I’m just an introvert who loves to tell stories.

When I actually learned to read, meaning I picked up a book on my own motivation and started to read. That first book, I clearly remember to this moment as I had felt lost in a new school that was so completely different than my previous school. I’d spend more time on that, but it’s another tale all together. I found myself in the school library, I had already looked for and failed to find the Charles Schultz books I was fond of and had migrated to the science fiction and fantasy section, drawn mostly by the fantastic covers. One book caught my attention. I had no idea it was a well noted author nor that it was it would start a fire in my heart that to this day, burns brightly. The cover consisted of a purple background with a boy sitting on a spotted horse. Above the horse and the boy up in a star filled night sky was the face of a lion. The title above, oddly read, “The Horse and His Boy.” Yes, the first boy I picked up and read was C.S. Lewis’ book 5 of the Chronicles of Narnia.

My bother, not an introvert, successful in base ball, boy scouts, and schools already owned, as it turned out, the entire series. I was a slow reader and to this day, still am. Though a little quicker than when I was thirteen. My brother saw me reading book five and introduced me to his collection. I finished book five first, content to know that is would not spoil the first four books that came before. From C.S. Lewis I moved through other authors in my school library based mostly on the covers. I found Robert Heinlein, Poul Anderson, Robert Saberhagen, Michael Moorcock, Anne McCaffery, J.R.R. Tolkien, and T. H. White. My list of authors grew with each book I finished. I swam in the make believe worlds of every author I read.

Reading started another fire in my life that same first year. A small start up company call TSR published three little books, not more than ditto copied pages stapled in the center and folded over to form a book. They were authored by a man that love to play strategy games, his name was Gary Gygax. Many of you most likely know that Gary Gygax and TSR brought the kids of my generation the art of role playing games like Advanced Dungeon & Dragons. Like my reading fire, RPGs became a huge part of my life.

I loved creating characters and placing them into stories. My friends I found liked the adventures I created and the NPCs that participated in those adventures. (NPC, Non-Player Characters) As I grew into an adult (are we ever really adults) I continued to play RPGs and read books, and my game mastering of adventures became more complex and more story like. My friends and I religiously met on Friday nights and played through to Sunday morning.

I wasn’t always the DM/GM (dungeon master/ game master) and we didn’t always play AD&D. We took turns leading the group through games of adventure. When a particular AD&D or other RPG module interested us all, we would each lead a part of the module. If you’re familiar with, great. A module in AD&D was a series of adventures (kind of like chapters in a book) that you played through. One of my favorite modules was the “Dragon Lance” series which was published along side of the fantasy series of books by two authors Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.

Then life changed. Or rather, the economy changed. It was 1984 and most of the U.S. had fallen into a recession. In my state where oil and gas are king, the production of it came to a screaming stop. I’m sure the great depression was terrible and people starved. For the people of my state, it might have felt as bad. For me, it meant working three low paying part-time jobs and still not making ends meet. It was the same for most of my friends. A cloud of depression set in as our ability to play was limited and all of us were short on money and time. We drifted and the adventures withered on the vine and eventually fill away. I joined the Marine Corp to get away from the economic situation. I didn’t stop reading and I found new players to group with to play RPGs. But these players weren’t as creative as my friends back home and my desire to play dwindled. Maybe I grew up? I hope not.

A few years after the Marine Corp, the Veteran’s Administrations offered me an opportunity to return to school. I went to a credited college in my home town and graduated with a degree in literature and anthropology. While in school I wrote short stories and one novella. In the 1990s it was hard if not impossible to break into to publishing if you didn’t know someone who knew someone in the publishing industry. So my short stories and novella went into a manila folder and into a box with my AD&D books and dice bag.

Many years passed. I got married and started raising a family. I worked with computers, programmable logic controller to operate big danger fire breathing machines that performed special types of thermal processes from producing steam for hospital and manufacturing to heating glycol, oil, and amine for natural gas processes. I was a Dragon Tamer!

About ten years ago, I bought my first E-Reader. A Kindle Paper White reader. A simple but elegant device. I still have it today. A year of so into reading e-books I came across an author that angered me my betraying my trust. That might be a strange concept for some. So what do I mean by an author betraying my trust. Have ever read a story and somewhere, usually at the end but not always, the author destroys the main character, ends the story abruptly leaving you hanging, dangling? In the case of this particular author, he switched stories in mid story. I know, that sounds nuts. imagine, you have read three books that involve three main protagonists that are all fighting the same evil. The antagonist to this point and through half of book four have been this evil alien blood thirsty xenophobic race or horde. Then, right in the middle, suddenly the antagonist race has a face, a name, feels, sex, etc, etc. The author stopped the on going story about the three protagonist and left them hanging. That is a betrayal.

I decided I could write a better story and I, foolishly, believed if this guy could make money writing bad fiction that surely I could make better money writing good fiction.

I look back now and laugh about that. To make money in publishing (yes this is a generality) you need a following, you need money to advertise, you need, or rather, you still need big publishing backing. Those that make it are the lottery winners, not the average person.

I did write and I did publish books. Two trilogies, a one off (or spin off), a short story, and most recently a duet. All are science fiction cyberpunk. They are character based stories. My books haven’t made me any appreciable amount to money. In fact, each book since the first as the e-publishing market has exploded has made less than the previous book. For many, that might be a harsh reality and a killing depression to continue to write. Admittedly, it does poke at me, especially at the point of finished an edit of a book and readying my finger to hit the “Publish Now” button.

But then I remember that first book in the library, so, so very long ago. And the fire comes back, I hit the publish button and start on my next adventure.

I hope you enjoyed this tidbit about me and if you are interested in reading my works or becoming a beta reader, leave me a note.

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I write safety logic to tame & control fire-breathing dragons by day and write science fiction for enjoyment by night. https://www.amazon.com/author/johnsanders

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John J. Sanders (Sandwolf)

John J. Sanders (Sandwolf)

I write safety logic to tame & control fire-breathing dragons by day and write science fiction for enjoyment by night. https://www.amazon.com/author/johnsanders

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