Southern California: The Early Years (1972 - 1976)
Shannon Elise Muir was born on July 10, 1972 in San Diego, California. My family was stationed there because my father was a Warrant Officer in the United States Navy. Actually, we lived in Chula Vista, which is only a small hop from the Mexican border.
I don't remember much about my time there, so there isn't much to say. I was joined by my little sister Lesley on March 21, 1975. Lesley has been the best friend I could ever ask for. I understand that many siblings never grow up as close as our childhood was.
Japan: Cherry Blossoms and Tsunamis (1976 - 1980)
In 1976, my father was transferred to Japan. I really wish I remembered more about living there.
I was heavily involved in Girl Scouts in Japan, and even when I was back in the States, proudly wore my TOFS (Troops On Foreign Soil) pin. I have never met another Girl Scout with that distinction since I made it back to the U.S.
Hawaii: One Person's Paradise Is Not Another's (1980 - 1984)
I lived in Iroquois Point, Hawaii, on the island of Oahu for these four years. It was a Navy housing area on one side of Pearl Harbor; Honolulu could be seen across the harbor from the beach.
WA State: Birth of a Dream (1984 - 1987)
My father retired from the Navy and we moved to Cheney in 1984. This was because he wanted to be back nearer to his family and use his G.I. Bill to go to college. Ritzville (the city where he was born and where Dad's parents lived then) is about an hour from Cheney.
In case anyone is curious about how big Cheney is (or isn't), I often find myself summing it up to people as a town of "7,000 people and 2 stoplights." Seriously.
These were the years that would change my life, and I mean that very seriously. Due to a lot of luck and quite a bit of determination, I had the amazing fortune to connect with two incredible professional scriptwriters who have remained wonderful friends.
The first one I met up with in 1986, at about age 13. I was deeply interested in a science-fiction cartoon show called VOLTRON. I came up with what I considered to be a fabulous idea to add to the show, so I wrote it up in a letter and sent it to the station airing the show. They forwarded it to the production company, who sent back a form letter and promo packet.
Somehow, that wasn't enough for me. Though the form letter said all the stories submitted by viewers had been read and reviewed, I wanted to know what they thought of MY idea. My sister Lesley and I then proceeded to write up 22 descriptions for episode ideas around the new character (which would be called written premises professionally, but I didn't know that then ) and mailed them directly to the Executive Producer.
Over four months would pass before we heard a response. And it wasn't the Executive Producer we heard from, but the Head Writer of the series, Marc Handler! He explained the series was going out of production but took the time to go over what we'd sent and gave us feedback. His encouraging words made me realize that people who didn't know me could like what I had done, and if he could, maybe others would too. Maybe this was something I should do with my life...
This sentiment was echoed in late 1987 when I contacted my second professional writer, after I'd turned 15. I became interested in another show -- an animated series called JEM -- and sent a letter to the toy company requesting the production company's address. No one had any clue that I was only a teenager, so my letter went to a senior production person at the animation house and this person CALLED me! Unfortunately, my mother had to say I was at school at the time. The production person still wanted to talk to me, so I called the next morning. As before, the show was going out of production (I swear I have lousy timing!) but the production person agreed to forward anything to the Head Writer that I wanted to send. In December of 1987 I received a 10-page letter, sample scripts, and more from the incredible woman who had helped bring the series to life, Christy Marx. Years would go by before I met her in person...
WA State: Choices, Changes, Challenges (1988 - 1990)
High school seems challenging to just about anyone, but for me it was so because I *made* it so.
In the Fall of 1989, I began to attend Eastern Washington University on a part-time basis. It wasn't easy being 17 in a male-dominated department... being joked about as "jailbait" doesn't do much for the self-esteem. The age complex was something I would carry around for a long time.
I graduated from Cheney High School with honors in June of 1990. Less than a month later, I would find myself on the staff of drama productions in the summer session at the University... and writing my first live-action script, "Give and Take," in only 3 weeks! I would go on to be in the summer productions for the next two summers (doing another script that would receive recognition and also directing), and working on a mini-soap opera the school year after that, all under the direction of the wonderful Dr. Dave Terwische. But that wasn't everything that went down in my life in the years ahead...
