A Little About Me, and an Announcement

Let's take a minute here to properly go through and introduce myself to those of you who have been following the links to this Substack, and give you an idea of who exactly I am. I'm a small press genre wonk, as you well know by now, and as of the time of writing this, I am a recently minted homeowner, husband, and father of four, with kiddo number five coming in a couple of months. I'm an Irish-American born to Tipperary natives, an alcoholic who is nearing 10 years of sobriety, and I have a diet that could best be described as 'occasionally trying not to strap into a rocket to the Land of Heart Attacks by the age of 50'. It isn't great, but I'm not going to beat myself up too much for a sweet tooth.

I'm a smoker, and if this offends your sensibilities, or you feel the urge to caution me about the dangers of this lethal habit, allow me to ease your mind- I've heard all the spooky warnings, know that it's going to cause problems down the road, and need none of the sort of well-meaning but ultimately infuriating advice that, rather than helping guilt me into quitting, makes me want to burn through as many smokes as I can in an hour out of spite. It isn't personal. I'm just an asshole.

If you're familiar with my work, then you know that there's a lot of it out there, for sale on Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and other online outlets, and available for free in audiobook format on my Bitchute channel, and in text format here on Substack.

You'll also know that I'm not exactly breaking any sales records, as I can't afford professional marketing and advertising, and I'm not great at selling myself. If I were any good at it, I wouldn't be waiting so long to make a subscription model for my Substack here.

So, how do I pay for my half of a mortgage? Put food on the table for my wife and kids and myself? How do I pay the bills? Without revealing my employer's identity, I'm effectively a glorified dishwasher, one who makes nearly $16.50 per hour. The job title is 'Steward', but that's just a polite label; until 4 years ago, the title was 'DMO', literally 'Dish Machine Operator'.  I clean dishes and kitchen equipment, and now and then, fetch supplies for line cooks and sous chefs in the various dining outlets attached to the company's grounds.

It's a full time job, unskilled labor, and I'm not much qualified to do other things, other than entry-level carpentry and woodworking (jobs for which skills don't really exist around here. There's a woodshop for the company's Properties Department, but there's a minimum wait list, and yes, I'm on it). And with bills to pay and mouths to feed, and wanting to be a law-abiding citizen with NO clue how to grow my financial portfolio through investments or playing the market, I have to work a regular job.

So, I opt for a simple-minded, low impact job. This allows my mind to wander, to mentally work on my fiction efforts, and be ready whenever I get a chance to actively work on a project to GOGOGO! People like Tim Pool and his compound of flunkies would bang the table and insist that I quit my day job and fully throw myself into my artistic pursuits if I ever want to be taken seriously or hope to make it my main method of earning a living. I would retort that I can't risk the well-being of my wife and kids just to pursue that dream. The time for me to try doing that passed a long time ago, so I have to work with the resources of time, materials, and opportunity that I have at my disposal.

It's tiring, and often, discouraging. But I will continue to do it, because I'm a Calkins, and we tell stories. That is what we do.

Now, something I've been putting off for fear of being seen as a 'Sell Out' or going back on my principles is about to happen; I'm going to be setting up a paid subscription layer here on my Substack. However, I'm not going to put any posts behind a paywall. I want you to think of this as a 'Pay If You Want' model, of the sort used by DriveThruRPG, one of my favorite sites to visit on occasion. Every post will still be publicly available, and if backers want to support my narrative efforts monetarily, they can sign on to do just that. But nobody should feel obligated.

If you have questions, I invite them, and will answer as best I can.