flow residing in them. These things make us aware of so many things that we ignore in our daily lives and make us wonder about the world.

Please share a favorite poem ...  

Where the mind is without fear
by – Rabindranath Tagore

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.


What does the future hold for you and your poetry?
I really don’t know about the future but I am sure if I will keep on writing poetry till my last day, which I am sure I will, then I will learn a lot from my own experiences and my thoughts. This will not only refine me as a poet but also as an individual. And I am sure if something brings that goodness out of you then it is precious than diamond. And I would like to thank god for this gift. I am certainly positive about my future as an individual as well as a poet. As I love to enjoy experimenting with poetic forms, the future will come with amazing possibilities.

In the end I would like to thank you for considering me for this interview. I am glad to be a part of this family as a poet. Keep touching lives positively!

No change
by Diwakar Pokhriyal

It is now obsolete to fight,
Over misinterpreted religion and caste,
We are grown up individuals,
We entirely understands the past
Hindu, Muslim, Sikhs or Christ,
Are prudent back benchers now,
It’s time to change the reality,
We all egoistically know how,
By speaking about manhood,
Womanhood or child resolution,
The problems will be discussed,
Deceased of real solution,
You should change,
You should hide,
I am already weak,
And I take in it my pride,
What’s the difference?
Between caste and gender,
We have lost the hope,
We have lost the blender,
Still crying over same issues,
The vocabulary is new,
Blaming others continues,
Actually “God will renew”,
This sorry state of humanity,
Will continue for pleasure,
The strong will play the game,
The weak will keep looking for treasure.

Connect with Diwakar…


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Kelly Herd, Western Jewelry Designer




From Cleveland, Tennessee, USA, welcome Kelly Herd

As the coproprietor of K & C Western & English Jewelry LLC, he wows the world with his beautiful creations. Combining the love of horses and the equestrian lifestyle with gold and silver, he offers a nice selection. I personally own a pair of KH's blue saddle conchos!
All of his jewelry is stunning…

Kelly says, “My first taste of the jewelry business was while I was in college back in the 80's. I actually helped my Mom take a small business and turn it into a national one, and by 1992 I had acquired another company and started my own design and manufacturing. I spent several years in the retail business both in commercial retail and traveling to equestrian trade shows. This was the perfect place to understand the needs of equestrian enthusiast. After having success in the retail field I moved more into the manufacturing and distribution part of the business. We now sell to over 600 retailers worldwide, servicing both chain stores as well as independents. We strive to offer quality craftsmanship, with a rich luxurious look and feel with affordable silver price, as well as an opportunity for a one of a kind design.”

As an artist, how do you come up with new ideas and designs
I think it is something that has to come natural to someone; you have a good feeling that something is going to be a popular when you are working on it, and it is always a nice feeling when it has been received well.

Do you have a favorite design of your own creation?
I have been in the business so long - there are many. My favorite time is when the wife or girlfriend turns to her man and rewards him with a big smile and kiss.

What is your most popular jewelry design?
We have several; it really depends on taste and style. Jewelry is extremely personal. 

What types of metals, precious stones, and settings do you use? 
The nice thing about having a fully equipped manufacturing facility in house is that we alloy all our own metals. We offer a variety of karated gold as well as sterling silver, we are also proud to use only conflict free diamonds in our gold designs. So if our customers want a combination of white and yellow gold with any choice of precious or semi-precious stones, we have all that available for them.

What are the steps for creating a custom design jewelry piece?
This is a great question and we get asked this all the time. There is a particular process we follow to assure customer satisfaction. Once a customer submits an idea we can help them develop the concept, once that is complete we carve the wax in the size and dimensions they want, we then show them or send them the wax for final approval and cast it in house in whatever metal they choose. This takes time and can be costly, but it is worth having a piece of jewelry that has a special bond.

Describe the most extravagant piece of jewelry in your collection...
We made a big 5 ring for a lady out of Las Vegas several years ago, there was a lot going on in that one ring.

You offer organization membership discounts. What does that entail? 
We work with college equestrian teams, or organizations with fund raising and special discounting for year-end awards and special projects.

What is the latest date to order to have my jewelry gifts by Christmas? 
We keep almost everything in stock, so we can deliver on the 24th if you need a last minute stocking stuffer.

Connect with Kelly



Saturday, December 13, 2014

Warda Al Barbar, World Poet & Writer


Warda Al Barbar is the literary name of the Algerian poet and writer Warda Atroun. She is a 25 year old teacher of foreign languages at private schools in Oran. Warda writes in English, French and Arabic and has authored a poetry collection in Arabic called Lady between the sun and the moon (2013), edited and published by Al Adeeb Editions; it is being translated into English and French.
 
Welcome Warda!

Describe where you live and where you find your passion for poetry...
I’d like to point out that my pen welcomes inspiration at any time and from wherever it may come.

The place where I live is cozy and very calm; I have a beautiful view of the sea and my neighborhood is surrounded by a very nice forest…but home is not the only place where I connect with imagination…I write at work during break time or in the street…my favorite time to write is at night in my living room and in summer I like to write in my garden while gazing at the moon and its reflection on the swimming pool.

Your poetry is lyrical and melodic. Do you have a favorite poem of your own creation?
Every poem I write is related to a special and deep feeling or it’s about an attachment to an impressive person or a description of a mysterious situation.

Letter to my sister“ is a poem that gathered the three elements of writing I listed…the death of my sister, Lamia, was a shock to me; I wrote it with a blend of ink and tears. I wrote about this melancholic period in Arabic, too, so I remember I was reciting a poem about her to my family - then all of us shed tears and prayed for her to rest in peace and asked God to open the gates of paradise to her.

Letter to my sister

I sailed the sea of mourning,
forlorn but canopied
with your virtuous soul.
Upon crying waves
I dropped my remembrance
as an anchor, to abstain
between the eastern sun
of forgettables
and the western moon
of ignorance,
a compass I lost
when I heard your mellow
voice murmuring
in a melodious dream …
waves swallowed me
when I saw your coy smile
painting an archaic picture
of a crowned epoch.
I found myself safe, but taken
by memories that grieve me.
Not alone; your mother
drank the sea to beget you again
and your father is a shore of sadness
standing to erase death.

What inspires your creativity?
The universe is full of mysteries and that’s what inspires my creativity. I like themes to do with Astrology, religion and spirituality, philosophical items related to human personality, dreams, the visual and symbolic arts.

Your 2013 book release 'Lady Between the Sun and the Moon' is beautiful. Are you writing another poetry anthology? Details please! When will it be released?
I’m actually writing another collection in English that will be released in 2015. More details will be revealed soon….

What is your advice for beginning poets?
Poetry is the language of feeling. Every poet should shape feelings and thoughts into words. The first lines I wrote in my life were a story when I was 14 years old; the poetry genre came to me while writing diaries because my feelings were expressed honestly; then, too, my father advised me to write “M-Atroun”; he liked my style and encouraged me. I encourage beginning poets and my advice to them is to be modest and remain enthusiastic without being over-confident because the latter may lead to arrogance and this will affect their writing and cause readers to turn their backs on them.

Who is your favorite poet?
I have no one special poet. I love poetry of all generations and cultures; I like both old and contemporary poetry… I love William Blake’s poems. He was a great graphic artist too. I think artists are the best poets. He was not really understood by his peers but much has been written about him by twentieth-century readers who appreciate his greatness in his many fields of interest.

And your all-time favorite poem?
Speaking about my own work - lots of poems have been written about me and it is an honor to be an inspiration for artists…reading about myself makes me happy and proud. Napoleon Bonaparte said that music feeds feeling better than reading books “which feeds the mind.”

I say that reading poetry feeds feelings too because poetry is the source of emotions and wisdom”. I like the spiritual poetry of Hafiz, which has a beautiful and musical quality, which also embodies a great spontaneity. In a myriad of poetic ways, Hafiz expresses the spiritual experiences of a mystic, in love with his Beloved. Yet he achieves this in a playful and enchanting way. Like other spiritual poets, Hafiz weaves themes of ambiguity into his poems.

True Love
by HAFIZ

TRUE love has vanished from every heart;
What has befallen all lovers fair?
When did the bonds of friendship part?–
What has befallen the friends that were?
Ah, why are the feet of Khizr lingering?–
The waters of life are no longer clear,
The purple rose has turned pale with fear,
And what has befallen the wind of Spring?
None now sayeth: “A love was mine,
Loyal and wise, to dispel my care.”
None remembers love’s right divine;
What has befallen all lovers fair?
In the midst of the field, to the players’ feet,
The ball of God’s favor and mercy came,
But none has leapt forth to renew the game–
What has befallen the horsemen’s fleet?
Roses have bloomed, yet no bird rejoiced,
No vibrating throat has rung with the tale;
What can have silenced the hundred-voiced?
What has befallen the nightingale?
A city where kings are but lovers crowned,
A land from the dust of which friendship springs–
Who has laid waste that enchanted ground?
What has befallen the city of kings?
Years have passed since a ruby was won
From the mine of manhood; they labor in vain,
The fleet-footed wind and the quickening rain,
And what has befallen the light of the sun?
Hafiz, the secret of God’s dread task
No man knoweth, in youth or prime
Or in wisest age; of whom would’st thou ask:
What has befallen the wheels of Time?  

List 10 things that your fans may not know about you...
Poetry reflects my life…what’s in my heart is woven through the lines I write. Social network fans know us through what we share and what we want them to know…but our personal lives remains mysterious…my readers contact me when they notice sadness in my writings and as I’m a very spontaneous person I answer them honestly ... I’ll reveal some things to my new readers or to those who haven’t had the opportunity to ask.

