Interview with Author River Eno

River is one of the authors I’ve worked with on The Lost Colony of Roanoke and The Jersey Devil. She is a founding member of our writing collective, Writers Block and a fascinating person. Her contribution to Jersey Devil, “The Unspoiled Harmonious Wilderness” is a unique and beautiful take on the origins of our most local cryptid, and I wanted to get inside her magical brain.

When would you say that you became a writer? 

What an interesting question. I could say I have always been a writer. Not because it was something I dreamed about daily, although it was on my mind, but because that is how my mind has always worked. I think in what if’s and long, spiraling sequences. I frequently have vivid, complicated dreams and also fall into daydreaming easily as a conversation can insert itself into my brain, and I must let it run its course.

But then I’d also have to say, probably when I began writing diligently, everyday. Or maybe when I published my first book. Certainly doing a collaborative project with talented writers, as I did with the “Collection of Utter Speculation series,” gave my writer persona a boost of confidence to define myself more definitively as a writer.

When did you start writing seriously?

When I was 28, after my second kid was born. I decided then that I needed to get the voices in my head under control by putting them on paper.

What sort of subjects interest you?

I’m a studying herbalist. Plants, their constituents, and their application for medicinal use are very exciting to me. I love to wild-craft plants and I grow and then “can” my own organic food. Coinciding with my love for plants and the natural world, I’m a follower of Norse/Celtic paganism, a nature spirituality.

I love vampires! I love the melancholic and depressing aspect of the vampire, and I love the dangerous and sexual side. I like the questions vampires pose; what would it be like to live forever? What would a person do with themselves over hundreds of years of living? Would you have mental breakdowns after so long? How would you justify the things you do to survive?

I also think a love of history goes hand in hand with the vampire folklore. I love research and find it exciting to learn about other cultures and languages.

Vampires are one of your favorite subjects to write about. Why do you think you have an affinity for them?

I’m not completely sure. They have always fascinated me. I was introduced to them through Hammer Films reruns at a very early age, around 4, so that probably has something to with it.

I find the entire folklore fascinating. Beings that can stay alive for a very long time if they keep replacing their blood. And it’s difficult to dispute that there might be some truth to the legends because the stories go back so far.

What was it like working on The Lost Colony of Roanoke, a collection of utter speculation?

The Lost Colony of Roanoke was the first anthology I’d ever worked on. The first collaborative writing project, and it taught me a lot about group dynamics and working within those parameters. I have learned similar things from being a part of different activist groups. But with this anthology our writing group was small, so we worked together closely. And that can be a challenge, to come to agreement, but I think when you set your mind to accomplishing something as a group, it can be done. As it was with Roanoke.

What does your writing process look like?

I try to write a few hours every single day. That routine can be thrown off track when a project is due, and when I’m in edit mode. But I try to write or read at least three hours each day. To keep writing, is the crux of it.

What are some things/authors/ect that influenced your writing? 

A few authors that have influenced me as a writer, and in turn my writing, are Neil Gaiman, Laurell K. Hamilton, Piers Anthony and Anne Rice, of course. And I think everything I go through, and have gone through, in my life influences my writing. My highs and lows are all filtered into my writing, eventually.

What are some of your non-writing pursuits? Have they influenced your writing?

I think all outside influences affect a person’s writing. My climate and animal activism, veganism, and herbalism all help to broaden the scope of my thoughts which enables me to look further inward, helping to give clarity and thoughtfulness to not only my writing but my life.

What are some resources that have been valuable to you?

Honestly, Wikipedia is a handy resource. It’s about 80% accurate, not definitive by any means. But well sourced articles have citations you can follow, and a study in 2005 found Wikipedia about as accurate at the Encyclopedia Britannica. So, I find it a good starting tool for research.

I have many, trusted books on paganism, witchcraft and spellcraft, written by lifelong practitioners that have been invaluable to me.

You wrote a story for Jersey Devil: A collection of utter speculation. What is something that you took away from that project?

A number of things actually. I enjoyed the research, learning where and when the folk tale began, and how it persisted through the years.

And as with any collaboration I always marvel how people from different backgrounds can come together and work their way through a complicated process to come out the other side with a beautiful creation. But it happened again, and I’m really proud of this Speculation book and the writers I worked with.

Tell me about your publications.

