December 24th opened with a silent roar. I woke from my bed, grabbed my phone from the nightstand, opened my inbox and saw what I had waited for:
In my own way, I am now a published author. Someday there will be a box series, and more series and stories, and maybe a contract with an outside publisher, and movie rights, and audiobooks, and print copies. But for now, it’s a start. In the words of Glen Cook, “It’s a kind of immortality.”
So before things go much further and I get a big head (because that’s completely possible), I’d like to stop and say a few thank you’s. I couldn’t have done this without help, and in many ways, it’s a team effort.
Family & friends: Behind the scenes and in everyday life, I am surrounded by a cast and crew of exceptional people. My wife Brigette is not only a beta reader but emotional supporter and helper in so many ways. My entire family has been nothing but supportive throughout my life, and I owe a special debt of gratitude to my parents for suffering a young boy who read way too many Dragonlance novels and ran through the woods hacking about trees.
Beta readers: For Ascent of the Fallen I owe thanks for my friend Brenna who provided multiple read-throughs and excellent feedback. Not only in the little things, but also in story arc and a general, “I want to know more about where this is going, so feel free to say more,” thoughts. You know you have a great beta reader when a message comes in saying, “I know you’ve finished the first draft of Exiles of Heaven, and I’m going on vacation, so pony it up.”
Editor & cover art: Nicole, my editor, and Monica, my cover artist, are both consummate professionals and friends. I still remember how tentative I felt when asking Nicole, “Would you be interested in doing book editing for me?” Monica suffered through my first experience working directly with an artist to bring a random collection of inspirations into a cohesive picture, and an email chain around 35 messages long of back and forth. Thank you both for giving this first-timer a shot!
Steven Pressfield: I try not to distract myself with too many outside content sources: I know I could read blogs and articles, listen to podcasts, etc., all day long and never actually do anything. It’s easy to justify those activities as learning. It’s easy to become overwhelmed. I listen to a few voices in the field, and Steven Pressfield is one. His “Writing Wednesday” and “What It Takes” series of articles is a source of mid-week inspiration and writing technique education that I look forward to greatly. He is frank, honest, but undeniably accurate given his own story and success. Thanks for fanning the flame.
Joanna Penn: Maybe it’s her British accent that keeps me intrigued, but Joanna has been a constant source of inspiration and advice on self-publishing and authorship. I appreciate her honest take on authorship as a business, and her perspectives on various topics like marketing, business planning, and writing craft. She’s doing something unique over at The Creative Penn, and that’s awesome. Who knows, maybe someday I’ll be one of her interviewees!
Shawn Coyne: Shawn (editor at Black Irish Publishing with Steven) provided a gem of writing knowledge in his editing tome The Story Grid and his methods of deconstructing novels. It had a significant influence on my thinking. I’ll say I’m using it imperfectly, and hope to improve over time, but I’m on the path.
Sean Platt & Johnny Truant: In 2014 it was this pair that kicked the door open. I had the basic framework of Chronicles of Outremer started back in 2012 (ish), but it was reading Write, Publish, Repeat that got me started on the path to self-publishing. Their business ventures at Realm & Sands and Sterling & Stone show just what some motivated, dedicated, and wildly experimental writers can accomplish.
I’m excited to continue the story started in Ascent of the Fallen, and hope to get Exiles of Heaven out this spring. Stay tuned for a teaser from another storyline I’ve got on the backburner, the start of Map of the Stars on January 1st, and more. 2017 is going to be awesome.