From a condition of life, that while our societies, to some extent, and most definitely our technologies have evolved exponentially over the last few millennia, the individual, and resultant collective, evolution of our inner worlds haven’t moved forward even the barest distance by comparison. It is the individual who must perforce begin the personal change. Only then will our collective inner revolution gain the necessary traction to propel us in the directions of the ideals set forth in the allegorical Future Histories as presented in the Donkey and the Wall trilogy, The Elf series and The Curious Voyages of the Anna Virginia Saga. That’s inspiring stuff. If I can even in some small way contribute to that traction, my life is worthwhile.
What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?
Since I started writing rather late in life, relatively speaking, and not before the advent of the internet, P.O.D. and other such media, getting published has become a simple matter of formatting one’s materials properly, choosing a reliable and efficient printer and bam, you’ve got a book published. But that’s not the end of it by any stretch—unless one is content to merely have one’s own shelves populated with one’s own books and have no exposure or audience beyond that.
It’s the marketing of published work that creates the greatest challenges and forces the most attention and creativity an author can muster. There are now an over-abundance of resources and advice out there. I am writing this now, because I am part of Orangeberry Book Tours and they have connections I didn’t. I have contracted with Substance Books for other branding and marketing efforts for the long haul. In the end, a writer has to make informed decisions and never let loose of her/his pursestrings all too easily for un-researched, un-validated, un-verified marketing avenues constantly bombarding email portals with wildly fantastic claims for success.
Do you plan to publish more books?
I wasn’t going to answer this question with anything more than a resolute: Yeah! But thinking about it seriously, I am in the midst of The Elf series at present, The Elf & Niederwald is its working title, so there will be perhaps a dozen of those before I’m done with them—-each is only a couple hundred pages; the first three I wrote in nearly as many weeks earlier this year… Then life decided I’d had too much time simply writing and brought other urgent activities my way. Let’s see, where was I? Oh. I would like to think that once my readership gets beyond the few hundred it is at these early stages of release, I’d be amenable to responding to specific suggestions or requests for expanding certain characters’ lives adventures, etc. Or even continuing the Saga beyond the seventh generation of Livingsons—that actually does appeal to me to some degree. I post on the Voyager Press blog rather regularly—that’s a kind of publishing, and actually a little more difficult than composing a novel; to be so succinct and brief is a rare gift and always a challenge.
So Yeah, I plan to publish more books.
What other jobs have you had in your life?
That’s a funny story. Usually I’m asked what haven’t I done. I haven’t been a doctor, lawyer, policeman, firefighter, air traffic-controller or lion tamer; so not picking a childhood notion didn’t happen. While at University, I worked as kitchen clean-up and assistant at a few local eateries, took training in Ikebana and landed a relatively long term gig with a start-up florist near my home. I worked in delivery for them as well as for a Scandinavian furniture store—very high end—and also moonlighted, literally, as a night auditor for a respectable motel on the interstate at the edge of Austin. My first job out of college with a double major in History and English Lit, with a double minor in Greek (Koine: the dead language) and Roman Culture—I apprenticed to paint cars in a Body Shop. Really no kidding. I went back to college for an Associate degree in Land Planning (Architecture would’ve taken too many years and I already had a family to take care of).
I worked as a draftsman then Associate Land Planner for several years with the same company and was very happy there. Until my parents talked me into relocating to California and heading up a manufacturing venture my crazy Uncle Al had gotten off the ground. I was a Plant Manager for all of six months before no paychecks and hunger drove me to the Bay area and Silicon Valley. I worked as a research gofer for the Research & Development arm of the top hard drive manufacturer of the time. I contracted with a major Aerospace corporation after an interlude of early mornings throwing papers pursuant to being left jobless during hard times for the hard drive company. When the economy went south, again, I and 40,000 other white collar folks found ourselves jobless again. I headed back to Texas.
I picked up contract writing and illustration jobs with the young an newly booming hi-tech companies then flooding into Austin. (Dell computer’s first ‘campus’ was just outside the back door of our building where I went for smoke breaks.) Anyway, those contracts led to permanent positions and before I knew it I was back in the thick of the corporate world once more. One thing led to another and I ended up with a severance from IBM—don’t ask—and a solid nest egg of a retirement account. My wife, second, and I relocated to north Texas. I designed a system of ponds on these fourteen acres, had foundations built overlooking the largest of them, and proceeded to build our house from my own plans. Really. I plumbed, wired, erected the walls, the roof the gardens, everything, with erstwhile help from friends and the occasional contractor for things I couldn’t get permits for myself: Septic fields, transformer installations, etc.
Than I went on a substitute teaching assignment at a little private school in a nearby town—where one of my neighbors was at that time teaching. The few days requested turned into an entire semester and a half… then ten years later I was still there, the only Literature and Composition teacher for a whole high school. I graduated hundreds of great students over the years… and some who weren’t such great students, I just loved them anyway. Then came the overlord once more into my life—the Economy—and I settled down at my laptop and started storytelling. That was about three years ago.
Now I’m sitting here chatting it up with ya’ll. What a great job!
The Elf & Huntress is the beginning of a long and winding trail from power to obscurity, from infamy to glory for a naïve lass from the highlands. On a simple off-planet assignment she’s dragged screaming into an underworld she couldn’t have fathomed existed. A scarred and liberated prisoner, she rises to become the feared Captain of the Lascorii Secret Services, avenging nemesis of the vilest pirate plaguing the worlds underwritten by the Seranath Trade Guild, with a hand-picked crew—and one diminutive, rather officious Seranim Guild Agent who learns for herself that Wish is the most powerful thing in the Universe…
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Genre - Science Fiction/Metaphysical/Adventure
Rating – G
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