They say beginnings are always the hardest. I’m new to blogging, so I suppose it’s only natural that it would be hard to know where to start. Maybe with the basics.
Why am I a writer? Well, because I love to write and entertain. I’ve been writing since I was a teenager, though I’m glad none of those manuscripts are still around. I remember being “inspired” to write some kind of cheap knockoff of the The Destroyer series and doing a really poor job of it. Well, I was only thirteen or fourteen and didn’t know bunk about writing at the time. I just put words on paper and made my protagonist as macho as I could in a black-belt theater kind of way. And naturally, the story never got finished. Imagine that.
But that’s jumping ahead in the story a bit.
I suppose my desire to write goes back to sixth grade. It was during that year that my science teacher, a man by the name of Robert Croddy, spent the course of the year reading The Hobbit to us at the end of class. I can still remember how I was taken away as we discovered Middle-earth. I could see the Misty Mountains, hear the water running past Rivendell. I huddled with Bilbo and the Dwarves in their cave as the giants tossed rocks at one another and could taste the honey and biscuits in Beorn’s cabin. I grew up poor, and we weren’t able to travel much, but I received a small allowance for work done on the farm, and I gave Mr. Croddy money each week to buy me the three novels of The Lord of the Rings (LOTR).
If The Hobbit transported me out of that long-ago science classroom, LOTR took me away from this world. Traveling through a much more detailed Middle-earth with Frodo and the other Hobbits, in the company of people like Aragorn and Gandalf was a wonder to me. It opened up my mind to possibilities I hadn’t dreamed of until then. Oh, I’d done some reading before that, but with possibly one exception (a dog named Tough Enough, and I remember the drawings in the book better than I do the stories), none of them captured my heart and imagination like LOTR did. I’ve put many miles under my feet since then (that was around 1976, after all), but I’ve never forgotten that sense of wonder and awe I experienced as I sat in my room discovering Middle-earth.
Thankfully, I was a much slower reader then than I am now, because it took a little more than a year and the discovery of the Science Fiction Book Club (SFBC) to acquaint me with my next trip to another world: The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks. With wonderful paintings by The Brothers Hildebrandt. I reveled in this book as well, another quest fantasy, this time for the legendary Sword of Shannara, a weapon forged specifically for defeating the Dark Lord. Yes, many of these standards have become stereotypes to be avoided in today’s fantasy writing, but they were still fresh and new in the late Seventies. At least for me. I had just discovered Middle-earth, and now I was discovering an entirely new fantasy world (I misremember its name now, if it had one) as I followed the Ohmsford brothers in their quest. I have never read any of the other Shannara books, and I’m not sure if I will now, as it has become difficult to read the traditional-style fantasy for me. But I will always remember sitting in a lawn chair on late summer evenings with my SFBC hardback edition of The Sword of Shannara and being transported away yet again.
I’ve gone on many trips to other worlds and times since then. I’ve roamed the sands of Dune, the sf equivalent of Middle-earth, and I’ve ridden horseback through Louis L’Amour’s west with the Sacketts. I’ve gone under the ocean in the USS Dallas with Tom Clancy, ran frantically through Rome and Europe with Dan Brown, and cruised the deeps of space with countless spaceship captains. But thorough it all, I’ve never lost my love for the written word.
I have, however, been reluctant, afraid even, to submit.
I have three finished novels under my belt, and I am currently working on an epic space opera and a crime novel. I want to branch out and work in at least two fields. One of my finished novels, with the working title The First Born, is pretty much polished up. It is an urban fantasy written before the recent craze started, so I pulled it out, polished it up, and now I need to write a synopsis and work on my query letter skills to begin submitting my manuscript to agents.
It takes a lot of courage, though. It’s one thing to take your work to a writing group and share it around. After all, they’re there to help you improve it. But taking the large step to submitting that same (hopefully better) work to professionals in the field…well, that’s daunting.
But I have some wonderful people backing and supporting me, especially my family. My daughter is an author as well (talk about the proud dad!), and you can find her blog in my links. I hope you’ll check her out, too. I also have a Facebook page where I’ll be focusing more on the writing life as well, and you can find that in my links too.
Well, that about does it for this time around. Again, thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoy your time here. And if you learn something of what it means to be an author, well, that’s just a bonus.