Spoiled for Choice

Recently, I was looking for a story amidst all my story folders, and I couldn’t find what I was looking for. There are volumes of folders now, a strong majority of them dated 2012. I said something out of frustration, and my husband gave me an indulgent smile. “Yes, it’s because you’re writing.” He sounded quite proud.

Not long after that, I went to tell my son a bedtime story, and within two or three sentences, he interrupted me. “Oh, I know this one.” When I was finished with the story, I asked him what he thought of it. “Oh, Mom, it’s not nearly long enough. There needs to be more!” He demanded.

I asked a woman who reviewed me on Goodreads.com to add the review to Amazon as well. She told me she would be happy to. When I asked her, I felt presumptuous, but she was so sweet and amiable I realized it wasn’t a problem at all. She told me that she was a fellow writer who hoped to be published someday. She also mentioned she might ask me for help when she got to that point. I found I truly wanted to help her out, to support her on such an exciting journey.

I am a beta reader for three  writers, a sounding board for a fourth.  If I had the wherewithal to organize a writer’s group, I could easily get some Avengers to assemble. I’ve been organizing groups since I was 16, and gamers and writers tend to overlap heavily. My drawback is that I simply don’t have the time to dedicate on a weekly basis. Rather than try to add another week’s worth of work into an already busy schedule, I make do with the structures I’ve cobbled together.

There is so much material that I’ve stored up over the years, I don’t know what to do next. I will be editing my second novel; my editor projects a 6 month turn around for this process. I’m trying to make headway on the fairy tales. That has proven easier because the chapters are short stories, rather than a full novel.

Currently, there are two vampire novels in the works, one present day, one set in the Roarin’ 20’s. I have a series for my science fiction world, probably 5 books minimum. It is doubtful that I will ever catch up to myself, because new ideas seem to sprout up every day.

While sending my artist and story director a copy of a newly finished fairy tale, I found one I hadn’t shown her yet. I opened it and read the older story, and it was a travesty. It was probably six months old, but between then and now, I have made extraordinary leaps of growth. Not because I’m extraordinary, but because I’ve been doing nothing but writing every day. I sent it to her with trepidation, but the story is solid enough to stand. It’s just the ‘wrapping paper’ that needs changing.

There was a time when I thought that I would never write again. That I was not capable of finishing a work, that I would always be a dabbler and never be a professional. To think I could have missed this makes me shudder.

Especially now, when I ask myself, “What do I want to write today,” and find that I am spoiled for choice.

Sometimes Inspiration finds you. Usually when you’re least looking for it.

Almost a year ago, I got a phone call from my co-worker, Heather. (Not to be confused with my sister, I will refer to her as Heather G. for this post.) While she was my co-worker, she handled the art and I handled the code, so rarely did our paths cross. Needless to say, I was surprised, and my mind immediately leapt to the possibility that something was wrong. Imagine my surprise when she opened the conversation with, “So, I hear you’re a writer.”

Have you ever seen a bunny freeze when it thinks its seen the shadow of a hawk overhead? That was me, frozen solid, brain scraping up responses and discarding them. “Who told you that?”

Joss Whedon does *not* write my dialogue.

“Evie. She mentioned that you’re a writer.” Heather G. supplied, oblivious to my trapped expression thanks to the magic of cell phones.

“Oh. Well, I’m not published or anything,” I was quick to supply. “I do like to write though.”

“Well, that’s fine. I was wondering if you wanted to write up some fairy tales for me.” Heather G. had unwittingly offered me a shot at something that I have a private obsession with. (Okay, it’s not private now.) I have encyclopedias encompassing everything from pixies to ogres, kelpies to selkies, and everything in between. “Let me send you some pictures of what I want.”

For those of you familiar with me, you probably know that Heather G. is the artist who designed and illustrated my cover art for “The Corsican.”

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009G4J0OS/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B009G4J0OS&linkCode=as2&tag=anacrpress-20
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009G4J0OS/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B009G4J0OS&linkCode=as2&tag=anacrpress-20

She is quite talented. And she sent me such pictures! Whimsical, passionate, thought provoking, and fun. I’m not going to post them here because I am saving them for later posts.

She handed me the ideas for new worlds and said, “Here, develop these, and I’ll illustrate your work.” I would have been an idiot to turn her down.

The stories have been in development for a year, and what a year it’s been. My manuscript was chosen by Anacrusis Press, and I did become published in the interim. I took an editing class at WWU, met some students, tried to get into a writer’s group. Helped a friend develop a gaming book. Beta read for two other friends. Learned about audiobooks.

I got stuck on our work just about the same time that The Corsican needed to be edited come hell or high water. I got that project done, but like mushrooms after a rain many more sprung up, and I will admit I avoided the project for a while. Heather G. didn’t mind, because she got a job at Disney Mobile and had more on her plate than she’d ever had before.

Just this week I have managed to get three stories started. I’m going to go back and edit the one that I got editing notes for in April. I’m inspired, I’m excited, and I’m grateful. If it hadn’t been for Heather G’s offer, I am fairly certain that I wouldn’t have had the confidence to get my book published.

Even though this project took a while to develop, I can’t tell you what it’s done for me already. Working with someone on a project is a world different than captaining a ship by me onsies, to quote Cap. Jack Sparrow. I can’t wait to share sneak peeks and get opinions.

I am especially grateful to Trinity, who sat quietly in my parent’s house over Thanksgiving vacation. She came with her dad Steve and brought her book, Grimm’s Abridged Fairy Tales. She was quiet, the way children can be when stuck listening to adults talk and having nothing to do. She was being so quiet, I wanted to involve her in some conversation too. So I brought out my laptop and showed her some of Heather G’s concept sketches. Her eyes lit up when I explained the brief idea that each story had inspired in me. Her first question to me was, “When will it be out?”

Thanks to her bright eyes and eager question, it’s going to be out a hell of a lot sooner than I’d thought.