I juggle many balls. Between owning and operating a restaurant (anyone who watches Restaurant Impossible knows how hard this is), to being a father to two young girls (ages 2 and 7), to cycling (for health and hobby), I have a very limited time for writing. On my 36th birthday, I had a nervous breakdown after realizing my life had become too much for me to handle. Something had to give. But having been neglected by my own father throughout my childhood (and even adulthood), taking time away from my kids was out of the question. So I decided to work less, trusting in my delegation skills to get things done.
It’s hard to believe I started the Dark Age of Enya in 1999, which was published as a POD book by Xlibris in 2004. I did a book signing at Barnes & Nobles where I sold nine copies and did a second signing at Caliente Resort where I sold another nine. I even had a couple good reviews in magazines. Unfortunately, they were naturist magazines and hardly more popular than the book itself, so sales didn’t jump much. Of course, for anyone familiar with my life, I was chastised on Sci-Fi/Fantasy forums for going the self-publication route, by people who can never begin to imagine the enormous challenge that is traditional publishing. Despite the popularity of The Dark Age of Enya among tiny circles, I decided to dedicate the next five years to refining Enya into the masterpiece I knew it could be. Only problem? Time. Like I said, I juggle many balls. Without editing, I could have finished my 600 page novel in months. But I am an obsessive, you can say obsessive compulsive, editor. I spend, on average, about an hour per page. In addition, I believe it takes at least three revisions before a story can be its best. Right now, Ages of Aenya, which I completed last year, needs another pass. At two chapters per week (remember, I juggle a lot!) this project should take about 4 months (hopefully).
In the meantime, I hate to neglect my blog. I started The Writer’s Disease as a way to reach out to fans and to build an online presence. So far, I’ve managed to rank fairly high on Google as far as blogs go. My most popular post has garnered over 2000 hits and a day after posting The Martian Chronicles review I was contacted by Daniel Levy who is working on the opera version! Yessiree, my blog is going places . . . and yet, one more ball to juggle!
To keep my one-post-a-week pace, I am introducing a new series: Rough Cut Fiction, fiction that has only gone through one pass of editing. Why? Because if I had time for three passes, I wouldn’t be needing this series. Despite being rough cut, these stories are entertaining in their own right. In my Fan-fiction days, I won contests for stories less polished. Keep in mind, the only reason I am making this post is to alleviate my OCD/guilt for posting anything less than perfect. In my defense, I think being an author is a lot like being an Olympic athlete. In the Olympics, athletes push themselves to their limit, often breaking bones and ripping tendons. Likewise, if I were to put the same obsessive detail into everything I do, something in my brain would most certainly burst. Writers and athletes can’t push themselves that hard all the time—but a figure skater in the mall can still be entertaining to watch even if she doesn’t pull off a perfect axel jump.
The first rough cut story I’ll be posting is The Dark Age of Enya 2, the direct sequel to The Dark Age of Enya. I fully intended to publish it before I decided to go back to refine the original. The first part of the story is complete, so you won’t be reading anything without a conclusion (unlike many published books). And, who knows, some of it may end up in the official sequel to Ages of Aenya, so you, dear fan, can think of this as a sneak peek into the future of Xandr and crew. Despite being written in 2006 in Morocco, no one has ever laid eyes on it, and I hope fans of the original novel will find it worth the look!