How the “Legend” Began
Recently I have spent some time online trying to promote my two latest books, “The Ultimate 80’s” and the short story compilation “Dark Nights.” As you may know, I am an independent author. I do not have an agent or a publishing company with a marketing budget. Instead, to try to inform readers about my books I post bulletins on Facebook and other social media and hope others share the links with their friends. Obviously this is slow and time consuming process.
So in this update to the Ritter Files I wanted to go back and revisit my first experience into becoming a writer and share with you how I developed my writing style and came up with the idea for the Legends and Landmarks horror series. Writing those four books was a huge learning experience with a lot of ups and downs. Despite the obstacles this project was incredibly rewarding personally and I’m proud of the journey it provided into becoming a writer as well as telling a great story.
In 2000 I moved to Cincinnati for a job with a nationally known brokerage firm, but mostly because I’m a Reds fan. Before moving I had about four months between jobs. Idle time is absolutely maddening to me. At the time I had considered the idea of writing a book hopefully sometime before I die. So I figured that while sitting around waiting to hear back from potential employers why not start writing a book now. Hell, we only live once, so I sat down on front of my old bulky computer and began to write about a pretty spooky story that had been bouncing around in my head. Unfortunately that story went nowhere. After 20 or 30 pages I ran out of room to write, so to speak. I couldn’t figure out what was next. I had no structure to the writing process and gave up on that story. Hopefully that story won’t be lost forever, but my lack of a plan to write that book was the same as planning to fail.
Once I got settled in Cincinnati a friend of mine took me on a tour of the area. Along the way we drove through an enormous and beautiful cemetery, Spring Grove Cemetery. As breathtaking and peaceful as the place was, I couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like to be stuck in a horror movie about the place as something ancient and evil still lurked there. But what would lurk there and why? As I let my imagination dwell on these questions I took notes on the possible answers. And soon I came up with the answers and the characters for the movie playing in my head. Only this time I had a plan to write the book and a loose structure to keep me on track. I wrote a one page summary about what each chapter would be about. That summary gave me enough artistic flexibility to tell a story and develop strong characters as well. I sat down one Friday night after work in the Fall of 2000 and began to try writing again. Legends and Landmarks, Volume I: The Night Walker was born.
The book description on Amazon for each book is below.
The Night WalkerEric and Todd, two crime reporters for the city news, discover an age old legend of evil as they work on a book about legends. As they come to find out, some legends are true. This one may kill them. While researching the history of Pleasant Hills' most famous attraction, one of the oldest cemeteries in the country, the duo discover a horrific legend that ripped the founding settlers apart. Living among them in Pleasant Hills is a hidden evil centuries old. It will stop at nothing to satisfy its lust for blood and fear. Eric and Todd find themselves fighting for their lives in what can only be described as a living nightmare.
Freedom’s PathEric Young and Todd Montgomery continue their horrific journey into the unknown as they uncover a legend of purgatory and shame surrounding the small all-American town of Fuson, Missouri. Freedom's Path, the second installment of the Legends and Landmarks series, explores the ghosts of the past as Fuson's shameful history of slave abandonment comes alive after a body washes up on the banks of the Black River. Eric fights with all he has to hold on to his humanity and sense of right and wrong after his near death brush with pure evil at the hands of Slade, the infamous Night Walker that rattled the security and psyche of the citizens of Cincinnati. Todd finds himself in an epic struggle of survival while Eric finds himself in a battle for his very soul. Legends and Landmarks, Volume II: Freedom's Path sets the wheels in motion for a terrifying journey that leads our characters to New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Volume III of the series, titled Demon Wind.
Demon WindThe "Legends" series continues in this third installment of the four-part series. Eric Young finds himself in the tattered city of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Following the chilling call from the shadows, Eric descends into the dark underbelly of the ravaged streets as something dark in his own soul is raging inside of him for control. His best friend, Todd, follows his tracks into the darkness to confront the evil that has plagued them. Slade resurfaces in this tale of horror and destruction and brings with him the rage that only Hell can create.
Devil’s CaveIn this final installment of the "Legends" series, Eric and Todd find themselves in Roanoke, Virginia facing a showdown with the demons that have stalked them. However, as they approach their twisted enemies they find that Slade and Corey aren't the only diabolical forces conspiring against them.
What makes me most proud of the series is the journey I took as a writer. When I finished The Night Walker I was so excited to rush through the self-publishing process and see the book available online. What I had on my hands was one heck of a good story. What I also had was a piss-poor edited book. So a couple of nice readers bought the book and met me through social media and were kind enough to tell me they loved the book but wanted to know who the hell my lousy editor was. Oops!
I was big time embarrassed. Actually, I felt incredibly unprofessional for putting out a book with so many mistakes. But a few readers decided to edit for me and I have since updated the book a bit more to my liking. I learned the lesson of patience from that experience and can say that I grew as a writer during that series. I also managed to put a few twists in the series that the readers didn’t see coming.
I’m sure there are still a few spelling mistakes here and there, but I decided that my editing of that material had to come to an end. I’ve become somewhat of a stickler with my writing that I had to learn that not everything needs a rewrite. Even things I wrote last week…if I were to read it now I’d find some reason to rethink good material. Now, I feel it is important to leave the series alone because it is a great story. Also, it is already a part of me as an author and shows the reader, if they pay attention to style and detail, that there is a clear growth path for every writer. And even YOU, the one sitting there reading my blog, if you are considering writing a book. If my work and story can help others in their writing journey then that is great.
In reality I have probably lost money self publishing that series. So in hopes of maybe breaking even I hope Kindle users like the series. It is available at Amazon if you are looking for something fun to read. This series will always have a place in my heart for the journey and for those that bought a copy and loved the story as much as I do. So check it out and let me know what you think.