It’s been years since I wrote my first story. I had done a lot of reading back then and just finished John Varley’s Millennium. I read the back cover where Mr. Varley went on to mention that he was living the dream, lucky to be writing for a living. Mr. Varley came across as some everyday guy I could run into at the gas station. Hell, he could be out mowing the lawn next door. I had read several of Mr. Varley’s novels and wondered if I could write something from start to finish.
They Were Gods was the culmination of a lot of ideas floating around in my head at the time. It is a blasphemous story that I’m sure I’ll catch a lot of hell for when or if I ever get around to finishing it. It is the story of a young man named Jason Taurez. He discovers he can see the past through the eyes of his ancestors and learns that he is the direct descendant of one of the twelve Apostles. He learns that his grandfather Nicholas and his four-year old daughter Samantha have the same ability. The exception with Samantha is that she has other abilities that others know about and want to exploit.
They Were Gods seemed to be taking a while to write. Perhaps it’s because I’m a terrible writer. I look at that shit sometimes and cringe. Regardless, I grew tired of writing a story that I was having a difficult time finishing and I also had ideas for another story. A short story that I could probably get through in about twenty to thirty pages. I wanted to write it to entertain a group of friends I played games with online. I originally called it the Undead. It was a futuristic story about a group of mercenaries who called the Undead. It ended up taking me sixty some pages to complete. It had an ending but was really left open for more. The most important thing about the Undead was that I proved to myself that I could write something from start to finish and have it make sense. Someone in the group said it was good, but because of the way I had ended it he asked me if I was going to finish it. I had more ideas for the story so I did. Someone else suggested that it might be mistaken for a vampire story. So I changed the name of the Undead to The Mission.
Years later I would go back and clean up the story. Kindle Publishing was growing in popularity So I thought I would give it a try, publish my own novel. I enjoyed a little success with The Mission. People thought I was more successful with the book than I actually was. I was good at getting the word out there about the book and those who weren’t buying it thought that everyone else was. I even picked up a few reviews for the book and with the exception of one, most of the reviews I received were either fair or really good. The worst wasn’t even really a review. It was an e-mail from an on-line reviewer named Peggy. She claimed that the writing was so fucking bad that it wasn’t even ready for a review. Except to e-mail to give me this bit of information she refused to waste her time. I have to admit, she kinda put a cannon ball through my hull. I was sinking but then toward the end of that day, I received two more reviews for the book at Amazon’s site. A good three star review and one that was a solid five stars. I said to myself, “Fuck Peggy. What the hell does that bitch know?” When it was all done and said, I think I may have made a whole thirty American dollars off of The Mission. I think I blew that paying for lunch one day.
Since then I’ve written Shield of Health. It is the prequel to The Mission. One of a couple of things I’ve learned about writing prequels is that it’s fucking hard. There are so many ways to screw things up. Writing a sequel is easy. You just continue from where you left off but with a prequel, you have to steer your story toward the beginning of one that is already there. And it better jive! It’s like having two crews start on the same pipeline at separate ends, only to find that they are miles apart when they are supposed to come together. I was lucky. I came close to really screwing it all up a couple of times but my editor kept me inline with the rest of the story. Shield of Health was okay and there are things I liked about the story but I will never do another prequel again.
The other thing I’ve learned? Is that I can do a piss-poor job of coming up with names for a book. Shield of Health sounds like some manual for a government health plan.
My next story, and yeah, I’m just going to call it a story. To call it a book just means that I’m going to have to market it and do all that shit myself. The time I spent online trying to push The Mission was one of the many reasons that Shield of Health didn’t turn out to be the book I had hoped it would be. I mean, how the hell am I suppose to write anything when I spend all my time pushing my own shit?
The Mission and Shield of Health are both part of a series I call Remnants of the Past. I can feel and see the third book in this series. Twenty years later, the main character David has betrayed the ideals of his father for the needs of the people on the Home World. He is king and also the single father of a teenage girl. Struggling to raise her alone, he feels that he has failed her as a father. The third part of this story will take us back to Valdorion where David’s will try to leave his daughter with her grandfather, Casey Evans. But she’s not going to let her father off the hook that easily. At this point I’m just calling the story the Third in the Series. I’m gonna try to do a better at naming this one but who knows.
One thing I’ve decided to do is to write the Third for myself. I wrote The Mission just to prove something to myself and I enjoyed writing it. I enjoyed putting the pieces together and creating the characters. Everything I have written after The Mission felt pushed, like I was just doing something to get it out there and be a part of that world of independent writing. When I wrote The Mission I had no plans for it at all. There were times I wondered who would read that shit anyways. I think when I’m done with the Third I might just give it away at Smashwords. But that’ll probably be a while. But for now, I’ll just plug away and continue to do this writing thing