From Professional Hockey Player to Published Novelist
It can almost be said with certainty that I didn’t follow the path of the average writer. As a child, I never dreamed of writing a best-seller, never aspired to write the next classic novel—I wanted to be an NHL superstar…period.
With the death of my mother in 1992, losing a battle to cancer she had fought so hard against for years, I sensed it was time to get serious about reaching my dreams, and moved away to pursue hockey.
From 1992-1995, while playing for the Pembroke Lumber Kings in the Central Junior Hockey League, I noticed a shift in the game of hockey and realized that the odds of making it to the NHL were unfavorable for a kid who stood 5’9’’ and weighed 160 pounds. So, my goals shifted. I accepted a hockey scholarship to Rochester Institute of Technology. If I couldn’t make a living playing hockey, at least I could achieve an education and open doors for my future.
After four rewarding years at college, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing, I wasn’t ready to give up on the game I love.
I attended the Florida Panthers Rookie Camp and played well, playing in four exhibition games, as well as scoring the game winning goal against the Ottawa Senators.
Unfortunately, I broke my hand in an awkward hit in my fourth game that ended my camp, but my hard work paid off. The Panthers offered me a Minor League contract, $500 a week to play the game I love. I spent six years in the minors and retired in 2006 with no regrets.
From a family of avid readers, even as a child, I always had a passion for books. Whether it was reading novels on road trips or writing assignments in school, literature was always part of my life.
In the winter of 2000, after sustaining a season ending eye injury while playing hockey in Oklahoma City, I found myself with a lot of time on my hands, and a new hobby emerged.
My wife, who was my girlfriend at the time, was attending college and asked me to help her with a short story assignment. We worked together, creating characters and working out plots. I had so much fun with it that I decided to take one of the characters and create a story of my own.
One day, with an idea in mind, I sat down in front of a computer and began writing. I wrote a little every day, around my intense rehabilitation schedule and before I knew it, I had completed my first manuscript.
I didn’t write with the intention of being published. I wrote for the love of writing, as a hobby. Ever the perfectionist, I didn’t see my novel at the level to compete with best-selling authors. I continued to hobby write through the years, honing my craft, making time between work and family obligations.
Then I made a decision: I enjoyed writing so much, I decided I wanted to take my interest one step further—write a story with the intention of being published. I realized that I wanted to be like my favorite authors—entertain readers and allow them, like when I read, to escape reality and for a moment be in another place and time.
I’ve never been one to take things lightly or jump in half way. I took a full year off from writing to study the craft. I constantly read, from novels in my favorite genres to books written by experts in the writing field. I continually researched on the internet, reading up on the industry and process. I attended writing conferences and made friends (published and unpublished authors), bombarding them with questions and learning what it took to become successful.
Feeling that I was finally prepared, in the winter of 2007, with an idea in mind and an outline on paper, I started to write DEAD MAN`S HAND. It took me two years (working around full time jobs) to complete the first draft of my novel.
I then worked with editors and joined a critique group, doing anything I could to learn, to improve my writing and my novel.
I sent out query letters to agents. After six months of rejections, I pulled my manuscript back and worked on it again. Then in my next round of proposals, I was offered representation by the Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency.
After months of work with the agency, and more rejections from publishers, my dream was finally realized in April, 2012, when I signed a publishing contract with Imajin Books.
My one piece of advice for all aspiring hockey players and writers…you need to be persistent, patient and thick-skinned. You’ll get a lot of “no’s” along the way and people trying to bring you down. But remember, it only takes one “yes”.
Stick with it.
Anything is possible.