I’m what is usually called a “voracious” reader. One of my earliest recollections of reading a book on my own was when I read “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” in one day—one sitting to be more accurate. I was about 10 years old at the time. I still have that book, and I’ve read it many more times since then. I also have its companion, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” They’re beautiful illustrated editions, published in 1923, which are among the many books I’ve inherited from my grandmother and mother.
I wish I’d kept a life-list of all the books I’ve read; I’m sure it runs into the thousands. And I’d like to say that it’s been my life-long passion to be a writer. The truth is, I’ve never had an all-consuming passion for any one goal in life. I’ve bounced from one interest to another, easily diverted from the current path by something new. But I’ve always written. I wrote for a while as a reporter and columnist at the student newspaper of Texas A&M University, the “Battalion.” Not so long ago, I collaborated with my father, David Gene Middleton, on two novels, neither of which has been released upon the public as of yet. Maybe someday.
Before the Internet came along, there were two ways for an author to be published. The first, and more desirable, was for a traditional publishing house to recognize the merit of the author’s work and publish it for him. The other was for the underappreciated author to publish his own stuff—the method known as “vanity” publishing, presumably because the author was vain enough to think his writing worthwhile, even if real publishers couldn’t see it.
What was formerly known as vanity publishing is now called “self-publishing”, and thanks to the resources an author has at his disposal in this digital age, a self-published work need not be a second-rate substitute for the Real McCoy.
Jem: Lessons in Living is my first foray into the world of publishing. I wrote it in 2013 in honor of a little pug whom I loved as much or more as I’ve loved anything or anyone in my life. The book sat dormant until last year, when I decided that I wanted to leave something of myself for future generations of my family. I suppose that might fall under the category of “vanity.” If so, well okay then.
I hope you’ll read Jem, and of course I hope you like it. One way or another, however, I’d like to hear from you. If I can avoid being diverted down some other primrose path, I’ll be writing—and publishing—more in the not-too-distant future. With a “grumble” of four pugs in my house, there’s plenty of subject matter. Stay tuned…