I’ve been writing stories since I was 6 years old, those first efforts always illustrated (but minimally so . . . to elevate each work from a comic book). A healthy collection accrued through the next 40 years, only to be converted to ashes in a house fire. There were no copies.
That life-changing fire, by the way, also consumed my first attempt at a fully-blown novel. About 500 hand-written pages in a brown three-ring notebook that was, in that time, my most prized possession.
After the fire I got serious about getting my written work out into the world for other eyes to see. By that time I had come to appreciate so many skilled authors that I considered the author-to-reader relationship one of the most important interactions of our lives. To position myself on the other side of that equation, from reader to writer, felt like an act of grace. An honor. Something to cherish.
After writing a slew of novels and wallpapering my home with rejection letters, a friend savvy to the publishing world advised me to write a memoir. She said I would have an easier time getting it published. My first reaction was: Who’s going to care about the life of an unknown writer without a single published book to his name? (That’s still a reasonable question.) After more urging from her, I wrote it – Two Winters in a Tipi. Then I wrote a historical fiction trilogy based upon a lifetime of research on Wyatt Earp. Also, I put out a four-volume series on Cherokee survival skills and environmental education in general. Those 8 books have one thing in common: They were all based on existing facts. The memoir was full of true events that I experienced. The Earp books described a life with events pretty well documented. The nature books dove into the realities of historical skills and the complexities of Nature.
And all this is what makes my next step in publishing a special one for me. “Indigo Heaven” is a novel spawned from the simple love of creating and writing. There was no time-line or outline to follow. It’s a leap off the cliff of tangible truths into the freedom of wide open prose. This is really the genre for which I am best equipped. “Indigo Heaven” is like a newborn baby of unknown heritage. I will watch with interest to see what it grows up to be.
This book, like all my completed novels, might best be described as a prayer of gratitude, because there is no possession I own that I treasure more than creativity. Every day I express my thanks for it. With each publication of a book, that sentiment lives on forever. What a nice feeling that is.
So here comes the first of many novels. Fifteen years ago I struggled to get a manuscript read by an editor. This year, 4 of my works make their debut into the world of literature.
My prayer of gratitude is multiplied by 4.
By the way, I rewrote that first novel – the one that burned up. It is unpublished. Maybe one day . . .