May 30th, 2013 was the day my first story was published. The Envelope was just a distraction for me as I banged away on a novel. I found a short story writing group on Goodreads and that week’s prompt was simply the word “envelope.” I thought about getting an envelope with bittersweet news in it, a bit of information that could nudge you on a new path. I’ve always liked short stories because they cut to the bone of a situation. They aren’t about wrapping up the loose ends, in fact, a good short story should really leave you thinking about what happens next. Most people got that about my first little short released into the wild. The story really isn’t about the letter from Tony’s lover; it is about the moment he makes the choice to continue living, to move on.
May 30th was the first time one of my stories saw the light of day but I’ve been trying to tell stories for a very long time. The first story I remember was called The Venus 5, it was a science-fiction story about a boy, his boyfriend, and this cool space ship called, yeah, the Venus 5. I’m sure it sucked. But what I most remember was my 5th grade teacher going on about how boys couldn’t have boyfriends, which didn’t make any sense to me, because I knew better. I wanted one really bad, just didn’t know how to find one. I was sure a space ship would help though. Yeah, 1972 wasn’t ready for middle-grade gay fiction, not sure 2014 is for that matter. Sigh. Finding yourself reflected in the stories of your culture is important, but that’s another post.
What I’m trying to get at, is it took me 41 years to finish a story and turn the sucker loose. That is too long. But it also took 41 years for technology to get to the point where the dyslexic kid that still can’t spell has the tools to write; for the technology to get to the point where writers have the freedom to publish what they want without going through the gatekeepers; and it took 41 years for me to finally reach the point where I was receptive to the little push my friend Cindy gave me to get my fat, old ass in a chair and start writing. She informed me, we weren’t getting any younger and winter is coming! Okay, she didn’t say that about winter, but you know, it’s a good line and metaphor for death and all of that.
So in the last six months, I’ve published eight titles. They are mostly short stories I’ve dashed off as I’ve been trying to finish a novel. Those things just take so long! But in that time, I’ve learned a lot about writing, the new world of publishing we are in, and myself. I’m still amazed that a couple of dozen folk from all around the world buy my stories every month. And the really supper cool thing is a few of them have taken the time to send me a message to say thanks. It took 41 years to find my voice and I’m not going to be silent anymore. Because you know what? Boys can have spaceships and boyfriends!
I really want to thank you, the people that stop by the blog or my Facebook page and leave comments are amazing. And the email messages really keep me going. I hope you are able to find your voice. Creativity is an innate human thing and it is varied as the seven billion folk on this little rock in space. Find your muse and turn the little sucker loose. Fight the doubt, for that way leads to the darkside. Believe in yourself. I do!
Special thanks for the folks that volunteered to be beta readers for me this year. They help take the suck out of my stories:
- The volunteers in the Goodreads M/M Romance group for the 2013 Love Has No Boundaries event. They did a lot of work on The Three of Us. You gotta love the women who love stories about boys loving boys!
- Zach Sweets made great suggestions on HIM. Thanks man!
- Wart helped with “Slay me,” said the dragon.
- Kat Riegel has read everything I’ve published so far. She’s a real trouper!
- Thanks to my Aunt Jane and Cousin Ellen for being supportive!
- And most of all to Cynthia Roedig, my chief cheerleader, proofread, editor and kick-in-the-asser. None of this, for better or worse, would be here without her prodding. So you can thank her or curse her depending on you take of my writing.
Okay, I need to end this. Happy New Year!