Many of us carry a book around in our heads which we one day plan to write. All we need to finish it is some peace and quiet, the right mood and just a little more time.

Many of us carry a book around in our heads which we one day plan to write. All we need to finish it is some peace and quiet, the right mood and just a little more time.

Honest. So get off our backs, for crimony's sake!

Sadly, I have not one but two books lodged in my cranium. I take aspirins. It helps, except for the double-vision thing.

The good news is that both epics are well more than halfway completed on paper. Still, my wife says surgical removal may be required if I don't stop talking about the books and finish them.

She has even offered to do the cranial carving with an antique beer-can opener, sans pain killer.

But Curtis Oddo, who just happens to be a medical doctor in Medford, doesn't recommend her can-opener surgery. Something about a thick skull damaging a perfectly good antique beer-can opener.

Oddo is one of those rare folks who simply sat down and transferred his book out of his head. He had carried the roughed-out storyline around for years.

Fortunately, there was enough room in his head for the book and the knowledge he crammed into it from the University of Illinois Medical School.

"I didn't have the dialogue or the characters' names but I knew each of the pieces very well," he says. "I knew how it would fit together."

After completing it in 2009, Oddo self-published "The Crimson Battle Axe" this fall. The 221-page paperback fantasy book is available for $18 at Bloomsbury Books, Treehouse Books, More Fun Comics, Iguana Comics and

His publicist describes it as a sword-and-sorcery novel which delves into the realm of myth, magic and classical fantasy. A beefy fellow named Gnarl wields the battle ax which he skillfully employs to smite evildoers.

As for the colorful cover, a friend of Oddo's back in his hometown of Chicago recruited the husband-and-wife team of Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell, two famous fantasy artists. They created the scene of Gnarl fighting what appears to be a winged tiger.

While I'm not a fantasy buff, it looks like a fun read. That's not a small thing, given the coming dark days of winter, the darkening global economic woes and the totally dark political morass.

"I love good stories — good stories are good for the soul," Oddo explains. "I want people who are having a hard time to be able to escape into a fantasy hero story and enjoy themselves for a few hours."

As for bloodlessly removing the book from his head, he reports he sat down and wrote for about an hour a day until the transfer was complete.

"It was fun writing the book — it wasn't work at all," Oddo says of his debut novel.

Prior to the book, aside from churning out endless essays for high school and college classes, his previously most important writing project had been the first draft of an Oregon law strengthening the state's child-abuse laws.

The primary care pediatrician for Providence Health Systems says special circumstances created an opportunity for him to put the book down on paper. It seems the former medical director of the Children's Advocacy Center of Jackson County faced the end of his job and marriage in the same week.

"I had my sports-card collection and my clothes — that was it," he says. "I sold the collection, bought a computer and started writing a book."

He recommends albacore tuna for those making the book transfer from cranium to computer.

"I had always wanted to write a fantasy hero story but never had the time," he adds. "Suddenly, I had the time."

While growing up, Oddo, 47, devoured comic books before graduating to legendary fictional heroes.

"I've always read a lot," he says. "And I always loved hero stories — the Robin Hoods, the Zorros. One of the my personal favorites is 'The Three Musketeers.' Love that book."

Indeed, Alexandre Dumas is among his favorite fiction writers.

"He had a great romantic style of writing," he says. "He was such a wonderful storyteller. He is fun to read.

"Unfortunately, I can't write like Dumas and I wouldn't use that language but I wanted characters and a plot that advanced along like his stories do," he adds.

He is also a fan of Ray Bradbury's "Zen and the Art of Writing."

"It was fascinating to me that he wrote about how his subconscious influenced his writing," the doctor says. "It made me want to explore that whole thing."

He has also poured over Dashle Hammond's "The Thin Man" and "The Maltese Falcon."

"The dialogue is fantastic," he says. "There is no way I could ever write like that. But it is so enjoyable to read, so quick-witted. The dialogue is better than the stories."

Oddo is quick to observe he wrote the book, not to be become a famous novelist, but just for plain, old fun.

"Medicine is so logical," he says. "We have logic, reason, didactic, differential diagnosis. None of that is operating here. Writing this was all for fun."

For those of us with books stuck in our heads, the good doctor recommends an hour of writing a day. It certainly sounds preferable to the antique beer-can opener method.

Reach reporter Paul Fattig at 541-776-4496 or email him at