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Today, I took the first step to climbing out of the hole of frustration and despair commonly known as poverty.

A brief summary for those of you who don't know me - I'm disabled (I was born with a birth defect and am in a wheelchair with minimal use of my arms and legs) and live in California with my disabled, Canadian wife (who gets no benefits due to citizenship status) and our somewhat disabled live in care provider, pooling my Social Security with her income as our aid to basically live just above the poverty line. We barely get by, most months, and often have to turn to friends to help us get through. It sucks. I do art on the side (and under the table), drawing with my mouth as I make portraits and caricatures when I can find the commissions and scare up the work. Some months, I get several commissions. Most months I get none.

The original ticket out of poverty was supposed to be our comic book/graphic novel, HOLLOW, which I write and draw, and my wife paints, but her health has been so bad for the past few years that the book has been in limbo and remains there to this day. I've recently decided to put all of the weight on my shoulders in an attempt to get us out of the squalor - my wife is too sick, and our care provider burns up what little energy and strength she has just taking care of us. I've begun writing, and today I put up my first offering at the Amazon Kindle store, a 90+ page novella that I hope will serve as the launching point for an ongoing series of serial fiction.

Today, I did something. I accomplished a goal. I took the first step towards self sufficiency.

I decided that rather than take a year to write a novel and then have to go through all of the publicity and marketing to get that novel noticed, I would borrow a page from my comic book roots and go serial, using each new episode (novella) to continue the story and grow my readership. In comics, a lot of the indie companies only put out monthlies as a way to grow the readership and break even, a sort of ongoing advertising campaign that leads up to the eventual release of the collected graphic novel, compiling all of the issues into one book at a much higher profit point. I'm doing something similar.

If I get enough positive feedback from my Pilot Episode novella, I plan to go forward with a monthly series of novellas kind of like a TV series, with eight monthly episodes a year comprising the Season, the end of which I'll release the completed season in one volume with all of the episodes and a bunch of bonus material. It's my hope that by putting out a novella a month I can build up a small but steady income to help keep me going, with the big payoff being when the completed season comes out at a higher price. I like the idea of writing a serial story, of being able to interact with the readers as each episode comes out and get feedback much closer to real time rather than working in a vacuum for a year or more. I also just like the concept of serial fiction in general. Writing for television would be my dream job. Since I can't move to LA and break in at the ground floor, writing serial fiction is pretty much the next best thing for me.

I'm going to provide you all with links where you can download the Pilot Episode for free, on me, to share with the community that has done so much to help me over the years. If you truly feel like buying it, I'm also providing the link to the Amazon page where you can buy the book for your e-reader. In the days to come, I'm going to post with regular updates on how many pages I've written, or how much cover art I've finished, or interior illustrations, and so on, basically documenting my climb out of poverty for anyone that wants to read it. Maybe one day, I'll compile it and do something with it, as well. Who knows. At any rate, I'm proud of myself today. I took a real, concrete step towards changing my life and the life of my family.

Today, I finished my first book.

I should warn you, before you download, that this book isn't going to be for everybody. It contains adult language, mature content, graphic violence and deals with matters both religious and occult in nature. Basically, its horror. Here's the summary from my Amazon page describing the story:

Ester Vasquez, born with arthrogryposis, hunts the monsters and demons that hide from the unsuspecting masses along with her 6'8, 360lbs Samoan care provider, Sammy. In episode one - 'Pilot' - Ester and Sammy travel just over the Mexican border from their home in Arizona to help a little boy possessed by a demon, but what awaits them when they return home is far worse than anything they've ever faced. It will take all of Ester's brains and Sammy's brawn to repel an attack that threatens not just years of hard work, but their lives as well.

If you decide to give it a try anyway, here are the links to two different formats that you can download for your e-reader:

Right-click and save to get the Epub format.

Right-click and save to get the Mobi format.

If you decide that you like it and want to give it some support, purchasing it is greatly appreciated, but even if you can't purchase it putting up a nice review is just as helpful. I highly encourage everyone who reads it and enjoys it to leave a review on the Amazon so that others will see them and hopefully decide to give it a try. You feel like giving a bad review, I'm okay with that, too. Constructive criticism always helps!

Written today - Words: 6500 * Pages: 22

Originally posted to The Gimp on Sun Oct 09, 2011 at 06:12 PM PDT.

Also republished by SurviveAndThriveKos, Pink Clubhouse, and Readers and Book Lovers.

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