I write an urban fantasy series called the Anastasia Evolution Seriesabout a half faery-half human living in a vampire world in the near future. Anastasia has a difficult life, but I think part of what you walk away from after reading is that so many times in life we are alone. We have to make decisions alone and execute those decisions alone. Especially when it’s for the greater good. But if you’re lucky, you have a few good people to stand by you. They can’t always walk into the fire with you, but they will be there when you walk out.

The story I wrote in the first Utter Speculation anthology, The Lost Colony of Roanoke, was called Nokomis. I really enjoyed the research, because it’s a true mystery. Something truly unexplained. And after learning what had happened I wondered what it was like for the Gods of each culture to interact and watch their people unravel.

Please share what you have learned by indie publishing over the years?

Wow, what have I learned from indie publishing? I’ve learned that publishing is a truly difficult, long and tedious process. And not for the faint hearted. I learned to find yourself an editor and/or publisher you click with. Someone who understands you and understands the vision you want to project. Those things are really important.

What are you working on now?

I’m always at least partially working on the Anastasia series. There is so much more about her and her family that I need to share.

I’ve also started a vampire coffee table book that I’m excited about.

To follow River Eno check her out on Facebook, or go to her website.

Or go to her author page on Amazon for her entire published works

The Jersey Devil is Alive!

Or the book is at least. THE JERSEY DEVIL: A COLLECTION OF UTTER SPECULATION is an anthology of five short stories, of various genres, all with a different theory of where the Devil of the Pine Barrens comes from and what he wants.

With stories by Melissa D. Sullivan, River Eno, H.A. Callum, Susan Tulio, an me!

Available on Kindle or Paperback.

Interview with Author D R Kinter

*Update: One Tuesday, April 16, 2019, Dan R Kinter passed away after a struggle with cancer. He left behind a legacy of love, support and non-stop jokes. Everyone who knew him had a great story to share about how Dan helped them and made them laugh. Please consider picking up a copy of The Bridges to support Dan’s family and enjoy the unique voice he left behind.
I met D R Kinter years ago in a workshop and was glad to continue working with him on our recently collaboration in Writers Block. He is our resident grammarian, joker and a well of knowledge on everything from weapons to rock and roll. His is not only an asset to Writers Block, he is a dear and supportive friend to everyone in the group and an all around great guy.
D R Kinter’s debut book The Bridges premiered in June 2018. It’s equal parts hilarious and horrifying in it’s look at a near future that seems almost inevitable and a unique cast of characters that come alive on the page.
I have been meaning to get back to interviews for a while so when Dan agreed to answer some questions for me, I was excited to pick his brain.
When would you say that you became a writer? Was it something you were born doing or something you came to at some point in your life?
I was born full of shit.
Early on, I could fabricate a story instantly if it would get me out of trouble. But what has driven me in adulthood has been, not just writing, but creating. I have actively pursued all media. An interest in film-making took hold in high school, followed by theater. While studying acting, I started writing and directing plays. I felt I had some talent with dialogue.
All this time, I was also  very engaged with music.
Finally, adulthood arrived and I went over to the dark side: Advertising. And there went 30 + years of applying creative solutions to business problems.
Retirement has allowed me to write what I want.
What sort of subjects interest you?
I consider myself a satirist. My subject matter seems to hover in the near-immediate future. I will scan the news, looking for something that sparks a question like, what if that was a little different?
I am a luddite at heart and try to take on technology whenever possible. I am also an atheist, yet feel compelled to write (mostly for myself) scenes that put atheism and theism into conflict.
What does your process look like?
Still in discovery. The Bridges began with me just getting some memories, characters and events on paper. It was a nonlinear process. I am working on The Bridges sequel, and due to some health issues, have been trying to write very sequentially. The two processes are quite different, yet in both  cases, the story has the helm.
What other jobs have you done in your life? Have they influenced your writing?
I have done everything from entry-level farm work to executive consulting. This body of experience has given me a very broad base of useless and arcane information with which to play fast and loose.
What did your publishing process look like?
First, there was the choice of submitting my work to traditional publishing or going independent. I chose the indie route. I’m not a very patient person. Fortunately, I was working with a writers’ group and was able to find a very good editor who acts as a publisher as well. Di Freeze at Freeze Time Publications. She guided me through the process of getting the book out to market.
Tell me about The Bridges. Why did you write this book.
It was a perfect storm of uncertain times and events that allowed me to knit a lot of disparate storytelling together.
What are some resources that have been valuable to you.
Books! Tennessee Williams. Shakespeare. Rex Stout. A.E. Van Vogt. Isaac Asimov. My wife, Linda, and my daughters.
We worked together on the Roanoke: Collection of Utter Speculation anthology. What is something that you took away from that project
It was a wonderful opportunity to use discipline and technique to craft a story within specific parameters, and still have fun. And I got to work with some great people, whose methods and sensibilities differed greatly from my own.
and ebook