1 - Freedom for women is not only a subject that I like to write about, but it is also a cause that I stand for.

2 - Napoleon Bonaparte said: “The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up from dreaming.” Dreams are my fundamental element of inspiration. I keep saying, “I’m dreaming, don’t wake me up.”

3 - I would like to tell my readers that what I write is not only a reflection of my daily life; sometimes I like to wear other personalities and identities, play other roles.

4 - Arts and nature are worth the best photography endeavors. I wish I could picture my dreams.

5 - The prophet Mohamad (p-u-h),Tareq ibn ziad and Napoleon Bonaparte are the three impressive historical figures that have most influenced me.

6 - In addition to writing, teaching and learning languages, I’m a makeup artist….

7 - Cats are my favorite animals. I like giving them positive names…like Happy and Hope….

8 - I’m hopeful and I have a strong belief in God’s power. I’m not afraid of getting hurt by people I trust…I’m not afraid of critics since my intuition is always beautiful and I balance my deeds and words before they are done or spoken.

9 - I haven't achieved all my objectives but I keep challenging myself with greater goals. Sometimes you have to lose the battle to win the war.

10 - I’m a peace wisher and I want understanding to solve the issues of racism in the world; as the prophet Mohamed (p.u.h) said, “No man is a true believer unless he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.”

Connect with Warda and read more of her beautiful poetry …

Friday, December 12, 2014

Sergeant Clyde Hoch, Author

From Pennsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, Sergeant Clyde Hoch is an acclaimed author, recently winning the coveted Readers Favorite Bronze Medal for his book A Man Down I have several of Clyde's books in my library; recommended reading!

A consultant for screenplay writers, and much more, Clyde is a Vietnam War Veteran, public speaker, and mentor. In his books, Clyde shares his wartime experiences and the challenges of being a war veteran.


Welcome Clyde!

When did you realize that you wanted to become a writer?
The last thing I ever expected to do in my life was to write a book. I was a poor student in school. I was bored to death most of the time. I wrote my first book at the end of 2010. I was in my 60's. For my first book I was chosen as one of the fifty great writes you should be reading by the Author Show.

Your stories are heartfelt, sad, and, as an American, convicting. What has been the most profound event in your writing career?
The most profound event in my life was my military experience, especially Vietnam. Coming home from Vietnam was the worst time in my life.

What person has had the most influence on your writing career?
I had an elderly neighbor who was in his 90's. I had a lot of respect for him. His name was Leroy Heffentrager. One day I was mowing my lawn. He came by and we sat and talked for a while. When he left I thought what a great story he just told me. It is a shame that when he is gone his story is gone. I thought well everyone has a story. I thought I would put my military experience down on the computer in chapter form as they came to me. I felt I would send a chapter to a military magazine once in a while to see if they would publish them. I sent my chapters to five people I served with in Vietnam to make sure I had my story right. I was a long time ago. I sent the chapter to a daughter to proof read. She said you have to make this into a book.

Where do you like to write?
I do a lot of traveling. As I am driving I think about what I want to write and when I sit at the computer it just flows. I keep most of the book in my head until I get to the computer.

Who is your favorite author?
I don't have a favorite author. I have a hard time reading a book unless it really interests me. I hate books that are drawn out and the author take five pages to make one point. The last book I read was Spirit Driven Evangelism by Robert Myers.

What are you currently writing?
I am working on my 7th book. It is about a young Chinese girl who escapes China with her family after the revolution. They move to Vietnam only to get caught up in the Vietnam War. She started working at the age of 8. Her mother beat her constantly.

List a few things that your fans may not know about you...
My books are all nonfiction except one. It is a fiction made up of 8 chapters. Each chapter is a different story in a different time and place.

All my profits from my books are donated to veteran’s organizations, schools and libraries.

I do lots of talks, lectures and guest speaking. I try to enlighten people as to what the Vietnam War was really about.

I work as a volunteer at a local Vet for Vet Center where I am a board member.

I volunteer at the Lehigh County district Attorneys Veterans Mentoring program. I mentor veterans who get into trouble with the law. I work with them until they are over their problem and back on their feet.

I spend most of my free time working to help veterans. I know what it is like to come home from war.

The reason I write the stories I do is some people did some amazing things. Their stories should be preserved for future generations. You would look at this old person and never know what they have done. Future wars will be fought by computer operators working out of the U. S. First hand combat information needs to be preserved for people who want to know what it was like to fight in a war.

Connect with Clyde…

Read Clyde's childhood story about Spike, a cherished Clydesdale...

Books by Clyde Hoch:

Tracks Memoirs of a Vietnam Veteran This is Clyde’s military experience as a tank commander in Vietnam.

A Tribute to Tankers has a short description on a type of tank and follows with stories of people who served in that type of tank in combat, starting with WWI and ends with Iraq.

B. A. R. Man Browning Automatic Rifle Man is the story of a young man who does some amazing things in the Korean War until he is wounded and captured by the Chinese. He is forced to march 200 miles with no medical attention. He is held as a POW for two and a half years.

A Man Down is the story of four young men who gave their lives for their country. This book won a bronze medal from Readers Favorite.

Albion is Clyde’s first work of fiction. It has eight chapters. Each chapter is a different story and different period in time.


God Help Me! Cause No One Else Will is Clyde’s sixth book. It is about post-traumatic stress disorder and veteran's suicides and how to prevent them. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

AHP Press Release

AHP Newsgroup: Riding & Writing: Gina McKnight, Shares Her Current Interview Series Equestrians from Around the World

Riding & Writing: Author, freelance writer and equestrian, Gina McKnight, shares her current interview series Equestrians from Around the World! Enjoy informative anecdotes, training suggestions, world-class riders, and much more…

H. Alan Day
 is the coauthor of The Horse Lover: A Cowboy’s Quest to Save the Wild Mustangs. In this heartfelt memoir, Day tells how he purchased Mustang Meadows Ranch, near St. Francis, South Dakota, with the idea of turning its 35,000 acres into a sanctuary to preserve and protect the mustangs being warehoused by the United States government.
http://ginamc.blogspot.com/2014/11/h-alan-day-author-equestrian.html

Ivan Dimitrijevic lives and works in Belgrade, Serbia. He is a horse-lover; avid equestrian and trainer. Ivan has a keen connection with horses – a horse-whisperer at times. He has achieved many accomplishments and awards with both the horses and competitors that he has trained.
http://ginamc.blogspot.com/2014/11/ivan-dimitrijevic-equestrian-trainer.html

Welcome Author and Equestrian Roni McFadden! Residing in Willits, California, USA, Roni is the mother of four and grandmother of fifteen. Married to her husband of 43 years, Roni enjoys horses and the outdoors.
http://ginamc.blogspot.com/2014/11/roni-mcfadden-author-equestrian.html

From Oregon, USA, Caitlin Lorraine Smithis a die-hard horse-girl. As an advocate for rescue, abandoned, auction, and feedlot horses, she keeps informed on the day-to-day postings and networks of horses in need.
http://ginamc.blogspot.com/2014/11/caitlin-lorraine-smith-equestrian.html

Artist John Morris was born and raised in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, England, and began painting at the age of 17. Currently residing in Ayr, Scotland, he is the founder and proprietor of Art from the Hearthe is an Artist, Public Speaker, Musician, and Preacher. 
http://ginamc.blogspot.com/2014/11/john-morris-artist.html

Author Nancy Cole Silverman announces her new book release Shadow of Doubt. The founder and former publisher of The Equestrian News, Nancy interviews about her writing and much more…
http://ginamc.blogspot.com/2014/10/nancy-cole-silverman-author.html

All articles copyright protected. No duplication without permission.
Gina McKnight, Author & Freelance Writer
Member: Ohio Arts Council & Outdoor Writers of Ohio
http://gmcknight.com
Email: gmcknight11@gmail.com


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Katie Ryan, Author & Equine Assisted Therapist


From California, USA, Katie Ryan is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Equine Assisted Therapist. The author of Horse Wisdom Alchemy, Katie’s memoir is the result of nearly 100 years of horses and equine-assisted therapies. She relates that ‘horses have the ability to mirror emotions.’

Katie is also a co-proprietor of Strides-Wellness, an equine-assisted psychotherapy program that helps people through horses.

A new Documentary about cowboy singer Don Edwards in the works, Katie fills the role of film producer, and so much more…

When was your first encounter with a horse?
My first encounter with a horse was probably at birth; however the one I remember is also a chapter in my book called Rocket's Red Glare. Rocket was a Shetland pony that I got to ride on our Saturday morning rides. I think I was about 4. He moved very fast (like a rocket) and I found myself gasping for air after falling off of him several times because he was trying to keep up with the BIG horses.

Do you prefer one horse breed over another?
I do not prefer one breed over another but I do like Quarter Horses because that's what I grew up with.

What is the premise for Horse Wisdom Alchemy?
The premise for Horse Wisdom Alchemy is this: It is a memoir of nearly 100 years of horses in my family. My father was a small town Sheriff and farmer who rode the Continental Divide riding and packing. I carried on the tradition of an obsession for horses including being able to use them in my psychotherapy practice.

What role do horses play in your psychotherapy sessions?
Horses play the role of part of the treatment team in psychotherapy and learning. They have the ability to mirror people which then becomes a metaphor for what may be happening in their lives and work.

What qualities do you look for when bringing a new horse into your program?
The qualities we look for in the horses in the program are animals who don't bite or kick but are able to just BE horses. So therefore since there is no riding involved they can be old, fat, blind, lame etc.

