by Fran Rizer
A Renaissance Man may be defined as a person skilled in many areas. Allow me to introduce David Lee Jones, a Renaissance Man.
HOW WE MET
Twenty years ago, I was divorced, rearing two sons as a single mother and supplementing my school teacher's pay by selling magazine articles and promoting local performers as well as a couple of nationally known country/bluegrass artists.
One of the local singers I worked with was a very talented vocalist whom we shall call Michelle, though that isn't her name. An A&R representative from an LA record label was visiting a friend in Columbia and planned to scout at a local club Friday night. Michelle and I made sure she was booked to perform and outfitted to stage perfection. I'd impressed upon her what a break this could be to her career, but I also tried to calm her nervousness.
Before Michelle went onstage, I pitched her talent to the A&R rep. He seemed responsive, but he stressed professionalism. Michelle's set was dynamite, but I noticed she was sipping from a glass instead of her usual water bottle throughout her performance. I held my breath as she took a bow to great applause. . . then proceeded to fall off the stage in an totally snockered fashion. The school teacher in me wanted to scold her; the mother in me gave her a hug and told her boyfriend to take her home. As we summed it up later, Michelle had her break, but she broke it.
I stayed for the remainder of the show (my sons' weekend at Dad's), but I moved from the AR rep's table to the end of the bar where I spent some time talking with David Lee Jones, the young bartender son of the club's owner. He showed me his sketchbook, and I was impressed with his talent. I encouraged him to enter some artwork in the SC State Fair Art Exhibit. He did, and he placed.
As time passed, I heard that David Lee was married. I ran into his father at the car wash with two beautiful grandchildren he said were David's. David Lee's father and I crossed paths in line at the bank years later. David was now divorced. After a talk about my kids and his kids, David's dad asked, "Didn't I hear you've had some books published?"
I told him all about Callie Parrish and the mystery series, and he proudly told me David Lee had a collection of stories published in England--Darkside of the Planet, which I purchased and found full of great mystery, horror, and science fiction tales. We have become good friends.
David and I recently had a joint book signing to celebrate publication of Jones's first novel Moria Varatu. This first in a sci fi trilogy is fast-paced and enthralling, and though I'm not a regular sci fi fan, I've read it twice, and Moria Varatu is a fascinating story.
Geologist Dr. Brandon Jordan flees to Mars to escape the tormenting loss of his young son and wife to a rampant global blood virus on Earth. Upon starting his life on the Red Planet, he stumbles onto an ancient secret that distracts him from the oppressive depression and sends his life hurtling into an adventure that not only solves eon's old mysteries on Mars, but connects to unsolved history back on Earth. In the end, he is forced to become an unlikely hero in a war that, unbeknown to humankind as a whole, has spanned across two worlds and unfathomable time altering the course of humanity.
LET'S GET PERSONAL
David Lee Jones was born and reared in Columbia, SC. After his parents' divorce, he moved to upstate New York and attended West Genessee Senior High School where his writing career began as a reporter for the school newspaper.
After graduation, Jones returned to South Carolina and attended Midlands Technical College where he earned an Associate's Degree in Commercial Graphics Technology. He uses that training in designing book covers.
Jones has a long career as a mixologist, having bartended for his father during college years. (That's when I first met him). He currently tends bar and offers advice and entertainment at Wings and Ale of Lexington in Lexington, SC. Years behind the bar have given him great insight into human behavior and psychology which shows in his dynamic writings. I believe he also has a long career awaiting him in writing.
He's also an excellent performer with a great voice.
Singer, ink & pencil artist, graphic artist and talented writer--my friend David Lee Jones, a Renaissance Man!
Until we meet again. . .take care of YOU.