That's right, loves, we are officially 7 days from the release of WILD CARD! While this is my debut novel, it's not the first thing I wrote. Not by a long shot. So I thought I would tell you all about things that came before. So scroll down and take a tour through my literary past.
1. The Medallion - When I was in about 6th grade or so, I wrote a children's book. It was about 12 pages long and followed the trope-tastic story of twin siblings separated at birth. The two of them each had half of a medallion and when they came together they overthrew some evil lich or something to reclaim their kingdom. Suffice to say that in 12 pages there wasn't much suspense, drama or intrigue. And the dialogue sucked. But, it was the first story that had a beginning, middle, end, and a vocabulary above a Dick-and-Jane book. My dad had it printed up and gave copies to family. He even did an about the author in the back. And this, kids, is why mi padre is awesome. Well, one of many reasons.
2. Untitled Rambling Story - So, as I've posted here before, I was molested as a kid. 3rd or 4th grade. Well, the kid that did it moved away not long after, so I processed a lot of the aftermath in my head and buried it down. Heh. Come 7th grade, however, that wasn't possible. He was at my school again. I saw him every day and started having panic attacks, horrible nightmares and started dealing with my second bout of suicidal depression. ANYWAY, I started writing a story to cope. It was shitty, but it was a way for me to disassociate from all the anger, fear and loathing I was feeling and imagine something good coming out of it. I had several spiral notebooks filled with this and poetry (angsty, shitty poetry) that were all bound together with key rings. I carried them everywhere. I worked on and added to that story for about 2 years. In 2008, all of those notebooks were lost in a massive flood. I'm strangely okay with this. Those stories served their purposes.
3. Vampire Scripts - I was writing vampires in science lab before Stephanie Meyer. Probably wrote the first one in 1992(?) and imagined Christian Slater playing my lead character. No, he wasn't broody and sparkly, but it was a love story. And the scripts put together would probably not have made a whole feature-length film...but still. I did that.
4. Batman 4 - After Batman Returns came out, I had an idea for a Caped Crusader flick. When I heard they were already planning to make a third installment to the franchise, I gave my story the mind-bogglingly clever name BATMAN 4 and started working on it. Like my previous scripts, it was short. Way short. But, I was barely into junior high at the time, so I'd like to think I was doing okay for myself. The dialogue was stilted, but better than previous attempts. And, thanks to my Dad's support and prodding, I actually sent the script to Warner Brothers. Now, I'm not accusing anyone of anything, but my script involved Batgirl and Mister Freeze. This might explain why THAT Batmovie felt like it was written by a pre-teen. (I, however, cast Dennis Hopper as my villain, thank you very much.)
5. Unfinished silly scripts - I took a break from fiction for a while during high school (focusing more on band, my boyfriend and then still more shitty poetry). However, in college I started playing around with ideas for epic crossovers of Jay & Silent Bob movies and Episode 1 of Star Wars. My Jedi council included Jon Stewart, Ben Stein and Janeanne Garafalo. I also played around in a universe of my own design called Keoki's Pool Hall. (There is still a chance I might use this in the future, so I won't say more than that.) I feel like this is where I truly turned a corner with my arch nemesis: realistic dialogue. This is where I learned to write good conversations that were also riddled with humor.
6. Sin Aesthesia - In 2006, my sister-in-law Nicki and I created a steampunk circus-themed performance troupe. Belly dancers, fire spinners, jugglers and more. Not only did I write a stage show for the troupe, I wrote a series of short stories about and around the mythology of this little band of misfits. Again, some of these may one day see some action, but right now I have no plans of reviving the characters involved there.
7. Dreamseed - In 2008, at the prodding of my friend and savior Jesse Cox, I started work on my first novel. It was a slipstream bit of fiction answering the question, "What if people who die in their sleep stay in their dreams?" That book was the first novel that I finished and submitted to agents and publishers. I got ONE request for pages. But that also set gears into motion that I couldn't put a stop to. Honestly, I doubt I'll ever get back into this one. I have already stripped a lot from that and used some of its parts in other works. Also? Kerry Schafer's BETWEEN and its sequels tackle the subject in a far more lyrical fashion than mine ever could have.
And they have led to this moment. Since Dreamseed I've completed three more full novels, a novella and several short stories. There are a few pieces in the drawer that didn't get through their first couple of chapters. There are several ideas waiting for their turn on the carousel. And a week from today WILD CARD becomes my first published novel. Her first sequel is finished and I finally *finally* get to dig back into Book 3. (I'm about 75% of the way through that one.)
I cannot possibly quantify how much I've learned just since that first novel. I know they say you have to write a million words before you are a good writer, or something. I'm not sure how many drops are in my bucket...but I know that I've done a lot of work...DECADES of work to get to this point.
Keep at it. Keep writing. Keep growing.
It's so worth it.