In 1982, after long considering the possibilities that I could, I purchased an old Royal typewriter at a garage sale for three buck with the missing letter “A” and sat down to try my hand at writing a novel.
Those first thirty pages, as with any of my following novels were a breeze. I floated through them by the time spring was in full bloom. The following 170 pages took the next twelve years.
It was a slow progression, lots of starts and stops, with months of down time. Without letting anyone know what I was doing, I slowly plodded my way through the never-ending project until one day, almost by surprise, I was finished.
The momentum of completing that first book gave me permission to tell my friends what I had done and inspired me to start on my next novel with a more defined determination to write one page a day no matter what.
I was well into the computer age by then and the next twelve manuscripts flowed onto my screen like clockwork at a rate of one book a year.
Once the first Channeling Biker Bob was complete, edited word for word 51 times, formatted, cover designed, Barbara and I published it with pride and pomp.
I booked fifty booksignings up and down the coast and went on the road for a year to launch that book. Later we found it was riddled with spelling and grammatical errors, formatting forepaws, editing disasters and cover design mishaps. The thing was a mess, but it was a book and that was all that counted. My career as a writer was on it’s way.
It was well received by the general public with slightly more than a ho-hum.
We had 5000 copies printed and few were selling, so we decided since we couldn’t sell them and we certainly couldn’t eat them, we couldn’t even use them as door stops, we could use the book as a business card. During that signing tour, I gave a free copy to every person I met, hotel managers, maids, gas station attendants, homeless people and prisoners doing time. I wasn’t proud. Whoever would take one, I put a Biker Bob in their hand and got their address for my mailing list.
Sometime during that next year, one of the prisoners sent me a note filled with appreciation for my writing. I didn’t think much of it. Hell, there literally had a captured audience.
The next book to go to print, I dialed back my signing events and spent time reconnecting with those people I had met during the first tour. Sales were nothing to write home about, but at least we had figured out how to publish a book.
Biker Bob 2 and 3 came and went until one day that same prisoner gave me a call. He told me he was a Hollywood actor and he would like to play Biker Bob if he could get a producer to make the movie.
He found a producer, I signed a contract and they were less than a month from handing me a fat check. It was in the bag. During that period there were a lot of counted chickens with those eggs.
When the economy took a long run off a short peer, all of those dreams poofed into thin air like so much of that funny smoke we all partook in back in the sixties.
Once that dream was set back on the shelf for a later date, I dropped into a deep discouragement. I quit writing for almost five years. I was certain that part of my life was over as other things filled my days.
Last summer, I don’t know why, but I signed up for a writing workshop. Me, thirty years into writing and there I was sitting in a room with people trying to find a smidgen of their voice.
I sat through those four hours wondering why, but somehow during that class, I found my muse once again. I went home, dusted off one of my many unfinished novels that had never fully left my consciousness and the next morning I wrote a page. The next morning I wrote another, next morning another and it’s been going like that for six months.
Last month, and this is the reason I am telling this story, one of my readers, wondering where Biker Bob #4 was, mentioned that his cousin was working with a publishing house out of Texas and maybe I should give them a try.
After I hung the phone up, my cynic immediately dismissed that suggestion, but all day it kept haunting me. By later that day, I resigned myself to another in a long list of rejections, re-polished the query letter I already written years before and sent it off into cyberland.
Understand, when a query goes to a publisher or agent, it may languish on their desk for three or four months before they respond if they ever do.
I was resigned to forgetting about that query and I went on about my business doing daily computer stuff as we all do, right?
Ten minutes later, I got a note from the publisher demanding that I submit my query properly. Okay, that one was a little more anal than most, but at least I got a response.
I re-submitted, crossing all of my “Tee’s” and dotting my “I’s”.
Ten minutes later, she demanded to know why my story was the same as a movie coming out?
Hell, I didn’t even know of the movie, so I looked it up, then I spent an hour carefully crafting a letter drawing the differences between the two.
Ten minutes later, I got more questions and a request for ten pages of the manuscript. Another hour crafting a response.
Ten minutes. . .an hour responding.
Ten minutes. . .response and it went like that all day.
By late that evening she said she liked the book and my writing voice and she would send a contract.
The book is called “Trillian Rising”
I signed the contract just after the first of the year and any day now I should be getting the first of many pages of edits and comments.
It’s my first official publisher.
It’s going to be a good year.