Can you share a favorite horse-related anecdote?
In one session with a mother and daughter, my quarter horse Shiloh pinned his ears back and started chasing the mare around the arena at a fast clip. He had never pinned his ears back for anything. When we asked the Mother what could be happening she said, "That's my anger, it comes out of nowhere." (A great example of horse mirroring).

You are producing a Documentary on the life of cowboy singer Don Edwards. What can we expect?
The Documentary of Don Edwards, the cowboy singer will begin filming at the end of January in Elko, Nevada at the National Cowboy Poetry festival. We are hoping to introduce people to the world of authentic cowboy music through the music of Don Edwards. We are inspired by Don and want to document his life and music one song at a time. We are hoping to be finished by next summer or fall.

 
What does horsemanship mean to you?
Horsemanship means having a relationship with horses that allows mutual respect.

Connect with Katie…




Saturday, December 6, 2014

No Sweat Robbins, Author & More


Welcome Author 
Earl Lowell "Robbie" aka "NO SWEAT "  Robbins!

No Sweat is the author of These Precious Days and Nefarious, both novels I have enjoyed reading and highly recommend!

Besides being an Author, No Sweat is a delightful character and has become a fast friend. It is a great honor to discuss writing with No Sweat, his future book releases, and his ideas about living.

No Sweat is accomplished in many areas including: Archaeology, Racing Pigeons, Scuba Diving, Civil War Artifacts, Kentucky Red Agate, Catching Lobsters, Spelunking, Indian Relics, Fossils, Boating, Ernest Hemingway, Old Movies, Photography, Horse Race (yeah, he’s from Kentucky), and much more. He has written a small portion of his life for me to share with you. I know that you will enjoy No Sweat’s story…


Earl Lowell "Robbie / "No Sweat" Robbins, Jr. was born on August 23, 1951 in the Pattie  A. Clay Hospital in Richmond, Kentucky USA on a hot summer afternoon and was given up for dead. His mother, Nancy Lou (McClanahan) Robbins had had two miscarriages (dead sons) prior to his birth; she was 19 years old at the time he was born; Robbie was delivered by Dr. Virginia Wallace Lewis; after more than a minute had passed with no signs of life coming from Robbie she slapped him one last time and was astonished to hear him burst out in a loud cry.  Robbie's mother always said it was the greatest noise she ever heard in her life.

Dr. Virginia also delivered the famous Irvine, Kentucky movie star, Harry Dean Stanton; she gave him his name saying that he was the hairiest child that she had ever delivered. The Estill County, Kentucky Hospital was named after her.  Dr. Virginia became something of Robbie's godmother; she practiced medicine and lived in the apartments beside him; her father had also been a medical doctor in Estill County, amassing large tracts of land during the prohibition. She had a son that was two years younger than Robbie, named, Wallace Scott "Doc" Lewis. "Doc" and Robbie were "brothers" growing up.

Doc and Robbie would often ride along with Dr. Virginia in the back of her station wagon throughout areas of Estill County when she took her days to go out to homes to make house calls. "We'd chase chickens around barns, get tomatoes out of gardens, bust bottles with rocks and make ourselves home in the country," said Robbie. "We got to know everybody and everybody got to know us. Between living with Dr. Virginia and always staying at the theater I suppose just about everyone in Estill County knew who I was.  Many of them called me, "that little red headed Callerhan boy. I was very fortunate to have someone like Dr. Virginia half raise me.  She always had a bowl of chocolate and cherry ice cream waiting for me when I would watch Disney on their TV.  She had the first color TV in the county as far as I know.  If I got sick I never waited out in the waiting room like all the other people.  She'd always have me brought around through a secret way to her office.  She just about delivered everyone in the county.  Many people in Estill County were named after her. I went to school with a girl named Virginia Rison.  And she had a brother named, Marion.  Marion was named after Dr. Virginia's husband, Marion Lewis."

Robbie's father, “Rob,” was born in a tent in a coal mining camp in Harland, Kentucky. His grandparents (Herzig) were immigrants from Austria. He was reared in a divorced family; his father, "RED ROBBINS" played baseball for the Cincinnati Reds minor league but was never brought up to the majors. Rob's mother, Freda, was a telephone operator in London, Kentucky; she also taught a one room school and was a devout Seventh Day Adventist.  "I loved her so much," informed Robbie.  "She and I would walk all day long along old roads. She was an active member in The Audubon Society and taught me how to identify birds and butterflies. And she was the only person that ever read to me. I still remember her reading certain nature and Bible stories; some were Chipmunk Willie, Joe Joe the Monkey, and The Little Red Hen. She loved people and was exceptionally kind and considerate. She was a tall woman with black hair and dark eyes and always ready to smile or laugh. She always kept a garden while living in a very tiny apartment in London, Kentucky. She died a horrible death having lost all her memory and not knowing who she was. Her favorite meal that she would prepare for me was an old German dish her parents brought over with them, liver and mush. When I would stay with her in the summers she always got me to play the piano in her church.  I took piano and trumpet for six years but I was never any good."

At the age of 15, Rob set the local sheriff's house on fire and ran away from home to become a bus boy in a New York night club where Billie Holiday regularly performed. His only brother, Lance Robbins, was two years older him.  Lance was a gifted trumpet player and was named the best trumpet soloist in Kentucky two years in a row.  Before WW2, Lance was playing his trumpet in nightclubs in Harlem, New York. 

During WW2 Rob became a cook in the Merchant Marines and was torpedoed while aboard a "Liberty Ship" in the North Atlantic; he stated that he was reading a funny book at the time of the explosion and that he and the captain were the last two men off the ship. Near the end of the war Rob was arrested for stealing bed sheets off his ship and selling them for a high price in a bazaar in Iran. For thirty days he was imprisoned in Iran with five Gestapo officers and then later he was released and eventually was able to connect back with his ship. Lance fought in the army in the Pacific.  Near the end of the war the army tried to get him to go to OTS but he had decided that the military was no longer for him.

After the war Rob traveled to Irvine, Kentucky where he met Nancy; she was age fifteen at the time of their meeting, popping popcorn for her father in one of her father’s movie theaters that was located at the end of the Irvine Bridge spanning over The Kentucky River. The couple was married in an extravagant wedding inside the Methodist Church on Main Street, Irvine, Kentucky when Nancy turned 16 years old and immediately following the wedding they were arrested by local authorities for public disturbance. Their imprisonment made the front page of the local newspaper. Although Nancy had severely suffered from Rheumatic Fever and depression as a child she was a healthy and beautiful girl at the time of her marriage. Her mother, "Momma Mack," told Robbie that the only time she ever saw her husband cry was when Nancy married Rob and the time he accidentally ran over his dog. "Momma Mack was devoted to Daddy Mack," stated Robbie." She worshiped him as much as anyone could be loved. Daddy Mack always called me, Robert. You see, he loved that movie Bird Man of Alcatraz with Burt Lancaster. It was a story about a man named Robert Stroud. Stroud's fellow inmates nicknamed him, Robbie. Daddy Mack did all that in reverse on me. I don't know if he thought I was in some sort of prison but he did know that I loved birds. He was always exceptionally good to my parents and they were always calling on him to fix the plumbing or something else as though he were just some handy man. Daddy Mack didn't drink or curse and I often wonder what he thought about dad.  Dad saw himself as Robert Mitchum in Thunder Road."

The first three years of Robbie's life he lived with his parents on the third floor in a small room located in the middle of Irvine, Kentucky in a large hotel belonging to Nancy's father. This hotel is now the center of The Irvine Times Herald operations. Eventually Robbie and his parents were afforded a small apartment over top the theater located at 106 Main Street in Irvine, Ky.; it too, was owned by Nancy's father, Russell McClanahan, a retired railroad worker having been head of the "Round House" in Ravenna and later a successful businessman, owning hundreds of acres in timber, a hotel, a good deal of the down town rental property and two city theaters and a drive-in.  Russell was better known as "Mr. Mack."

Mr. Mack was very close to Robbie and with him a great deal of the time." He had a gift when it can to machinery and there was not anything he couldn't fix or build." He often told Robbie stories that his grandfather had told him. Mr. Mack's grandfather was Russell Bishop and had been a member of John Hunt Morgan's illustrious confederate Calvary during the Civil War. During Morgan's raid into Ohio, Bishop was captured by the Yankees but soon broke out of prison. And at the end of the war, never surrendered. Robbie's grandfather would spit if Abraham Lincoln's name was ever mentioned as he harbored his grandfather's old feelings about the war. According to Robbie's "Daddy Mack," Bishop had given Morgan all of his thoroughbreds during the war and in the process had lost his horse farm in Versailles, Kentucky. 

Nancy began working for her father selling tickets at her father's "lower theater," and Rob began operating a small fruit and vegetable stand located across the street. Rob would make journeys to Georgia to buy watermelons picked out in the field or crates of peaches picked in the orchards and Robbie was often with him on many of these buying  trips, sometimes sleeping in the truck on the way. "I can remember us washing off the peach fuzz at the end of the day," said Robbie. "It was heaven to get that itchy stuff off of you. Dad bought peaches at twenty five cents a crate and sold them back home for $2.50.  He'd give ten cents for big watermelons and get one dollar for those. When we would come home mother would be playing her Billie Holiday songs on the record player.  Mom and dad would dance just for me and I thought it was the greatest thing on earth. After they would quit I'd play my own record, Little Johnny Everything. It was a song about a little boy that visualized that he could be most anything. I've really always only wanted to be one thing, an author." 

