I've always thought I could write a novel. Well, it looks as if I have! A year ago, almost to the day, I began writing a story....actually I began taking dictation as the story told itself to me. When I really got into the process, I would wake up mornings excited, wanting to find out what would happen to Callie today.
The writing is the fun part, though. Then you may want to expose your wordy creation to the world. You want people to love your baby as much as you do, but you steel yourself to the reality that it may not be, and you press onward anyway, because writing is meant to be read.
Jim was the first to read it, which surprised us both because he's more of a Louis L'amour type of guy and only reads when he's at deer camp and wants to fall asleep. But once he got into it, he was excited about my story and urged me on when I grew weary and wanted to stick it in a file and go onto my next addiction. (The man has always been my biggest fan, whether I'm writing for a magazine, painting, or smearing grout on a mosaic guitar.) He also helped with editing and made lots of suggestions, most of which I agreed with because his logical, engineering mind saw gaps that my Pisces Dreaming mind skimmed over.
The next step was to let a few friends read a couple of chapters. I told them, forget you know me. Read it as if you picked it up on a bookstore shelf. Make notes of errors and problems, also questions you have about the plot, etc. Be specific. One said she really liked it. Period. Another, a lifelong friend, asked if it were "autobiographical" and said, "If it is, it's creeping me out." No, it's not about me or anybody I ever knew. My sister took it and then simply said, "You know I'm not much of a reader." Okaaay. Finally, I sent it to an online friend whom I've known for several years. She just got through self-publishing her own book, and when I skimmed over her chapters, I was guilty of saying that's very good and leaving it at that. Hey, I was more interested in writing my book. She, however, started her critique of mine off with, "Of course you've always been a good writer, but..." That's never a good sign. She then proceeded to lambast each and every detail of the two random chapters I'd sent her, going on for pages with numbered bullets about how she hated it and how unreadable it was. Gee, that was helpful.
Bloody but unbowed, I finished up the gazillionth rewrite (based only on mine and Jim's critiques) and sent it to a local publisher who immediately said he loved it and would definitely publish it. Now we were getting somewhere. He gave it to his editor and said she was so excited about it and kept copying phrases from it to send to him. He said that's unusual. I said, "Thank you, Jesus."
Now it looks as if my baby will be released this week or at least this month. Hey, if nobody reads it, or if they read it and don't like it, at least, I've published a book. I've got plenty more addictions that need tending.
Here's what the blurb on the back of the book says (I did my own cover, by the way).
"How do you walk away from the life and the only security you've known, with a few belongings and your best friend, who happens to be a teddy bear, and start over?
In the summer of 1962, in a rural community nestled deep in the foothills of the Ozarks, Callie Jaggers finds out in the twinkling of an eye that the suspect truths she has built her young life upon are lies when she is brutally molested, left for dead and then thrown to the wolves. But in this spellbinding Southern Gothic tale, this might be the gateway to the life she was born to live.
Going over Jordan is a journey that spans a lifetime and more, as Callie learns to face her own inner demons, as well as a very real nightmare that stalks her through the forest and just won't leave her alone.
Her own healing begins when Callie accepts her ability to heal others and learns that sometimes our true family is not the one we were born into. Her journey takes us to an extraordinary world of labyrinths, ancient crystal caverns, of moonstones with the power to restore the light that's been stolen, and the Wolf Clan who avenges its own. And Happily Ever After? Well, that would be giving away the ending, wouldn't it?"