Hello there. My name is Lockard Young, but in my everyday life my friends and family call me Lockie, so feel free to do so.
My career was in the Plumbing trade, which I started over 30 years ago in construction. We built schools and malls and the job was tough, but at the end of the day, just like you would expect of the stereotypical construction guy, I loved to relax with a cold beer. As with most jobs in that field, work was seasonal, and I would, if I was lucky, work until December, and then I would get laid off. That was tough, because by then I had married my high school sweetheart and we were well on our way to starting a family.
Fast forward a few years from 1980 to 1995. Construction over the last few years had not been good, but we held on, and managed to get a house in the country. It seemed that as soon as we would get ahead a bit on the bills, I would get a darn layoff. It was just before one of these periods of no work that we bought our first computer. It was an amazing machine, but really, looking back now, it was just a glorified typewriter.
The new PC wasn’t a month out of the box when I received word of a layoff. We pulled our two boys from daycare, to save money, and I became Mr. Mom. At this time, at night after supper, I had been practicing typing on the PC. We had an ancient word program that came with, and I started very innocently to start typing a few paragraphs. Using my son’s names, and the names of their friends, I started to bang out this fantasy story. It was so much fun that I would get lost in it at times. On more than one occasion my wife would come home to a mess of toys strewn across the living room floor (Hey, the kids were fine and played well together) and no supper cooking on the stove. Instead I would be surprised out of my writing frenzy with “LOCKIE! I’m home…what the…” I had absolutely no excuse, but the word count on what would become Ryan’s Legend was going up and up as fast as my fingers could hunt and peck the keys.
When I got to about chapter four, I stopped and said to myself that this was crazy. I wasn’t getting anything done at home, and while my wife was working I wasn’t holding up my end of the bargain. I stopped writing and pulled on my Mr. Mom hat once again. That lasted for about two weeks, until one night around the table at supper time (did I mention I’m a great cook?) my wife asked me how my story was going. My oldest son Jason, asked what the story was about, and to make a long story short, I read everyone what I had so far. When I had finished, both boys in unison asked “What happens next Dad?” You guessed it. I had to write more to satisfy the curiosity of them and my wife now, as she wanted to know too.
I finished the story that winter as the snow storms howled outside my window, and just before the construction season started up again, I started searching out a publisher. I was met with a brick wall. Every publisher I saw online did not take unsolicited manuscripts, or they required submissions through an agent, so I was submitting to anyone who was accepting unsolicited manuscripts. The same rejection letters kept coming back. The story was not right for them, or they were not doing Youth Fantasies. I had not done my homework very well. Remember, this is before the age of instant access, like it is now. I was disheartened, discouraged, and any other dis’s you can think of, so I shelved Ryan’s Legend, my baby. Fast forward now to 2010. Everything is faster now, including computers. I had switched from construction to service calls. I was now working year round but that came at a price. I had to take the pager and be on call 24/7, so that left little time for recreation. When I wasn’t on call and at the mercy of the pager, I was doing things with my family. My sons were pretty much out and on their own now, and the dusty pages of Ryan’s Legend were all but forgotten…by them. Now when I had a break, I was surfing the internet, looking for places that accepted electronic submissions. Hey this was more my style, looking for someplace to take my story, and learn more about the industry, all from the comfort of my house.
I learned the hard way that there are a lot of predators out there. I submitted to a publisher I had found on a book chat site. Within two weeks I got an email stating how excited they were with my story, and how they wanted to work with me. They wanted to publish. I was over the moon with the excitement of being published. If they had asked me to walk down Main Street naked with their banner I would have done it. Instead all they wanted to do was an in depth edit. I figured, well sure, even though I had used this awesome program that actually checked spelling, there was bound to be some punctuation mistakes, and maybe even some grammar mishaps in there. At any rate they were also offering me a super special on the editing costs, which would be sure to make it as ready as possible for publication. I gladly sent in the $450.00 they requested, and sure enough, about three weeks later I received my cleaned up version of my story. I couldn’t really see that much change from the original, but what the heck did I know? I wasn’t an editor from the big city of New York, with multiple publishing houses around the United States of America. When I received another email asking for more money for a course on Promotion, because promoting was a very important key role of getting any book published, I thought something smelled a bit rotten. A quick internet search brought me to Writer Beware© and sure enough there was my Publisher listed under Publishers to avoid, and they had dozens of aliases for every genre of writing including poetry. I had been duped, and I knew my hard earned four hundred bucks was gone.
I was so embarrassed and so discouraged that I decided to hang up my ambition to get published, and do what I had done all along, write for myself and the sheer fun of it. I had several short stories and numerous poems under my belt, some of which were inspired by a visit to South Africa, a magical place that held my heart, and still does to this day.
A few years later, in 2012, I had joined a group of writers and authors sponsored by Harper Collins, a reputable Publisher in the UK. The site was a great place to showcase stories and get feedback from other writers and authors who had already been published. It was there I met a couple of fellow Canadians, who had read the chapters I had posted to this site, and liked what they saw. Unknown to me, these two Canadians decided to team up and start their own publishing company, and they asked me if they could publish my book. This time was different, as I had met these gals online, and even though we had not met in person, I felt I knew them enough to trust them, and it wouldn’t cost me a thing to let them publish, which I had also found out is the norm in the business, unless someone is going to self publish. I handed them my baby, and after numerous rewrites and edits (yes, be prepared to clean your stuff up) I was finally a published author in December of 2013, after 18 years on the shelf.
I had a life changing situation in that year. I was hospitalized for a clogged artery in my right leg, and after years of being a heavy smoker, I was to pay an ultimate price. I eventually lost my leg to the disease, and I am still recovering and learning to cope with a new and very different reality, the life of the disabled. Of course, what do you think a writer would do in this situation? Yes I’m trying something out of the box for me, a nonfiction book about my struggle with P.A.D. That is a work in progress, as is the sequel to Ryan’s Legend, which I thought was ready to go, but apparently needs a thorough edit, so my advice to you is be patient and know that no matter how much you think your story is clean and perfect, there is always room for a spotless edit, and therefore a better representation of you. I also decided to retire early. I can draw a decent pension from my many years as a tradesman, and I am looking forward to finally doing what I really like to do, and that is to write. It was so very nice to meet you, and I hope you enjoy my book as much as I did writing it.
Lockard (Lockie) Young
For more information on L.F.Young , please visit HERE.
You can also view samples of his writing at the following websites
Links to buy Ryan’s Legend: