I’m sitting at my desk late on Thanksgiving evening, fiddling around with some writing, and it just dawned on me that I’m coming up on the fourth anniversary of my first sale of fiction. I just spent some time looking for the actual chat conversation, but couldn’t manage to locate it. Long ans short, a friend of mine who works for Fantasy Flight Games asked me if I wanted to write a couple of Call of Chthulu stories for the card game line. Hellz yeah I did. We met a bit later at De’Vere’s Irish pub in Sacramento to talk details. A couple weeks later, I penned the first words of fiction I ever got paid for in the very same pub.
It’s been a wild ride since then. The mind boggles at how much the publishing industry has changed since then. With it all, I still say it’s an exciting and terrifying time to be a writer, but mostly exciting. I can’t begin to express how grateful and thankful I am that I have a writing career. It’s so strange sometimes to realize how much reach I have, and I’m really not that big as an author, just some upstart indie guy, but still, I’m reminded that my work doesn’t exist in a vacuum. I got reminded of this the other day in a thread on Reddit. A user named YetiStomper had this to say about me:
…I learned about u/mgallowglas because he contributes to the conversation here and makes fantasy a better genre, both through his writing and his support of fandom.
Now, I know my writing is good stuff. Or…at least I hope so, to the point I can easily delude myself that it is, because otherwise I wasted two and a half years and I collected a bunch of debt to get my BA in creative writing. I also have my small but awesome fan base telling me so. Here’s the thing: I never once in my wildest dreams ever dreamed anyone might consider that I would make fantasy as a genre better by the presence of my work or my participation in it’s fandom. I mean, really, I hold up my heroes, writers like Harlan Ellison and Steven Erikson, as people whose presence makes fantasy better.
Even a couple days later, I think about that little quote from some random user on Reddit, and my eyes get all misty.
So, I’m thankful for my fans, first and foremost my wife, who believes in me even when doubt plagues me. She believes enough even when times are tough and sales are down. She believes in me enough to call my on my crap when I’m being a temperamental artist. Mostly, she believes enough in me to accept being married to a writer and loving me despite all the baggage that comes with it.
I’m thankful for those of you who have been with me since I was just that storyteller at Renaissance Faires and stumbled along with me in my fledgling steps into the indie/self-publishing world, filled with poorly edited books, and cheering me on anyway. If it weren’t for you guys, I probably wouldn’t have had the strength to carry on through the hard times.
I’m thankful for my fellow writers who take me seriously as a professional, and did so even when I talked a bigger talk than I was capable of walking. I’m looking at you, Kat Richardson, Jennifer Brozek, David Brin, Steven Erikson, Ian C Esslemont, James Rollins/Clemens, Kevin Andrew and most especially, my indie brother Christopher Kellen.
I’m tankful for the people who have come up to my table and randomly decided to give my books a shot. As introverted as I am, I’m still happy to meet each and every one of you.
And finally, I’m thankful for the community that is fandom, where people love books and writers so much that they go to conventions and get online and rant about books and writers they don’t like and rave about the books and writers they do like. Whether you like my books or hate them, if you don’t even care enough to give my books a shot, I’m still grateful and thankful for you, because without every single person that defines themselves as a fantasy fan/reader, I (and other writers) wouldn’t have moments where I log in randomly to see some random dude on the internet saying that he believes I make fantasy a better genre.
So, to my fellow fans, readers and writers alike, whether you’re American or not, I hope on this day you have at least as much to be thankful for as I do.
Now, I gotta do something about this dust in my eye.