Fifteen years ago about now, I had been writing for nine, going on ten years, had one pro story credit to my name, a lot of for-the-love small press credits, and had been trying to sell a couple of novels without any success at all.
Then I had an online conversation with Joe Nassise that led me to send a book to a US company called Barclay Books. They had a few people on their list – Joe himself, and Simon Wood that I’d heard of, and I was delighted when they decided to publish ISLAND LIFE. The book came out, it was well reviewed in Asimov’s and Cemetery Dance among other places… then things started to fall apart.
The saga of what happened next taught me a lot of lessons that have stood me in good stead ever since – dodgy contracts, publisher promises that were never kept, stockpiled books and no royalties- it was a litany of bad decisions all round and although I had a contract for another three books with them, it all went tits up very quickly – the dream was quashed almost as soon as it was born.
But it had one effect for the good – it made me believe. And it started an engine running that has been going ever since.
In the intervening fifteen years I’ve written 24 novels ( 21 currently in print), a number of novellas and a large number of short stories, now well over three hundred of them. The number of pro stories sales has swelled too, and I’m not too far short of my century on that front.
The reason I’m looking back at it today is because I looked at the new edition of Island Life from Gryphonwood Press and wondered what might have been, had Barclay Books been able to put out such a great product back then.
But if wishes were horses we would all be eating steak.
Still, the last five or six years in particular have been pretty spectacular for me, so here’s to many more good times ahead.
Onward and Upward.