Heading Home — My Writing Roots Vol. 5
Before heading back home–real home, where my wife and cats live, where my car is parked, that place with the big TV and PlayStation 4 I bought with my own money–I took one last glance at all that stuff my mom saved from my childhood.
This trip has been strange. This is the first time I have come to this place and not felt at home. This time I felt the same as at any other place other place I was just visiting. Is that what it means to finally be an adult? True, I am 33, so I’ve been old for a while, but always a bit childish, too. I wonder if all fantasy authors are that way. How else can you maintain the sense of child-like wonder necessary to dream up new worlds in your mind?
Here’s one last bit of my past, an excerpt from the infamous 6th grade journal mentioned in all my bios.
Makes me want to write a horrible, old-timey western. Also, I’ve realized that the narrators in the stories of my youth spent a lot of time “walking down the trail.” I was never an outdoorsy kid myself, so that strikes me as odd. Maybe dark forests were scary for me, ripe for horror tales.
In this little series of posts, I have tried to show my development as an author, from childhood to professional writing. I don’t think things would be complete without offering my thanks to one of the people who helped me get started as a real, published author.
When started sending out stories to publishers around this time last year, Fantasia Divinity was one of the first to take one of my stories. I discovered the publisher through a third-party submissions call website (probably Horror Tree, but I can’t remember exactly). The story I submitted was my Valley of Magic exploratory tale “Snow Tracks,” which appeared in the Winter’s Grasp anthology. In fact, I wrote that story specifically for the anthology’s theme and was thrilled to get accepted on the first submission. As I have mentioned elsewhere, I usually don’t write directly for prompts.
Like me, Madeline was just starting her journey, but as a publisher. In fact, August marked the first year anniversary of her magazine. When I stumbled on Fantasia Divinity, Madeline only had a few magazine issues and a couple anthologies done.
In little more than a year, she has dozens of publications, the quality of which has grown significantly. I particularly like the new covers, which have developed a unique and shared style, one look for the magazine and another for the books. In addition to the magazine and regular anthologies, she also now has a series of fairy tale novellas, the first set already locked in for publication.
One of those is mine.
I feel like my relationship with Madeline has been very symbiotic. I have made several contributions to her publications and offered what little advice I could, and she has given me a platform for my writing. It doesn’t hurt that she is such kind person and easy editor to work with.
The Nightingale will be released in the coming months and will likely be my first book-length work published by someone other than me (sorry Iric!). I honestly can’t say where I’d be right now without Fantasia Divinity.
Sure, Madeline’s little publisher is still a small indie, but I can imagine big things happening for Fantasia Divinity in the next year. She works very hard and has a good vision for what she wants to do. And the amount of work she has done in her first year alone strikes me as almost peerless. If anyone can make it in the current cut-throat market, Fantasia Divinity can. I have seen publishers go under in the past year, but each of those that I had the experience working with did not treat their authors with respect or kindness. One was a borderline cheat. Madeline cares for her authors, and I am sure that will be a boon for her own business.
So thanks, Madeline, for giving me a chance.
Oh, and by the way, I have another story coming out in the February issue of Fantasia Divinity Magazine. More details when the release date approaches.
A lot of this might sound like just an advertisement, but I assure you my words are genuine. I have always been a very grateful person. I guess I was raised that way. Whether it’s the guy doing my oil-change, or Fiction Vortex contracting me to write an epic fantasy serial, I always feel deep gratitude towards those who do things I cannot or simply will not do myself. That sense is probably responsible, in part, for me joining the military–a deep sense of debt to society and everyone around me for all they do that contributes to my own well-being. From roads to simple repairs, to clean air, to fighting sexism and racism, I feel like I have received far more in my life than I could ever try to give back.
Perhaps it is a sentiment that is being lost in the modern age.
I cannot possibly thank all the publishers, editors, followers, and other folks who have helped me–even if that amounted to tiny comments in rejection letters, or even blatantly negative feedback–on my journey to become a professional author. I only stand at the place I am now because of all these little actions. Cause and effect, as the Buddha taught.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my journey to professional author-dom. I hope to hear your stories someday, too!