In 2008, the U.S. economy was rocked by the so-called "Great Recession." Millions of Americans were affected and many lost their jobs. At the epicenter of the crisis was the homebuilding industry in which I, fortunately and unfortunately, was employed. The unfortunate part may be self-evident: I lost my job. The fortunate part, though, may be as well: You are looking at the results.

For the first time in my adult life, I found myself with way too much time on my hands and no real prospects for employment. So, I did what a lot of folks were forced to do and pursued a new course. I began to write.

To say "began" is somewhat a misstatement. Since I was in my early teens, I had been writing and storytelling. In fact, I had logged thousands of hours at the keyboard. You see, I am a DM; or for those of you unfamiliar with the parlance, a Dungeon Master. Now, before images of whips and chains enter anyone's minds, let me explain to the uninitiated what that means.

In 1978 or so, I was introduced to something that would forever change my life. For most, it was just a geeky game; but, for me, it was a window into my imagination. Around that time, J.R.R. Tolkien's works were experiencing a resurgence in popular culture. Along with his hobbits, elves, orcs, and dwarves, there came the role-playing phenomenon Dungeons and Dragons. I rolled my first dice and was forever hooked.

Over the decades that followed, I pursued my hobby/obsession and began to craft my own fantastical realms. D&D provided me with the medium through which to give them expression. What emerged were stories-a lot of them-which I shared with my gathered friends around the game table.

If 2008 had not happened, that is where it might have ended. But it did happen; and, as a result, I was left with the options of passing my days sullenly bemoaning my ill-fortune in the game of life or doing something positive with my time. I chose the latter and began to write in earnest. A year and half later, Shadows of the Past was published. Next came Child of Shadows, Dawn of Shadows, and, most recently, Lightbringer.

Along the way, I have learned a great deal, not just about the publishing industry, but about myself. Anyone who has ever pursued a dream can understand the amount of energy, time, and effort it takes to see it come true. Merlin may have a magic wand, but most of us do not. It takes work to make the magic happen. In the end, it was worth it.

That's my story. What's yours?