WA State: Of Prepositional Phrases and 10,000 Watts (1990 - 1995)
What scares me most is that I could write a novel about this phase of my life. From September 1989 through December of 1994, I dedicated my life to obtaining Bachelor of Arts degrees in Radio-TV and English - Creative Writing. I believe my first full quarter off was Summer of 1993. I'm glad I spent as many years as I did in school, because I had a lot of growing to do. My best years of college were toward the end, after I learned more about dealing with people and interpersonal relationships. I was bright with a lot of determination, but I didn't have much of a clue about life... because learning is much more than lectures, readings, and tests. Life itself is the ultimate classroom, as I would come to learn during these years.
I learned about love -- not only romance, but love in the sense of dedication. In 1991, I helped bring about KOOP-AM, a carrier current radio station servicing the campus residence halls. Students could play whatever music they wanted, while learning about the operation of broadcast equipment. I also resurrected the local chapter of Alpha Epsilon Rho (a broadcasting honor society) and worked hard as its President for two school years.
There were also the tough lessons of loss. Three romantic relationships failed to pan out, including one that had been intended to end in marriage. KOOP-AM was given the axe in 1995, no thanks to careless managers and unsympathetic student government. Alpha Epsilon Rho floundered and withered away once more. Lastly, I dealt with death -- Christy's husband Peter Ledger passed away in late 1994, whom I shall never get to meet but whose artworks continue to inspire me.
March of 1995 was a special time for me, as I finally got to meet Christy Marx in person after knowing her for years! The downside was that I had a rotten cold the whole time but I refused to let it get me down. After one failed attempt to go to Yosemite on a hike (I was still too sick), we tried again the next day and things worked out great.
From summer of 1994 onward, I spent time working as a clerk in a used CD store. In May, my boss decided to launch a new and used CD store on the Internet, where I worked for over a year. But my career in life was *not* to be a clerk...
... it's to be a writer, which I reaffirmed by attending the Austin Heart of Film Festival in Austin, Texas in October of 1995. There I met up with fellow scriptwriters I'd met through Genie's (a national U.S. on-line service) scriptwriting workshop. One of the neatest things about the event was getting to have lunch with Shane Black, the man who wrote the original Lethal Weapon and the Last Action Hero, among other things. It's nice to be reminded that even though what they write seems larger than life, the writers themselves are indeed human. The other writer I briefly met, Chris MacQuarrie, was honored with an Oscar for his best original screenplay The Usual Suspects in 1996.
Southern California: Coming Around Again (1996 - 2000)
There's a song by Harry Chapin called "Circle" that I always think of when putting my life in perspective -- "all my life's a circle, but I can't tell you why, the seasons spinning 'round again, and the years keep rolling by." I have run into many people that I have met other places, situations I have seen before, and now it looks like I'll be heading back to places I have been (whether I remember them or not).
After a lot of soul searching, and recently getting to meet with more professionals, it became very clear that the path where "Inspiriation's Hand" led me pointed in the direction of Los Angeles. This isn't just because I want to be a scriptwriter, but because everything I've ever studied to be is best done in the middle of Hollywood itself. Big cities scared me, being without my family scared me too, but I really felt that L.A. was where I need to be... and I've survived.
I moved to Los Angeles on June 20th, 1996, where I started out doing a housesitting gig for a writer friend while I got my bearings in the area. I also met a new friend, Kevin Paul Shaw Broden, who I'd first connected with through the same group on the Internet that encouraged me to go to Austin. He met me at the airport and we've been close ever since... and in fact have become more than friends.
Then, over the July 4th weekend, I took a trip to San Diego and went to ComicCon International. Not only did I get to meet a few comic book and animation writers, I got to spend time in the city where I was born! Talk about going full circle...!
