A. Blaine Cleaver
Tony describes himself as a 'refugee' from the city of Flint, Michigan, a place once considered to be the Mecca of America's blue collar workforce; though now, a town whose name has become synonymous with terms like ‘crime,’ ‘poverty,’ ‘urban decay,’ and ‘bad water.’
By the late 1980’s Tony found himself in Oklahoma City, where he was soon to gain a ‘dubious’ honor: he was the highest earning bartender in three states. So his employers would tolerate his propensity for ‘witnessing’ to customers and co-workers from across the bar—on one occasion, even to a professed Satan worshiper, with the consecration scars on his chest to prove it. Tony would tell these people he would encounter about how Jesus could change their lives. For this, he was denied membership at a local church— “Because he fraternized with sinners.”
In the 1990’s in Albuquerque, Tony once had occasion to break traditional 'fry-bread' with a very old Native American couple in their modest pueblo home on the reservation. They talked about religions, about 'hospitality,' and about the priceless thousand year old clay pots that lined on their modest mantle.
In the 2000’s in Indianapolis, Tony went from having no job, no home of his own, and being about $40,000 in debt, to owning a portfolio of investment properties; all within just a few years. Tony continued in his witnessing efforts, speaking to tenants and to the working poor, whom he would help to purchase their very own first homes.
Today Tony and wife Karen live in the Ozark foothills where they continue to seek God's guidance every day. His novel, A Chain of Flames, is about how different people - some on the front of society and some on the fringe - are able to find their way . . . despite their disasters, their difficulties or their levels of malcontent.