Five years later after Robbie's birth his parents had a daughter, Earla True, which became Robbie's only sibling; she is currently a senior medical tech at Pattie A. Clay Hospital and still lives in the same apartment in Irvine where she and Robbie grew up; she had one daughter, Mackenzie.

Robbie stated that his mother was very beautiful as he was often told by many people in his home town that they came to the theater not only to see the movie but also to see his mother; according to him she had a wonderful personality and was exceptionally kind and thoughtful. Robbie well remembers the long lines of people that would gather to see many of the movies, particularly any having Elvis Presley and Walt Disney. When the movie The Flim Flam Man was released with George C. Scott there were so many people that packed the theater that many had to sit in the floor of the concrete poured aisles or up along the slope of the stage itself; this movie had been filmed in places near Robbie's home and in one scene showing a vehicle speeding away across the Irvine Bridge, the movie production set actually came into Irvine and filmed the scene in front of Robbie's apartment.  Robbie stated that there were so many people that came into town that it was incredible. "Every hollow in the county emptied out in hopes that one of their faces might make it onto the silver screen," he said. "I suppose that singular event left a great mark on me," said Robbie. "For all my life I have wanted to be an author. And one in which writes a book that turns into a movie. It is my dream that a movie be made from a work that I have created about my home." 

At an early age Robbie fell in love with the Kentucky River – and the pigeons that lived on the bridge and the many movies that his grandfather played seven days a week. These things were "my back yard" as he described them. Much of his life was spent inside that theater and he came to know movies and movie stars and all the operations that were necessary to operate the "picture show." He often helped his grandfather select and order the movies that would be shown. "Daddy Mack had a set routine; he would show a new western on Saturdays, a scary movie on the late night Saturday show, the biggest hits that were out such as The Ten Commandments on Sundays and throughout the rest of the week, some movie that was average. There were many nights Robbie fell asleep in the theater and he would wake up only to find himself alone; he would then wonder back up the aisle and unlock the front door to go back home to his apartment. Robbie said that he learned to ride his bike going down the aisles inside the theater, that in the winter he sometimes got into snowball fights inside the theater and that his passage of growing up from a child into someone that began to understand life all happened inside that wondrous theater. "It was an arena where anything could happen," he said.  "And quite often, did.  I saw many bloody fist fights in the lobby, drunks passing out in their seats, girls and boys kissing and things that educated me early in my life. My grandfather was a fairly small man and he packed a lead weighted leather blackjack to keep proper order inside the show. And if that wasn't enough he had a hammer-less Smith and Wesson .38. He built a large balcony inside the theater. He had built this theater converting an old livery stable, and off from the main balcony he built another and separate balcony; if any black people happened to come into the theater he escorted them to that one small particular balcony as that was designed strictly for them.  "I liked that balcony," said Robbie.  "Actually it was rather unique. You felt like you were in a crow's nest. It was very close to the projection room. It was so high up that you would look at the theater and see all along the ceiling at the same time.  If you looked hard enough you could see cockroaches and sometimes bats along that concrete ceiling. Every year that ceiling had leaks as it was a flat ceiling.  And every year I would help my grandfather rope up the five gallons of tar that he and I would spread out on the roof during the hot summers. When Daddy Mack died in his bed of heart congestion my mom was holding his hand. She took off his watch and I have it to this day, an old cheap Timex that is priceless. Momma Mack said that she saw an angel standing at the foot of his bed when he died.  I told her it had to somehow be his reflection."

Robbie's father taught him how to swim in the Kentucky River when he was very young. Rob threw him out in the green water making him swim or drown. But Robbie's father was an excellent swimmer himself and carefully watched over Robbie. Robbie spent many summer days with his mother and father on the sandy banks of the Kentucky River located near the Ravenna Locks, usually fishing, swimming on logs and diving down for mussels. Robbie stated that they were some of the best days of his life and that the last time he saw his mother alive they were on the fly bridge of his boat and spoke of those very days. Robbie became a good swimmer at an early age and one day at the river decided to see how many times he could swim back and forth without stopping. His mother made him quit after the 70th time. "I always wanted to swim the entire length of the Kentucky River," said Robbie. "From the beginning of it up in Booneville all the way to the Ohio River."

When Robbie wasn't on the river he was usually playing with Doc. When they were not jumping off The Irvine Bridge into the Kentucky River (60 feet in height), they were walking on the railroad tracks down near their apartments. These tracks were located about 75 yards from their homes and lay between them and the river. The tracks were very active with L&N (Louisville and Nashville) trains hauling coal from the mountains. Many times Robbie and Doc would run and hitch rides on the train cars and ride them for a mile or more before jumping back off. "Often those landings were rough," said Robbie.  "I busted my knees several times." Sometimes the two boys would lay pennies on the tracks to get them back flattened. And many times they wondered along the tracks with their Daisy BB guns shooting every sort of bird and anything that moved. In the fields surrounding the tracks they often hunted plowed fields and would find Indian relics in the form of flint arrowheads, knives and spear points. Robbie became very interested in these Indian relics and over the course of many years of collecting them assembled one of the best collections in Kentucky, having some 41 rare Clovis points and 50 dovetails, along with stone axes, bone needles, pots, beads, pipes and other objects. His collection was later stolen by a next door neighbor that dated his sister. Robbie and Chesteen (Robbie’s wife) were gone to Florida at the time of the break in.  None of the relics were ever recovered. Robbie quit collecting for a long time after that. But about twenty years later at the urgency of his lifelong friend, Alan Jones, he began to search for relics again. This time, not only Indian relics but also, Civil War and Kentucky red agate - the rarest and most valuable agate in the world. Again, over the years, he amassed one of the best civil war collections in Kentucky. No person excavated Camp Nelson, Kentucky as much as he did, finding thousands of relics from the soldiers, taking photographs and movies of his digs while in the field.  

At around nine years of age Robbie found himself regularly sitting in an old chair in his apartment next to the few only books in his home writing one page stories to himself. These were usually stories about what he had done that day or the day before. He enjoyed reading them back to himself and sometimes to his mother or Doc. One of his teachers in the fourth grade at Irvine Graded School, Laura Tuttle, would allow him to read his stories aloud in class. In the seventh grade he won a five dollar bill and the honor of having written the best paper in school on the subject, What America Means to Me. By the time he was in the eighth grade he was sometimes writing stories that were over 30 pages. "Between the theater," stated Robbie, "and my own imagination I always ad plenty to write about."

One of Robbie's older best friends was Bobby Hovermale, the young editor of The Estill Herald that worked across the street from Robbie's apartment in the newspaper office; Robbie said that he reminded him of the newspaper editor in the movie, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. Robbie spent many hours in that newspaper office watching people set type; he also stayed inside the dark room watching photographs get developed; photography was an area that always interested Robbie and he later became a good photographer himself. "It’s not so much the camera that a person has," he said. "it is more the person that is using it." 

"Bobby Hovermale loved to drink straight whiskey," said Robbie.  "He'd come upstairs to our apartment and pour a big one and tell me all kinds of stuff.  Sometimes Fred Marcum would be there doing the same thing and between the two of them I was in heaven with all the attention they gave me and all their stories; Fred was a great traveler and adventurer, staying a year at a time in Mexico and all throughout central America. Fred loved doves and he loved my racing pigeons He carried a two shot derringer on him and one day when a red tail hawk was circling high above my flying pigeons he shot at the hawk two times from off the back of our steps that led down out of the back of the apartment.  I thought that was great. We never thought anything about shooting guns off from the back of our house.  Dad and I were always cracking the back window to shoot at a blackbirds or sparrow that would be about thirty yards away. We'd shoot with Dad's old single shot bolt action Remington .22 that he said he earned when he was a paperboy. When I left home dad had some 80 different guns and rifles in his home.  One gun was made especially for him by the same man that made a rifle for the Shaw of Iran. "Dad always loved guns," said Robbie. "During World War Two when dad was on his ship headed back to the states he told me that he went through several hundred duffel bags owned by different soldiers returning from the war.  And that he filled up two different duffel bags of his own with nothing but Walther PPKs and German Lugars.  He said that the next day the soldiers began noticing their guns gone and raised hell.  There was a big search for them, and after nearly a day the guns were found way up inside the hull of the ship where dad had hid them.  He never did get caught for doing this. And he often wondered what those two duffel bags of pistols would have been worth many years later if he had been successful." 

Sometime around the age of nine Robbie was climbing up in a tree only to have a limb break causing him to fall and hit onto a stump, knocking him out and fracturing his pelvis.  When he woke up in the hospital he found Dr. Virginia and his mother at his side. From that day onward he learned to carefully study any tree limbs that he would climb.  It wasn't much time later that he broke his leg with a compound fracture at school's recess while playing football. This resulted in his staying in bed with a cast for several weeks; he spent these weeks with his grandfather "Daddy Mack."  Every night Daddy Mack came home to give him a silver dollar. When the plaster cast came off he would rub Robbie's back telling him how the day went until Robbie would fall asleep.

Robbie said that Daddy Mack was the best grandfather anyone could have ever had. "He was a humble man and worked constantly and would give anyone whatever they wanted. He had a certain dry humor that stayed with you a long time. It was his way with honesty that boiled me over, particularly about our family and people in general. He was a great observer. He was keen on seeing me going to college. He told me that education was one thing that no person could ever take away from you.  Every day he would teach me a new word. I was always proud to be near him and that he was my grandfather. He gave me a feeling of great security."

