Mile Marker Forty-Five

I started the “author’s journey” a scant three years ago. In that time I produced a half-dozen anthologies, been a finalist in a local manuscript competition, self-published one novel, and had a number of short stories published by other editors and eZines. I also managed to make at least a small name for myself in the local steampunk community and with a number of conventions along the Front Range. Editors are asking me to write short stories, and authors are asking me to blog for them. I’m on a first-name basis with a couple of agents and in occasional contact with a few others. I’m doing eBook and book design work for Kevin J. Anderson as well as doing similar work for several of my writing friends.

I’ve also amassed a GREAT circle of friends, most of them authors, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

Not bad for three years’ work when you consider that I’ve held a day job the entire time. I do want to throw out a special thank you to the folks over at Blue Dot Solutions. They a great bunch of people, and there is no way I could have accomplished everything I have were it not for them and the circumstances of my employment. THANK YOU BLUE DOT SOLUTIONS.

On this, the eve of my forty-fifth birthday, I find myself contemplating what I hope the next few years hold for me. I can honestly say that I’m optimistic, although can’t say with any certainty that I’ll make it. The harsh truth is that a full-time-author-wannabe can do everything “right” and still not get struck by lightning. However, based on my experiences thus far, it appears as if getting picked up by an agent or editor or publisher is more a matter of hard work than it is the “lightning factor.” Granted, what happens once your books hit the shelves is another matter altogether, but it does look as if the next step in my master plan is at least on the horizon, if not around the corner.

I spent seventeen years as a slave to the corporate mind. I can’t say those years were all bad, but most of them were. Frankly, I was miserable throughout most of it. I did, however, met some great people, accomplish some pretty amazing things, and expand my understanding of people and business more than most people do in a lifetime.

I also encountered my one and only mentor. I often refer to him as my third father. I had two others, but I won’t go into that here. What’s important is that Sanjay Tiwari taught me more about life and business and getting along with others than any other three people combined. I couldn’t have set out on this path were it not for his wise tutelage. He’s a short, East Indian who was born and raised literally in a thatch-roofed hut with a dirt floor. I like to describe him as a cross between Gandhi and a New York Pimp. You’d have to work for him to understand that one, but it’s accurate, nonetheless.

So, here I am, two entries submitted to the Colorado Gold contest, about to submit queries to the biggest sci-fi publisher around as well as several  well-known agents, and I’m still wondering if I have what it takes to make it in the writing business. I’ve talked with enough “brand-name” authors to know that even in the upper echelons it’s a hard life. It’s not at all what most people think, and there are times when I wonder if I’ve got the chops. But then I think about all those miserable years spent working my guts out for the IT industry and compare that to how happy I am working my guts out on my own writing.

It’s not even a contest.

I love writing. I love doing these blogs. I love the stories I write, even when they suck. I have no doubt in my mind that I want to do this for the rest of my life. I have no doubt that I’d rather die a starving artist than go back to corporate America.

I have no doubt.

So as I cross into this next year of my life, I’m confident that I’m doing the right thing, despite the risks and hard work and stress that I go through on a regular basis. I honestly can’t image anything I’d rather be doing. This truly is the life for me, and I’m grateful grateful grateful for the opportunities that keep coming my way. I’ll keep plugging away at this until I make that first cut, until I get picked up by someone.

And then watch out.

At that point, the sky will be the limit. I have dozens of stories started or mapped out on paper already. I have hundreds more stored up inside this addled rat’s maze I call a brain. I’m looking forward to every opportunity the universe grants me to inflict my stories upon readers across the world. So get in, buckle up, and hang on. It should be one hell of a ride.

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