Celebrating the 3rd Anniversary of Alexandria Rising: A look back

It all began with a bicycle accident. 

Four years ago on Oct. 27, I was involved in a serious bike accident.

Went over the handlebars. Shattered right wrist that required pins. Broken ribs. Lip split that required stitches. Nose broken. Tendons torn in my left arm. Concussed. Knock out. Cold. Blood pressure sank. I saw the White City. It was gorgeous and peaceful and birds flew around it. It was surrounded by the thin ribbon of a purple river.

My wife woke me up by pinching my shattered wrist to see if I had a pulse.

Ambulance to Atlanta. Long recovery afterwards.

I had had broken bones before. As I often say, God gave me the spirit of an athlete, but not the body of one. I’ve broken over 20 bones in my life. Not a point of Bulldog pride, but a fact. arr

But this accident was different. Too close to the next place.

And I learned how short life is. And why wait? And don’t wait for what’s next. Make what’s next, if you can.

I had begun Alexandria Rising about seven months before my accident, but twiddled and twaddled and let my ego get the best of me when shopping first drafts to agents. I was hesitating. Doubting myself. Frustrated at the market which was not exactly in search of the next action adventure novel.

But, after the accident, many things took hold. One shift that happened was my determination to see Alexandria Rising finished and published. So in January 2016, I began finishing it. My physical therapy was a joke. My wrist and fingers ached every time I struck the keyboard, but I pushed through. I was focused.

Then, after drafts and edits and drafts and edits and late nights and rewrites, it was done.

After I finished it, I shopped it. But the book industry – like most print – is wary to spend money that doesn’t have a guaranteed return these days. And though I am not privy to the publishing houses thoughts, the type of book I was writing is not en vogue at the moment. (I told someone, if only I was writing in the 80s – Alistair McLean would be getting sick or me knocking on his door for a review!)

So, I pursued Independent Publishing. Opened my own press named Speckled Leaf Press. Outsourced editing and proofing and ran the rest — design, marketing and such — in house.

Almost 1,000 days ago today — tempus fugit my friends – Alexandria Rising was published.

The series has sold in 19 countries and over 7,000 of you have read it.

Thanks for being part of this amazing journey! Writing a book is a labor of love, but if one did not enjoy writing novels, one would simply not do it. There is joy in the process and, especially, when it is read.

The first reviews blew my socks off.

The European based, PS I LOVE THAT BOOK used the ‘f bomb’ as part of their review which made me ecstatic! Boundless Book Reviews raved about it and Are You Afraid of The Dark? gave me a great interview and fictional character interview. Ratings on amazon and goodreads were positive. And I entered the world of podcasting and was fortunate enough to be interviewed on several since then including, A Taste of Ink, Speculative Fiction Cantina and Jesse’s Coffee Shop. I was also fortunate to be interviewed on NPR’s Dante’s Old South which was a magical day. Multiple book signings opened up. I met new friends I still keep in touch with. I wrote guest blogs on writing and the need for escapism for publications and capped off with being named a finalist for Independent Author of The Year and a Georgia Author of The Year 2017 nominee.

But, where next to next?

Alexandria Reborn

After the first book, I began writing Alexandria Reborn in January 2017.

I did not know where to go with the book at first.

But, I had visited Mentone, Alabama many times and loved that area. I also wanted to ‘flip the script’ and leave Europe and have the characters in a variety of new locations that were different, but that I still had some touchstones to. Thus, Alabama, Maine and The American West were brought into the picture. I took a deep dive into world creating and it paid off. Welcome to Winston and Spota!

Again, it was successful. Why stop at two, right? We all love a good trilogy.

Alexandria Redeemed

Goodness, that was fun.

Alexandria Redeemed was the easiest book I have written.

It was fast. It was glorious. It was all in my head before I even started. I had never felt so free writing a book.

If flew, it ran. The writing flowed naturally.

I love that book.

The series ends with Rand on his bicycle riding down the tunnels under The Library as explosions around him. He is wounded. He rides through the end of the tunnel and wrecks in the desert sand.

Hope awakes him by pinching his arm.

The same way my wife did for me.

Thank God for bicycle accidents?

Maybe.

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