Robbie was active in his Conservation Club; in the summer he would always go one week to Conservation Camp in Monticello, Kentucky on Lake Cumberland. "I loved that camp because it had fewer constraints on what you did than any of the other camps.  And there were always things to do. I learned how to identify trees there.  I mostly stayed down on the lake at the area they had reserved for swimming. When I wasn't there I was out in one of their boats or fishing." 

Robbie was on his school's Safety Patrol and he was the president of his 4H club having won a county wide 4H talent contest with his reciting of poetry; he was also active in the Methodist church, going to church camps and never missing a Sunday in eight straight years. He became a cub scout and later a boy scout in Troop 144 headed by scout master, Charles Vanhuss. Vanhuss was recognized as a great scout leader instilling skills and pride into every member of the troop. "I knew all my knots, Morse code and could start a fire with one match," informed Robbie. During one week long summer camp Vanhuss had Robbie step up on the table in the large mess hall holding many troops and recite one of his poems that he loved, William Joseph Veters.  Vanhuss operated the troop in a strict manner and there were times Robbie felt like he was in the army. Troop 144 won numerous awards as the finest troop in the region. While a cub scout he attended the scout camp, Camp McKee in Mt. Sterling, Kentucky. At such time he swam their one mile long distance swim course, becoming the youngest scout ever to do so. As a patrol leader and senior patrol leader in the Boy Scouts he turned in regular reports to his scoutmaster which often lauded his writings. Robbie loved the Boy Scouts, the many long trails he hiked, camp outs and the lifelong friends he made, in particular, Larry Lynch, his best friend, ever. until Larry's sudden and horrible death via of a motorcycle accident below the Clay's Ferry Bridge.

While attending Irvine Graded School, Robbie played basketball for "The Irvine Golden Eagles" with fellow classmates Edgar Rawlins, Don Rasinen, Mark Witt, Ashley Witt, Tommy Whitaker and Gary Stone. Gary Stone also raised racing pigeons and he and Robbie developed a special relationship lasting a lifetime; Gary, a Viet Nam decorated war hero, became a self-made multi-millionaire and also one of America's best racing pigeon fliers in the USA, dominating the races in the Cincinnati, Ohio area. Gary, a decorated Viet Nam War hero, became a self-made multi-millionaire and the CEO of his large trucking business, called, TRANS CONTINENTAL SYSTEMS. And it was Gary in his generosity that flew Robbie across the USA many times to visit the best racing pigeons in the nation, sometimes visiting Chic Brooks, Ed Lorenz; and staying at the famous Sion man's residence, the mammoth-sized human and ex-linebacker for the football 49ers, John Garzoli.  Robbie and John Garzoli were good friends and corresponded for several years as both loved the Sions which are a family of racing pigeons that originated with a man named Paul Sion that lived in Tourcoing, France. Many days Gary and Robbie spent together with their racing pigeons, playing baseball and riding their bikes back and forth around the coal temples sometimes trying to catch stray pigeons. Robbie remembers the day their basketball team was playing their biggest rivals in Ravenna as that was the day that John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Robbie stated that about the only thing he ever did in grade school of any note that he could remember was getting three different whippings from three different teachers all within the time span of about two hours; such was his rewards for basically talking too much and trying to disrupt the class into laughter.


One night during this time Robbie climbed up a telephone poll and walked out along a perilously high catwalk and with his flashlight captured a lost racing pigeon that was roosting under the Irvine Bridge.  This famous pigeon eventually led him to its owner, Charles Heitzman, Jeffersontown, Kentucky, the greatest racing pigeon flier in America; the relationship between the two continued to grow for many long years up until the time of Heitzman's death. Heitzman's father was the founder of HEITZMAN BAKERIES in the Louisville and Jeffersontown, Kentucky areas. Charles Heitzman inherited the business and continued to make it grow and be quite successful. Heitzman's love for racing pigeons was famous throughout the nation and the world.  He bought only the best racing pigeons upon which to build his own family of racers.  Some of the strains of racing pigeons he bought were Sions and Stassartscoming from Paul Sion in France and Mons Stassart in Belgium. After Heitzman's death, Robbie wound up with all the original correspondence between these men as well as Heitzman's original wicker crates and other items. Over the course of Heitzman's life Heitzman wrote seven books on pigeons and was inducted into the National Pigeon Association's Hall Of Fame.  


Heitzman enjoyed Robbie's many stories that Robbie wrote about him in the pigeon magazines. He also liked the patience that Robbie used in order to get quality photographs of his pigeons. Heitzman enjoyed being with Robbie's grandfather and later, Robbie's wife. "Charlie, was most congenial," said Robbie.  "He sold birds to movie stars such as Andy Devine and to people all over the world.  The Japanese absolutely loved him. He was selling a lot of birds to Japan before World War Two for as much as $500 each. During the war Charlie's son was one of the prominent servicemen involved with racing pigeons, using them as carriers to send messages.  At the end of the war, Heitzman wound up with several of the military lofts.  These were but a few of the many lofts that he had throughout his gorgeous surroundings off Chenoweth Run Road in Jeffersontown. When Charlie died pigeons were released over his grave." You can find Robbie with Heitzman at this link http://tccloftsionfamily.blogspot.com/2011/06/sions-by-no-sweat.html


One summer when Robbie was around 12 years old a Chinese Junk came up the Kentucky River and docked under the Irvine Bridge for some four months. Robbie played on the boat practically every day that he could. He said it was a wonderful and strange apparition and sent straight from heaven as far as he was concerned; he would later use this event in his book, Nefarious. Robbie also spent many summer nights staying on his grandfather's 42' wooden Cris Craft Cruiser that was also docked under the bridge. When Robbie was on her he said it was always a special feeling. "She was the finest boat on the Kentucky River," he said. "She was loaded with beautiful teak wood and had living quarters and a bunk area along with a head. What more could any boy want."

Every summer Robbie's parents would stay a month on Singer Island, Florida at a hotel known as "THE SAND DUNES;" this hotel is now a condo unit and one of the few old places still remaining intact on Singer Island.. It was during these long summer stays that Robbie fell in love with the Gulf Stream fishing, snorkeling, spearfishing and catching lobsters and body surfing. He loved everything about the sea, its vast mystery, the gorgeous blue water, catching the baby turtles that were hatching, getting coconuts and mangoes to eat, catching the green lizards and running free along the wide stretches of sand dunes. Robbie often spent his entire days spear fishing all manner of fish such as croakers, spade fish, grunts, snappers and cudas near the Palm Beach Inlet pump house; he would bring back a stringer of these fish, clean them and his mother would fry them for their evening meal. Robbie said this gave him a real feeling of being valuable to his family. There was a 70' high tower at the pump house and Robbie always relished climbing it and jumping from it showing off with the friends he made while on the island. That tower is now gone. "I ran around a lot with George Springer that lived on Sandal Lane," said Robbie.  "His father was a policeman and a friend of Burt Reynold's father.  George had an older brother. When you went into his bedroom the walls were lined with the big turtle shells from the ocean turtles that he had killed and eaten.”

Robbie's father was an excellent shot with a high powered rifle and shotgun and he taught Robbie at an early age how to hunt and fish. He also taught Robbie the importance of keeping your gun clean and well oiled. During the fall and winter hunting seasons they would go into the mountains and hunted squirrels together as well as rabbits and ducks. Every October Robbie's father would travel to Meeker, Colorado where he would stay and live for six weeks shooting mule deer and elk. Robbie said that Rob would normally kill three deer and one elk and bring back all their meat.  This meat was always a fixed staple for their family throughout the following year. Robbie's family ate more wild meat than they did tame in his growing up, additionally including doves, quail, grouse, ducks, geese frog legs, turtle, fish, ground hog and rattlesnake. "Mom was a great cook and made everything delicious," he said. Robbie added that curing country hams was a special ritual in his family and that his father always kept two or three around inside their apartment. His mother loved to cook and on a great many occasions the apartment would be completely full of people eating and drinking and telling all manner of stories.

Robbie said that their apartment was normally more like some nightclub than a living quarter. But Robbie loved the atmosphere. It was always lively and full of laughter and it turned a dull confinement into a place of joy. All three of Robbie's uncles liked to drink and tell stories and each were great in their own performances. His mother's brothers, Ralph and Russell. One was a politician, being the county judge four times and also a Kentucky state Representative. The other, Russell, was an artist, painting primarily landscapes and teaching art in a small art school that he maintained. Robbie's father's only brother, Lance Robbins, was a used car salesman and pilot--his plane was used in the movie, Goldfinger ---- and he was also a great trumpet player.  Robbie said that Lance's stories were often "raw and sometimes brutally honest but delicious."  

Robbie hated it when Lance was murdered.  Lance was shot to death on his ninth wedding; he was 61 years old and his wife, Vicky, was 16. "Some of my best memories of Lance were when he'd come to stay the weekend in our apartment," stated Robbie.  "He'd bring his trumpet.  It wouldn't be long before the whiskey was flowing and he was playing that trumpet.  He shook our small apartment with the sweetest trumpet playing you could ever imagine. His being there was better than going to any circus. Dad was always jealous of the attention he got.  And to make up for it dad would try to sing.  He thought he was a great singer.  He really wasn't.  But he was a great dancer."