In the fall of 1996 I went back homewards for a week to be there as maid of honor for my sister's wedding to Daniel Aeschliman. I had a wonderful time, and part of my wished I could stay, but I really know deep down that -here- is where I need to be.
I spent a year in Los Angeles at an animation production company, first as a Production Assistant on Jumanji: The Animated Series, and then less than six months later became a Production Supervisor on Extreme Ghostbusters. I learned more about animation than I imagined possible, and have a full grasp of what I'm asking for when I commit those words to paper.
But I'm a writer at heart. You've read through this bio, you can see that I hope. So I made the move to leave the production company and move on, to go forward toward the goal that has propelled me all this time. Where I'm was is unknown, but I'm certain it'll be a good place. I have no regrets about where I've been, save maybe all the good people I've left behind.
Another encouraging thing from 1997 -- a script of mine progressed to the second round judging in the Austin Film Festival's screenplay competition about the time I left my stint at the animation studio. It's name -- INSPIRATION'S HAND. Hopefully someday you'll find out what it's all about... in your local cineplex or on cable! Perhaps it gave me false hope, or reminded me where I truly need to make sure I am.
On October 23, 1997, I became an aunt... Emily Michelle Aeschliman was born to my sister and her husband Dan.
The next couple of years turned out to be incredible. I started going to school at UCLA Extension to enhance my writing skills. And I found a new place to work in mid-1998, just as it was looking I might have to leave Los Angeles behind. Called The Writers Store, it sells specialized software and books to writers and filmmakers. I worked as their administrative assistant and book buyer, the latter meaning that I was involved in ordering books and audiotapes to stock in the store.
I would also turn out to be one of the forerunners in a Internet fan movement for VOLTRON that ultimately led to the creation of 26 episodes of the all-3D series VOLTRON: THE THIRD DIMENSION. Originally I created my site to share what information I had on the original series and leave that behind me, but that was not to be. Part of my work, a starmap of the Denubian Galaxy where the stories take place, was recognized by World Events Productions as the official starmap of the series.
Soon it would be 2000, and we would be heading into the next century (in some viewpoints, the next millenium as well). Everything seemed so exciting so hopeful.
And then I got word in September 1999 that my uncle Pat Muir passed away at the age of 55. Like my father, Pat loved SF and fantasy; unlike my father, Pat also had a love for motorcycles and fencing and in fact was a high-ranked fencer who now has a memorial tournament named after him in the Western Washington Division of the United States Fencing Association. He left behind many people that knew and loved him, from family to friends to those who knew him as the owner of the computer store Bozotronics in Seattle. Some of you may also know his name from the dedication in the Samuel Delany novel Dhalgren. I wish he had lived to see the next century.
Southern California: Into the Next Century (2000 - 2002)
When 2000 began I felt confident it would be a life-changing year. It was a year of several large highs and equally big lows.
Valentine's Day will never be the same for me after February 14, 2000. My grandfather John Porter Muir, who had been struggling with heart problems, passed away at the age of 80. My grandfather was a talented gardener, fisherman, and woodcarver. Totally self-taught, many people loved the ducks and birds that he carved for them. When he asked me what I wanted for my 16th birthday, I asked him to carve me a sandpiper; my sister asked for a bird as well. One of my favorite memories was when he agreed to be a guest on our college television show and share his craft. I didn't really get to meet him until I was 10 because of Dad being in the service but Grandpa Porter was very special to me and always will be.
Later that year at ComiCon International (now a regular "must do" for me) I did another major first for myself: I moderated the panel on "Breaking and Entering: Careers in Animation." The speakers I shared the stage with were producers Craig Miller and Marv Wolfman, writers Stan Berkowitz and Bob Skir, and storyboard artist Bob Miller. I admit I was very nervous, but I had a fantastic time.
The very next week I flew with my longtime boyfriend Kevin Broden back to Cheney for my 10 year high school reunion. Though I was doing my own thing in high school, it was wonderful to see everyone again -- to know that we'd survived life and where we'd all gone. And the thrill of showing Kevin the places I'd spent my teenage years, almost nothing could equal that.
