I've been writing stories since I was five years old. Being a published author is a more recent development, however. It's been just twenty-five years since my first book came out from Baen Books, a New York publisher specializing in fantasy and science fiction. (Cover below.)
In honor of the twenty-fifth anniversary of A Bad Spell in Yurt, it has just been reissued in large format (trade) paperback, with the same great Tom Kidd art on the cover (see below). Tom did a terrific job making Daimbert, my young wizard hero, look like himself. Daimbert is not nearly as competent a wizard as he would like to be, but he has still managed to become Royal Wizard of Yurt. On the cover, Daimbert is trying to work out how to work a magic glass telephone.
The new paperback is available directly from the publisher, CreateSpace, as well as from Amazon and Barnes & Noble--or from your own favorite bookstore.
The characters and situations came to me quite literally in a dream, along with the opening lines: "I was not a very good wizard. But it was not a very big kingdom." (I should have more dreams like that....) I wrote it in about four months, decided it was the best thing I'd ever written, and Baen accepted it with remarkably little fuss.
It was not of course the first thing I'd ever written, or the first time I'd tried to get a book published. In elementary school I would fold sheets of manila paper so they looked (sort of) like a book and write and illustrate my own children's stories. By junior high, I was writing chapter-books (as they are now called) on lined paper. At a certain point I started typing on an old WWI era typewriter. It was very exciting when, in high school, my parents bought me a (used) electric typewriter and I learned touch-typing. By then I was reading "how to write" books from the library (something I'd recommend to any would-be writer), and figuring out things like avoiding clichés, ways to develop characterization, description versus action, how to get in background material, and the like.
In high school and college and graduate school I continued writing for fun, in many different genres, though fantasy was probably the most common (I read Lord of the Rings at an impressionable stage). I had a whole series of 8 or 10 books that now look (sort of) like what George Martin started doing years later, high adventure in an imagined medieval-style world with fairly minimal magic. The first was about Airnthal Silverblade, daughter of the king, on a secret mission into the enemy's capital. I tried it on several publishers; it's probably just as well none took it.
So it was extremely exciting to get Daimbert out in the world. It became a fantasy/science fiction best-seller and went through three printings in mass-market (small size) paperback. In some ways, however, that early success has defined me. Bad Spell was followed by five more novels and three novellas about Daimbert. I've tried publishing other types of fantasy, but my fans just become distraught, feeling I'm wasting my time writing about anything but Daimbert. I've recently started a new "Yurt, the Next Generation" series, and some fans can't even deal with that.
So for any die-hard Daimbert fans with a disintegrating twenty-five-year-old Baen paperback, now's your chance to get the new edition. And now that book reading has branched out, you can also get Bad Spell as an ebook from Amazon and other e-tailers, or as an audiobook from Audible. (The rest of the Daimbert books are also available as ebooks, and most of them as audiobooks.) Enjoy!