Our book is real! The Lost Colony of Roanoke: A collection of utter speculation is available Now on Amazon

Paperback

and  ebook (they should be on the same link at some point)

are now available. This has been such a weird and fun and crazy and frustrating and overall awesome process that I could not have gotten through without my fellow authors, River Eno, D R Kinter, and Susan Tulio, obviously because we all collaborated on the book, but even more we had the fantastic cover design by Adam C Allingham, the original artwork illustrations by Patricia A Carlson, and the amazon editing and publishing experience of Di Freeze, who was the only one who knew what she was doing.

We also had the fantastic Tiffany Morris to help steer us and a lot of support from friends and family and fellow writers.

Here is my first book baby. guys. She had four parents and and she’s kinda short and quirky, but we all love her and we’re releasing her to the world.

I hope she’s the oldest in the a big family.

Coming Tuesday 2/26! Four stories by Four Authors.

With four genres: romance, fantasy, horror, and fictional realism, we think there is something for everyone. The members of Writers Block, DR Kinter, River Eno, Susan Tulio and LCW Allingham (ah! that’s me!!)  have put together their first anthology.

The Lost Colony of Roanoke: A Collection of Utter Speculation

CRO
This message, carved into a tree, was the only clue to the fate of the colonists on Roanoke Island. For centuries, stories have circulated, theories were explored. But to this day, no one is really sure what happened to those first English settlers in the Americas.

These stories may offer a clue:

– A road trip through dystopian United States brings adventure and danger, and perhaps answers about the mysterious disappearance of the settlers.
– Gods of different worlds converge but their people may not blend as well as they do.
– A history teacher’s quest to liven up her lessons leads to a startling discovery about love, roots and the fate of the missing colonists.
– A young mother thrust into leadership struggles to establish peace between the English and the Natives of Roanoke. But a greater threat lurks in the dark forests that may consume them all.

Four stories from four authors, all exploring the fate of the missing colonists. Are any of them the answer to the greatest mystery of the United States?

Probably not.

So mark your calendars for Tuesday if you want a paperback or ebook copy! Link will go live at midnight!

We made a thing!

The Lost Colony of Roanoke: A collection of utter speculation will soon be available on Amazon! Its a collection of four short stories by four authors with different idea of what happened to the lost colonists of the first English colony in America.

Its long been a dream of mine to collaborate on a short story collection with other writers and last year when some awesome writers and I formed an online writing group, we were able to start making this dream something real.

But I had no idea how much work would be involved! We spent months writing our pieces, editing each others work, and rewriting. And that was the easy part.

With the help of an awesome editor and an amazing sensitivity editor, we are just about ready to release this baby to the world. Featuring original artwork for each story, The Lost Colony of Roanoke has taken a village to deliver, but the things we’ve learned have been invaluable and we are all so excited.

Interview with author Gary Buehler

I met Gary in my first critique group. The soft spoken gentleman submitted short stories based on his life and transported our group back to a Philadelphia from the past. When I learned he recently published a collection of his short stories, I was excited to get a copy and interview him for the blog.

Gary is a lovely person, a supportive friend and a talented writer. His words do not just paint a picture. They immerse you in his world. His subject is his childhood, but his themes are universal.

Check out Gary’s book, Bits and Pieces on Amazon.

And keep reading for my interview with Gary.20171216_182132.jpg

Gary, what made you decide to release this collection?

It was never my idea to wait until I was eighty years old to get my book published. If any of the people along the way (who had promised to help get me published) had done anything at all, my book might have been published a long time ago. When I was in the final stages of getting Bits and Pieces published, I sent an email to one of those people. I thought or perhaps just hoped she would be happy for me. Her lack of a response would tell me all I needed to know. She couldn’t have cared less.

In the back of my mind for years I toyed with the idea of writing a book, but never seriously thought I ever would. At the time I was rather content just reading my stories at Open Mics. Instant gratification without any concern for run on sentences, misspelled words and improper punctuation is a writer’s idea of heaven.

