Anniversary reviews and posts are typically a time when I review or spotlight something I have a personal connection with. This particular year, in light of recent events, that holds especially true.
A little over a month ago, I finally self-published my first novel, The Brotherhood of the Black Flag, a swashbuckling adventure story set during the Golden Age of Piracy. It was a long road turning a half-baked idea for a pirate story into something complete and purchasable - we're talking at least twelve years. A lot of people have gotten my back on this project throughout that time, and even before I had the idea itself was born. Family and friends throughout my life have not only encouraged my interest in writing, but also enabled my passion for swashbuckling fiction, as well as the "factual" history they take place in, in all sorts of ways. Sometimes that influence was very direct (parents springing for fencing lessons and steering me toward a stage combat group), and other times it was more of a chain reaction. Regardless of how it happened, though, The Brotherhood of the Black Flag never would have come about without all of this encouragement, and I will always be grateful for that.