MY FIRST PUBLICATION

I would say that the publication of my first book was one of my most blissful moments. When I received the first copies, I felt like a proud father holding his newborn child in his hands. I admit that it was almost like a pleasant out-of-body experience like I had been emerging from a chrysalis after a lengthy metamorphosis. At that moment, I had discovered a way to create a career out of my imagination. It would be fair to say that it was a rite of passage.

Two months later, things got even better! My first volume, The Young Guardians and the Genesis Spell, was nominated for the 2010 EVVY Awards. Then the Orange County Department of Education had me as their keynote speaker in 2009. The OCDE invited over 200 people from various school districts and I gave them a speech elaborating on my challenges with my autism. At the end of my speech, I received a standing ovation. One might say that being the keynote speaker for the OCDE was the first time I served as an autism ambassador. I was twenty years old!

The next day, all of my friends, family, and loved ones (several hundred strong) gathered at The Old Spaghetti Factory, where a celebration was held for my first published work. There were decorative cakes, book signings, and all of the pasta we could eat. In addition, several of my loved ones had read my book before the celebration and they enjoyed it.

That weekend was the best time of my life alongside WonderCon 2015. The level of recognition and support I gained from the EVVY Awards, OCDE, and my loved ones filled me with more hope and gratitude than I know what to do with. I will cherish that wonderful weekend, and my first volume, until the end of my days.

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