I met P.M. (I know his first name, but it’s a secret between the two of us) on Twitter. I was intrigued by his ZZ Top-looking outfit (they’re one of my favorite bands) and entertained by his regular tweets. I had to find out more about him. Read on about this mysterious yet outgoing person.
A native Vermonter born in 1965, I was raised in Burlington, Vermont along the shores of Lake Champlain and surrounded by the Adirondack and Green Mountains. Some twenty years ago, I moved with my wife and daughter to Concord, New Hampshire, where I still reside. Over the last three decades, I owned and ran a hobby shop with my wife and partner, was an accountant, and eventually became an attorney. With four stories published on Amazon, my career as an indie author is well underway. I hope the readers of my flights of fantasy enjoy my stories as much as I basked in the delight of writing them.
Have you ever read anything that made you think differently about fiction?
Yes. My mother gave me the 1967 version of the Thorndike Barnhardt Comprehensive Dictionary when I was five or six. I read that tome from cover to cover at least thrice after she gave it to me, and although it shows its age, I still have it in my collection of reference materials. I thought it more interesting reading than Dr. Seuss or other children’s authors I thought too childish. I liked adult things with adult themes like Gunsmoke and monster movies like Frankenstein. With the exception of Loony Tunes, I had no interest in cartoons and shows like Sesame Street. By giving me that dictionary, my mother gave me a golden ticket to the adult world. With that tome, I could figure the meaning of any word, which meant I could read any book and come away with a semblance of understanding.
When I was growing up in the seventies, mail-order book clubs were the thing. My mother was a member of one of them book clubs. She had what seemed like a ton of books all neatly stacked on homemade bookshelves that decorated the walls of our apartment. I got to reading some of those books when I was seven or eight. That was my first brush with fiction that was not childish and meant for children. I entered into the fictional worlds of Agatha Christie, Katherine Anne Porter, and Charles Dickens. Those authors became my point of entry into adult fiction, and I was enamored with their fictional worlds.
When I was eight or nine, I noticed a new book on my mother’s wonderful shelves. It was a Reader’s Digest condensed version of excerpts from the works of a bunch of famous philosophers. I didn’t know what to make of it, but pulled it from the shelf and trundled back to my bed. I opened the book and Plato’s Allegory of The Cave caught my attention. It just blew my little mind. Over the next few days, I read that excerpt ten or twelve times. Each time, I understood a little more, and had to look fewer words up in my dictionary. Plato changed how I viewed fact and fiction. It caused my imagination to fire in multiple directions. I’ve been reading philosophy ever since. Take any idea from any philosopher and add a fantasy gloss to it and oh boy, what you have is something from across The Cosmos!
What do you love most about the writing process?
That first thrill of getting a series of ideas from my head onto the page and watching it grow with each word. I love the act of putting pen to paper and not knowing where it will take me. I guess the real answer is: PURE CREATIVITY. No other profession has this quality, which is why writing was what I was meant to do. It just took me fifty years to figure that out.
What does your typical writing day look like? How many hours a day do you write?
I wake up an hour or two before dusk. Dusk to dawn is my preferred span of time to be awake. Sunlight saps my energy and makes me less creative. Most days, my preference for the shadows is obtainable, but there are those days when life’s obligations get in the way of the way it oughta be. In any event, once awake, I do whatever task I need to accomplish for my day job, greet my wife when she gets home from work (she is unlucky enough to have to go to the proverbial salt mines, and I love her for doing that so I can have the flexibility needed for my writing career), have supper, hang with my wife, and when she goes to bed somewhere around 10 P.M., I get to my main purpose for living, down to the business of writing.
I sit on my porch, click on one of my music mixes that are saved on my cellphone, open a bottle of soda, light a cigar, take a few puffs, and then I’m in the zone and ready to write until dawn. I try to write three or four hours every day. If I’m lucky, I clock in seven or eight hours. The first light of day, brings me back to reality. Most nights, as I’m heading to bed, my wife is going off to work.
What are your books about? Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book and why it is a must read?
I write dark, fantasy stories that intertwine around one another. My plan is to write one hundred-fifty stories, centered on ten trilogies. This project is more epic than any attempted before by any author. Each story is written from the first person point of view and have elements of high fantasy, science fiction, and horror. At root, my tales are adventures.
Literally, thousands of thoughts and concepts thunder across my mind every minute of every day, whether I’m awake or fast asleep. I call them my Thought Trains, and they take me for rides to fascinating and fantastical places. My stories are my attempt to bring those ideas to anyone who wants to experience fantasy from a fresh perspective without the traditional definitions and limitations of genres put into place before any of us were born or reading, creating and writing. I pay homage to the great writers without becoming a slave to their process. For me, art is about being fresh and novel, and I do view my work as an art form.