The last four years that Robbie lived in the apartment that he grew up in he slept in a sleeping bag on the floor in the end room.   Underneath that floor were his pigeons that he kept. And every morning he said he would awake to hearing their cooing and that it was the best noise in the world. His father never liked his pigeons and was always asking him to be rid of them but his mother would always intervene on his behalf. At around this time Robbie became friends with Otto Meyer after winning the Trenton Breeders’ Futurity and for many years they corresponded up until Otto's death; Otto had been one of the top men in America in WW2 that was in charge of the racing homers that were used in communication for the armed services. In 1967, '68 and '69 Robbie won The Kentucky State Fair pigeon show three straight times, being the youngest person ever to do so. At this time he became a member of The Lexington Kentucky Racing Pigeon Club and established long friendships with Loftus Green, Richard Green, Richard Dzubak and Jimmy Combs.  Charles Heitzman donated a trophy for their 500 Mile race and Robbie won it. Robbie flew seven race seasons with the club and was never beaten on any race that was 300 miles or longer; he also won average speed all seven of those seasons. And during this time he won The BlackHawk Futurity, The Conrad Mahr Futurity, The Lexington Kentucky Futurity, The Twin City Gold Band Futurity, The New Orleans Futurity, The Waldo Hotchkiss Futurity and others."Waldo and I became great friends," said Robbie. "He loved the little blue check hen that I sent to him in his race. She was out of my good breeder, "Peg Leg."  Waldo said that she was the best racer that he had ever owned."

Throughout Robbie's four years at Irvine High School, class of '69, he wrote stories for America's and England's leading pigeon magazines, THE RACING PIGEON BULLETIN and THE RACING PIGEON; he was also one of the feature writers along with his good friend, Darrell Richardson, on his high school newspaper then a part of the school's journalism class under Miss Leslie Jones, she was Robbie's all-time favorite teacher as she always being witty and liberal. She selected Robbie to be Prince Charming in the school's Latin Play. Besides school, Robbie began to explore the many caves in his area and frequented a cave known as "California Cave" many times.  Robbie stated that he remembers finding the cave when he was about ten or eleven years old and going all the way back to its famous "Soapstone Pit” with only a flashlight and some candles alone. It was in several of these caves where Robbie found many Indian burials and their relics. He said that back then he lived during "The golden age of Kentucky archeology" and that what was legal back then is no longer the same.

At age 15, Robbie met a beautiful and brilliant girl with freckles, green eyes and long red hair that instantly stole his heart, Ruth Chesteen Hall, valedictorian of her Ravenna Graded School and again valedictorian of Irvine High School's class of '68. She asked him out on a date as they stood by the school's water fountain and six years later they were the third couple ever to be married inside Eastern Kentucky University's chapel. During the summer of 1969, Robbie's mother began taking him to Lexington to swim for THE GREATER LEXINGTON SWIMMING ASSOCIATION. Robbie began swimming under coach Wynn Paul, the University of Kentucky's swim coach. Wynn Paul worked with Robbie in perfecting his flip turns, racing dives and improving his stroke. "Wynn was very patient with me and without him I would never had made it as a collegiate swimmer." 

In July off 1969, Robbie met Jacques E, Piccard while Robbie was in Florida. Piccard brought his crew close to where Robbie was staying. Robbie was allowed to go inside Piccard's underwater mesoscphe, THE BEN FRANKLIN.  Rob took several photographs of Robbie and Jacques while they were together. "He was going to explore the Gulf Stream," said Robbie. " and I wanted to go with him. He was very nice to me and excited me with the stories he told."

In the fall of 1969 Robbie entered Eastern Kentucky University, the first person in his family ever to go to college. He had been excavating Indian skeletons in the mountains for several years, having dug out the huge cliff shelter, Granny Richardson Springs, and in another cliff area of Estill County discovered one of the largest Adena pots ever found, several Indian burials in various mountainous locations, and decided to major in anthropology. During this time he submitted a manuscript, ES#1, to the Universities of Kentucky Press . This work dealt with the excavations he had conducted at Pryse, Kentucky at The Susan James Cave over a four year period. Robbie had dug 22 feet deep inside the cave finding nine burials that were C-14 dated by a chemical research plant in Tokyo that dated them 3,100 years BP. The manuscript, ES#1, was accepted for publication under the stipulation that Robbie had to go back over all the work with the guidance of UK's anthropology professor, Lathiel Duffield. Robbie met with Duffield numerous times but time constraints eventually halted progress. Robbie stated that those meetings with Duffield taught him more about real physical anthropology than he learned in all four years at EKU. Robbie did say that he had Professor Larson the only year that he ever taught at EKU; Larson was in charge of the excavations of the Etowah Mounds in Georgia, Robbie enjoyed his class. But for the most part Robbie stated that none of the teachers had anything to offer him as they were all armchair theorist with no real digging experiences. “I was asked to teach in some anthropology classes," stated Robbie.  "And I was the person to classify and put monetary values on all the Indian relics that had been donated to the University; these were all later placed in the school's small museum in showcases that were on the fourth floor of the library."

"I was almost kicked out of school in 1969," spoke Robbie.  "I led a protest against the Viet Nam War during the ROTC President's Day Parade at Eastern Kentucky University.  I wore a black arm band and placed myself on the ground in front of the marching ROTC units.  Some of them stepped on me while walking over me.  My name was reported to whoever was in charge and the next thing I knew I was asking my swim coach to help me get out of the mess.  Don Combs went to bat for me and kept me from being dismissed from College.  He struck a deal wherein I had to do all the ROTC laundry for the next full semester. If Don had not stood up for me I would have been drafted as my draft number was very low. If I had goo Viet Nam I am sure my life would have turned out much differently than it has. I have never regretted protesting that war. Looking back I think it was one of the better things I ever did."

Robbie became one of two of Eastern's long distance swimmers for "Eastern's EELS" under the dominant and famous coach Don Combs; being one of the only two native Kentucky swimmers to make Eastern's team; the other distance swimmer was Jay Chanley, Florida, All American.  At that time Eastern Kentucky University's swim team was well established as the best swim team in the state and one of the best in America. Robbie loved his coach and attributed this man for preparing him for life more than anyone. At the time Robbie swam for Don Combs he was the only person from his high school in collegiate athletics. Don Combs' father was Earle Combs, a famed baseball player that once played for the New York Yankees, batting on the legendary "MURDERER'S ROW" with Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth. Earle always attended the swimming banquets at the end of the season.

While at EKU Robbie contributed numerous articles for the university's newspaper and his home town's local newspaper, THE IRVINE TIMES HERALD, and to racing pigeon magazines all over the world. On an average he penned 20 letters a day, mostly about racing pigeons. In the fall of 1971, Robbie set a new money winning record with a young racing homer in Minnesota, winning $5,000. He has asked his swim team to bet on his pigeon and when it won he divided all the money between them.  For the next year, Robbie was known by his team mates as "Birdie." 

In 1971, Robbie's racing pigeons were in the top ten positions in the top ten races throughout the USA. Because of this he was featured in a British publication called, SQUILLS. Robbie attributed his winnings to one pigeon, an un-banded bird, a blue check cock that he named "PEG LEG" because it had caught itself in a steel trap set for rats hurting his leg.  Peg Leg proved to be a wondrous breeder.  All of his babies were champion racers no matter who he mated the pigeon to. He was a cross of Sion, Stassart, Bastin and Greenshield bloodlines originating from John McQuithy, Jonesboro, Indiana. "John and I were always writing letters to each other.  And every day I would receive and write a letter back to my friend, Marty Bacon, Walden, New York. Marty was a wonderful pigeon man and he had a horrible crippling disease."

Robbie was married to Chesteen on January 7, 1973. He and Chesteen moved into a home they had bought located at 516 Poplar Street in Ravenna, Kentucky. It was at the edge of the woods and just down from one of the prominent mountains in the area. They loved their home as it was many times finer than either of them had been raised in, being more spacious and made of brick Robbie planted many trees around the home and it was so grown up that it was hard to see from the road. It was here that Robbie became neighbors with Joe "Lindy" Yeager, retired Strategic Air Command bomber pilot and graduate from West Point. Lindy had had a horrible existence having had his wife commit suicide while he was in SAC.  When this happened the Air Force brought him down from the skies and offered him a teaching position at The Air Force Academy.  Lindy went to Columbia University in New York to get his Phd in English. But in time his manic depression overcame him. He was given lithium, the first man to ever receive such. And he was made into a long term study by Dr. Eng, his psychiatrist. "Lindy was brilliant," said Robbie. "He was my best friend, ever. It hurt me tremendously when he finally committed suicide. It was Lindy that gave me the encouragement I always needed to be a writer. He was a great Hemingway reader. Almost too much so. It was him that led me to Guy Davenport. When Lindy died I bought his home and later re-sold it. I still have all of his West Point and SAC objects; his two sons didn't want anything of his. Lindy was a good friend of Walter Tevis, a Professor at Ohio University and the author of The Hustler, The Color of Money, The Gambit’s Queen and The Man Who Fell to Earth, as well as many other stories and books that were made into movies. Walter Tevis had taught English at my high school in Irvine. But as the story goes my high school principal got rid of him saying he didn't know anything about English. Walter is buried less than a mile from where I live. I find it remarkable that in Kentucky his name is rarely mentioned when people speak of authors. In my opinion he may have been the most talented of any writer that ever lived here. Besides Guy Davenport, Lindy introduced me to Marsha Norman. I kept up a correspondence with her for a while as well as with Robert Penn Warren. Both were Kentucky Pulitzer winners."

David Cox, manager of WIRV, Irvine's radio station, was also one of Robbie's Ravenna neighbors. Dave was brilliant in communication and electronics, they were always his passions;  he understood Robbie's desire to be an author and the stories that Robbie wrote. He would prove to be a solid and positive influence on Robbie's writings, always giving him steady praise and re-reinforcement. "Dave and I remain close to this day," said Robbie. "I value his friendship and open mind. Dave and I had some great times when we campaigned for a friend named Larry Kelly. Dave was with me all throughout my creation of my first novel, These Precious Days published by a wonderful editor named Rudy Thomas, Old Seventy Creek Pass.

