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Creating fiction is in my blood.
My father was an alcoholic, and we ended up moving frequently before he passed away when I reached thirteen. Now you have to realize that if you are always moving to new schools, it's hard to develop friends. I was alone a lot. So I daydreamed to fill my lonely hours and read every book I could get my hands on. When I could play "school" with other children, I was usually the "teacher" and told stories.
When we had family gatherings for the usual holiday meals, I volunteered to entertain the screaming children by telling them a story. In the beginning, a new child might complain of hearing "Goldilocks and Three Bears." Yeah, I'd heard that story a few hundred times too. So my reply was, "This story is so new even I haven't heard it yet."
I haves always been the storyteller in the family and wanted to be a fiction writer from the time I peered out of her parents' home at the work-a-day world. Unfortunately, I had no other means of support and waaaay back then, so it was off to college to earn a bachelor's degree with majors in mathematics and physics...and a minor in chemistry. Jobs were scarce for those with math and physics degrees, so I became a chemist.
After twelve years of marriage and chemistry, I got a divorce and changed careers to become a computer programmer.
Ah, graduate school. So enticing. And yet so frightening after being out of the school environment for so long. But it turned out my working experiences were in my favor and three years later, all while struggling with the duties of a day job, I graduated with a master's degree in business administration, the famous M.B.A.
After the downfall of the scary Soviet Union, the early 90s saw a recession and I found herself out of work. Not a nice place to be. So I packed up my stuff and moved in with mom for a few years in the sunshine state of California. The sun was out a lot more and the weather was so much nicer, so I planted roots and decided to stay.
With some time on my hands, I started writing fiction, instead of just making notes on future stories.
Then back into the working world, this time as a technical writer. Ah, I was getting closer. At least I was writing. In 1997, I founded SFNovelist.com, a critique group for science fiction writers who preferred to write technically accurate tales.
I have written numerous articles on the craft of writing fiction, some of which have been translated into foreign languages for use in Europe. Most of my articles have been published in newsletters for writers' groups. My web site at www.crayne.com has many resources for fiction writers.
In 2001, I edited an anthology of short stories by other authors, “The Best of Times,” which was available via Amazon until it ran out of print. By 2004 I had penned two science fiction novels. At that time, the only practical way to get readers was to get published through a traditional publisher. Alas, my two novels weren't quite what several agents wanted. You know the story. I collected lots of rejection letters.
I have written over two dozen short stories, some of which have been published in newsletters. Nine of my short stories have won First Place and two have taken Second Place in short story contests. With practice, came success. Finally, I sold a short story "The Twelve Minute Clock" for their June 2010 (Issue 11) and later "Heat" for the December 2011 issue (Issue 17) of NewMyths.com ezine. See NewMyths.com.
In 2006, I became the president of the Southern California Writers Association for a year and a half.
My mother's death in 2007 brought more changes and in the following year, I moved into a retirement community to occupy the home that dear old mom had vacated. Retiring now on Social Security, I finally...finally...had the income and a home to live in so I could write full time.
As you may be aware, any time you do something full time, you grow a lot faster in your skills.
In 2009, I experimented with being a pantser, that is, sitting down on the seat of my pants and just writing. But after fifteen chapters, I realized I no longer liked the protagonist. From that experience, I learned a valuable lesson: I’m an outliner. From an outline of each novel, I make the first draft.
Sue Grafton once said, "The smartest thing I ever did was to invent somebody who now supports me." She was referring, of course, to private investigator Kinsey Millhone, the protagonist of her best-selling alphabet mysteries. That woke me up to the idea of creating a series of novels with the same protagonist.
So I took three years to design my Jake Dani / Mike Shapeck series. Jake is a spy whose cover is that of being a private investigator on Rossa, another planet being developed by people from Earth.
With years of writing experience, I learned another lesson: it pays to get several editors to look over my writing. The more eyeballs, the better, up to a certain point. I can’t let everybody read my drafts or I’ll never get published.
With the publication of “Freedom” in 2015, I gathered several 5-star reviews.
Have I got the magic yet?
The rest of this story is up to you.
P.S. See my home page of www.crayne.com for a listing of novels you can purchase in either ebook or print formats, as well as short stories you can read for free.