Step Out



Sign up now and immediately receive a free digital copy of "Billy: The Explorer"!
News & Special Offers:
* indicates required
Writing Should Be Read
DougieDougie Collins - future author and horrible speller

I began my fledgling writing career at age seven. I wasn't very good at it. My printing was messy and I think it got worse as I got older. Apparently I did not intend it to be read by anyone but me. My worst career move was opting out of grade 9 typing class. I couldn't see how typing could ever be useful for a guy like me.

While I lacked skilled in the mechanics of writing, I was even worse at spelling. Computers eventually helped out in that regard, but there really seems to be no cure for bad grammar. Despite such handicaps, I did do very well at creative writing. I would have most certainly failed Grade School English, if it wasn't for my creative mind. My school essays would come back defaced with the teacher's red ink, but with some pretty good grades. I was encouraged by that, I suppose, and while I did get some enjoyment out of making up stories, my early working years took me far away from the haunting memories of being picked last on the grade 7 spelling bee teams.

I preferred to get my hands dirty and leaned more toward the vocations of carpentry, metal work and automotive repair. But my creative bent never left me and after eventually getting tired of having grease under my fingernails, I switched careers and went into television production.

I was interested in the technical aspects - editing, camera and equipment - but eventually it became apparent that writing was an very necessary and valuable asset of production. I began to write again.

What I wrote was mostly only ever read by one person - a voice-over professional, or perhaps an actor. I did write few theatrical scripts as a hobby, but nothing that ever reached the stage or big screen. I put it on my bucket list to one day write a novel when I got older.

I'm older now. I still haven't completed my first novel, but I do have children. That is what put my writing career into gear. It began at bedside story time. If I wasn't good at spelling, it might be because I wasn't very good at reading either. Reading the kids bedtime stories was not a natural skill for me. Not only that, I got bored of some of the children's book and too often I would fall asleep instead of the kids. And so I began not to read stories, but to tell them. I would make them up as I went and when I could not think of what was to happen next I would conveniently pause with, "to be continued"...

Eventually I would have to conclude a story and at the conclusion of one of my epic "Billy" stories, one of my daughters piped up and said, "Daddy, you should write these stories down!" And so I did, beginning with "Billy:The Explorer - Peril at Black Widow Peak". It was a great success with my audience of two. When I read it to conclusion I received a round of applause from my daughters, which brought me great satisfaction. But the story went unpublished for over 6 years until I learned about Kindle Storyteller contest, offering £20,000 and a publishing deal with Amazon Publishing. I wondered if my Billy story had a chance. I dug it up and read it through. I was quite impressed with myself and so I launched my writing career in earnest.

"Peril at Black Widow Peak" is not my first published work. I began the process in 2016 after nearly losing an eye in a hockey accident. During the lengthy recovery I wrote "Eye Ordeal". I published it in 2018 with no real expectation of readership. It was intended as an exercise to learn how to self-publish a book. In the first year I sold a grand total of one copy, but I was not disappointed. I gave a lot of copies away to friends, and all were impressed.

Doug and KarenSome 50 plus years later with the love of my life and editor in chief, Karen. (She's a really good speller.)

Having learned the process of self-publishing, I now have to learn the key to success: marketing. I will give that a sincere effort with "Billy: The Explorer", and maybe in the process "Eye Ordeal" will also get some exposure. I don't expect to get rich as writer, or even earn a notable amount of retirement money, but I do hope to get some satisfaction and encouragement to one day achieve my goal of completing a novel.

- Douglas J Collins (or as my hockey buddies call me: Dougie)