Robbie built a beautiful two-story pigeon loft behind his house in Ravenna and continued with his racing pigeons and going to graduate school working on an MA in sociology while his wife began her career as a science teacher at the Estill County Middle School In 1974; she eventually became the principal of the same school and remained there as such until retiring. In 1974, in a three way race, Robbie ran for Mayor of Ravenna on the "Ravenna For Progress" ticket. "I finished second," said Robbie.  "The other two tied for first."

During the same year, Robbie his van drove to New York to The National Racing Pigeon Show at The County Center Building in in White Plains and won it, he became the youngest fancier ever to do so, a record that still holds. The man awarding him the honors was Dr. Jams Carbone, a close friend of Frank Sinatra's; the two had grown up together in Hoboken, NJ. That summer Dr. Carbone contracted to buy baby pigeons from Robbie and with the money Robbie and Chesteen spent their first of many three month stays on Singer Island.  While staying there Chesteen and Robbie took a few days to drive and stay at Key West.  They stayed at The Southern Cross Hotel and visited Hemingway's home, Sloppy Joe's, Captain Tony's, Fort Jefferson and The Audubon House. It was here where they began eating their first Cuban food of black beans and yellow rice and fried plantains, which they loved. Both fell in love with the Keys and over the course of many years continued to dive and fish there many different summers. Robbie was with Mel Fisher's mother on the memorable day the famous Spanish galleon, The Atocha was discovered. He said that he was with her when she got the phone call of the discovery and that he will never forget the excitement she revealed to him the moment she hung up. It was an odd event for Robbie as he had tried several different times over the years to get a job with Mel Fisher as one of his divers; this was long before the Atocha was discovered. 

In 1975, Robbie's father owned a small liquor store, The "T & R" on East Irvine Street, Richmond, Kentucky, and the man that Rob had operating it for him had quit.  Rob asked Robbie if he would come to work for him running the store and that if he did he would allow Robbie to continue to have his three months off in the summers to stay in Florida.  Robbie had finished 24 hours of his graduate school and his thesis that was on the people who made up the racing pigeon culture in America had been approved. Robbie thought the he could later finish his MA and went to work for his father. It was here in this dirty, old, small store where he began to know the liquor business and all the great many bootleggers that came to his store from the southern and eastern parts of Kentucky where liquor of any kind was illegal. Robbie said that it was here where he began to write stronger stories coming more from his heart .When nobody was in the store he often sat alone in a chair and would write as much as possible, sometimes being yelled at by his father. "It was here," Robbie said, "that I became a real writer. In that dark back room I began to write all sorts of stories, some of which are now in Black Bluegrass.”  

In the spring of 1977, while his musket team was shooting at Cassius Clay's home outside of Richmond, Kentucky,  Alan Jones, Winchester, Kentucky, asked Robbie if he would join their musket team, the 9th Kentucky, and become a member of The North South Skirmish Association.  Robbie joined the team and made the cut off to be on the A-Team, competing at the National in Shenandoah, Virginia.  Robbie remained on this team shooting an original 1855 model Springfield musket until three years later when he joined the 11th Indiana. "I joined that team as they were some of the very best musket shots in the nation, finishing in the top ten out of several hundred teams competing," stated Robbie. "I became close friends with all the guys on the team and one summer they along with their wives all stayed with Chesteen and me in our large room at The Colonnades Beach Hotel on Singer Island. 

That entire summer was one big party. Sometimes we'd go over to Peanut Island and hang out inside Kennedy's fall out bunker. Back then we'd go along an old trail through the pines and enter into the bunker through a small silo that stuck out. It was Kennedy's place to stay in in case the Cuban Missile Crisis went bad. We were constantly scuba diving, cooking fish and lobsters and drinking like there was no tomorrow. When The Key Cove was torn down Chesteen and I began staying up the street at The Colonnades. We stayed there until it closed.  My family was the last family ever to check out of that glorious old hotel that was owned by John D. MacArthur.  John D. and I had rooms next to each other for three different summers.  I got to know him exceedingly well.  Every summer I would bring him down country hams and moonshine and every summer he let Chesteen and I stay in any room that was in the hotel complex.  John D. MacArthur was a billionaire, the richest man in the USA at one point. He often sat with Chesteen and I when we would be eating breakfast, sometimes reaching over to take a piece of our food and throw to his pet ducks that wondered all over the place. When we went to the bar he wouldn't let us pay for a drink. He was always bragging on how beautiful Chesteen appeared. And if she was smart, she would dump me and marry him."

In the fall of 1977 Robbie was judging The National Young Bird Show in Louisville, Kentucky. He awarded "BEST IN SHOW" to a lace black check cock bird owned by Jim Isselhardt of Bellville, Illinois. Robbie was impressed with Isselhardt's pigeons and told Jim that he believed his pigeons would score well on a national level. Jim took Robbie's advice and eventually became the premier showman in America.  Robbie and Jim became exceptional friends and for a decade went to shows together and competed against each other.  "It was the greatest period of showing racing homers in America's history," stated Robbie.  "We had by far the most entries exhibited by the most fanciers ever in American history.  At no time where Jim and I showed our racing homers did anyone beat the two of us.  Jim remains a wonderful friend of mine although he has now gotten away from pigeons.  He has forgotten more about showing than the top five current showmen will ever know. I always enjoyed competing against him as in Jim I had another showman that was just as savvy as myself.  He knew all the angles and he honestly had tremendous pigeons that he had bred and conditioned. He had gotten his birds basically from Al Becker which was also a tremendous racing pigeon fancier. Jim had a brother that was killed by a train at about this time.  I had bought 20 birds from him around then, basically the same blood that Jim had.  I owned those birds one day and that was it.  During the night a boy broke into my loft and stole every pigeon that I owned. Several months passed by before I found out who did it.  When I went to his place I found three of the birds.  Their bands had been cut off and he was feeding them bread crumbs out in a barn.  I took him to court over the theft but I never got anything back. I've had everything I have ever owned stolen from me, except Chesteen."  

On December 26th, 1977, after being in bed at the University of Kentucky hospital for 31 straight days due to complications regarding her pregnancy, Chesteen gave birth to Nancy. "The snow was about ten feet deep that day," said Robbie. "It was one of the worst winters in Kentucky's history."  Nancy became the only child born unto Robbie and Chesteen. Nancy, a red head, like her parents, became a voracious reader and ranked nationally as high as anyone could go. She went to a school in Richmond, Kentucky called Model; the same school where Walter Tevis had gone.  Nancy began swimming on Model's High School Swim Team when she was in the third grade. She also swam for The Wildcat Aquatics in Lexington, Kentucky and The North Palm Beach Country Club in Florida. She was on Model's swim team when they won the Kentucky State Championship; Nancy was offered four swimming scholarships to various universities and chose Transylvania in Lexington, Kentucky. When she graduated she immediately went on to get her Masters in English and now teaches English full time At Sullivan College in Lexington, Kentucky and part time for Eastern Kentucky University. 

In the spring of 1978, Robbie bet $5,000 on the race horse named Alyadar. $2,500 of it was to Win and $2,500 was to place. "I had been making bets that were getting larger and larger with each Kentucky Derby," said Robbie. "For several years in a row I had been winning enough with the horses to pay for our three month stays in Florida. I had reached a point where I knew bloodlines and everything else about horses very well. So much so that I thought sure that Alyadar would win.  When he didn't it taught me a lesson. I didn't lose much as he did run second. Now days when I am at the race track I usually make place bets and for very little money. Chesteen and I attended the Kentucky Derby sitting in the infield for thirty straight years.  Now days we go to Keeneland and watch the race off track. I enjoy race horses and racing because it lifts your mind off into another world, an existence away from the everyday one that we all endure.  And in many ways it is a lot like handling racing pigeons; the linebreeding, training, and so many things. It was at about this time I earned the nickname, "No Sweat." 

I got this name while working at a scuba diving shop on Singer Island, The name of the shop was DIVER'S WORLD.  It was at the end of the bridge that led over to the island.  It was a small shop but extremely busy. We kept two boats docked right by the shop.  I worked for a wild woman and her husband, the Lazaous.  Nancy was the wild woman. She was just like my Latin teacher, Leslie Jones, always busy. She had a real eye for business.  She and her husband lived on a house on Singer Island.  I was over at their home all the time.  They had adopted about ten children and most of them worked part time on and off inside the dive shop.  It was one big happy family where we all talked about nothing but scuba diving.  They had one blonde haired son named John.  He and I were particularly close and we dove for the shop.

One day, after two weeks of steady storming, we dove down in the Palm Beach Inlet in murky water and lo and behold we came dead onto a huge "lobster crawl."  I caught 289 lobsters in four hours.  That night, John was celebrating too much and ran his vehicle straight into a telephone pole.  He was hurt and he had damaged the pole.  He was arrested and had to go to the hospital, jail and pay for the expensive pole. It wasn't more than a year later after John had healed and was trying to pay off some of his debts that he suffered a severe diving accident getting the bends.  He never really recovered from that. I've lost many diving friends from the bends. It seems they all forget their dive tables if they dive day in and day out.

