Why would anyone choose the writing life? Damn good question! And I’m still not sure I’ll be able to answer it logically. But, the idea made me want to delve into the backgrounds of my books–the ones I’ve written all by my ownsome. Why did I write what I wrote? What was going on at the time? What did I really have in mind? This series will attempt to answer those questions. Fair warning: it’s going to take a lot more than one measly post.
So, to begin….
Fresh on the heels of my fourth collaboration with Canadian writer, Barbara Galler-Smith, I felt it was well past the time for me to write my first solo novel. When working with Barb, we adhered to a protocol that required us to outline everything before we wrote anything. And it worked, for a while. For a long while, actually, until one or the other of us got bitten by the inspiration bug and introduced a new character, conundrum, or crisis.
Then it was back to the drawing board to examine the outline to see just how far off track the new issue would throw us, assuming we both liked the new idea. As I recall, that wasn’t always the case. Anyway, by the time we got everything worked out, written–and in the case of one entire volume–re-written, we were done. By my estimate, it took seventeen (yep, 17) years from the time we started until the third book in our trilogy was finally published. Most of that time was NOT spent looking for a publisher, though we talked to several. (The titles in that series are: Druids, Captives, and Warriors, all published by EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing.)
Weary of such a massive undertaking, we took a shot at collaborating on something much, much smaller, a romantic comedy set in Wales. That one took less than a year. Under Saint Owain’s Rock came out in the fall of 2011. We both liked the book, but I believe we were both tired of working together. When we started, we had different strengths, different outlooks, and different tastes. As writers, we both grew. We both learned a lot (and that’s a monstrous understatement). It was time for a change.
So, while still wrapping up the details in my last collaboration with Barb, I wrote my very first solo novel, Ressurection Blues. I managed to put the whole thing together in about nine weeks–start to finish. The two books came out one month apart.
Is one story better than the other? I don’t believe so. I think they’re both fun reads, and if one can believe the reviews, readers like them both. That said, the two stories couldn’t be much different. Aside from one being set in the British Isles and the other in rural Alabama, they both feature very small towns. In Owain’s Rock, the townsfolk are looking for public exposure and tourism; in Blues, the townsfolk revel in anonymity. The last thing they want is to be discovered by anyone!
Blues gave me the opportunity to experiment with new character types. More importantly, I no longer had to compromise–on anything. That sped things up immensely. I dug around in my own history; I thought about the things I most admired by other writers, notably Robert Heinlein. I got to tell a story that presented a wide range of possibilities, all based on libertarian principles. More than anything else, I found joy in exercising my imagination. In short, I was having a blast.
Did I make mistakes? Sure. Plenty of them. But far fewer than if I hadn’t spent so many years working with Barb and other members of our first writing group, The Imps (short for Writers Impatiently Waiting to be Published).
So, in case you missed either of these GREAT stories, NOW is the time to correct the oversights. Starting tomorrow, January 16, 2023, and running through midnight on January 20, 2023, you can download free copies of both books from Amazon. Here are the links:
Ressurection Blues — Click here.
Under Saint Owain’s Rock — Click here.
With any luck, I’ll be back next time to chat about my second novel, Treason, Treason!
Meanwhile, look for discounted pricing on all my paperbacks in the next few weeks.
Happy New Year!
Josh, I’m not sure if you remember, but I sure do! The first day I met you, you gave me a copy of Ressurection Blues asking me to promise I’d write a review after reading it. And of course I did! From that day forward I became an admirer and a regular reader of your books. Under St. Owain’s Rock — even though I was a little embarrassed writing the review, I did, and I bet it sold some books.
I don’t believe you made a mistake going out on your own. Maybe doing so led you my way. I will never forget the day we met and will forever be grateful for you; my friend!
Annel, you’re an absolute, honest-to-goodness sweetheart. It’s why I modeled one of the characters in The 12,000-Year-Old Whisper after you. Almost used your real name, too. [chuckle] That was fun! Working with you has been equally joyful.
You’ve made me smile many times. I will never forget that funny lady in the Whisper book. It was a great book. When will another Treason be published? Hopefully soon.
Being the world class procrastinator that I am I let the deadline on the free digital copies of your latest books go by but I understand that you will have your paperbacks on sale soon. Better luck for me this next time. I need something good to read to take my mind off other things.
Allow me to suggest “Treason, Treason,” probably the best book I’ve done. Although “Hyde and Zeke” is getting great reviews, too!
Yikes! A sequel to Treason, Treason! Recalling how much research time went into that book, the thought of doing another is… Well, chilling.