Tosh McIntosh is an aviator. Through and through, front to back, up and down, side to side, every which way. Almost a half century of flying experience has nurtured his love and passion for aviation, and the inevitable termination of professional piloting due to advancing age has only served to magnify his desire to remain active in taking to the skies for the pure joy of it.
He entered the United States Air Force in 1964 and served as a pilot for twenty years, five months, four days, twelve hours, and thirty-seven seconds, but who’s counting? He never had a desk job that didn’t include active flying, all of which after pilot training was in fighters, and of that, the majority in the F-4 Phantom, including two combat tours in a hot war and the rest in constant readiness if a cold one decided to heat up.
Tosh retired from active duty in 1985 not yet ready to turn in his g-suit. Every day since he has missed the unique combination of service to country and the bond of commitment to a team effort in which each fighter pilot must constantly perform to the best of his ability with no exceptions. Fail your wingman or leader and an already dangerous profession turns deadly.
After a series of false-start second careers in Austin, Texas, as a flight instructor, landscaper, and financial planner, he flew airliners for ten years before monumental boredom finally drove him away and he began flying corporate jets. His professional flying landed for the last time in 2007.
Tosh is also a writer. Although he’s been putting pen to paper for much less time than he’s been a flyer, these two dominating interests in his life dovetail seamlessly into a synergistic union. His goal is to share with readers his deeply ingrained love of aviation. In non-fiction, the logbook titled “Words on My Wing,” includes stories from the cockpit and the real world of aviators. In fiction, the logbook titled “Wings on My Words,” presents an entertaining blend of imagination and in-depth personal experience.
Many of his writer friends can point to the precise moment when the writing bug bit them. For Tosh, it might have been far less noticeable. Growing up in Dallas, Texas, he would occasionally remove one or the other of two loose-leaf binders from a bookcase in the living room and open it to read carbon copies of his father’s latest short-story submissions to magazines. A seed planted, perhaps?
Water and fertilizer arrived in the form of boredom mentioned above. As a very junior airline pilot, he sat a lot of reserve duty and wasted countless hours sitting in hotel rooms on layovers. Determined to use the time to his advantage, he walked into a computer store to buy a laptop. A salesman suggested that Tosh begin at one end of a long table with laptops chained to the wall, type a page of text, copy it to a floppy disk, open it on the next laptop in line and compare the screens. The issue at the time: passive matrix versus active.
“Most people,” said the salesman, “think you communicate with a computer through the keyboard. But in fact, fingers simply convey decisions. Your eyes on the display handle most of the interaction. Try scrolling through a page of text and watch how the screen responds. Your eyes will thank you for it.”
That test page, totally unplanned, became the opening of Tosh’s first novel. The dream of becoming a published author from that moment forward has provided the motivational fuel for running his writer’s engine.
In the intervening years, he has completed two novels and begun second-in-series stories for both. An early version of Pilot Error, an aviation thriller, made finalist in the Writer’s League of Texas 2003 Novel Manuscript Contest and later received a request for a full manuscript from an agent. Representation was not offered, but the experience proved invaluable for identifying weaknesses in the story. Tosh joined the Novel-in-Progress critique group of Austin, and has worked with two editors, one in Austin and one in New York City, to refine his crafting of all structural areas of fiction.
After years of combat in what his military background has labeled “The Query Wars,” Tosh abandoned the quest for finding a literary agent and getting a book contract with a traditional publisher. He has published two novels as of July, 2014: Pilot Error and Red Line. Test Flight, the third novel in the series, is currently in work.
Tosh’s two non-fiction books. Wings on my Words, tales from the writer’s desk, and Words on my Wings, tales from the cockpit, are devoted to sharing with readers his personal journeys in aviation and writing fiction.
He thanks you for visiting and hopes it won’t be the last time.