My life was to change the day I joined the Mainline Writer’s Group led by Gary Zenker. The group had just published an anthology written by the membership titled “Unclaimed Baggage”. Anxious to learn more about the writer’s group I had just joined I purchased a copy. For the most part I was in awe over what I read. Down deep inside me I was a little jealous but never once thought I would ever be a good enough writer to have something of mine published. Several years later with dogged determination Gary Zenker wouldn’t leave me alone and kept insisting that I needed to put my stories into a book. He said he thought my stories needed to be preserved in something other than his sometimes inadequate memories of them. I was unaccustomed to someone like Gary with such a giving nature who didn’t make empty promises, I must admit I did wonder what his motives were.

Perhaps with a little kicking and screaming on my part I finally agreed to put some of my stories into a memoir. I hadn’t made it easy for Gary to gain my trust but he certainly did. He was my champion, mentor and good friend. Countless emails from me asking perhaps stupid questions must have had Gary asking himself what he had gotten himself into. To his credit he never lost patience (with pain in the ass me) and almost always answered my emails immediately. Gary was doing all the real work to get my book published and without him in my corner it would have never happened. All I did was to write the words.

 

What is your favorite story in the book?

Good question, but not an easy one to answer. My stories are like my children. As a parent I am supposed to love them all equally. If I must pick one story as my favorite it would be “In the Beginning”. Each time I read one of my stories I am somehow transported back in time as if I was experiencing the events for the first time. The few years I lived with my aunt Betty were perhaps the only time in my life where I felt unconditional love. Taking a line from the last story in my book “even at my young age I knew as long as I was with her, I had nothing to fear”. From a literary standpoint I think the best crafted of my thirty stories in the book is “Marvin and Me”.

 

 

You’ve received a great response so far. Your stories really resonate with your readers. Why do you think that is so?

Without any formal training as a writer the short answer is (it is a gift from God). Over the years my writing style has been compared with other writers. Some of whom are actually famous. Instead of giving my opinion I will defer you the Introduction that Gary Zenker wrote for my book, which I think hits the nail right on the head. I was flattered by Gary’s kind words, but I protested saying: “I didn’t deserve such praise”. When I shared Gary’s Introduction with friends they said the praise was well earned and for me think it wasn’t was just me being foolish.

Introduction

My friend Gary Buehler is something special, as is this book

To me he is the Norman Rockwell of writers. An accomplished artist uses his or her canvas (in Gary’s case, words) to do more than merely create a scene; he transports the audience to a different time and place. Gary places me right into his stories as a close observer, just to the left or right of him as he recounts many of the events that have made up his life.

Anyone can describe the sound of a baseball bat hitting a ball in stickball or the smell of hay on a hayride using nouns and adjectives. Gary can make you feel the emotion behind the panic of a pre-teen hitting a ball that veers toward a building window and the angst of young love, sitting in the cart on the hayride, drowning in unrequited romantic feelings.

Many of Gary’s stories come back to me weeks or months after hearing them while driving in my car or talking with someone on the phone or taking a shower. They are the sleeper agents of story-telling. They make me feel – really feel – happiness, sadness, joy, hurt, surprise, regret, rejection and a dozen other feelings as surely as I had personally gone through the events he describes. And he does that all in the space where lit fiction authors are typically merely setting a scene.

Gary’s emergence as a writer came late in life. Maybe, in order to get these stories out, they needed to marinate… for a couple of decades. Many of them are not easy-to-tell stories and some distance was probably needed. Whatever the case, I am glad they are out now, collected and preserved in something other than my inadequate memories of his reading aloud at the writers group we both attend. I like the idea of being able to reread his exact words and time travel back to his world.

These are stories that you will want to read and read again. More than that, you should let your friends read them, as well. I think you’ll agree that something this ‘special’ is better shared.

 

Gary Zenker

November 2017

 

What is your writing process like? How do you get yourself writing?

My writing process is haphazard at best. Due to the diuretics I must take, a sound night’s sleep often escapes me.  On nights like that I sometimes just lay in bed waiting for sleep to overcome me. While waiting I often revisit the latest story I have been working on, doing mental edits. I often write them down on the back of old envelopes. When that becomes too cumbersome, I get up and sit down at my computer. The next thing I know the first rays of morning sunbeams are creeping into my bedroom. Another sleepless night that has become all too common. The upside is, on a good night I have added a few more pages to my story.

Guilt over not accomplishing anything worthwhile is usually what gets me writing. I am old school, believing that one must have something to show for the last twenty four hours. If not I feel that I am just being lazy. I dislike that feeling and will do whatever it takes to get rid of it.

 

Is writing something you’ve done all your life or did you pick it up at a certain point in your life?

