War Bonds

What it’s really like to be an author


My cousin, author Julie Christine Johnson, posted this graphic on her Facebook page awhile ago.

Boy, does it ever resonate with me. I’m inching my way to the finish line of my second book and have actually completed my first children’s book.

You know what that means?

Yeah. It’s time to pitch and query agents and publishers. Every writers FAVORITE thing to do. Not!

I sold War Bonds: Love Stories From the Greatest Generation directly to the publisher after my  literary agent was fired from her agency. It took me a couple months to sell a manuscript she’d had a of couple years. Not exactly “spontaneous success.”

But these new books represent new opportunities to wade out into the deep water and sink or swim, instead of treading water and hoping for rescue.

Those moments of “seemingly spontaneous success” don’t happen without a lot of work and not a little bit of angst. But I truly love both of my new projects and am hopeful that they will find a home and an audience.

Wish me luck friends, I’m jumping in without my water wings 😉

7 thoughts on “What it’s really like to be an author”

  1. This is so wonderful to read and I hold my breath for you. Sending you all love and hopes that this next time out into the waters will a sweet paddle in a still pond, instead of a winter storm. I’m so proud of you, and so relieved to share all of this with someone who gets it. Let’s GO!!!

  2. Perhaps I was lucky, in a way, Cindy. Though I wrote 40 books, and saw them published, the Air Force, was the corporate author, because I was an enlisted USAF historian during 13 years of my 23 year USAF career. So, despite my wife urging me to write a book, on my own recognizance, I got the book writing urge out of my system on learning that it was enough for me to write for others. Further, upon examining Writer’s Digest, I learned just how hard that is to do without the power and majesty of the Air Force behind me to publish it. In any case, it turned out that I was content to express my written opinion in short fuse ways, such as letters to editor (about 150 published by the SR, about 30 published by The Inlander, and 3 by USA Today) or, more lately, in online social media. Of course, now that I am a cranky old man who harps on redundant themes, I am taken less seriously, anymore, but remain satisfied that I’ve had my say. Perhaps I should have done like my younger brother, who wrote a children’s book that was publshed by a vanity press, but the passion for me to do so, just was not there. As a war veteran, I HAVE passed on a strident message, but not in a way that could begin to fill a book, and I am satisfied with what those war veterans who DID go that route, accomplished.

    Please keep up YOUR good work. You seem like a demonstrably Norman Rockwell example of just how an American family SHOULD evolve, even as fewer seem to be able to, including my own. Thanks ! Phil

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Cindy, though my accomplishment if probably less exalted when it is considered that it was my full time job, for 13 years, to tell how well my organization accomplished its mission based on such categories as unit status, personnel, operations and training, maintenance and supplies, and facilities, and to append supporting documents to uphold that perspective. So, I had an unvarying outline to work from for each quarterly history I wrote. Did not have to challenge my imagination, much. During my last 3 years, in Spain, I helped my civilian superior write annual histories and supervise subordinate historian programs at bases in Italy, Greece, and Turkey.

  3. Good luck 🙂 It’s funny that even when we sink we learn amazing things about ourselves! I never could have imagined the amount of rejection I would end up going through. I think I’m definitely tougher now, though it still stings! I truly wish you all the best. So here’s to sinking, swimming, floating and floundering!!

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