Tosh

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.

13 Responses to Tosh

  1. Deanna says:

    Fascinating stuff! I’ll be back to check up on you!

  2. Wow, you’ve written a sequel and started another since I read your first, huh? You know I’ve always believed in “Pilot Error.” Expect to see it in print one of these days.
    I like your website.

  3. Leanna says:

    Hey Tosh,

    Nicely done. I wouldn’t expect anything less from you.

  4. TAC Callsign, "Filth" says:

    Great seeing that the Mighty Tosh is alive and well! There can be only one Phantom pilot named Tosh, so it is with a happy heart that I remember the Tosh from some 30+ years ago when we were squadron mates at Kadena. We flew the Phantoms as 25th’s Asam Dragons. I was an inexperienced lieutenant and Tosh was an “old-head” been there, done that fighter jock that all us wingmen wanted to be like if we were ever to grow-up. We had a great squadron with the greatest of comaradere! Here’s to Tosh, Little Dicky May, Don-Carlo Parlatore, George Canceler, Gangus-Kahn Mengis, Bill Bledsoe, Chuck Flock, Tug “Boom-Boom” McGraw, Tovio Pantaja, and so many more great and wonderful “Phantomators”
    In Closing, I must ask Asam Dragons everywhere, “Who has the squadron Doofer-Books?”
    I would very much like to see them published–even if most is rated X…

  5. Tosh McIntosh says:

    The Mighty Tosh appreciates your visit and the comment, and he’s grateful to still be alive and well. Your note brought the memories flooding back of a time when nothing mattered to us except being the best leader/wingman and squadron-mate we could possibly be in accomplishing a mission no one outside of our community will ever be able to understand.

    Welcome to the site and I hope this won’t be the last time.

    Tosh

  6. GUY E. KNOLLE, JR. says:

    Tosh, yours is a very special website for AVIATORS. I will pass it on to my many friends who are infected with the affliction called “pilot” in command.

    • Tosh McIntosh says:

      Thank you, Guy.

      It is an infection, isn’t it?

      As stated by one of the characters in my first (and as yet unpublished) novel, “Flying is like a mysterious blood disease for which there is no cure, and the only treatment is more flying.”

      Thank you for your support, and I really appreciate your passing the word along to your fellow afflicted pilots.

  7. Hi Tosh,

    I know Ann, and she told me about your writing and your being an aviator. It’s a little late, but on Veteran’s Day I always like to thank veterans for their service. I have many friends that are veterans, and I help one particular group at the Austin downtown Veteran’s Day parade every year. So, I wanted to thank you for your service. I feel that Viet Nam vets are not appreciated as much as they should be, and that’s a shame.

    Good luck with your publishing. I am a librarian, and I wanted to mention that sometimes getting your book into libraries can help. People will read your book and then want to read more that you have written. So, I wanted to suggest that.

    Thank you again for your service to this great country!

    • Tosh McIntosh says:

      Thank you so much, Terese.

      You are one of only three people who took a moment to pass along a simple thank you on a day when Americans have a special opportunity to extend a token of their appreciation for the sacrifices of others to protect them and the freedom they so often take for granted. I really appreciate it.

      Tosh

  8. Tosh, my NIP mate, I’ve read precious little of your then, work-in-progress novel, “Pilot Error.” In my time with the Novel-in-Progress group, I’ve learned a lot about writing just listening to your critiques, you, Deanna Roy, Dave Mignery, Gaylon Greer, and the rest of our writing friends. I look forward to getting a copy of your novel, and I want it autographed for this ole’ Marine and fellow Vietnam vet. I just feel that “Pilot Error” is well on its way to being published and headed for the top. JJ

  9. Tosh McIntosh says:

    Howdy, JJ:

    Thank you so much for visiting the site, taking the time to leave a comment, and the kind words. I’ve got a copy here at the house with your name on it, gladly inscribed to a fellow writer with a truly marvelous imagination for storytelling, and a fellow combat veteran who knows the meaning of duty, honor, and service to our country.

    It will be my honor to personally hand you the book.

    Tosh

  10. Beverly Roland says:

    Just dropped in to say hi and tell you how much I enjoyed reading all three of your books. For those of you who don’t know, Tosh is a wonderful speaker as well as a pilot and writer. We at the University of Texas’ LAMP group in Austin, TX enjoyed an interesting and humorous lecture about his career and the process of writing of “Pilot Error,” and hope he can come back soon to tell us more. Thanks, Tosh

    • Tosh McIntosh says:

      Thank you so much for the kind words, Beverly. Apart from making enough money from my writing to purchase a vacation home on the Riviera =;-), knowing that you enjoyed reading my books is the finest compliment a writer can receive, and I appreciate your taking the time to let me know.

      The UT-LAMP experience is by far the pinnacle of my lecture “tour,” and I would return in a heartbeat to work with such a professional crew and the outstanding program you run.

      Tosh

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