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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Day 4: I'm thankful for...

Welcome to day 4 of my ongoing attempt to focus on one thing I'm thankful for in my life every day for 1 year. Why? Because I'm a grumpy-ass curmudgeon who finds great pleasure in grousing. I fixate on what's wrong when I have so very many things that are right in my life. So, I thought I'd try looking on the sunny side for a change! Can I do it for 365 days--from Thanksgiving Eve 2011 to Thanksgiving Eve 2012? Let's see...

Today I am thankful for my publisher, Casperian Books, taking a chance on a new author and publishing Marina Melee. The wonderful people at Casperian helped make one of my lifelong dreams come true.

I've been writing since I was a kid. My mother loves to tell the story of my first "book" - stapled together, hand-written, illiustrated in stick figures I drew myself (I have no artistic ability) in pencil. "School Rules." I didn't know until much later, but Mom and Dad locked themselves in the bathroom and laughed until they cried. My mother shared the book with my 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Jones, who asked if she could take it to show her own mother.

In fifth grade I started writing a book about a girl and her horse. Barb Wiktor was going to illustrate it. We never finished it. Throughout Junior High and High School I started, but never finished a number of other stories. Finally, when I was a sophomore or junior, I finished my first YA novel, Daddy Doesn't Like Cats. The next year, I wrote my great romance about a teenage girl and the hockey player she falls in love with. Quite melodramatic, of course. I can't remember the name of that one, but I did finish it. That I finished those two was quite a feat. I wish I'd saved them.

I had a number of false starts and ideas for great novel beginnings, but never for the middle and end. I continued to think about writing throughout college, but eventually set it all one the back shelf. At some point, it fell off the shelf. I started writing short stories when I moved back to the VI, but just for myself. I outlined Lore Passers, a dystopian , environmental sci-fi story, and progressed in that in fits and starts, gathering news and research articles for reference. That's all in a drawer somewhere.

When I moved to Puerto Rico, I started Barnacles. I managed to finish that at about the same time I wrote Saving the Fairiews' Tails -- my children's chapter book that I did get a publishing contract for. Right before the publisher went bankrupt. I discovered the IWW while writing Fairies' Tails, and after a few months on the list, learned enough to be totally embarassed that I shared Barnacles with anyone. But, I did enjoy writing it. There's probably a story to save in there somewhere. I'll just have to get rid of all the telling, do more showing, and trust the reader to not need to authorial intrusion of the main narrator Barnacle. Who knows. Maybe I'll get back to both of those.

I do know that all of those early efforts were in preparation for me to tell George's story in Marina Melee. The significance was more than just to fulfill my writing dream, but to honor George. Yes, George H. Marsall III is a fictionalized version of my George, but he was my muse. He inspired it and me, and I wanted the novel to be a fitting tribute to a great man. I am so very thankful to Casperian Books for letting me pay that tribute to George and fulfill--or start on--my dream.

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