artists start first with characters. Some start with plot. I have written
stories that started either way, but the ones that excite me are the ones that
begin in my mind with an image.
these half-understood blurry visions will haunt the back of my mind for years
and I won’t know what to do with them. I won’t understand what I’m looking at
until I’ve lived with them for a long time.
was how The White Hairs came to me. I’d had an idea that wasn’t quite right in
my mind for a long time. It involved magicians traveling outer-space, not on spaceships,
but by leaving their bodies.
that’s good, but it’s not quite there. I turned it over and over in my head
trying to wring out the final piece until I finally saw the picture in my mind of
a great being covered with white hair leaving that body and going out to
explore the universe.
imagined what it would be like for a creature in that culture, learning for the
first time how to leave his flesh and wandering the sky. That quickly became
Farshoul, my protagonist, and the story wrote itself in a little over a month
deeper issues in the story bubbled up from my own psyche where they had been
lying for a long time, waiting for a place they could escape to. Yes, The White
Hairs is fantasy, but if you read it right, it should not be light reading. It
begins at the beginning of a spiritual quest, and it follows that quest through
the decades of Farshoul’s life until it is resolved. You can tag along with him
and experience that journey for yourselves if you allow the story to possess
you at that level.
wrote The White Hairs several years ago, and I’ve written quite a number of
works since then. Some of which I have fallen out of love with in the
intervening years. This story has
grown in my own estimation. This
story seems more beautiful and important and simply perfect to me every time
that I read it. I don’t say that out of ego, because I did write it such a long
time ago that it’s almost like I’m not the author anymore. Am I really the same
guy I was back then? It’s hard to believe. At this point I’m simply a big fan
of the work that I happen to get to bring it to the world.
the works I created since then was a 250,000 word novel. Let’s call it: X. I
spent two years of my life living and breathing that novel and giving it most of my waking thought, all of my
dreams, and hopes. Finally completing it was the biggest accomplishment of my
I misunderstood book length. I thought that it was a 500 page novel. When I wrote
in Word I used single-spacing. In fact, I’d created a maybe 1,000 word novel!
All the same, I did speak with some agencies, and they were very kind and
complimentary about the work. I sent some pages, and was asked to send more! At
the end, I was told by two agencies that they wanted to see my next work…
in mind, I’d spent two years dreaming about finishing X. I could barely imagine
doing it all again without accomplishing anything, without the quality of my
life improving… It was devastating, and for a year or more I had a very hard
time writing. Oh, I had a lot of great plot ideas, but nothing came out with
any grace. I have several unfinished novels from this period.
then learned about self-publishing. I couldn’t bear to submit X to that,
knowing that the odds were that it would hardly sell any copies. Did I have
another story I could use to experiment with self publishing? The White Hairs
is a funny length. At 120 pages it’s shorter than most novels, but pretty long
for a short story or even novella. I hadn’t submitted it anywhere for
publication. I had no plans for the work; so I thought maybe it would be a good
June 1st 2010 I published The White Hairs in paperback through lulu.com. I
announced it on Facebook and MySpace and sold a good initial number of copies to
friends, family, and people who barely remembered me from high school. Then…sales
seemed to slow.
had a plan to buy a number of copies and try to get them into independent
bookstores on a consignment basis, but discovered that I couldn’t secure the
funding that I needed, so I had to find a new plan.
is when I learned about digital publishing. I made the book available on Amazon
and Smashwords to be downloaded. This allowed me to charge a very low price and
still make a fair profit on each copy. Only the future will tell how well it
will sell! The reviews so far have been very strong, and maybe for an
independent author without any real publicity that’s the best I can hope for at
this early stage!
I am here to stay. Whether the audience discovers me or not,
I’ll still be writing fifty years from now because the grace and elegance has
returned. I can write again. Just wait until you read what I have coming this