Writing is probably something I have done since my first recollections of my life. First my writing was only mental. But back then my young mind was like a sponge that could retain a tremendous amount of information that I wasn’t likely to forget. Eventually (probably when I entered junior high school) I began writing things down in a composition book. In between I wrote letters to my brother Jack who was serving in the army. My life was nothing special, but I somehow I had the God given ability to make ordinary events of my humdrum existence sound interesting. Jack thanked me for my letters always adding that his army buddies who he had shared my letters with were eager for more. That was probably my first real audience. With the exception of my talent in art, I probably was never thought of as a gifted student. I preferred being seated in the back of my classroom where I hoped I was invisible and wouldn’t be called on. That was all about to change the day when my English teacher asked me to read a story I had written as a class assignment. Never being the sharpest pencil in the box, I wondered why she had called on me and no one else. After a day or two it finally dawned on me that I could write. That probably started the ball rolling to where I am now (a published author). I know I am, but I still find it hard to believe.

 

How did you develop your writing style?

It must have been through osmosis or perhaps some other process that I don’t understand. I like to think of my stories as being a one sided conversation with the reader. I endeavor to keep my stories simple and try to avoid confusing the reader with too many details. To keep a story interesting it must have some details. It is kind of like putting salt in a stew. That is a very fine line that to this day often confuses me.

I think my writing style came about mostly because of the public readings I do. The audience usually will often tell me how much is enough. When no audience is available I read my stories aloud for only me to hear. The lesson I learned from doing that is, what looks good on paper often doesn’t sound good when read aloud. There was a time when our long gone family dog Little Bear was my only audience as I read my stories to him. Perhaps he didn’t appreciate my stories, but he did love the sound of my voice.  There aren’t too many days when I don’t think of him. I miss him dearly.

Thank you so much, Gary.

Check out his book!

Start encouraging other writers now

Hey. You with the finished novel and the query plan. And you with the agent and the possible interested publisher. Also, you over there who just got smeared on a writing critique website and that chick beside you with the Masters in Creative Writing. All of you, listen up.

You might be great. You might be golden. But you ain’t shit without other writers to back you up. And if you going around with your Grammar Nazi red pen and your condescending  and overly worded notes on how they should have written their novels, you aren’t doing them, or yourself any favors.

In my life I have read all sorts of writing from all sorts of people and there have been times I have put my hands over my face and thought, this is too hard to read. Sometimes the genre was just not my cup of tea. Sometimes the writing really did need a lot of clean up. Sometimes they had a writing quirk that I fixated on until it drove me crazy. Sometimes It was just so really good that I wanted to gouge my eyes out in jealousy. It’s honestly happened many times for many different reasons.

But the fact of the matter was, I always did read it, all the way through. And after I digested it a bit, I could always see the light glowing in that story.

Every story has a light.

A unique voice. An amazing premise. A clear and concise manner of wordplay. A riveting style.

The truth is, I have been wealthy in the work I have gotten to read. There is very little I have gotten my hands on that hasn’t revealed it’s light to me. Hasn’t taught me something, changed my ideas just a little, made my brain spin in that beautiful, awesome way the brains of writers do.

And you will never read most of it. Because someone, or sometimes, multiple someones, have beaten that story down. They convinced the writer that instead of chipping away at the rock and mud and sometimes, yes, sometimes even caked shit, until they shined that gem gleaming at the center, that instead that gem itself was trash, and maybe the writer was trash as well.

Now, please, let me clarify a moment, before going on. Not everything you ever write is going to be diamonds. You are going to write a lot of petrified dinosaur poop with some garnets sprinkled in. Especially when you first get started and before you tell your ego to take a back seat to honing your craft. But you can salvage those garnets and you can keep trading them up until they surround diamonds if you keep working at getting better.

And working at getting better takes some serious diamond hard will. Not all of us will make it. Not because we can’t, but because we get crushed under the egos of the peers and mentors we go to to help us refine our craft.

So here is my plea to my fellow writers, who have used that diamond will to forge on.

Keep looking for the light in the words of those around you. Keep looking for the lessons they have to teach you. Keep looking for their strengths. Keep encouraging writers, every writer.

I’m not telling you to pander. To flatter. To lie. Those things serve no one.

But find the strengths in the work. Find that spark that made that person decide they wanted to write in the first place and while you give your criticism, and please do make sure you tell them how to make their work stronger by elevating the strengths that are already there.

A person can learn grammar. They can learn plotting. They can learn to set the tone. But they need to feel like it is worth it. And it is always worth it.

