Okay, this is my first blog entry on my brand new website created by my brilliant and talented daughter, Rebecca! Thanks, Bec!
As you’ve probably guessed by now, this website is devoted to my writing. I do other things than writing, though. My “real” job is as an architectural designer at Temple University. I go there five days a week so that the rest of the time I can do cool stuff like writing. I also own a small business called PaperTerrain, www.paperterrain.com which makes small paper models of houses and things, primarily for use in the hobby called wargaming. You know, where grown men move toy soldiers around on a table while making little explosion noises.
I’ve been writing seriously for about 20 years, but ironically, after years of trying and failing to get my works published, it was my PaperTerrain business which opened the door to my career as a published author. A few years back a fellow named Ernie Baker, who owned a company that made some of those wargames I was talking about, created a new game called “All Quiet on the Martian Front”. It was basically a sequel, in game form, of the classic H.G. Wells novel, “War of the Worlds”. In that novel, the Martians invade England around the year 1900 and make a hell of a mess, until they are all wiped out by germs which they rather foolishly failed to take precautions against. The All Quiet game proposed that the Martians, not being stupid, figured out what killed the first expedition and decided to try again–after doing something about the diseases waiting for them here. This time they land all over the world, including in North America. The game focused on this invasion in the United States.
I got interested in the game (primarily because of the really cool models that went with it) and contacted Mr. Baker about the possibility of making some of my PaperTerrain models to go with it. We both frequented the same wargames conventions, so it was easy to introduce myself and talk. He was receptive and we we struck a deal. After about a year, I had the idea of writing some stories set in his game universe and publishing them. My idea was to self-publish them as I had done a few of my other novels and split the royalties with Ernie. He was receptive to the idea and told me to go ahead. But at the very same convention where I made this proposal to Ernie, another fellow, Vincent Rospond, who owns a small press called Winged Hussar Publishing, approached Ernie and asked him what he thought about publishing some stories set in his All Quiet universe! Ernie just pointed at me and said: “Go talk to him.”
So he did, and the rest, as they say, is history. Not only did Vincent want to publish as many Martian War novels as I could turn out, but he agreed to publish some of the older stories I had written but never managed to get published. So now, about two years later, I have four novels in print, another due out this fall, another next spring, two anthology stories for another game spin off sold, and a spin-off Martian War novel being written by a good friend, Jonathan Cresswell Jones.
Strange the paths life leads us down!