Sometimes it seems my life has been a testament to bad judgement and wishful thinking. However, my wife of many years says she knows of nothing in the record to justify such unfettered optimism.
I'm a member of the last generation of rural veterinarians who remembers working with cows that had names and personalities and dairymen who worked in the barn with their families. I'm also part of the first wave of Baby Boomers, crusty codgers who are writing their wills and grousing about kids who can be damned condescending at times.
I'm an MSU grad (1969). I practiced bovine medicine in rural Wisconsin (La Crosse, New Richmond, Medford, and for 12 years in Marshfield) for nineteen years, returned to graduate school at the University of Minnesota, earned a PhD in microbiology, and spent the next nineteen years working in R&D on bovine and swine vaccines. I retired in December, 2012. Since then I've devoted myself to torturing the English language.
Don't be fooled. They weren't that innocent.
I've always enjoyed writing and telling stories, and when you make as many mistakes as I do, you have a lot of stories to tell. I practiced writing by writing Christmas letters that documented the stupid things I and my kids did over a 30 year period. Since no one wants to read a long letter, I learned to be concise.
The picture is from 30 years ago.
At least so far, I've started my books by imagining a scene and building a story from that. I wouldn't recommend that to anyone, as it has taken years to write each book
Even when I've tried to be serious, the books come out as comedies.
Doc's Codicil a work of fiction based loosely on my years in veterinary practice. 2015 IndieFab Bronze medal winner for humor
When Wisconsin veterinarian Doc dies, his family and nephew learn that to inherit his fortune, they must decipher the cryptic codicil he added to his will—“Take Doofus squirrel-fishing”—and they can only do that by talking to Doc's friends, reading his book, searching through his emails and papers, and discovering the clues around them.
A Jerk, a Jihad, and a Virus Veterinary virologist Jason Mitchell can't keep his mouth shut, lie convincingly, or follow orders. He's an unlikely candidate to help the CIA locate and destroy a deadly hybrid virus stolen from his lab at the University of Minnesota. From Washington to Djibouti and from Minneapolis to Yemen, Marines cringe, senators turn livid, and federal agents shudder as Jason struggles to prevent the virus from becoming a biological weapon in the hands of jihadists
Both books are available in hard copy or e book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, iBookstore, and Kobo
An audible version of Doc's Codicil is available on Amazon. For a time, Amazon is running a FREE promotion.
Irene McIntosh (Bookseller) on NetGalley, July 1, 2015. 5 out of 5 stars.
"Really enjoyed this book. It has been a very long time since an author has made me laugh out loud. A life lesson engagingly told. Take more time for squirrel fishing, deep water marine especially!"
Christine DeSmet, mystery author, faculty associate and director, Write-by-the-Lake Writer’s Workshop & Retreat, University of Wisconsin-Madison (July 7, 2015).
"Doc’s Codicil by Gary F. Jones is entertaining, wise, and filled with touches of magical realism. I enjoyed following Doc—a dairy veterinarian—on his rounds with his unlikely guardian angel called Doofus. Doc’s family troubles and the authentic details of small-town life are charming and keep the plot moving at a good pace. And what the animals do (and think!) during the local Christmas Nativity play is downright hilarious. If you enjoyed movies where actor Jimmy Stewart conversed with a tall rabbit named Harvey and the angel Clarence in his search for wisdom, you’ll “get” this imaginative debut novel."
A Jerk, a Jihad, and a Virus
E Vikander (Reviewer) April 4, 2016
Jason and Ann are graduate students experimenting with a bovine virus. An accident contaminates their samples, which are stolen by the Jerk and sold to Jihadists. It took me a while to warm up to this satire. I found it to be clever with a peppering of waggish bon mots, "... he read the cell phone instructions from cover to cover--possibly the first male to ever do so." If you've ever been a graduate student you will especially appreciate this comedy of errors.
Gayle Surrette (reviewer) May 4, 2016
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
"It all started when a foreign grad student ". . . You know what they say about plans and reality -- they seldom resemble each other.
"The plot is twisty but believable, especially if you have experience in academia. The characters are realistic enough to walk off the page. . . "
Christine DeSmet, mystery author and screenwriter, Master Class writing instructor, University of Wisconsin-Madison Continuing Studies
“This fast-paced, smart, witty, and tautly written thriller explodes with an international setting and a great cast of characters including the unlikely hero-a young university bovine virus researcher in St. Paul, Minnesota. The author gives us high stakes with incredible details, creating an authentic and fascinating look inside university labs and politics as well as a jihadist plot that takes our hero around the globe to Cairo and back. Gary Jones is a great new voice on the thriller novel scene. A Jerk, A Jijad and a Virus is a highly recommended read.”
available in 2019 (I hope)
Chris Throckmorton searches for his great grandfather's assets buried in an abandoned office as he's stalked by his greedy ex-wife, a divorcee with romance on her mind, a local con man and a crooked mayor.