One day, however, during a lunch break a neat idea for a murder mystery came into my head. I've always loved mysteries, detectives and their nefarious criminally active nemeses.
Having no time at home, I bought some of those yellow lined tablets, and, during my lunch breaks, I wrote the books that became The Albemarle Affair.
Oh, that sounds easy. Hah! Eventually, after having lost count of the days, I picked up an old typewriter (Hey, computers were in their infancy and the Internet probably hadn't yet been envisioned), I laboriously typed the book along with the required copy and off it went. And went and went… The best I ever got was an offer to pay for its publication.
I literally truly tore it up and trashed it.
Flash forward. Some twelve or so years later I wrote another book, and couldn't believe my eyes when it was actually accepted. During the wait, I had written another (had more free time by then), and another publisher accepted that one. Imagine the buttons bursting from my chest. Two books being published at the same time. Can't getter better than that. Maybe not, but it can get worse.
The first book didn't sell and I didn't like the cover. The second had a great cover, but the publisher turned out to be a felon on probation at the time and was shortly shut down and, on top of that, all the books I had bought for promotions had pages that fell out faster than the hair on an old duffer's head.
I persevered, but the cost of mail, etc. added up and my wife advised me in her wise fashion, that my goal had been to get published. Okay. Now I wasn't satisfied, but I should remember, that unless I was another Stephen King or Dan Brown, I should consider writing a hobby and not pour a lot of money into it. Okay. I set up a PayPal account and we agreed that everything my publisher (Cambridge Books) put into it could be mine to spend on writing as needed. Yes, after many false starts. One publisher passed away less than a year after accepting a book. Another barely published one of my books and then decided to focus on porn books so I had to move on. Eventually I found my niche. Cambridge Books not only took all my older books, but has continued to publish my books. Presently I have 14, the latter due out in June of this year.
But it's still a hobby. My books lie on the bed of the Amazon where only the most intrepid diver may ever venture to poke around, and the water gets pretty murky down there, believe me!
Well, enough boasting. A cadet in the French Foreign Legion undergoes incredibly challenging and difficult tasks to perform in the most degrading situations one might imagine. And when he's really down and out, his corporal gets down and whispers in his ear: "Hey, come on. You don't have to go on. No one can hear us and they won't know what happened. There's no reason to be embarrassed. This outfit shouldn't even be allowed to keep up this kind of training. I think the commander is a sadist or something. There's no shame in quitting. Come on. I'll help you up."
Some listen and give in. That's okay. What the Legion is looking for is not just robust, strong, muscled and active young men but men who can't be broken. To be a Legionnaire, you have to be tough-minded, so tough-minded that you can parachute out of an aircraft in the middle of the night with no moon and land where you land. You have to be able to jump out of a helicopter with full pack gear on your back into a muddy river infested with snakes and alligators. You have to be tough-minded.
Maybe being a writer isn't quite that difficult, but I'm sure all of us, at one time or another, have felt like throwing it all up, just as I did with The Albemarle Affair. Well, one day, after I'd actually been published, I started remembering and I got tough. I sat down at my computer and re-wrote The Albemarle Affair all over from memory and if anything, it came out better this time than it did the first time. It was a lot of work, but it was worth it, simply because I didn't give up after all!
What about you? Do you write professionally, or as a hobby?
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