I was on such a high I wasn't prepared for the next low that followed. I ended up parting ways with The Writers Store in early October 2000 unexpectedly. Unable to get a job lined up, I was thrown back into the life of temp work I'd lived before getting the job there in 1998.
On October 10, 2000, my sister gave birth to a son, John Porter Aeschliman. She named him after our grandfather whom we both loved so much. I used the frequent flyer miles I'd amassed over the last several years and flew up to spend time with her and her family... and with a friend of mine that I met on Extreme Ghostbusters who since has relocated to the Pacific Northwest.
So 2000 proved to be the kind of year I anticipated... but not in the way I expected.
Toward the end of 2000, I found a temp job as a receptionist with the Writers’ Building for Artists Television Group, a live-action production company. Soon I was promoted to Office Assistant and watched ATG go through a season of creating pilot shows for television, though none being worked on in our office made the cut. April of 2001 I completed a Certificate in Screenwriting for Film and Television from UCLA Extension.
But come the Fall of 2001, the satellite office was slated to be absorbed and I’d be out of a job again. In the meantime, I'd started writing a monthly column online for non-artists in animation at Suite101.com, and I’d spoken at three panels at two conventions (two at ComiCon, plus one at the Gathering of the Gargoyles). All this made me feel stronger in my professional animation roots than ever before.
As things came together, I did for a very brief time get to taste working professionally in animation again. Right as my Artists Television Group job almost ended, an offer came my way to work on Invader Zim for Nickelodeon Animation as a Production Coordinator. You bet I jumped at the chance! Those six months on Invader Zim proved to be the happiest I'd had in a long time.
Though, as my life's played out in the past, the unexpected reared it's ugly head again. In January 2002, the total episode order was slashed and by early February, I found myself unemployed yet again. Also, due to some changes at Suite101, I moved the home for my articles to Digital Media FX, where my new monthly columns keep me active while looking for full-time work. I am determined to stay in Los Angeles and in entertainment, and given my druthers, in animation.
I spent months unemployed. I interviewed for long-term positions as well, including (one I didn't get) a writing gig at one for the forerunners of today's virtual world explosion, a little company called Neopets. Remember that. It's important. Not until the summer did I get a few chomps at temp day work, but they were very few and far between. Then on September 11th, on the one year anniversary of the event that rocked the United States, the phone rang. The temp agency called, letting me know a Human Resources Assistant was needed over at Universal Television until the end of the year, and could I be there that afternoon to start training? Though I had no prior Human Resources background, I figured the worst that could happen is that I'd get a couple days of work in and we'd find I wasn't a fit. Yet either the agency was desperate to find someone on such a somber day or I really did fit the bill. It turned out that I learned fast and the match worked well, so I remained working at Universal Television Human Resources until the end of the year. Also, during this time, I was accepted into the Masters of Communications program at California State University, Fullerton.
Southern California: Dream Into Reality (2003 - 2005)
2003 was the year I finally lived my dream... but with ultimate joy came great loss.
I actually stayed with Universal Television Human Resources until mid-February to help them relocate to new offices and then to fill in when one of the staff went on vacation. On my very last day there, I came home to find out my mother's mother, Grandma Robbie Bottoms, passed away. I didn't see her much growing up, only a few times, but I still noticed her loss; mainly thinking about my mother and her brother, who now had lost both their parents (her father died when I was in junior high). Also this year came the loss of James B. Chapin, better known as Jim Chapin to my family, brother of Harry Chapin and an incredible individual in his own right. He and my father gamed together in play-by-mail for over twenty years, and when he called to talk to Dad while we still lived at home, if we answered the phone Jim would take the time to talk to my sister and I as well. We thought a lot of him.
