The road to becoming an author isn’t easy and while not as academically difficult as many, many other professions, there is a creative component that has its own trials absent in more scientific fields. What’s more, writing has never been considered difficult by the masses; everyone, after all, has a novel in them. I don’t say that to “legitimize” field or anything like that, but rather to say, like everything else, a good writer isn’t self-made.
So here’s to those who helped me:
Without having read the awesome stories and facts presented by awesome people, I would not have aspired to do the same. Here's to you:
The father of modern fantasy and someone I admire not only for his his stories, but also the deliberateness of his prose. He will always be an inspiration to me.
A favorite author of mine and creator of the Dresden Files, a series I listen to over and over vie the wonderful voice acting of James Marsters.
Another favorite of mine who has taught me through his collection of sprawling, epic fantasy that I can do the same.
Who has given me insight into the human mind through anecdotes of history. My characters would not be as three dimensional without his works.
Who is a must for any fantasy writer seeking to do justice to travel and cuisine in a fantastic world.
Who wrote Starship Troopers, the foundation of my science fiction and military interests.
Who manages to make me feel like a kid again.
And the folks responsible for This book
Which proved way more interesting and informative than I could have imagined.
THOSE WHO MOLDED MY WRITING
Over the years I have learned quite a bit, often times without realizing the value of it or even the interesting bits buried beneath the surface at the time. Here are those who influenced me in the order I encountered them.
They have been there the whole way, encouraging me at every turn. I especially want to thank my mom for reading to me as a child and making sure I had audio books when I got older; I also want to thank my dad for his tireless work effort and sacrifice to make sure I was where I needed to be. There is no way I can summarize how much I appreciate, so I'll suffice to say they set the foundation for everything I am and will ever become. Thank you.
Yeah, I'm thanking my cat and, strangely enough, it's legitimate. Without him, a grumpy, pervy bastard, I wouldn't see animals like I do today. Whenever I write about a character companion, be it dancing spider, floating crystal, or silly A.I., I always remember how much I love that stupid furball. R.I.P. little buddy.
My first real English teacher, who always encouraged my writing. Without her guidance, I would never have entered that high school contest that led to my first major book.
Dr. Tony Huseman
Though he had studied botany for his doctorate, he nonetheless introduced me to the magical worlds of physics, engineering, and all the other sciences. Without that love, my science fiction would lack any true substance.
Who made calculus fun—or at least not not fun. I still use what he
taught me to this day, I one of the few authors that uses and appreciates what math can do to better science fiction.
He took over where Dr. Huseman left off and helped nurture a love for physics that has pervaded my writing in ways I never expected. Without him, I would not have the respect for causality that drives me to ferret out and fill plot holes.
This man's expository writing class singlehandedly made me realize I loved writing and I took every class he offered. His gentle, insightful patience made all the difference and caused me to appreciate writing as an art.
My close friend, roommate, and writing bro, I fondly remember the conferences we attended and the sessions at Starbucks as living writer stereotypes. I still want you to finish that story with the magic pipes, bro.
If Dr. Housholder inspired the art of my writing, Dr. Hensley provided the much needed inspiration to hone the craft and professionalism. His high standards forced perpetual improvement, while his instance that his students maintain a portfolio gave us proof that we could, in fact, be writers if we pressed ourselves.
I only had one very short class with her, but over the course of a handful of weeks, she and I decided that yes, indeed one can write a literary fantasy novel. Without her, I would have never completed my first book.
She taught a number of classes during my master's program, she offered a wonderfully logical and analytical perspective, always encouraging me to dig just a little deeper. The blunt, honest criticism didn't hurt either.
Jean taught the playwriting half of my first semester in grad school, a track, I admit, I took only because I wanted to try something I hadn't done before. It was a blast and now I know I can write anything, even if that is a fantasy play in Shakespearean form.
As mentor to someone as dogged as me, we butted heads—a lot. Nevertheless I learned quite a bit, even re-establishing some fundamentals I let go dull. We have radically different approaches to writing, but the final product was well worth the effort.
We had only a brief run in, he the outside critique for my masters thesis, but he was the first person I had read my work with the bias of a vested interest. His unbiased words were fair, to the point, and encouraging, something I didin't know I needed until I got them.
I originally sought Seth out as an agent, but he inspired me to look at my writing more critically and I learned from the experience, honing a manuscript to a razor edge. His advice and encouragement
To those who support my work financially, thank you so much. It is your contributions that make my writing career possible, but also really helps morale; it is great to know people are willing to help make my dreams a reality.
My sister, Megan, and her family. Since May 2017
Imagine being the one to read the early draft garbage that hardly passes as literature from a dyslexic writer. These are those heroes.
The one I go to for the straight talk. His brutal, honest criticism helps chip away at where my stories are the weakest.
A long time friend and pretty sweet dude, he's my go to source for military talk and making sure the gears are spinning properly.
A fellow creative, he helps me analyse the art side of the art/craft split when it comes to my writing.