Neil Gaiman is quoted saying “Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.”

This is what we, as writers and as critics, need to remember. The story is unique to the writer. We do not know where it is going until it has gone there. We must read as readers and not as writers. We must acknowledge that every story is a journey for the writer, because we know every story we write is our own journey.

Not all of our journeys deserve publication. Not all of our paths lead to riches. But we learn along the way, don’t we?

And to your benefit, you never know when that kid your encouraged in night school is going to unleash the NYT bestseller, or the girl in your crit group is going to be endorsed by Stephanie Meyer. Do you want to be the person who told them their story sucked because you thought the twist should be something different, or do want to be the one they are endorsing when you release your first work because you made it possible for them to see their flaws and play up their strength?

The Alchemist: Required reading for Writers

“Before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward that dream. That’s the point at which most people give up. It’s the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one ‘dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon.” – Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Take a minute to let these words sink in, aspiring writers, because if you think back on your life, again and again you will find them to be true. That time you swore off dating right before you met your spouse, that time you were so overwhelmed with school work you thought you would have a nervous breakdown before graduation. That time that big work project was kicking your ass and you almost quit your job, but you got through it and rewards were abundant.

I read The Alchemist because I was looking for a spiritual based book to compare with a novel I was struggling with. There was no comparison. Aside from being completely different in subject, it was so incredibly masterful and moving, it was the sort of work I could only aspire to someday. After I devoured it, I quickly shoved it on my brother, who has yet to give it back to me, even  though he also read it and loved it right away.

Hey Adam. Give it back!

Paulo Coelho is full of amazing insights about life and achieving your dreams, having gone his own journey to find his “personal legend” as a writer, but the above quote is the one that has been coming to me in past months and weeks.

A while back I hit a wall with my publishing pursuits. I also went from a steady coast with my peer reviews to a sudden deluge of harsh criticism. Some very helpful and some not at all. I struggled to get my motivation up to do another rewrite of The Silent Apocalypse. I was seeing my dreams move further and further away from me, and the path toward them blowing away in the sand.

Enter The Alchemist. A story about pursuing your dreams, written in a way very different from the Disney standard we are used to.

And that writing, have I mentioned, is beautiful. The writing is not complicated, actually quite simple The story is not long. It never names the main character. It moves all over the place and it is masterful. Coelho manages to created something the sounds like a religious text as well as a phenomenal story, with very little fuss to it.

So, if you have not read this book (it came out in the 90s so it’s very likely you have) I suggest you pick it up. Keep it on you shelf. When you are feeling like maybe it’s time to quit, pick it up and read it. Simple writing. You can do that. Beautiful story. You already have that in you. And inspiration to fly.

We all need that.

 

Change the way you look at pursuing a career in writing

Maybe you’re not like me. Maybe while you pursue publication of your novel you completely own it. Maybe the time and energy and hard work you put in without getting paid is something your friends and relatives and acquaintances completely accept as what must be done to reach your goal career. (if the last one is true, wow, good for you).

But while I admit I have support from many people in my life, the most important people in my life, I would say the majority of people who know what I do to attain my goal see me as a dreamer.

And while we, as a society, admire dreamers once they have achieved, on the path to their dream we collectively roll our eyes and nod slowly and tell them not to quit their day jobs for their little hobbies.

So, as writers, pursuing an actual job writing books, many of us tend to me a little more humble about our work. After all, we’ve yet to get the advances, the royalty checks, the writing engagements, the book on the shelf at the book store. What do we have to show for the hours we’ve put in, the years?

Would you ask someone who was going back to school to pursue an engineering degree why they were wasting their time chasing their dreams?

Knowledge. Refinement of our craft. Connections. Industry understanding. We writers collect all these necessary things as we pursue writing as a job, and most of us don’t wrack up 50 grand in debt doing it.

Writing books, editing books, participating crit groups, hiring editors, going to writing conference, submitting for publication, these are part of a real world classroom that is no less worthy than a college tuition for a “practical” job.

Publishing a novel, establishing a career takes time and work and energy. It doesn’t happen overnight any more than becoming a doctor does. You have to put in the work, and you have to acknowledge that, in doing so, you are preparing yourself for the career you want.

For some reason, many people think it’s a matter of writing a book, getting it published. They think the writing part is the hard part, and if you can get it done, that first book should sell if it’s worth anything and you will be on your way.

You know that’s not true. I know that’s not true. There is no reason to be humble about having to strive toward what you want.