I’ve been recording stories since I was a teen. The problem was that most of those stories ended up on scraps of paper, or simply images in my memory. It wasn’t until 2005, at the ripe old age of 45, that I started to get serious about completing some of those sketchy ideas and attempt to submit stories for actual publication. I was surprised at the results… some of the stories flew directly from my keyboard to the publisher's acceptance. Others, including many of my favorites, just couldn’t get published regardless of the amount of time I spent tweaking and improving my delivery. Strange world this. The results, while not overly impressive were still encouraging. This nerdy Chemical Engineer managed to see about a dozen stories into print.
After cutting my teeth on short stories I completed “Jeremy’s Bell”, a Christmas Novella. This book was inspired by my childhood in the economically depressed area of Albuquerque’s South Valley. To my astonishment, the story came together quite easily and really seemed to flow. The message behind the book means a lot to me. Someday, I hope to see this published. As Pastor Stephen would say “May it be the best present you have ever received.”
Taking this accomplishment as a personal success, I took the next step. Building on several short stories of Kalat, The Executioner, the “The Veil of Vengeance” was formed. To my great honor and pleasure this manuscript managed to catch the eye of Trident Media Group in New York City. I am humbled to say that I am now represented by one of the premier author agencies in the world. Who would have guessed that my first attempt at a real Novel-length book would, at this very moment, be sitting on the editor’s desk of one of the nations’ largest publishers of Fantasy and Science Fiction. I couldn’t be more pleased with the service I’ve thus far received from Trident. They have taken this simple desert rat to the big city.
Go for the heart:
I have a simple motto posted on my monitor that helps inspire my writing; "Go for the heart!". I try and keep that in mind at all times, but especially when I'm stuck on a story-line or just lost in a scene and don't know where to turn next. In essence, it reminds me to let it all hang out; say things that I as a person would not actually say; be more vicious and cruel than would be my nature, and to be more honorable and decent than I could ever actually be. It is a motto that reminds me to make my characters more than myself; to make them be characters that readers would fear, hate, or love.
In fight scenes, I use this to try and bring some of the realism and horror into the conflict. Kalat's cold and bloody encounters, Pernyi's unfaltering vengeance in the face of failure and The Lost Legion's cruel efficiency at organized killing, are all designed to "Go for the heart".
So also with the villains of my mind. Afriti's overwhelming power, the Natrum's mysterious and seething hatred, and Surtr's monstrous toying with his Viking captives are all aimed for the heart of fear.
Perhaps the strongest emotion that we possess is love. I believe that this emotion, more than any other, drives people's actions. Love is strong and powerful, as is loss and want. I try and use these strong feelings to give my characters more depth and feeling. As always... I "Go for the heart!"
I don't presume to know or understand your faith, but I do know mine. I believe that God has a purpose for me and my life. I believe that purpose may have changed at different points in my life, but that He has always wanted to guide and support me. I know that I have not always sought out that purpose, or followed after it even when I did know it was there, but I also understand that the times in my life that have been the best and happiest were those when I sought to know His path and followed it to my fullest abilities. I encourage you to do the same.