Behind The Book: A New Feature

For those considering the possibility of self-publishing, you should follow my friend A.C. Dillon, who’ll be blogging about her self-pub experience. Read on, folks. Read on.

A.C. Dillon

I am thrilled to announce an exciting joint blogging venture with fellow writer Carrie Morgan.

On Twitter, Carrie and I subscribe to the philosophy of Writers Helping Writers:  that is, we believe that as a community, we should strive to support and lift each other up, sharing our mistakes and lessons learned.  Writers understand the demands of time, energy and belief in oneself and one’s work to survive this business, and that makes us natural cheerleaders for each other.

Where we diverge, however, is the path we’ve each chosen towards our goals.  I opted years ago to take the self-publishing route, having spent my life being a storyteller and valuing the ability to share my words on my terms above all else.  Blame it on years of school newspaper columns and fanfiction that resonated with people so deeply, their reviews sometimes made me cry:  while a traditional book deal…

View original post 255 more words

“The End” Is Only The Beginning

When I was sixteen, I got my first real job. My first introduction to the working world of W-2s, withholding and fifteen-minute breaks was as a retail sales clerk for the now-defunct B. Dalton Bookseller. For a teenager whose nose was always buried in a book, it was the perfect first job, even if it did pay only a nickel more than the minimum wage of $3.80 an hour.

I loved working at the bookstore, which was tucked into a busy corner of the old Southglenn Mall in Littleton, Colorado. Being surrounded by books, seeing the new ones come in and handling the stripping or return of older titles that didn’t sell—it was a great gig for a young bibliophile.

That same year, I started to write a book of my own—a long, aimlessly rambling monstrosity called The Four Horsemen that told the story of a Scottish soldier during Henry V’s invasion of France in 1415. For a year, I sat in the unfinished basement of our house in Littleton and banged it out until the demands of college applications and Advanced Placement exams forced me to abandon the effort.

Over the ensuing years, I made four more attempts to write a novel, always with the hope that maybe, just maybe, my book would end up gracing the bookstore shelves where a reader could stumble on it while browsing.

As the years went by, I held fast to that dream, despite my past failures.

On New Year’s Day 2014, I sat down and started to write, giving life to the rough-hewn idea that had been rattling around in my head for the better part of a year. Three months later, on the night of April 4th, I finished the first draft of the novel I would eventually call The Road Back From Broken. I felt a huge sense of accomplishment, in no small part because of the five previous times I’d failed to reach “The End” on other novels.

What I didn’t realize that night was that typing “The End” wasn’t the end of anything.

It was only the beginning.

And so it is with any writer who seeks to publish. Writing the book (poem, magazine article, etc.) is only the beginning when the intended end is getting that piece out there and read by paying readers.

My friend A.C. Dillon is on a journey of her own, but she chose to self-publish her novels Change of Season and Waiting for a Star to Fall. I’ve watched her journey with interest (and a little envy) as she readies her first novel for re-release and her second for its summer 2015 debut.

We hope that our little cross-posting blogging experiment “Behind the Book” will cast some light on our respective experiences, highlighting the differences and allowing us to commiserate on the similarities along the way.

Will you join us?

Why did I join the Military Writers Guild?

I’m not in the military.

I’m not even a veteran (though I did marry one).

So why did I join the Military Writers Guild?

Because I write about people who serve in the military, and the families that endure the burdens of military service alongside them. Because as a writer, I believe that the challenges and struggles faced by military personnel and their families affect us all, even if we don’t realize it (or don’t want to).

Because I want to make sure that the stories I tell are as well-told and authentic as I can make them.

Because I want to learn from the experiences of my fellow writers and share my own experiences with them, that we may all be stronger writers and tell better stories having the benefit of those lessons learned.

Because writing is hard, and because being part of an active community of writers makes the inevitable aches and pains of the writing life a little easier to bear.

Because the people in the Military Writers Guild are friendly folks who write all sorts of different things (from novels and memoirs to white papers and strategy blogs) who’ve warmly welcomed me into their community and conversations.

So, do you write about the military?

Join us.