Some Airmen at March Air Reserve Base have taken Air Force leadership’s encouragement to tell his or her story one step further by writing and publishing their own books. A recent book signing near the reserve base revealed several such Team March, Airmen-authors.
Chief Master Sgt. Jerry J.K. Rogers, 163rd Communications Flight, California Air National Guard (CAANG), has served in the military for 35 years, and has a passion for writing that began in high school, although he didn’t pursue it seriously until four or five years ago, he said. That’s when he said he knew he was really meant to write.
“I used to dart off and my mom was like, ‘Where’s Jerry?’ and I would be at the library. It was only half a block away,” Rogers said.
It’s there that his love of reading let to his passion for writing.
“I had some high school teachers who encouraged me over the years. I had some ideas (for stories) and I still have the notes,” Rogers said.
His first novel, “The Fallen and The Elect,”was self-published about three and a half years ago and falls into the fantasy/science fiction category. Since then, Rogers has penned “The Legend of the Salad Traveler,” a short, light-hearted story reminiscent of the best-seller, “The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” as well as his third book, a religious/suspense novel, which is currently in the final stages of editing.
Rogers said he has seen the details of making sure you get everything right change since he started this journey.
“You want to make sure you get a quality product out there for everyone,” Rogers said. “Book cover, back cover, epilogue, grammar, proofing, formatting.”
He credits the changes to trial and error, as well as to Think Kings Publishing, the brainchild of Capt. Perry Covington, 452nd Air Mobility Wing; Michael Quibiloy (formerly CAANG), and Kat Lang. Current members include Rogers as well as Master Sgt. Monika Ros and Senior Master Sgt. Michael Leocadio, both also with the CAANG at March.
Think Kings was started in 2013 as a way to help themselves, and other up-and-coming writers and illustrators, work through the challenges of writing, illustrating, publishing, marketing, etc., Rogers said.
Joining Rogers at the book signing, Covington, spoke about how he became interested in writing in high school because of an English teacher he had who highlighted his writings to other classes which bolstered his confidence.
“From that point on I started taking writing more seriously, writing short stories and novellas, culminating to the point where I got to write an entire book.”
Covington said his military career has enhanced his writing through journalism training and the exposure he gets to daily writing in the public affairs career field.
“It has brought my own personal writing to another level. The history that I’ve been able to learn about the world from traveling in the military is something I would have never gotten from a book,” Covington said. “It’s invaluable.”
His first book, “Child of Atlantis-Ascension,” is first in a seven-book series targeted for pre-teens. The second book, “Child of Atlantis-Destiny,” is also published, and the third, “Child of Atlantis-Catalyst,” will be out the end of October.
Covington credits his daughters for helping write his first book.
Story-share was something he started with my daughters, Jennavieve, 6, and Lilyana, 4, a few years back, he said.
“One of them begins a story and then at any given point they say someone else’s name and that person has to continue the story,” Covington said. “That’s basically how the idea for Child of Atlantis came about.”
As Story-share continues, so do the ideas for the rest of the series.
“I’m trying to do two books each year, so my goal is to be done with this series by 2017,” he said.
Covington is also authoring a teen, action, fantasy series called “The Caster Wars” about two sisters who are born into a world of witches and hunters; and has written one children’s book, “The Littlest Ninja,” for which he is in search of an illustrator.
As for the future of Think Kings Publishing, Covington said they’d eventually like to open it up to other authors and make it a fully functioning publishing house to give more control to the writers.