Living on writer's block

Meet the eight published authors of Ashby Ponds

In a community filled with accomplished people, eight Ashby Ponds residents share the distinction of being published authors.

"Writing is something I really enjoy," says Jud Conner, a West Point graduate and the author of Muskets, Knives and Bloody Marshes: The Fight for Colonial Georgia. Jud's neighbor and fellow writer Bill Olcheski parlayed his love of writing into a career in public relations and as a speechwriter with the federal government.

As one of the most prolific writers at Ashby Ponds, Robert L. Skidmore has penned 20 novels and is currently workshopping another. "I always wanted to write, but I was busy with work," says Robert, who served 35 years in the U.S. Foreign Service.

When author Ray Birch wrote Steps Along the Way, A Memoir, he hoped to leave something for his family to enjoy. "I wanted to leave a record for my children so they will know what I thought, what I did, and what was important to me in my life," he says.

Poet Roderick Grant has donated copies of his books to the Ashby Ponds library. "Writing poetry allows you to express your thoughts in a succinct way," he explains. "I believe it carries a message more pointedly than prose."

Ashby Ponds is also home to Ph.D.s like Colonel Frank Margiotta, executive editor of Brassey's Encyclopedia of Military History and Biography and Anne Graffam Walker, internationally known forensic linguist and author.

"I knew there were other writers like me living here," says John Kraft, who co-edited The New Organizational Reality: Downsizing, Restructuring, and Revitalization. "It's a vibrant group of people. I always find it a joy to spend time together."

The Neighbors