I've been writing stories since I was a child. I've been submitting stories since I was a junior in high school, when my creative writing teacher introduced me to the H/SF/F section of WRITER'S MARKET. But I've always had a great deal of self doubt. I wondered if I was doing the right thing by getting square jobs out of the hope of one day being a full time writer. Here are a few signs that pointed out that I'm on the correct path:
-In junior high I wrote some poetry (yeah, I know, me writing poetry?!) that gained the attention of a local poet. She included me in a creative poetry class at my school. I still have the poem that got her attention. It's on laminated cards. It got published. It sucks, but it's not as bad as I would have thought.
-Also in junior high I met Vivian Shurfranz. She wrote books mostly aimed at young girls, but she read my detective stories and complimented me on them.
-In high school I had a small group of people who religiously read my stuff. And then there was the weird porno shit I wrote under an assumed name that A LOT of fellow students read religiously.
-I won a couple of state journalism awards in college. I also won some in-house awards, among which is my favorite, the Greatest Story Never Written. Except I *did* write it. They just didn't have the guts to print it. It was a soft news story about masturbation on campus. It wasn't even my idea, but I did it. I even asked the college chaplain how masturbation fit into his own life. Surprise! It was never printed.
-In college I sold my first stories . . . which were pornos. To this day, these are the best paydays I've ever gotten. Also, gay porn sold for a lot more. Sadly INDULGE FOR MEN is no longer in business, but they published my most lucrative stories ever.
-My story, "Pack Rat, or The Way of All Flesh," was published by CTHULHU SEX MAGAZINE. Wrath James White was in the same issue. That was the first time I was published with a big name author. It's also my most popular story. If I get an obituary in BEST NEW HORROR, it will mention this story. It's been reprinted the most, and most people who read it will mention it first in any conversation I have about my writing.
-My story, "The Worm," was published in VILE THINGS. I shared that book with quite a few big name authors, my favorite of which were Ramsey Campbell and Graham Masterton. My story was favorably reviewed in FANGORIA.
-Shane McKenzie published a story of mine in A HACKED-UP HOLIDAY MASSACRE, alongside the likes of Jack Ketchum, Bentley Little, Nate Southard, Joe R. Lansdale and others. I got the chance to meet Lansdale in person a couple of years ago, and he said that he really enjoyed my story in that book. Lansdale is my favorite living writer, and to hear that from him lifted my ego waaaaaaaaaaay higher than it should be lifted.
-I had a conversation with Tom Piccirilli on Brian Keene's previous message board. Holy shit, how awesome is that?
-David Morrell, the author of FIRST BLOOD and so many other awesome books, followed me on Twitter. So did Douglas Clegg. And John Skipp friended me on Facebook. WOW.
-Speaking of Brian Keene, he also followed me on Twitter. And he invited me on his podcast, THE HORROR SHOW WITH BRIAN KEENE. And I got to do the show with Kevin Strange, Keene himself, Dave "Meteornotes" Thomas, Mary SanGiovanni and Phobe. Not to mention the fact that I got to stay at Mike Lombardo's house at the time. Shortly after, Mary and Phoebe friended me on Facebook.
-I am currently an author that publishers want for anthologies. That's pretty fucking huge.
My writing career has been all over the place. I'm super pleased with where I am now. Most of the stories I have out there on the market have been published or will be published soon. People are recognizing me on the market, especially when it comes to book shows. How awesome is that?!
I'm very frequently depressed, but my writing career has been pretty awesome. If I died right now, I'd be disappointed. There are so many more things I want to do. But if I died, I'd be proud of what I've accomplished.
If you're afraid of writing because you're uncertain what people will say about you, forget it. I've been writing for longer than I can remember. Just do it. Put yourself out there. You might fuck up, but so what? With each fuck up, strive to fuck up just a little bit less each time.
You can do it.
Love and kisses. Goodnight, lovelies.