I've got a second chance, a chance to do it right this time.
Thirty-eight years in journalism ended abruptly in December. Now I'm doing what I've dreamed of since I was 12 years old: Writing. Writing books. Writing novels. Writing stories about people rising above their limitations and circumstances. Stories that make you wonder and imagine and think and feel and search for more and act on what you learned. Stories like the ones told by Stephen Meader, a favorite of my youth, a man who put my town in stories and made me think and wonder. Stories like the ones C.S. Forrester and Patrick O'Brian told, strongly rooted in real history that is usually stranger than stuff you make up.
It won't be easy. "Folks say" it's easier to win the Pick Six lottery than to get a book published. Yeah, well, bite me. I'm not doing anything else this year, so excuse me while I give it a real shot.
My first post-employment story is done. "Jesse Ludlam's Wars." Short version: A 16-year-old orphaned in 1861 must survive the Civil War by land and sea before he can solve his parents' murders and claim his legacy. Armies, navies, soldiers, hard tack, blisters, ships, blockade runners, and I even managed to get pirates and an evil aunt in there, with a kid who starts his adventure with reckless self-destruction sure to resonate with anyone who is or was a teenager. It's out there looking for an agent. As I've been made to understand ("Folks say"), agents are people who believe men don't read books. And this is a book for men, 12 and up. I've got Plan B, but for now we'll stick with tradition and find first an agent and then a publisher.
Meanwhile, folks admit to some uneasiness in dealing with me in the wake of the abrupt end to my journalism career. Hey, you're talking to a guy taking his first intoxicating breaths of freedom after a lifetime of stifling himself. I'm a guy who can do to suit himself instead of doing to suit the suits. Congratulations are in order. I'm not going to starve and I'm doing what I should have been doing all along, pursuing my passion for writing. So belay the uneasiness and pass the grog, we're off to discover new lands.