Still Writing, Still Dreaming

I’ve had one real driving ambition my entire adult life.

To be a writer.

In many respects, I fulfilled that goal long ago. For twenty-plus years I’ve written nearly every day. I’ve penned four novels and three novellas. I’ve been published in multiple online literary journals. I was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. But most importantly, I’ve found an outlet for my creative passions, a place that I can return to again and again to experience the freedom of engaging with this mad kaleidoscope that we call life on my own terms. Writing has rewarded me in ways that I would have never anticipated. And because of that, I’ve committed myself to the writing life, come what may.

But, like the ever-grasping human that I am, I’ve wanted more.

Last summer, I finished a genre-busting literary/fantasy novel. As I’ve done a handful of times before, I submitted the novel to literary agents, hoping to secure representation. This time, there was real interest. By September I had secured representation, and for the first time in my writing life, the possibility of breaking through in the publishing industry seemed like a genuine possibility.

In the months that followed, my agent secured reads from some of my favorite editors in the industry. I tried to keep my dreams in check, but every time I visited the bookstore it was difficult not to check-in on books written by authors that my agent represented. Flipping to the acknowledgement section of these books, it was easy to imagine that perhaps in a year or two I would be standing in the same spot, flipping through my book, reading my own words of thanks to my agent and the editor who ultimately took me on.

But it was not to be.

A couple of days ago I received my final pass on the book. It was from an editor that I really respect, one who had worked on some of my favorite fantasy books published this past year. My agent passed on the news with characteristic straightforwardness, a trait that I appreciate. Then my agent told me that he’d be happy to read my next novel, when it’s finished.

And that was that.

What comes next? Although I’m tempted to self-publish the aforementioned novel, I’m going to hold off for now. I’ve been working on an epic fantasy novel for quite some time, and I don’t like the idea of promoting a self-published book while simultaneously pitching my epic fantasy series. I really want to give traditional publishing one last shot before committing myself to the self-publishing life. Because if I do commit myself to that route, I’m going to give it my all.

As for the epic fantasy series, the first book is nearly finished. After I wrap it up, I’m going to write a little of book two before I submit book one. The series should wrap up as a trilogy. Hopefully sometime within the coming year I’ll have a better idea of which road my writing life is destined to take.

Thanks, as always, to everyone who has supported my writing over the years. I’ve written so much these past five or six years, works that I’m incredibly eager to share with the world. I consider myself a very patient person, but I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t frustrated that I haven’t been able to share more of what I’ve finished. But sooner or later, that day is coming.

And when it does, I intend to hit the ground running.