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.

Published by WarrenBluhm

Wordsmith and podcaster, Warren is a reporter, editor and storyteller who lives near the shores of Green Bay with his wife, two golden retrievers, Dejah and Summer, and Blackberry, an insistent cat. Author of It's Going to Be All Right, Echoes of Freedom Past, Full, Refuse to be Afraid, Gladness is Infectious, 24 flashes, How to Play a Blue Guitar, Myke Phoenix: The Complete Novelettes, A Bridge at Crossroads, The Imaginary Bomb, A Scream of Consciousness, and The Imaginary Revolution.

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