Dr. Richard House approached me via a referral a little over a year ago—just about the time I teetered on the cusp of full retirement. He had a non-fiction manuscript that needed a ton of work—his assessment—a true story that was kind of “out there,” he said.

Having always preferred to work on novels, I normally would’ve passed on this project. But Richard was so endearing—so enthusiastic—that I couldn’t say no. So am I glad that I agreed to work on Between Now and When? Well, one year later I have another success story for my brag book, and even better, I have a great new friend. Here is some of Richard’s journey, in his own words.

Dr. Richard House

Dr. Richard House

Between Now and When took a long time to find its way into print—yeah, about thirty years, now that I think about it. I took the title from what actually happened: a mystical journey that began with a near-death experience that plopped me between the everyday reality of Now, and the higher realms of entrancing beauty—When.

It took me a long time to integrate these experiences into a reasonable facsimile of NORMAL; but hey, normal isn’t all that much fun when there’s so much more going on that is generally hidden from casual inspection. Life intrudes; bills need to be paid; kids need help with homework. You know the drill.

Nonetheless, I started writing this story in my head. Why? Initially, it was simply to let my kids know how their dad got so strange. Another clear motive was to open a discussion with my medical colleagues about esoteric healing. After my journey around the world, I started practicing medical acupuncture full time, which opened the door to other forms of healing work. I believe our current healthcare system is doomed to expire like the old magazines in a doctor’s office.

BetweenNowWhenWith these ideas rolling around in my head, in 1992 I recorded the main story points on a tape recorder, lest I forget any of the details. Still, it wasn’t yet time to actually write. It took an additional twenty years before the time was perfect. The actual impetus came from a Christmas gift from my step-daughter, Ellyn Ross. She was enrolled in a Master of Fine Arts program and had hand-crafted a bound book of blank paper—a beautiful thing. I opened the book and flipped through the blank pages and had an Aha! moment: I would metaphorically fill the book with my story.

I got to work, but I was very concerned about the mystical content of my story. Would I be run out of town, or be burned at the stake? I wimped out and decided to hide the whole thing within a mystical poem—eighty-two pages worth. My wife read it, with me on tenterhooks. Said she, “You’re a lousy poet.” Ah, the pain.

So I started writing the story properly—well, not really, because I wasn’t a writer. Didn’t have a clue, but I wrote every day anyway. Bit by bit the Muse started smiling on me. I also read voraciously; any well-written book that I could find—because, my friend, that’s the way to learn how to write. How long did it take? FOUR YEARS. How many pencil-written pages did it take to come up with a decent book? FOUR THOUSAND. No kidding. I still have the stack of yellow legal pads in the basement.

Richard House 2Now with a decent manuscript, I sent queries out to fifty literary agents. Oh, the heartbreak! Forty-nine rejections, all of them form letters. Did I give up? Yes, I gave up; oh well, I tried. But a year later I got a personal email from Molly Freeman of Halston and Freeman. She had nice things to say and commanded me to hire an editor. Who? I asked her. No response was forthcoming. An author/friend, Marc Darrow, filled in the blank by recommending this guy named Mike Sirota, and thank God he did.

The rest was a cakewalk…I wish. I started really learning about the art of writing though painful experience once again. Mike ripped the manuscript apart, and we put it back together. It was a fascinating time of releasing my hold on the story and just letting it reassemble itself the way it ought to be. We got it done—but Mike wasn’t finished with me. “Richard, you gotta get a computer, and a smart phone wouldn’t hurt.”

Great advice; right out of the chute I received an email from New Page Books with the delightful words, “We would like to include Between Now and When on our Spring publication list.”

What a journey! Just as important, Mike Sirota became a good friend somewhere along the way. And we’re not done yet. Remember I said that I write every day? Well, someone has to edit all that stuff…

Between Now and When is available on Amazon.com, and on the shelves of Barnes and Noble. It is also formatted for Nook and Kindle. Enjoy!

Dr. Richard House has been practicing medicine for over forty years, first as a traditional medicine doctor and then, for the past two decades, as an acupuncturist using the chakras for energetic healing. He lives in North Carolina on an organic farm and enjoys beekeeping and animal husbandry.

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