Why "On The Cobblestone Road"?
Life is a journey of unexpected turns and obstacles. We can’t always see past the next curve. The road forks sometimes, leaving us standing in the middle wondering which direction to take. I thought I had a route in mind, but I abandoned my map and forged ahead on a different path. So, here we are.
Cobblestones have been an inexplicably reoccurring element in my stories, perhaps because of their uniqueness and texture, and perhaps I'm drawn to them from my landscape architecture days.
I've been writing poetry for as long as I've had a grasp on the English language and the ability to hold a pen. My poems were being published in national anthologies as early as 2005. About a year later, I wrote my first novella, A Flight of Faith. My first full-length novel, Shadow Rider, was completed soon after. It sat on the shelf for a while until I dusted it off as and spent some time polishing it. Then came the decision to publish, followed by that daunting agent search.
I encountered a man who revered my work; he volunteered to be my mentor and guide me through the murky waters of the writing world. He had the power to open doors for me. I was so naïvely excited that I opened my heart wide, unfurled my wings, and soared on the wind of his praises. When he left me to fall, I landed hard on the cobblestones, far away from my destination. But rather than give up on my dream, I crawled into the shadows and poured my soul into a new story, one I'm honored to share with you today.
I graduated from Purdue University in 2015 with a bachelor's of science in landscape architecture and a minor in creative writing. During my college career, I discovered a fascination with linguistics that inspired me to start creating my own alphabets, ciphers, and languages.
In 2018, A Fallen Hero, the first book in the Chronicles of Avilésor: War of the Realms series, was published. The novel was soon critically acclaimed by the Prairies Book Review, NAM Editorial, and Chronicle Focus Editorial, among others, even making book reviewer Lauren Gantt's Top 10 Books of 2019 list and earning the Literary Titan Gold Book Award in May of 2020.
The series sequel, Phantom's Mask, was released in July 2020. Less than two months after its release, it followed its predecessor's legacy and received the Literary Titan Gold Book Award in September 2020.
Book III: Blood of the Enemy was released in February 2023, and it included three hand-drawn maps. Like its predecessors, the novel took home an award from Literary Titan soon after its publication.
The War of the Realms series is planned to be seven books, followed by spinoffs that take place in the world of Avilésor but at various points in time and place, not centered around the core group of characters in the WOTR series. I also have every intention of someday resurrecting Shadow Rider and look forward to publishing it and sharing it with the world, despite the obstacles and lack of faith from my "mentor."
I believe everything happens for a reason. I was meant to take this path and pursue my dream under my own willpower and perseverance instead of relying on someone else to open the door for me. Some lessons were learned the hard way, but I know I'm right where I'm supposed to be.
I encourage you to read my first blog post "Authentication: The Moment We Choose To Define Ourselves" because it showcases how this website started. It was a second beginning for me. I battled my inner demons of self-doubt with the realization that I should not expect others to recognize me as a writer if I didn't first recognize it myself.
I finally made it, but I still have a long way to go, and a lot more stories to tell! See the full list of my publications and features to date in literary journals, anthologies, and the Indiana Poetry archives here. If you would like to support me in my journey, you can buy me a drink or subscribe on Patreon to access exclusive perks and behind-the-scenes content.
I'm so grateful that I get to share this adventure with you.
My goal is to share only original artwork, photography, and writing unless otherwise cited. I ask for the same courtesy; you are welcome to use my work, but please give credit where it is due. Thank you. Please note: comments on the blog are welcome, but positive feedback and/or constructive criticism only. This is a troll-free zone. All comments are approved by the moderator, and no spam or malicious content will be allowed.