IMG_0652Bastion Publishing is a small publishing house featuring the works of author Ben Pastore, sometimes known as Benjamin Sheppard. Since they are actually the same person, and said person is me, I will do everyone a favor and stop referring to myself in the third person.

Ah. Much better. Now I can tell you a little about myself without sounding like I’m narrating my own biography.

For most of my life writing was just something I did for myself. There are notebooks filled with my poems, musings and journals that I can guarantee you will never see the light of day. It was one such collection that sparked my desire to write a novel, which I promptly devoted myself to back in 1997. The problem was, as a complete unknown and admittedly amateur writer, I couldn’t get the time of day from the publishing establishment. I don’t blame them – that’s just the way things work.

Since I’m not exactly a person who can take a hint, I redirected my efforts toward self-publishing. With some borrowed funds, a graphic arts background, and the blissful ignorance of youth, I willed my novel The Gardens of Sir Verity into existence, releasing it in December of 1998.

I was thrilled to have in my hands what was at the time my life’s crowning achievement. The problem I had now, was how to sell it. E-commerce was still in its infancy; there were no blogs that I knew of; and advances in print on demand technology and e-books were still the work of science fiction. Getting the word out was a whole lot harder, and despite some success in schools and a few local signings, my novel, my baby, just faded into obscurity.

Looking back I completely understand why. The story, while strong, was clearly the work of an amateur (hence the need for revision). In my impatience I messed up the timing of the release; didn’t get enough reviews, and idealistically thought the story would hit it big on merit alone. Despite my thorough research, I was a failure as a publisher, and I went from envisioning the movie trailer (too bad, it was really cool) to swallowing the reality that all such dreams would never come to pass.

Thoroughly disappointed, I eventually gained employment in a field for which I also have a passion – travel. While I traipsed around the world, I also unwittingly acquired the seeds that would blossom into the idea behind my second book You Can Keep Your Adventure, Just Leave Me the Toilet Paper. Despite my earlier failure, after revising Gardens in 2013 and making it available in e-book format (at only a fraction of the cost of traditional printing I might add), I took a friend’s advice and began crafting much of the material from my Trip Accomplice blog into one cohesive work. To this I added my wealth of experience both in the travel industry and earlier mistakes, all in the hope of doing this right. So that’s where things stand right now. I’ll let you know how it goes.

If you’ve made it this far down the page I thank you for taking the time to hear my story. If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to take a look at my written ones as well. And if there’s more you’d like to know, just send me a message – I’m always available for a fellow lover of the written word.


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