Encouragement from a teacher inspires book


SYCAMORE – Courtney “Corky” Skelton can remember the day the idea of becoming an author got stuck in his head.

“You know, I think I could write a book someday,” Skelton told Ray Lambert, his eighth-grade teacher at Sycamore Middle School.

“Corky, I think you could!” Lambert replied.

Decades later, Lambert’s words of encouragement still inspire Skelton, who has published his first novella, “Right on Red.” The 136-page book was inspired by a vivid dream he had while he was wearing a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask shortly after he was diagnosed with sleep hypopnea. The book took 10 months to write and was edited by his wife, Robyn.

“It’s a story about how we are all connected and how everyone wants to be loved and respected for who they are,” Skelton said. 

The book tells the story of the relationship between Terry, a pessimistic introvert and Chris, a free-spirited artist. “They had only scratched the surface of what they could and would do. Life was good,” reads a description on the publisher’s website. “They had no idea what would befall them when an unwanted presence would cross their path.”

Skelton said people who have read the book have given him good feedback and that “people like how it ended.”

He is working on his second book, a full-length novel based on another dream. He works on the book at home and on his lunch breaks at work.

“I put my headphones on and listen to music that will put me into the character I want to be,” he said of his writing process.

“Right on Red” is available online from the publisher at at or from or It is also available as an e-book.

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