Oklahoma Writers Federation Inc is an organization made up of affiliate writers groups from Arkansas, Kansas, Texas, and, of course, Oklahoma. By stepping into that world, I was breaking out of the limited confines of an organization that was primarily created for Wichita, Kansas area writers. The boundaries had widened. The horizons became greater.
I made friends, allowed a gregarious nature to ingratiate itself among writers of many genres as I came to understand we had a collective sensibility. Regardless of age, genre, writing or publishing experience, the trials and tribulations of the one were almost equal to that of the many.
Previously, I had ventured into self-publishing, using the Lulu.com platform. My editing and formatting skills were nothing short of atrocious. The sole reason I opted for this was to provide my late parents with something tangible as a gift for their support and understanding throughout the years. Many years later, I came to realize my initial efforts were considered novellas. There was character and flair and some decent writing but nothing that was going to turn any heads.
I ventured from novella to novel in the contemporary crime field. Between the K.W.A. and the O.W.F.I. conference, I caught the eye of a publisher in Texas. Though currently out of print, my first two actually published novels, Swan Song and The .9 MM Solution, made me believe I could write fiction. Full stories, fleshed out characters, plots with some degree of intricacies. Again, retrospect allowed me to see it was better than before but nowhere near where I should be at that point in my life.
After my first attendance at the conference in Oklahoma, I returned to Wichita, accepted the position of President of K.W.A., and put on the last writers conference that organization has had in 2013. Promoting and assisting other writers was gratifying, but the drain it put on me with regard to my own output caused me to leave the organization. I felt I was on the cusp of something deeply personal; being a mentor was admirable but holding me back.
Seeking out new material, I fell back to the stories my wife’s now-late uncle told me regarding the town of Arkansas City, Kansas. With a nickname of “Little Chicago” and various underground tunnels, I began to shift my focus to historical crime fiction. It was certainly a challenge. I had to discard fancy new weapons, computer technology, and verbiage ingrained in me from my own upbringing. I took what I learned from my previous ventures into the genre and reconfigurate them for a time seventy to ninety years prior. A new publisher, The Wild Rose Press took me on. From 2016 to 2021, I published four books in the series known as the Ark City Confidential Chronicles:
I had the honor of being on the faculty for the 2021 O.W.F. I. Writers Conference. I’ve expanded my social media presence (as much as a married homeowner with a full-time job can). And the writers I have come to know within the last ten years are truly good friends.
I have recently taken the liberty of re-evaluating past works for viability and future projects for interest. There are no less than 10 irons in the fire (outlined previously here). No, they are not ALL ongoing nor being juggled on a daily basis. However, I printed out the list and work on what seems feasible within the confines of my schedule.
As I get older, I find there is a definitive need to exert my creativity for the sole purpose of holding on to my humanity. There will always be cooking and baking, but writing takes me places beyond the confines of place and time and corporeal being. And, just perhaps, I can take someone along on my journey.
So, here we are. Up to the present. However, as before, but for different reasons, there is no resting on imagined laurels. Writing and the Art of Creativity demands a forward thinking process, a constant re-evaluation, and perhaps, change in the name of growth. That’s what this whole series has been about.
I wish you the greatest happiness on your journey.