John gave me the name, "No Sweat" because when the sharks would come around us I generally paid them little mind.  One day up in the inlet near where our boats were docked we had a 15' tiger shark that kept hanging around and frightening people.  I jumped in the water with it and shot it with a power head. It weighed 869 pounds.  A lot of people came down to the dock when we got it out of the water.  John told them that "No Sweat” killed the shark.  And when paying-customer divers to the shop were concerned about a shark attacks possibly occurring, John would always tell them, "Don't worry, you'll have No Sweat" with you.  Instead of the sharks eating you---he will eat the sharks."

I felt the name was something of an honor as I worked at the dive shop and I had earned that name. I have been using that name as my nickname and as my pen name ever since. My working at that dive shop in the summers was the best job I ever had. I stayed in excellent condition and I met all kinds of people coming down to dive with us.  I was the safety diver. He is the person that double checks everyone's dive gear before they go into the water and also their guide once in the water, as well as their protector and "eye" making sure they did not drown, again always checking their gear several times while in the water and diving.  I never lost any divers but I did have some fools that should never have gotten into diving as it was not their element." 

In the summer of 1978, Robbie's father decided to sell the liquor store, leaving Robbie without a job. Robbie decided that teaching might be the right direction he wanted to pursue and went back to Eastern Kentucky University to earn his teaching certificate.  Since no certifications were given in anthropology he had to choose sociology in which to teach. After a 4.0 year in school and completion of his student teaching in Winchester, Kentucky he found that no teaching positions were existent within a hundred miles of his home. Going to his local newspaper office, the Irvine Times Herald, he landed a small job as the feature writer and photographer. "I worked for $85 dollars a week," informed Robbie. "For a young girl named Shary Cary. She didn't know squat about how to treat people. I wrote one story on a man, Shirley King, living in Estill County that had been with John Kennedy on his PT Boat during WW2. She never said anything much about it. Within a week the story appeared almost word for word on what I had written in Louisville's newspaper, The Courier Journal. I enjoyed writing and often did the editorials as she was lazy. After she left the newspaper and was living in California she was found dead having been decapitated. I never got any real satisfaction in writing newspaper stories. It was too formula for me. Inside, I knew that I wanted to be a novelist. But I wasn't sure where to begin. The newspaper sold out to a friend I had in high school, Guy Hatfield, about a year after I had been working there. Guy consolidated that newspaper with his and did away with all competition. Guy's father was Guy's bankroll. Guy never really had to work for anything. I never tried to work for Guy. He was one of those people that "knew everything" and I did not want to contend with that. He knew everything, and I knew the rest."

Robbie continued with his racing pigeons and in 1978 once again won the national title in New York. During this year he also had won the largest young bird racing pigeon show in the United States, The NATIONAL YOUNG BIRD SHOW in Louisville, as well as The Southern Racing Pigeon Show in Charleston, South Carolina. Robbie became the first showman of racing homers ever to win the top three shows in the United States all in the same year. In his doing this he set precedence and an entire new realm of thought and objectives for other showmen as to what was the standard in excellence. His loft was later featured on the cover of The American Racing Pigeon News and many racing pigeon showmen and racing pigeon diehard fliers alike came from all over the USA, Europe, Canada and Mexico to visit him and see his racing pigeons.

Some of the shows that he judged were The Louisville Combine Show, The Chicago Combine Show, The Bellville, Illinois Show, The Midwest Classic Show, The Kentucky State Fair, The Southern Racing Association Pigeon Show, The Southern Racing Pigeon--Dixie Show, The Indiana State Fair Show and others. "I met so many great pigeon showmen during that time. Oliver David in Mass.as well as Vincent Boschi, Clyde Galloway and Al Ianuzzi. I met Edna Scifres which was a legend in the south; she also had a close friend, Jerry Queen, which became friends with me; although she wasn't happy about my consistently beating her we became extremely close friends. I loved her strange accent as she was from Australia and lived in Charleston. I was also very close to Jim Kiersten, Florida. When we would stay in Florida I would always take a day off to go see him. I was also close friends with Francis Barnum, the artist, Bill Mitchum, Bob Weaver and Gary Potts that all lived in Ohio; Bill, Bob, Francis and I always rode up together to go to the National Show in New York; Bill raced a lot of the birds that I bred for show and he won the record classes many times over with that blood. I was also good friends with Mike Brown, a good showman that lived in their area. In St. Louis, I kept up a friendship with Boris Pensky, Bill Tadlock, Ray Schmidt, Curtis Wong, Carl Peake, Harry Nicholas and Jim Goldschmidt which later moved to New York. And in Indiana I discovered a friend named Raymond Gajewski. Ray and I are still friends. We still talk about the days he and I went pheasant hunting outside Chicago; I had been asked to judge their racing pigeon show while there. I've judged nearly every major show in the USA several times. And I won the Southern Racing Pigeon Show all seven years that I entered it. No other fancier ever did that. It had more entries than any show in the United States and was always highly contested by true racing pigeon fliers. I kept up a steady correspondence with Douglas McClary of Exter, England. McClary would fly over and stay at my home. He has a photo my loft featured in his book, Showing Pigeons. I was able to get McClary to fly to Louisville one year and be the judge of the National Young Bird Show. I was first and second in 15 of the 16 classes he judged. He did a series of articles on me in the popular British pigeon monthly, THE PICTORIAL. "McClary is the best European showman of racing pigeons that I ever met," spoke Robbie.  "He is a first class gentleman and has always been a loyal friend. McClary moved to Australia a few years ago and is still active with his show racing pigeons there. Besides these fanciers, I had good friends Colin Osman, the editor of the PICTORIAL in England and also in Wayne Reinke, the editor of The Racing Pigeon Bulletin. And also John Roberts and then Thelma Snyder, editors of The American Racing Pigeon News. Usually, they published whatever I sent to them. Wayne would pay me back with free advertising. And Bob Popkin, editor of THE POCKET RACING PIGEON was the same way. Now days whenever I do write something for one of the pigeon magazines I send it to Gene Yoes, editor of America's current top racing pigeon magazine, The Racing Pigeon. Gene is an attorney in New Orleans that has recently moved up to the north western end of the USA." 

No Sweat continues…

Here is a small start of a BIO that I began some time ago.  I only have it up so far in my small life.  It includes nothing beyond the last year mentioned.

I've owned an extraordinary life, very fortunate and lucky. Most of all I married the best woman on earth which has been an angel and has guided me through times when any other woman would have dropped me. And she happens to be beautiful inside and out. Chesteen.

I have several goals left in life--to see my two grandsons graduate from colleges, note at least 10 books by me with one being by Random House, to see one of my novels made into a movie, to live aboard my boat NANCY LOU for 100 straight days somewhere in the Bahamas ort Keys, etc.

My novel LA GUERRE EST FINIE will encompass one of the most interesting periods in my life relaying how it came that I fell in with so many famous people including John D. MacArthur. This book will have within it a novel that I spent 2 full years compiling and mending together that was written by WW2's greatest journalist, WILL LANG. Believe me, I went nuts on this project and remain nuts attempting to do it just so with this work. You simply have to see the book when it is completed in order to understand and appreciate the gravity of its contents. I have taken my writing skills there to a level that I look at and don't believe that I myself was capable of--but then that is compulsion.

Compulsion is what has made me an author. Little else. And that's why I told you that I have no advice on writing to any of your readership. People that go about advising poor others all about writing are little more than charlatans or near-do well preachers. People that own compulsions in their various art forms know nothing about all the what-they-are-supposed-to-do. They simply do it.

It was nothing short of a miracle that someone like me became entangled with Guy Davenport. I met him through another genius, Charles, Lindy Yeager. Between the two of them I got a real look at myself and realized just how ignorant I am and forever will be. I was so blessed to have them love me and love my works. They always sit on my shoulders. You can find Guy Davenport on the net. I ask that you look at such. And the odds of me falling in with Luisa Lang, Will Lang's daughter were just as remarkable. She loved me as well. Much of LA GUERRE EST FINIE involves her. I was with her when she committed suicide, reading aloud to her from the work I had spent those two years on. Don't think for one second that will ever leave me either. Please go to the net and type in: WILL LANG LIFE.   Read all about him. It’s just the tip of the iceberg on what I know. Most all that info on the net came directly from me. For me to be with Luisa was to always be with Will. It was all that she spoke of. She held him in her arms when he died of a heart attack in Switzerland. AND all this rolled me squarely up to the one man I have had troubles with much of my life---Ernest Hemingway. You will read entirely new information about EH when LA GUERRE finds its way to a publisher. Knowing all that I do I feel grandly confident that an agent and a major publisher will be impressed when they see what I have done regarding EH and all the rest.    

Those that know me appreciate that my second novel, NEFARIOUS, was based on the life of Edward Hawkins. I spent nearly 30 years carefully creating the novel while at the same time constantly researching the actual man's life. Just this past week I happened upon a letter that was written by Ed Hawkins. This happens to be the first actual handwriting that I have ever seen of his. And it answered many questions that I have long been harboring. The letter had been owned by one of Ed's relatives living out west. I still have many questions regarding it. But still, it is a wonderful find for me. As I suspected, Ed had beautiful handwriting. I'm still wondering why in two of the signatures there are mistakes. In one he left out the letter "K."  And in another signature he misspelled his name putting it "EDWERD."  

Your Most Humble And Obedient Servant
Earl Lowell "Robbie" aka " NO SWEAT "  Robbins, Jr. WWW.THESEPRECIOUSDAYS.COM
Email Address: rrobbins6@juno.com

Author of  These Precious Days and  Nefarious


Works in progress: 
LA GUERRE EST FINIE,
Black Bluegrass
Unbridled
Letters from a Genius to an Oaf
My life with a Pigeon
ES#1 The Pryse Site