She's a beacon of light to my spirit when I am forced to follow my muses into the deep dearness where the nightmares are thickest.
My oldest friends and a reviewer who can help me realize when I'm being utterly ridiculous and needlessly complicated.
Tech head and fellow fan of the wonderful anime and nerdier things, Q gives me great advice by pointing me to fandoms I've never heard of,
Robert Di Scipio
The solid, thorough reviewer who takes everything in turn and comes back with sound advice.
OTHER POWERFUL INFLUENCES
As I have mentioned many times, forces outside the sphere of pure writing influence my craft. Do you want to get into my head? Here are the tings that make me tick.
I'll try to keep each category to a minimum.
The IMGUR community!
To all you folks at Imgur, thanks for all the feels, laughs, and information. You truly know how to eat my time and I love your for it!
The DeviantArt community
When you aren't bombarding me with the stranger things you host, you provide great tutorials, inspiration, and art.
Metroid Prime series
These games filled me with a child's wonder, mixing exploration, with xenobiology and all sorts of other worldbuilding things that I would come to use myself.
The Legend of Zelda series
I want to boil it down, but damn it, every single one of the console ones has filled me with a sense of awe. I grinned for solid hours while playing Breath of the Wild; for that week, I was a child again. I draw from that when I write.
I can't get enough of these games. The former is first person shooting with slower, tactical pace, while latter is real time strategy with long term consequence. It absolutely blew my mind as a child when I had to design a loadout that would suit the mission briefing.
The Witcher series
This set of games introduced me to the likes of dark fantasy, where rarely is a choice ever purely good. I consider it heavily when writing the darker parts of my fantasy. Also CD Projekt RED is a darling of a gaming company; if ever I get big enough to merit my works entering the gaming world, they will be my first choice of ambassador.
Deus Ex series
Wonderful idea with beautiful execution, this game is the dystonia my mind goes to when I think of what is to come.
If Deus Ex doesn't happen, metro will. Another fantastic game.
I have sunk almost 2,000 hours into that stupid game. It is a wondrous venue for my perpetually active mind to stay occupied while listening to audiobooks or watching TV/movies/visual media.
Same story as Terraria, but when I;m feelign 3D-er.
The buggy piece of garbage that got me into modding, my first tast of what it's like to be a game developer.
Almost Anything by M. Night Shyamalan
He's gotten a lot of flack over the years, but, believe it or not, The Village is my favorite movie of all time; perhaps I'll tell that story one day. While some of his movies are bad, he has a wonderful way of portraying the good in characters.
Do I really need to explain?
The movie is ridiculous, my physics-conscious mind hates how unrealistic it is, but damn, I love every second of that movie.
This was the thing that got me into science fiction. Yeah, I had seen Star Wars and Star Trek, but this series did what those could not. Firefly and Cowboy Bebop were good too, but I have fond memories of sitting in my grandmother's basement win the wee hours watching this show. Outlaw Star is my space western.
This show was wonderful. It has been a great example of writing that plans far, far ahead. One of my favorites to which I often return.
I loved this show from the moment I started watching it. The characters had good chemistry, the science was roughly plausible, and the whole exploration premise tickled my fancy.
What can I say that hasn't already been said about everyone's favorite high octane, supernatural bromance?
Literally anything by James Newton Howard
Of the great scorers, he has an unsurpassed ability to make the music in a film act like part of the setting. It has a subtly to it—a beautiful subtly that aids a film without overpowering it. His work isn't iconic; no, it's something far, far better: it's ubiquitous and I've spent countless hours writing to it.
I have been a fan of Epica for over a decade. Simone's voice has a way of moving my heart in a way I cannot describe without the use of shivers. She is truly a treasure to my ears.
I have been a fan of Kamelot ever since I mistakenly thought Kamelot's album Epica was Epica's album Kamelot. The band has a wonderful way with sound and theatrics, story woven into their lyrics.
If Simone Simons is my muse, Amy Lee is my siren. Perhaps it is because of the way I am fashioned (or some unrequited hero complex), but her beautiful voice singing sad, mournful has always stirred me.
Excellent composer that makes my heart calm. Keep an eye on him. He's going places..
A supremely gifted voice I knew only due to the luck of proximity. I have only a few songs by her, but when I need to hear them to write something bittersweet, her voice is peerless. If I could sacrifice my career on the promise that she would have one in music, I would be sorely tempted to do so.
It is rather strange, but I like her music and I listened to it quite a bit when I was younger. I still do, too, certain songs bringing right back into stories I wrote listening to them.
Her voice has a wonderful wildness I came to love while writing The Words of Elam. Some of her songs are just so moving that I feel the urge to write.
A newcomer to my heart, relatively speaking, I first came across her while looking for epic battle music; I came across this song instead and found the mood utterly destroyed the epic battle vibe I was going for, but was a perfect fit for another scene later. Beyond that, she was quite kind and personable when we talked.