Sunday, December 15, 2013
I did this for almost a decade, all the while knowing I wanted to do more. I wanted to publish. I tried several stories that came to my mind, but creating a world of brand new characters is much more difficult than taking established characters and creating new scenarios for them.
Then along came the Mission San Luis Rey....
I visited, I visited again and was smitten. I read some of the history and a plot formed. I began writing the story of Noki, Eti and Father Antonio while I was trying to find work in Las Vegas (and made another visit to the mission). I continued the novel when I returned to Tennessee. There were parts that drove me crazy and I put it aside for a while. The story wouldn't let me go, though. I researched deeper and was shocked to find the word Noki in a lexicon of the Luiseno language. It meant "my house." This was like some kind of epiphany and I realized the story it was meant to be finished. I had some really great editing work from another writer and the manuscript was finally ready. My House of Dreams could go to a publisher.
Now came the hard work. Finding a publisher . . . finding a publisher. No kidding, it was hard! Eventually, I decided to self-publish and found a fairly low-cost print on demand (POD for short). Anyone want to jump in with their publishing stories? Feel free! I was lucky, I had backers. My new publisher formatted the manuscript--it looked nice! It was a no-go trying to format a cover on my own even though I had a design from my artist friend and advice from someone who knew about that kind of thing. (If I recall that advice, it was go ahead and pay them the extra!) The finished book with my friend's design (thanks Pat!) with professional set-up was beautiful!
....and it was difficult to sell. I had no clue on marketing; had little time to beat the bushes, so to speak, as I was working in a new school district in a school 45 min. from home. Marketing is an ongoing process where one keeps on learning and growing. Then came a transfer to another school that demands even more of my time. On top of that it became more and more difficult to ask people to pay fifteen dollars for a 180 page young-adult historical novel, especially when it was not even local history. So when I joined a local writer's group (Etowah Writers Guild) and one of the members told me of his success with CreateSpace, I checked it out. I could get My House of Dreams published with no up front cost to me and I could charge what I wanted for it. The per-copy price was cheaper for me and therefore cheaper for those purchasing. If I didn't have but a little bit of time to market and sell, at least no one was going to lose their shirt because of it. So I switched. My House of Dreams is now with CreateSpace and also in ebook form with Kindle. (That was also free.)
I have a recently completed two part set of novels in process of editing that I am excited about. These stories are young-adult science fiction, the genre that I loved so much as I was growing up. They deal with genetically altered, created mutants sent to live on a planet that humans cannot live on. It deals with growing up in harsh conditions, dealing with those who would manipulate and control their mutant creations.
In the past year I have ventured back into writing short stories. It is so much more enjoyable than it was a decade and a half ago. I submitted several to short story contests. One, "Myths," about a dragon discovering something very unexpected and strange was selected for an anthology called aMUSEing Tales. It is published by Fantastic Publishing (http://www.fantasticbookspublishing.com/) and is available on Amazon.com.
I also recently came in second place in a contest on the Attic Girls site; http://www.atticgirls.net/ with my short story The Legend of Billy-Bob Flybottom; an old-fangled Appalachian tall-tale. It will be posted there in coming months.
I welcome any and all comments, suggestions and questions.