I grew up in a sleepy little mid-west town in Illinois where most people drove an hour to work across the Mississippi river in St. Louis. I played little league and was in the VFW sponsored scout troop.
I discovered tabletop gaming at the young age of thirteen when one of my classmates asked me if I played Dungeons and Dragons (Red Box to set the time frame). I had no idea what he was talking about, but said, “Sure.”
I found myself invited over to his house for an impromptu Saturday game. I lost my head to a zombie in that first session and my youth to weekends hiding from the sun in my new best friend’s basement. I’m still a little miffed about the zombie (What kind of zombie moans on the other side of a closed door? Zombies didn’t make noise back in that edition!) But, I have never regretted those weekends of storytelling. I started running the games and creating the stories. I was most happy when I was creating those stories.
Well, I graduated high school with no idea what I wanted to do and some pretty average grades. (See: weekends spent gaming) I had taken a summer programming course called, “Programming in Pascal”. (I wrote a Zork style text game. Shocker!) I figured, “Why not computers?”. Like so many others I never dreamed of pursuing a career in the arts. I could hear my dad now, “How you going to make money doing that?”. So, I got a job at the local lumber company and enrolled in community college. (Did I mention we weren’t rich?)
I made it one year. One very cold winter’s day I almost took my hand off with the company’s large capacity circular saw. Well, I thought, this sucks. I walked out of the lumber company at the end of the day and into the Air Force recruiter’s office. Sign me up and get me out of here!
Many years later I’m no longer in the Air Force, but I did manage to get a degree in Computer Science and land a career in IT. Along the way I married a beautiful woman and we had three beautiful children. I even managed to keep playing table top games with some great friends. But there was a part of me that wanted to keep creating those stories and sharing them with others.
It wasn’t until I heard about the National Novel Writing Month that I finally found the catalyst I needed to finally write one of my stories. Well, one month of hard-core, soul-searching, sleep-deprived writing pain and a year of really studying the “Elements of Fiction Writing” series by Writer’s Digest Books. I love those books. Those and “Self-Editing for Fiction Writers” by Renni Brown & Dave King. (You would think “Cradle of the Gods” would have fewer mistakes). I had my first story and I’m not stopping there!
Wow, your still with me? Impressive. If your curious about anything else, like how I’m a chocoholic and drink coffee before going to bed, just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Still here? We got through it together. You can let go now.