A factory laborer destroys the machine he works on after finding out he is a cog in the instrument of war. One of my earliest stories, The War Machine won first place in a short story contest at Mesa College in San Diego in 1987. It was published in two places: Inword Journal and The Mesa Press; March 9, 1987. The restriction was 2,000 words.
After winning the short story contest, I was convinced I had what it takes to become a serious writer. Little did I know that it would take at least another 20 years before I could produce anything meaningful.
In fact, I gave up on writing because most of what I wrote was garbage. It wasn’t until I had wrestled with my inner demons for the next 25 years when I was able to purge my debut novel, Swiss Chocolate, in just nine months.