Also while still at Universal, I heard from a Japanese company I'd actually contacted in 2002 about looking for Western writers for a new show they were developing, based off an Internet ad. The premise looked cute, but I didn't know if I could handle the comedy, but I decided to try. The result was writing not one, but FIVE scripts for the company (two with my creative partner and longtime beau, Kevin Paul Shaw Broden), to then be translated back into Japanese. The show, Midnight Horror School, began airing in October of 2003 on Hiroshima TV. This, at last, proved to be my dream of being an animation writer realized! I'd love to do it again, but even if I never do, I am now more than satisfied for all my years of perseverance.
The spring saw me struggle with a job at California State University, Fullerton, where I never quite seemed to make a "fit" and left in June 2003, while still attaining a 4.0 in my classes. I did a little temping off an on in a largely quiet summer, save for one major event... the death of my college mentor, Dr. David Terwische, or as students called him, "Dr. Dave."
It was a Wednesday when I found out, June 25th. Kevin and I had a meeting of the Writers' Guild of America, west Animation Writers Caucus to go do (which we'd officially joined on June 2nd as a result of our Midnight Horror School credits; currently the WGA does not cover animation writers that are not prime-time but does providing organizing benefits). I'd agreed to meet Kevin at the Sherman Oaks Galleria (which is also the home to Warner Bros. Television Animation). As we met up, I checked email on my Palm Pilot and found messages from the Electronic Media and Film department (formerly Radio-TV) and also a forwarded message from the President of Eastern Washington University announcing the peaceful passing of Dr. Dave. I can remember Kevin talking on and on and barking at him to shut up so I could read, and then finally all I could say was "Dr. Dave passed away" before I collapsed into tears. Kevin knew how much Dr. Dave meant to me; they'd met on several occasions, once when Kevin came up with me for my ten year high school reunion to Cheney, and also at several departmental alumni events in the Los Angeles area.
Dr. Dave meant so much to me. Though people like Marc Handler and Christy Marx gave me so much that was invaluable at a young age to help me become the animation writer that I am, Dr. Dave provided the guidance and venue to see my first script works produced in any form through his summer drama workshops. I worked with him in those workshops for three years, as well as on the staff of a mini soap-opera that ran for two quarters called Deception Pass. I took way beyond the maximum number of units for my Radio-TV degree while still in the English department to take advantage of the new classes he started up, such as the screenwriting seminar where I wrote my first full-length feature, Inspiration's Hand (known then as Come to Life), which went on to second round judging in the 1997 Austin Heart of Film Screenwriting competition several rewrites later. This project continues to evolve and it is my dream feature, but the mix of animation and live-action required may make it impossible to see realized.
One thing I take consolation in is that, while a non-disclosure agreement prevented me from telling him the name of the show at that point, Dr. Dave knew I made my first professional sale before he died. I worked for a long time to make it happen, and it took thirteen years after first meeting Dr. Dave to see it realized... but he knew his belief in me was not in vain. While I am grateful that he left this world quickly and without suffering, it still hurts to know that he won't be there to be this kind of support to others that follow. They won't know what they're missing. I've always believed giving back, but now I feel like I have a mandate to do so, to "pay it forward." Otherwise, the care and nurture people give you, when you die, you take it away unless you treat people the way you were treated.
I don't know how I'll do it yet, but I will find a way. In the meantime I contributed to the seed money to start a scholarship at Eastern Washington University in his name and will continue to do so if needed.
I came back to Universal Television Human Resources (which has since become NBC-Universal) 30 hours a week in an contract position, originally filling in starting in September for someone on maternity leave but she was offered another job soon upon her return, so I remained at the company through the merger with NBC through October of 2004.
2004 also brought the marriage of two of my close friends, Monique Beatty and Tim Eldred, but in the same weekend tragic loss with the death of animation writer Katherine Lawrence, whom I had done an email interview with for Digital Media FX a year earlier.
In October 2004, as the job with NBC-Universal wound down it looked like there would be nothing new on the horizon. Within a week of my leaving, I was offered a job as a Production Coordinator on an animated preschool series, not a job for which I initially applied but for which I was recommended first. I am thrilled to be back in and around animation. There is something so magical about getting to watch an animated piece go through all the stages from script to screen, and being able to be a part of every stage.
