The History of Fortress
The journey from there to here.
This story began as something completely different. While at work in 1997, I began scribbling down an idea for a short Christmas story I wanted to write for a friend. There were about seven characters, and the setting was a desert. As the story I had in mind was more avant garde screenplay than comprehensive story, I got no further than that.
In 2005 a very dear friend of mine was preparing to move to New York. I wanted to give him something special, so I decided to write him a story. I puzzled for a while over what to write, then I remember the odd little outline that I had done. I fished out the notes and began writing.
My intention was to write a quirky short story, several page at least, but once I began I couldn't stop. I realized that the story was to be longer than 10 pages, so I dove in. Having a mere three months to complete it, I got permission from my supervisor at work to write the story while at my desk.
I went to a small local place called "Cyber-Copy" and had the book bound. I would use this place as my sole printer for several years.
(The picture to the left was the first cover.)
I was pleased at the reception the story received from usually politely indulgent friends and family. Yet when complete strangers began giving favorable opinions, I looked closer at the story and decided that it had a bit of potential. So I began to refine it.
Every year I went to WonderCon in San Francisco. I was there primarily to help out at a friend's table, but I always wished that I could exhibit something of my own. But I was a writer, not an artist, so I assumed that I had no place there. One year however, I came across a man selling his book there. I decided to give it a try.
I wanted a definite look for the story. I wanted people to pick the book up and know that it was something special. However, I knew no graphic artist to help me do this. My only idea was to find a small, free art program to download. What I found was Bryce. This is not a small program by any means, but the company had just released its 6.0 version, so its entire 5.5 program was briefly offered free. Through long trial and even longer error I learned the basics, and I was able to create the new cover.
I am very fond of this picture, and I've used it on postcards, business cards, banners, and this website's homepage.
About this time I discovered Lulu.com. I learned how to self-publish quickly.
With the new vertical format came the need for a different, brighter cover. So, using the former cover's picture as a base, (I was still sentimental about it) I used a sandy-gold color.
By now the story had grown. The edits and additions continued until I arrived at a version that made sense, with no questionable loose ends. This was the version I recorded as an audio-book. What I didn't know was that some subsequent major edits would render the recording just a little moot. Ah well, I'll just have to re-record it!
I also filmed three teasers, one for each "disappeared" character.
(These trailers can be seen in the "Little Pink Cloud Theatre" section of the website.)
I had not intended to write more. The story was told, or so I thought.
One night, around 3 A.M., I couldn't sleep, so I grabbed my iPod and put it on "shuffle." A random piece of music came on, one that I hadn't heard in a long time. I sat up in bed, stunned, as, in the space of the music, I was given more of the story. I quickly got up, grabbed my notebook, and wrote down what I had just been shown, about seven pages worth of notes. The next morning I began writing it.
Over the several years, the single tale had become a series of three books.
As of this writing, Book 2 is nearing its completion, and Book 3 is at about 20%.
I wanted a new look for the story, one that would visually tie all three parts together. So once again I blindly dove into another unfamiliar art program.
The result was three covers, the first of which is seen here.
This little tale has truly changed my life.
Each day I'm lucky to be able to write these characters and live their lives with them. They've shared their problems with me, and even helped me solve a few of my own.
I'm very grateful to those who, by simply reading it,
are taking this journey along with me.