My most recent book is The Shade’s Tale, Parts I – III. It is the first book of the first of ten trilogies, and will be published sometime between the end of August and the middle of September. The book is in the final stages of formatting and will be sold on Amazon as an E-Book like my other four stories.
The Shade’s Tale is written from the point of view of a shade named Count Darkly Vandercoot. The story tracks Darkly’s rise in power as a mortal born of shadow. The reader has an intimate, front row seat to Darkly taking his place as the leader of The Cause, the rebellion against the tyranny of The Gods. The story begins with Darkly telling his tale from a prison cell. Nothing about this tale is ordinary or predictable, but it is the beginning of something really epic. My first four stories lit the fuse. Now, The Shade’s Tale is the explosion that no reader of fantasy will want to miss.
What gives you inspiration for your books? How did you come up with the idea for Lady Luck Has Left The Building?
Fifty-three years of living life to the fullest gives me the inspiration I need to write my books. Wherever I go, I pay attention to the smallest of details as those bits reveal themselves to me and unfold around me. I wake up every single day and expect it to be the best day of my life. I don’t just wish for happiness, I expect and demand it. Most days are far from perfect, but more often than not, something happens that makes the day special. Those remarkable occurrences are the seeds from which my stories grow.
Lady Luck Has Left The Building began with a conversation I had with my sister about fear. She told me her greatest fear was to be locked in the trunk of a car. I thought long and hard about my sister’s strange idea of terror and Lady Luck sprang to life. Beginning a story with a gambler zip-tied in the trunk of a hovercraft on his way to a shallow grave seemed like an interesting way to begin a science fiction story that transforms into a tale of horror.
How long does it on average take you to write a book?
It depends would be the obvious and honest answer. On average, I’d say six to nine weeks. My first story, A Rude Awakening, was finished in a week. It just came together. I breathed life into my fourth tale, Lady Luck Has Left The Building, in six writing sessions over two and a half weeks. Another quickie. My newest book, The Shade’s Tale, Parts I – III, took over a year to come to fruition. Since The Shade’s Tale is a trilogy, I had to write all three of the books as a unit. Yea, six to nine weeks seems like a good, overall average.
How many unpublished and unfinished books do you have? Have you written any other books that are not published?
Well, let me think about that for a minute. I have four published works, four stories are finished but as of yet unpublished, and six tales are in various states of completion.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
I’m always adjusting my process to make it easier for myself and my team of three editors. My first story, A Rude Awakening, made me aware of the annoyance of formatting for publication. After thinking about how to mitigate that hassle, I changed the format I use for my first drafts to make the backend more efficient.
What do you find to be the best way to market your books?
I’m always looking for the better mousetrap that is more fun for me, my fans, and ultimately, for my readers. With that in mind, I use Twitter as a platform to feed or direct my fans and readers to my website, my Amazon Author Page, and my Patreon Creator Page. Through the years, I’ve found focusing works best and is more fun.
The internet is a big place and authors need to decide where their people are and focus their energy there. Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint, and artists must conserve and direct their energy and enthusiasm for the long haul. Patience and persistence are two qualities I feel are integral to the creation process as a whole, and particularly useful when it comes to marketing. Unlike some of my fellow authors, I look for the fun in marketing my art, rather than the drudgery of it. A positive attitude gets you further than a negative anything.
What motivated you to become an indie/published author?
At heart, I am an entrepreneur. That means I make for a terrible employee, and am not good at taking direction, following, and carrying out someone else’s vision. Since the age of twelve, I have been starting and running businesses. My writing business, Cosmik Winds Publishing, is just another in a long line of my startups. I have worked for myself for more years of my life than those spent working for somebody else.
I have my own vision and know where I want to take it. As an artist, I encourage and look forward to criticism of my work. That’s the only way to improve. As an entrepreneur, selling my works of art, I know my vision is breaking new ground. That’s the exhilarating part!
I just don’t have the patience for business naysayers who look in rearview mirrors when they should be gazing into the darkness of the future to see the possibilities. I have no interest in being the last buggy whip maker. I want to make something nobody has brought into this world. For all of those reasons, indie publishing made sense to me. I write because I must, and I am an indie author for the same reason.
Here’s where you can find me online.
Thank you so much for sharing your story with us today, P.M.! I am even more curious and want to find out more about your writing, and for the price of $0.99 for each of the first three short stories, there is no excuse. Grab yourselves a copy of each, folks!