Saturday, August 4, 2012

Journeying Into a Writer's World - One Year Later

I'm not normally one to talk about myself. I'm not sure if my random seven and a half Twitter followers know anything about me. I think most of my family members and Facebook friends see me as a weird, quiet reader who plays video games and kind of leave it at that. It's all true, of course. I am quiet, and generally content observing and listening. I am weird, but not as a result of my quiet nature. I'm just me-- at times goofy, eccentric, and nerdy, yet oftentimes lost inside my own head. I am, of course, a reader and gamer.

And I am also a writer. This part still causes me to blink a bit, which is odd, really, when you consider the fact that I have a B.A. in English. I've been writing since middle school, yet not consistently, and not professionally, until July of 2011. Now, at age 30, more than a year later, I finally have the confidence to say, "Yep, I'm a writer." There are a lot of reasons behind both my natural position of disbelief and my late-in-life acceptance. For me to explain those reasons... well, you're going to have to put up with a bit of my blabbing.

The years following my time spent at U.C. Davis were a bit unusual from the normal 22 year-old career-aspiring graduate. I didn't spend them frantically job-hunting or searching for internships. I didn't concentrate on my writing career at all. Or any career, for that matter. I didn't fall in love and get married. I spent them taking care of my mother-- the most kind and generous woman ever to have graced my life-- until she passed away in 2007.

Less than a year after that I also found myself burying my father, who died of cancer after I spent his last month with him as we watched old black and white Westerns stream across his television set. It was just him and I and the outrageously terrible medical care he received, even as a former Vet. I don't regret a minute of the time I spent taking care of both my parents during their final days, but let me tell you-- that year, and the following years-- were the darkest in my entire life, and will always be.

It took me until July 2011 to finally have the courage to face the world outside my grief-colored box and remember what the hell it was I wanted out of my time on this planet. If it weren't for my three lifelines-- my sister Debbie and my friends Angel and Chris Kyler-- I may never have braved the sunlight.

Now, my journey back to the world of the living-- and writing-- was kind of ironic, in a sense. I took my love for getting lost in video games and MMORPG worlds and finally... did something with that passion. I saw an ad and offered to become a writer on a popular RIFT fansite, Rift Junkies. The position was paid. I doubted myself for days, and was sure I'd be no good, yet I tossed out the application anyway. And somehow my editor had faith in me. And still does more than a year later.

I've since gone on to become a writer on multiple sites within the same network. I toss out new content between the three sites on a 5-night-a-week basis. My editor offers me all the freedom I could ever want, and along with that freedom, the job has given me one very precious gift-- confidence. That's not to say I, uh, am truly confident yet. I still struggle with confidences issues daily, but I am on the mend.

During the past year, that confidence gave me a glimmer of hope, and with that glimmer, I reached out and grasped my true writerly passion-- fiction writing. I've finished one novel, fully edited it, and had it accepted at Musa Publishing. I've also written about five short stories, four of which are currently circling the speculative short fiction market. I have quite familiarized myself with the concept of a form rejection this year, and I've yet to have a short story accepted for publication, but hey-- I'm on the mend.

Captive by the Fog, my upcoming novel, will be released October 26, and I'm excitedly awaiting its high dive jump into the wide, open world. A huge part of me rests in between the pages of Captive along with a large host of goofy characters, an alien species, a blossoming lesbian romance, and an encompassing hope for freedom. For those of you who plan on picking it up, I hope you enjoy the leap.

In the months to come, expect some pretty cool updates about Captive. In the meantime, I've got some more journeying to do, and I hope everyone who reads this has their own journeys to continue, begin, or lovingly recall (or all three!). Remember, the journey is everything. And yep-- everyone better have a Journey song in their head right now (A Jerry Maguire song's acceptable, too).