It was the last question of the session and one I was not prepared to answer.
The young woman had shown great patience, waving her hand at me in a non-stop metronome of energy from the back of the room. I had been speaking from the podium to a group of authors and publishers about the Association of Rhode Island Authors (ARIA) that I had founded and served as president. The story of ARIA’s founding is one I retell with immense pride. It’s a story of how a handful of writers who were dissatisfied with the attention their books were receiving chose to collaborate, and now just four years later, over 250 published authors had joined what has become the fastest-growing and most productive arts organization in the state.
“Your group sounds amazing,” she began. “Who knew Rhode Island had so many wonderful writers!”
“Thank you! We have time for just one more question.”
“With all the work you do for ARIA, do you plan to write your own book someday?”
Her question was worse than receiving a mailbox full of rejection letters. My heart sank; I had no response. I had founded ARIA for purely selfish reasons — to promote my two independently published novels. And now it occurred to me that after four years of building my platform, speaking and marketing, I had omitted one tiny detail.
Yes, I write, too!
Most see me as the guy who runs ARIA. I’m the guy who sets up special events, meets vendors, and makes contact with other groups. I’m the guy who writes by-laws, sends emails and runs meetings. However…
I’m also the guy who started writing in college and became editor of the award-winning literary magazine, The Great Swamp Gazette, where I wrote political commentary and satire. I’m the guy who worked in bookstores for twelve years organizing celebrity book-signing events for Tanya Tucker, Isabella Rossellini, Doug Flutie, Aerosmith and others.
I’m the guy who took 25 years to write his first novel, Confessions of the Meek and the Valiant — a gritty coming of age crime saga set on the mean streets of South Boston. I’m the guy who followed that up with the cozy historical novel Manisses, inspired by the rich history of Block Island that was an award-winner at the New England Book Festival.
I’m the guy who writes the humor blog, Along the Village Green, wrote the horror short story The Kanc, published an award-winning essay in Newport Life magazine, and won a fantasy short story contest in The Attleboro Sun-Chronicle. I’m the guy who in 2016 hopes to release a co-authored non-fiction book, Scared to Death… Do It Anyway, a young adult baseball novel called Fiddlehead, and finally finish my dystopian science fiction novel, Chronicle of Hugh.
I’m the guy who founded Stillwater River Publications with the love of my life to guide writers who need help publishing their own works.
And don’t forget, I am the president of ARIA, too!
Click on any of the highlighted links above to learn more about Steve and his award-winning work, and visit his website here!