A TIME OF DISCOVERY
First off, Misty, thanks for letting me babble today.
I remember when it happened.
I fell in love with reading early. I was reading before I started school and fell in love with books. Not the typical “See Spot run” books either. No, I was reading books several grade levels ahead of me and while many kids my age were playing softball or basketball in the sticky heat of summer, I’d usually be on the front porch curled up in our porch swing, book in hand.
But there was an incident, a moment that I remember as clearly as I remember my wedding day and the birth of my children. In fact, it’s happened twice in my life.
The first time was in the late seventies. I was cruising the book section at the local department store and came across a paperback book by Don Pendleton. It was called Washington I.O.U., and it was the 13th book in a series about a soldier who declares a one-man war on the Mafia after his parents are killed. It was the Executioner series and although I would go on to collect all 38 in the series, that first book changed my life.
I remember reading the opening chapter and something clicked deep inside me. Something that made me want to….write. I’d never thought about writing before. I’d never even seriously tried anything, but Pendleton…man, his prose hit me like a Royal typewriter and I devoured that book. Afterword, I got a spiral notebook and tried to put a story together. Having no idea what I was doing, I ended up with a very pale (okay, awful) imitation of Pendleton’s work. After that I continued to dabble, writing a scene here and there, even finishing a sci-fi story for a local library contest. No, I didn’t win but I finished something!
Fast forward six years. I’m now in college and a character named John Logan starts bouncing around in my brain. I develop a little character info about Logan but can’t seem to get anything really started. I am browsing through the college library at the current bestsellers when I run across a book by Eric Van Lustbader called The Miko. I really enjoy the book and I find that it’s a sequel to his blockbuster breakout novel The Ninja. Being hopelessly enamored of the martial arts and all things Japan, I order The Ninja. From the opening line I feel something light within me:
In darkness there is death.
Well, not only did I enjoy the book and many of Lustbader’s books afterward, The Ninja began a journey in me to unearth this Logan character that had taken residence inside my head and refused to let go. I was still dangerously ignorant of how to write fiction as I’d read no books on it, nor attended any courses or lectures. It took finally studying the craft, many years, and countless rewrites and restarts before I held the first copy of Survivor’s Affair in my hands.
I share this with you because you may be a fan of this blog because you are a reader, you love books, and maybe because you have that little spark inside you that says you might want to write. Should you? Can you?
I can’t answer those questions. Only you can. It’s an exciting time in the publishing world. The old ways are rapidly morphing into new opportunities as the Web has turned traditional publishing upside down. If I could give you any advice, it would be this, the same advice given to all of us by Stephen King. It is the best advice I ever got on how to write.
Read a lot and write a lot.
It’s held true for me. It was over thirty years from that Pendleton novel to Survivor’s Affair. A lot of words written and tossed aside and rewritten again. Don’t give up. If I had or if my wife had suggested I probably should just forget about it, I wouldn’t be writing this today.
Maybe you don’t want to write. Maybe you’re just a fan of books. Okay, nothing at all wrong with that. There are treasure troves of books by authors available now through the online path that would not be accessible otherwise. Not because they’re not talented, but because breaking through in the publishing business is a long and frustrating one (oh, you can believe me on this). And since it’s just you and me here, let’s be honest–we’ve all read a book or two by “mainstream” authors and wondered this hack really signed a million dollar contract to write this drivel?
So whether you’re just a fan of books or thinking about writing that novel that’s been stuck in your head, the times they are a’changin’ (with apologies to Dylan). I’m excited as both reader and writer for the exciting opportunities out there.
Go for it.
Rick Nichols is the author of the John Logan thrillers Survivor’s Affair, and The Affairs of Men from Seven Realms Publishing. A third Logan novel The Sheltering Tree will be out in 2012. When he’s not at his desk pounding out stories, he enjoys reading, guitar, spending time with family, and watching football and hockey. He lives in Florida.
Synopsis: Private Investigator John Logan has always been haunted by the tragic mission years before that took the lives of his black-ops team. But when he sees one of his former teammates alive in downtown Coral Bay, with a young woman by his side, and a horde of Russian hit men on his tail…Logan realizes that there was more to the ill-fated mission than he originally believed.
Driven by the need to search for his missing friend, his investigation is sidetracked when a beautiful architect asks him to look into her spouse’s suspicious activities. In spite of his rule against doing domestic cases, Logan agrees and uncovers far more than he could have ever suspected as both cases begin to intertwine. With the beautiful and tough Teri Johnson, and enigmatic Mason Killian by his side, Logan peels back the layers of a lethal plan that could have deadly consequences for the people of Coral Bay. As the danger rises, Logan will be forced to visit those places he had sworn off forever, dark shadows of his heart not seen since the death of his beloved Shikira.
I have FIVE copies of Rick’s book The Affairs of Men to give away! Kindle and EPUB formats are available. Winners will get to choose which format they’d like. All you have to do to enter is comment below and leave a valid email so that I can notify you. Good luck! Winners will be chosen by random.org on Monday November 21st at 8pm Eastern!