What’s Adam Lesh, a 47 year-old, doing self-publishing his first book and a children’s book at that? Let me explain.
I’ve been an avid reader since I was knee high to a rattlesnake (OK, I’m not really that folksy). I devoured books. Science fiction, fantasy, mystery, classics, historical fiction, thrillers, biographies-other than romance, you name it. My first job out of college required me to attend four week s of training in New York City, a 40 minute bus ride from my home. Every day I would turn up with a different book. My fellow trainees couldn’t believe it and even asked if I was reading multiple books at once. Nope, I was literally reading one book each day.
I also dabbled in writing, both creative and academic. I wrote little stories as a kid, took great pride in my essays and class assignments and always received high marks for my writing in school. Ironically, the one and only time I received an ‘F’ on an assignment it turned out that I hadn’t realized it was a take-home test and collaborated with a friend. When I went to talk to the teacher about it, she assured me that she recognized from the writing that it was mostly my work, but because we had worked together she had to fail both of us. I found it interesting that I had a recognizable “style” even in high school.
For reasons that will become apparent, I am forced to admit that I played Dungeons & Dragons in high school and even attended GenCon several times, though I was more often a DM or GM (Dungeon/Game Master) rather than a player. Yes, I am a card-carrying nerd, but I do credit those experiences with teaching me to craft a compelling story line to engage the players which has most definitely helped in my writing.
All the while-reading, reading, reading.
Fast forward a few years and I was browsing through an online bulletin board in the nascent Internet years and I stumbled across a response to a posting asking for submissions for a supplement for the Dungeons & Dragons Dragonlance game world from TSR (now Wizards of the Coast), which I knew absolutely nothing about. The supplement was collection of artifacts, spells, creatures, etc. for use in gaming in that world. I backtracked to the original post, bought a bunch of Dragonlance material to study, dusted off some of my old Dungeons & Dragons material, and sent in a couple of items, two of which were selected for the supplement and published! Even better, the editors asked me if I would be interested in writing a short story for an upcoming anthology set in the same world to be called Dragons at War. Are you kidding?
Long story short, TSR published my first short story, “Quarry,” in Dragons at War and my second, “The Dragon’s Eye,” in Dragons of Chaos. Unfortunately, I was starting a new business and had a new baby when they asked me to write a third one, so I could not find the time. I still regret that because several of my fellow newbie contributors went on to write novels for TSR, so who knows where that could have led?