Two anniversaries and a milestone

One of Facebook’s nicer features is Memories, which reminds you of things you posted on this day in the past. On Monday, April 24, it reminded me that I published The Adventures of Myke Phoenix on April 24, 2008. I hadn’t remembered the date.

Around 1988-1990 I came up with the idea for Myke, kind of a mashup of the original Captain Marvel and Superman and most other superheroes, with the idea of writing not a comic book but a monthly text adventure, a modern-day Doc Savage or the Shadow. I didn’t feel like I had the time to write a 50,000-word novel every month with the day job in the background, so I aspired to write 10,000-word novelettes.

I actually completed four of them, and flirted with the idea of self-publishing the series, but that was an expensive proposition in 1990, and I didn’t have a way to fund an expensive proposition, and those facts discouraged me from moving forward with it. With the advent of print-on-demand, by 2008 one could self-publish a book virtually for free, and so I went for it, pulling the stories out of wherever I had stored them and slapping a marginally adequate cover on the package.

I still wanted to try writing a monthly series, and I actually wrote 12 more Myke adventures from about November 2013 to October 2014, but once I completed the major arc of those stories the fire went out. They’re all collected as Myke Phoenix: The Complete Novelettes. If I ever come back to Myke, it will be to write novellas or novels, in order to prevent the assertion “Complete Novelettes” from becoming obsolete.

While April 24 celebrates a book more than two decades in the making, April 25 marks the third anniversary of my book that went from idea to the printer in one day: How to Play a Blue Guitar. 

On that day in 2020, I sat down to look over the strange mix of blog posts, short stories and poems that I was thinking about compiling into a book. I had 24 pieces so far.

I read them through and all of a sudden they felt like a cohesive whole. On impulse I hit the “Compile” button on my Scrivener folder, and a couple of hours later How to Play a Blue Guitar was uploaded to the Kindle store and Kobo and ready to be discovered. 

The paperback followed not long after. I designed it like a record album, with the 24 titles listed on the back and none of the usual cross-promotion of other Warren Bluhm books in the front and/or back. I even dropped a line from old albums on the back cover: “Stereo records can be played on today’s mono record players with excellent results.”

Neither The Adventures of Myke Phoenix nor How to Play a Blue Guitar has made me a wealthy man, but they allow me to say “I’m an author, I write books,” if I ever get the inclination. I still lead with “newspaper editor” or “journalist” when people ask me what I do. I wonder what reaction I’d get if I started saying, “I wrote the Myke Phoenix superhero series and I’m working on a new series about an interplanetary, inter-dimensional time traveler named Jeep Thompson.” Who cares if the answer is, “Never heard of them”? It sounds like something else.

Speaking of milestones, tune in tomorrow.

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