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About me. I started writing way back…
Wait, stories don’t start like that!
“Once upon a time, our hero…”
Nah, too cliché.
“No joke, there I was…”
That’s better! Twenty years in the Army taught me that the best lies start with ‘No $#%@, there I was…,’ but this is a family-friendly story. So…
No joke, there I was in a German apartment built in 1658, sitting beside my daughter Beatrix’s crib as ancient walls groaned in the wind. Board-book in hand (I’d read it twice already), I gazed deep into twinkling hazel eyes that begged for more stories.
I didn’t have more stories. Daddy was tired.
But I’m a sucker for those eyes. So I told Disney’s version of Sleeping Beauty…because the princess is asleep. Cunning, huh? For fun, I placed Beatrix in the story and ditched Prince Charming. I kept the romance out (heaven help me when she starts dating), and made my protagonist a brave little adventurer who stumbled upon Sleeping Beauty’s castle one-hundred years after the curse.
My diabolical plan worked–sort of. Those hazel eyes drifted to half-mast, but remained stubbornly open until the story ended and I snuck out.
Beatrix begged for more stories the following night. And the next. And the next. Thus was Beatrix the Brave born, a little adventurer whose primary purpose was to make my own little Beatrix GO TO SLEEP.
Beatrix the Brave failed miserably in that regard, but she awoke the writer within me. Her adventures soon coalesced into a vaguely cohesive storyline and I decided to Write a Novel.
I wrote alone and unafraid for two years and ended up with two and a half novels: Beatrix the Brave, Beatrix the Dragonheart, and Beatrix the Forsaken. After receiving a lot of query letter rejections, I turned to short stories, hoping to add some sales or contest wins to my cover letter. Sounds simple, right?
I found the Writers of the Future (had no clue how big the contest was), banged out a funny little story about a guy and his personal demon (like a guardian angel, but in reverse), and submitted.
It got an Honorable Mention—my first validation as a writer.
That’s how I found my writing home on the Writers of the Future forum and Wulf Moon’s Super Secrets Workshop (a thread within the forum). More importantly, that’s how I learned how much I didn’t know about writing. With Moon’s mentorship, I’ve honed my craft, developed my own unique style, and achieved professional publication.
And I still tell my daughter the tales of Beatrix the Brave. Someday I’ll introduce this little adventurer to the world, but for now I’m having too much fun writing short fiction and exploring worlds with snarky demons, cunning farmers, and lost bards.
Until next time…