(WACO, Texas) – A Texas State Technical College Cybersecurity student became a published author last year and is planning to publish more.
Brian Lonidier is a full-time worker, a student working on an Associates in Cybersecurity at TSTC, a mayor pro tem and a published author. He said finding the balance was not easy, but he made school a priority and worked on his book when he could.
“I use Google Docs to do my writing, so throughout the day I would just pick up my phone and start writing out on the chapter I was working on,” he said. “School I was very diligent about, so that always took priority over the book. And I would always finish my semester really early so that I could focus on the book as well.”
After about 20 years in the retail business, Lonidier said he wanted a change and the choice to go to TSTC for Cybersecurity was an easy one.
“When I was in high school, me and a couple of my friends actually went and toured TSTC in Waco, and it was there that I initially wanted to do cybersecurity,” Lonidier said. “I took a year off that then turned into two, then three, then I don’t know, 20. That thought of TSTC and the cybersecurity degree never left my mind, so when I decided to finally do something about it, it was the first choice, my only choice.”
At the same time that he decided to go back to school, Lonidier’s wife found a short story that he had written while he had been a part of a forum group that wrote fan fiction. She suggested that he take the piece and write a book based on it, so he did.
Lonidier said the book was inspired by the TV show “Heroes.” The book, titled “Kaden Michaels: The Rise of Yencom,” involves young adults with unique abilities, a tech company that wants to exploit them, and a main character that Lonidier described as “sarcastic,” “a smart aleck” and “witty.”
One Amazon review of his book echoed this analysis of his main character.
“Received my copy this weekend and could not put it down,” the review stated. “Intriguing storyline with a witty main character who makes it fun to follow along in his journey. From start to finish … you will be hooked!”
Lonidier said the inspirations for many of his characters and their conversations are based on real life.
“A lot of the conversations back and forth are either things I’ve heard said or, maybe not specifically, the way people talk to each other,” he said. “Coming from retail I’ve had a lot of people to draw on.”
Amy Hertel, a TSTC Cybersecurity instructor, taught Lonidier in one of her classes and learned about his book when he mentioned it in passing during a conversation with her. She asked for more information, read the book and became a quick fan.
“I looked it up, and I saw his name on Amazon and saw there was a link to buy it on audible too,” Hertel said. “ I went and checked that out because I listen to a lot of audiobooks. I went through it in like three days because I thought that it was really good.”
Lonidier began his cybersecurity career in November at Unified ConneXions in Waxahachie, will graduate in May, is working to complete the second book in his Kaden Michaels trilogy, and is working on other books that he hopes to publish as well.
“I just continue to be impressed by him,” Hertel said. “He’s working full time, is a student, and has this kind of side career where he’s sold all these books, and I think it’s very impressive.”
TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Cybersecurity, two certificates of completion in Cybersecurity, an advanced technology certificate in Digital Forensics Specialist, and occupational skills achievement awards in Advanced Cybersecurity, Intro Cybersecurity and Inter Cybersecurity.
According to onetonline.org, digital forensics analysts in Texas can earn a median salary of $84,220 a year. The website projected that there would be a 20% increase in the number of such jobs in the state from 2020 to 2030.
For more information on TSTC, go to tstc.edu.