FRIDAY SF & FANTASY – Dungeon Corps
Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I live on a ranch in Texas, and while the summer heat can be tough sometimes, we love it and wouldn’t trade it for the world. We have rolling hills, open pastures and woods that have been in my family quite a while now. When I was a little boy I spent many hours exploring the land and dreaming up adventures. Now I write. I still dream up adventures, and at least some of those get put down on paper.
I do think imagination was a key part of growing up. Out in the country, we had no cable TV and of course this was before satellites were big and the Internet was in every home. So, time outdoors was heavily supplemented by reading books indoors. Both my parents were educators and highly educated themselves, and more than one room in our home had floor to ceiling books. My dad was a big fan of westerns, and after a long day at the office he liked to come home and read until supper, eat with us, then read until bed time.
Mom liked epic historical romances among other things, and we also had plenty of mystery novels and science fiction in the house. My older sister introduced me to Heinlein when I was about six or so years old, and I consumed all the classic science fiction I could get my hands on.
Growing older, the entire family would take trips to the bookstore together, even on vacation. On occasion, Dad would point out something he thought might appeal to my tastes. For instance, he bought me a paperback box set of the Tarzan novels once. We also shared thriller titles by Robert Ludlum and Alistair MacLain, among others. When I got into college and started buying my own books, I gravitated toward new releases in hard back.
I tried my hand at fiction at Texas A&M, and it was about what you would expect of a very young writer setting things down on paper the first time. Nothing from that era, what survives, has been published.
Fast forward several years and I had an idle fantasy that had been kicking around my head for several years. It was based on the ranch, by which time I had taken over following the passing of my parents. When I was a kid roaming the land, everything seemed big and I imagined a world of giant trees, and cows, and other animals. I felt determined for years to set a story in this childhood world. So I finally set out to write my first complete science fiction novel, Redwood: Enemy of the State. I self published it in 2014 through Kindle Digital Press.
I started working on other things, and I also worked on polishing my craft and increasing my output. Amazon opened the Kindle Scout program some time after that, and I submitted a science fiction novel called The Empathic Detective. This was set in a futuristic Austin, Texas with a lead character holding psychic powers. It won and I got a contract with Amazon Publishing. I followed it up with two sequels.
In 2019, I turned my attention to web serials, which are very interesting. One of the current popular ones is The Wandering Inn by a writer calling herself Pirateaba. I had the idea of a giant space opera, spanning ten books. I also committed to writing a chapter a day in it.
Sometimes, I would get tired of writing in that universe, so for fun I switched over to fantasy and worked on a different world. That is how Dungeon Corps: Crypts of Phanos came about. I put it up on the serial sites and my Patreon page as I wrote it, to let people who follow me see it grow. I got some valuable feedback, and I’m always grateful for newsletter and Patreon subscribers.
By the time 2019 ended, with a box set of a previous fantasy trilogy I wrote published to Amazon, eight in the Pirates of the Milky Way web serial completed, and Dungeon Corps: Crypts of Phanos completed, I had 10 new books under my belt.
I’m hoping to remain productive through 2020. On the slate are the final two books in the Pirates of the Milky Way serial, another book in the Dungeon Corps world, and a fourth book in my Fae Killers series, where I hope to tie up all that series’ loose ends.