Also, my first story published in a book anthology was released. It’s called “Cover Story,” and appears in Aria Kalsan Volume 1: Mysteries of the Future. On November 13th, I participated in two online chats – one promoted to the UK, the other to the US – to discuss the book. More is expected to happen with the property, so there is potential for continued involvement.
On another positive note, my second niece, Sara Nicole Aeschliman, was born on December 10, 2004.
At the end of 2004, I also completed my coursework for my Masters degree in Communications from California State University, Fullerton, and finished my thesis in Summer of 2005. My work on the animated preschool series ended around the same time.
Southern California: Wake Up Call (2005 - 2007)
With my Masters' degree in hand, it seemed new doors should open up for me.
I found myself doing interviews for jobs within the animation industry and without, as well as doing temp work. Finally, I took a long term temp job in the music industry intended to be temp-to-perm until they could find someone else. Finally I gave in and became that "someone else," working as Administrative Assistant to the VP/CIO and beginning my exposure more in depth to Information Technology that changed the course of my career. I would try it for a year until I just realized I was too much a fish out of water.
In the meantime, an interesting opportunity came my way, and I used it to still allow me to keep a hand in and around animation. I was given the chance by GGC Inc. two write two textbooks, Gardner's Guide to Writing and Producing Animation and Gardner's Guide to Pitching and Selling Animation. One thing that made those books so great were spotlight interviews with pros from around the industry that the books went on to feature. I got to reconnect with a lot of great people, and make new friends along the way.
As it turned out, within days of putting in notice at the music publishing company, I got a call from a company looking for a Project Management Assistant. I forgot how they heard about me. They needed someone to manage things related to their animation news website. I went, interviewed, and got the job.
That summer also had another incredible surprise. Kevin's family went on a trip to Northern Ireland, without me (I couldn't have afforded to go in any case). We'd been serious for a while, and just kind of offhand one day, I showed him a "if you ever did want to get an engagement ring for me, I'd like that one" thing. That day the main intent was to kill time, and to let him know if he ever did want to make that investment what my tastes were. The salesperson put it aside and I told him he never had to come back for it, I didn't really expect him to do anything. So imagine my surprise on August 26th, on a long distance phone call from Northern Ireland, Kevin tells me how he "told his parents about the ring" and that he realized he really wanted to be that serious. When he came back from his travels, I got that ring. The guy's true to his word.
I made it as far as looking at wedding dresses, and considering a few things, but that happiness turned out to be short lived,.
The fact Kevin struggled for regular work aside, I didn't realize how unstable my own situation was. It turned out to be a completely new position the company was experimenting with, even though I worked a lot, I didn't work doing what they needed - and suddenly went in at the end of the day one day that October to find myself handed a check for vacation payout and shown the door. Talk about blindsided.
Shellshocked doesn't begin to describe how things were for me. I'd been on a show canceled abruptly, but that affected everyone at once, not just me. I didn't know what I was going to do, and based on my prior experience began applying for anything that seemed remotely a fit. One such position that seemed like it could use my soft skills, but showed up in an area I'd not been involved in much before. The position was in a division of a company apparently now owned by MTV Networks, a company called... I told you to remember this... Neopets. They needed a Resource Manager, someone who could keep track of where various programmers were on various projects and produce reports on the same; that's oversimplified but you get the gist. Anyway, the requirements asked for went slightly above what I knew and I hadn't directly worked in the field before, not to mention they rejected me prior. I desperately needed to be working, so I figured it couldn't hurt, and maybe that would get me back in the Human Resources system to be noticed by someone in animation.
The recruiter called me back for that position. I would be interviewed by her and four other people, most in person and one on the telephone. All those gatekeepers to assess myself and my skills. I never once believed I stood a chance. It seemed that television animation and these forms of entertainment were merging into something new, and I wanted to be a part of that, though perhaps in the end it still moved slower than I thought it would be.
They called me back and said I got the job. No other time do I think I was stunned so much as this.
