20 years after 9/11. Add your story. Your children will want to know your experiences.
My First Book

So this year I finally did something that I didn't think I'd ever do until I was a lot older. I self-published my first book! 

It's a little weird having a physical copy of what was a few months of hard work right in front of me. I think what is the most surprising thing about this whole ordeal was just how easy and fun it was. When I first envisioned writing novels I felt like I would be crushed under the weight of rejection letters by any and all big corporate publishers. Or, that I'd hire an editor that would tell me that what I was writing was trash and that I should throw it all away and try to come up with something more original. 

Thankfully, none of that happened. In fact, the exact opposite of that occurred. My first novel is about a cowboy and a witch who go across the United States hunting monsters in the Wild West. The idea came to me when I was playing some video games and I realized that I just had to write it. At first, I had imagined the main characters to be seasoned monster hunters, cold and calculated. I thought of a gruff-looking, Clint Eastwood-type cowboy fighting alongside a closed-off, menacing witch who begrudgingly accepted her responsibility to rid the world of evil. 

But then I thought to myself, "Where's the fun in that? That's probably been done a million times before." So, I backpedaled and made my main characters pretty much the exact opposite of the original vision. My new main character was a young, dumb, naive, slightly educated son of two ranchers whose horse was smarter than him and his witch friend was inexperienced and not nearly as cold as I had originally envisioned. 

Almost immediately I began thinking of a thousand different silly situations these fledgling monster hunters could get themselves into and how it would shape their characters over a long period of time. I began to think to myself, "I may have a series on my hands here." After bouncing off the ideas to a few close friends, they agreed I should go with it, and so I did. 

However, I couldn't come to a conclusion as to what I should start with. I wanted to create a short adventure where the two of them would meet and subsequently agree to travel across the western United States together. It needed to be something familiar, almost cliche, to the Western genre but with fantasy and supernatural elements. And that's when it hit me: zombie outlaws. 

I could see the scene clearly in my head, the young cowboy in the middle of a moonlit street in an old town staring down the ghoulish eyes of an undead gunslinger. It felt like the perfect debut novel for this little series that's cooking in my head so I rolled with it. 

Admittedly, it took longer than I expected to write. Mostly because I have to make money while also balancing my social and personal life. At one point, however, I had a gap in time where I didn't have to work so I started earnestly writing my book every day. Surprisingly, it didn't take that long, probably a little over a month and I had my first draft completed. 

The editing process, on the other hand, was quite lengthy. I don't really have the money to hire a professional editor so I ended up employing the services of a few close friends to take a look at it and see what they thought. The feedback was extremely helpful and honestly, I would never have noticed the things they pointed out to me. After a long while, I had finally finished editing and decided that the book was ready to be published. 

I was admittedly wary of self-publishing through Amazon but apparently, that's what a lot of up-and-coming authors are doing these days. The process was fairly easy, though I did need to mess around with the settings to make sure things were up to snuff. This, admittedly, took a few attempts and I'd actually forgotten to remove an author's note before I published it. 

Writing and self-publishing is honestly a fun time and I can safely say I'm excited to do it again! I'm just happy this turned out to be less of an ordeal than I had imagined.