Growing Up I was born May 31, 1969 in Susanville, California. Although born in the USA, my family moved to Canada in 1971, where I was raised in a little town called Meeting Creek in rural Central Alberta. I started telling stories at a young age, which was handy when we drove from Alberta to California to visit relatives in the summer. Back in the 70s & 80s, there wasn’t much in the way of entertainment on road trips, so my family would see the name of a town and ask me to tell the story of that town. I’d think for a bit and then weave some fantastic tale of how that town got its name. I have no idea if anything I ever said had even an ounce of truth to it… if it did, it was truly accidental, but I enjoyed making up the stories.
My Literary Influences Throughout my school years in Meeting Creek, Edberg and eventually graduating in Delburne, I was an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy and western genres from authors like J.R.R. Tolkien, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Jules Verne, Douglas Adams, Louis L’Amour, and others. Edgar Rice Burroughs is my all-time favourite author, primarily for his Barsoom series… it’s hard to believe A Princess of Mars was published in 1917!
The Rise of the Machines
In the late 1980s, I got into computers and dial-up bulletin board systems (BBS) in a big way and then the Internet in the early 1990s… before the days of Yahoo and Google! My work with some early Internet protocols was even mentioned in several chapters of the Canadian Internet Handbook (published in the mid-1990s). I eventually started teaching computer classes and speaking at events as a futurist, telling farmers why they should get on the computer bandwagon and what I thought computers and the Internet would eventually be able to do for them, but that’s another story… maybe an autobiography someday?
Serialized publishing had been around since the 1800s… the practice of releasing a story in chunks (usually chapters), often as it’s being written. It breaks down all the walls created by traditional publishing by allowing readers to interact with the writer and giving them insight into the actual writing process. Some authors, myself included, often poll the readers about certain aspects of the story being written.
I had started reading stories on text-based BBS’s, which eventually migrated into NNTP newsgroups (also called Usenet) and I continued reading stories there… this was a new electronic form of serialized publishing. Anyone could do it… for free!
With the release of NCSA Mosaic in 1993, websites became graphical, more user-friendly and the modern world-wide-web was born and the number of stories being published online skyrocketed! From abundance spawned an abundance… of utter crap! However, among the maelstrom of shit, gems were discovered, followed and discussed.
Fast forward to 2018, one of those rare gems was a series called “A Spartan’s War“, by Mike Cropo, which I had been reading and following faithfully for years. His story was so engaging that I found myself waiting for the next chapter to drop. After three months with no updates, I got concerned and did some research, eventually discovering that Mike had passed away from cancer on November 9, 2017 at the age of 52. 🙁
Upon learning of his death, I downloaded everything he had published online (all 7+ million words!) and started entertaining the idea of writing… his story deserves to be finished.
I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to finish his story, but not having written anything for decades, I felt I should hone my craft and try writing my own stories first. Find my own voice as it were.
Thoughts of writing triggered a memory of my English teacher in grade 9 or 10. I had written a short story assignment that I had got an A+ on and when he handed the assignment back, he commented that it might make for a good book someday. It was called Turtle Island, so my Aliens and Cowboys series is loosely related to that story which has been tumbling around in my mind for several decades. The original wasn’t a space opera and didn’t have erotica in it, but I had large parts of the story in my mind so decided to pick up the proverbial pen and write it down.
Still actively reading and reviewing other serialized stories, I had read a popular story from a guy that was a volunteer editor offering his services to other writers. He had a great premise for a story, but I found it difficult to read due to what I considered poor grammar and editing, so I commented and pointed out several issues just in the first couple of chapters… and, in haste wrote, “and you call yourself an editor?” My bad! It was insensitive and shouldn’t have been said, I did delete the comment almost immediately, but not before he read it and replied saying, “I should put my money where my mouth is! Write something and post it for the public to criticize and see how my writing fares!”
I had already been thinking about writing, so now was as good a time as any… challenge accepted!
My Writing Journey I wrote the first few chapters of what is now my debut series, Aliens and Cowboys, and posted them to a site called Stories OnLine. After hitting the submit button, August 31, 2019 became the most unnerving night of my life… I felt absolutely sick and didn’t sleep a wink. My creative writing instructor said, “You literally threw yourself into the arena!” Fortunately, in the light of a new day, the story had been read thousands of times in less than 12 hours. It was immediately successful and the feedback I received was overwhelmingly positive. So I started posting the story to other sites, much to the same result. As of April 2023, I’m still writing the story and it has received millions of reads, gained thousands of followers, votes and reviews. Aliens and Cowboys (Cowboys and Aliens originally) can usually be found among the highest-rated serials on most of the sites that I posted it to. NOTE: Most of my stories you can find and read for free on various sites, however the stories there are what I call vomit copies, referring to whatever spewed out when I was writing it. They are NOT always the refined, edited versions found in the books!