In defense of writing, and my plans…(bwa-ha-ha-ha!)

6 Apr

We are just three months from my five-year promise deadline. Looking back, I have some things I would have changed, but for the most part, I’m pretty proud of myself. Sure, I spent a lot of time discovering and trying to maneuver through social media (always with the excuse it was for better exposure, yeah right), and there were some choices as to where I would send my novels that, knowing what I know now, I would have done vastly differently. I was also a father of five children, a husband and a teacher. In fact, right now, I’m putting off yet another pile of papers to grade (I graded all of Saturday. It’s Sunday now), to right this little update.

But, I did manage to write close to fifty stories (not all of them keepers- but there were some gems in the lot), massively edit (re-write, actually) four novels, and write three more. I gave four speeches to aspiring young writers, published three novels, attended two writing conventions, and gave three readings (all of which I was invited). I  got to meet over the internet some of my favorite writers, and discovered and become friends with a bunch more talented folks. I got to meet a bunch of folks in person, some of which I’ve been a fan for years. I will cherish the memory of smoking and laughing with Rick Hautala at a conventions just months before he gave up the ghost. The inestimable Jonathan Maberry sent my son some supplementary readings when I told him how much Finnegan was a fan of his Rot and Ruin series. I’ve seen my book on book shelves and in the libraries I have frequented. Great stuff.

This challenge was a brave one. I have tried so long and hard to see myself as a writer, but how liberating it was to finally act like one. The real moments of glory for me was when I sold my first story just one month into my promise to Northern Frights Publishing. I gave a victory cry that sounded through the valley, then later read the work to my wife and reduced her to tears. I loved having my wife eagerly ask for more of my work, to hear her laugh and gasp as new plot points were revealed. Perhaps, most of all, I loved being lost in my long lonely drives to work, I loved frantically rushing to the keyboard and letting the words set themselves loose. I loved getting to know these characters that seemed to tell their own stories. I loved getting teary eyed as my tired heroes made sacrifices and fell into the arms of loved ones at journey’s end. It was those moments that kept me going despite my confusion about how to market myself, my disappointment of the apathy of people (sometimes the ones that counted), and the downright cruel critiques from some of the same people. Sure the glowing reviews helped, the kind comments from readers and listeners were pure gold, but it was the joy of writing itself that kept me going.

My one complaint: There just isn’t enough time to do all the things you love; and I love writing. With renewed vigor I have attacked 2014 to make this a year of abundant proclivity. I am about three-fourths done a novel. I have written two novelets and three short stories in the past couple of months. I plan on finishing the novel, and writing another this summer. And now we come to the future…

In 2012, my novel, The Wardmaster saw publication. Yes, it hasn’t sold a lot of copies, but I have faith that after a couple of the right people read this fantasy, that the readers will come. It is based on a novel concept: the main character is not the main character. The series is based around Crimm the Pyrelord, a psychic warrior who awakens after sleeping away a thousand years and finds his precious Vanaheim in the hands of cannibal monsters. Each tale in this series is told from the point of view of a person who becomes Crimm’s companion. Each can be read separately, yet each builds the tension in Crimm’s journey to liberate his homeland and restore the order of logos to the great tree. It is the second volume that I know intend to finish, and get this- I have seven more (at least) planned.

In The Wardmaster, I introduced a band of monster-hunting motorcycle mamas named the Valkyries. These women won me over, and my wife who demanded more tales about these indomitable women. Hence, I wrote The Bone Snake, the first full volume in a series that will be a planned nine volumes long. The Bone Snake is being considered for publication, and I have all faith that it will someday soon be available on a bookshelf near you.

So, I plan to write a lot more stories this year. I plan to finish The Pyrelord, and write the second Valkyrie novel this summer. I will continue to write until I die, because that is just who I am: a writer. It would be nice if I sold enough stuff to get done teaching so that I could devote even more time to my craft, but nevertheless, I will continue because the book that you have yet to pick up and thoroughly enjoy is just a record, a byproduct really of the inspiring time I’ve had with whatever fascinating characters that decided to pop out of some imaginal world and invite me along for the journey.

If you haven’t read my stuff, some words of advice. If you are looking for a truly funny and heart-warming tale of friendship- check out Hairy Bromance. If you want to go on an epic quest to restore a magical world from a terrible curse- purchase The Vale of Shade– which will be released in its entirety very, very soon (by June). If you want to step sideways into another world where psychic warriors pit their all against twisted gods- check out The Wardmaster. If you just want some quick reads with plenty of thrills and few chuckles- visit The Night Library. You won’t be sorry- just leave a review so I know you’ve been there, and someone else might get the chance for a little escape and wonder.

Wish me luck, after these grades are in, I’m off to get the Valkyries out of another scrape.

Go well and stay well.

T. L.

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