On November 1, 2007, I walked into the Neopets offices as the Resource Manager in the Technical Department.
My life would - and never will - be the same.
Southern California: Welcome to the [Un]Real World (2008 - 2011)
Someday I hope I can talk about these years in more detail, maybe when time settles things. I lasted a long time at Neopets, later Nickelodeon Virtual Worlds Group. Three years, and eight months. The longest I ever held any employment at a single place (even if not within a single position) in my entire 15 years of my Los Angeles career to date.
I got the opportunity to do things there beyond my expectations. Events would unfold in a way that I was able to show off my production skills and how much more I could really do. In some ways, I'd undersold myself. In others, however, I'd come to learn that my knowledge from animation and this new world - this world of virtual worlds - contained some gaps I wouldn't come to perceive until much later, and for all my efforts I couldn't close completely enough. That was a cause for struggle and heartbreak, along with other things in my personal life. This is still too much for me to unpack.
Still, to me it is some of the best years of my professional life and despite how it all ended, I would not take it back.
In the end, I lost it all just as I had the job that led me to it. The only differences were that things ended coldly first thing in the morning, not at the end of the day, and this time sadly, I wasn't alone. It was as if the experience that happened with the animation related website trained me to handle that day. While admittedly in shock, I treated everything distant and cold. After all, I'd danced this dance before. By that afternoon I was uploading resumes and trying to network. Other that making calls and changing train tickets to (fortunately be able to) extend my stay at Comic-Con, trips and traveling and all that were out of the question.
That's not to say none of it matters. It did. It still does. It's just a lot of joy and pain and regret and yes even some anger mixed all into one.
Someday maybe I can explain more.
Southern California: The Writing Life by Night and Day Jobs (2011 - ?)
But what of the writer, you may ask? Where did she go in all those years? Wasn't that the point, after all, such as walking away from that early job?
As much as I loved my situation, other than continuing work on the Flying Glory and the Hounds of Glory webcomic (which turned 10 years old June 26, 2011) I really wasn't in a position to write or promote my work. I quietly released one book, Touch the Stars, in February 2011 via Lulu as print only while completing a Ceritifcate in Library Technician Studies from Long Beach City College (completed in May 2011) mainly for my own enjoyment and to apply some of what I was learning about the importance of ISBNs, Bowker's Books in Print, etc. However, I would not be allowed to promote at all.
Being laid off allowed me to start to learn about how the publishing landscape had changed and the world of indie (also known as self-) publishing opened so many doors. I learned programs like Calibre and Sigil, along with Amazon's Mobipocket Creator. I turned Touch the Stars into a Kindle book and then learned epub to make it a file type that Lulu could distribute to the iBookstore and later Barnes and Noble. I also learned about Smashwords and since had an opportunity to hear its founder Mark Coker speak, and now use it primarily to distribute but make my own Amazon editions at the moment. Follow up books for me in 2011 included: The Heart's Duty, Search for a Woman: An Anthology of Stories and Poems Looking at Women from All Walks of Life, and Flying Glory Flashback: Celebrating 10 Years of the Lyrics, Words and History behind Flying Glory and the Hounds of Glory.
However there's still the reality that even knowing all these great skills, ebooks on their own for me right now won't pay the bills. I'll keep doing them as long as I can, I certainly have stories I've written over the years to put out and more I want to tell. However if I get another job that forces me to stop again, I'll just have to stop. A full time job and putting food on the table goes first.
Fortunately I found two things that let me relatively co-exist. In 2012 and going into 2013, I went back into Quality Assurance for websites (versus virtual words) as a day job, but this let me continue to release books on my time when I could find it. 2012 brought the release of The Willowbrook Saga and the continuation of the Truth Revealed series (which I expect to release more of in 2013), along with The Phoenix Rises. By the end of 2012, I found myself promoted from a QA Tester to a QA Engineer as well, meaning I am now struggling to learn how to code. But by now, it should be clear how I love challenges.
And so, life marches on...
Last updated: January 18, 2013