I’ve written before, and again rather recently, about the steps I employ in completing a manuscript, and then turning those 100,000 or so words into the forms of paper and digital to be read, hopefully, by more than just the handful of people who know me personally. When I completed my first book in 2008, it took some time to put the whole thing together since I didn’t know it would be a novel instead of scenes from the movie that played in my head. Of Gifts and the Goddess probably took about 5 years, give or take, to go from the opening scene that was shoved back to Chapter 1, as room needed to be made for the Prologue, to a completed book form that I held in my hands. When fraud was the way the publisher worked that picked up Of Gifts and the Goddess, I decided to self-publish, which we now refer to as “indie publisher” or “indie author”.
My next 3 novels came in quick succession. Like the first one, Of Dolphins and Desires is a stand alone story. I seemed to be traveling chronologically through time, with Gifts taking place in historical Ireland, and Dolphins in contemporary Mexico. My third novel, Of Stars and Secrets, not a true science fiction piece, I labeled as “futuristic”, as is the sequel and my fourth novel, Of Prophecies and Promises. I began right away on the next project, a trilogy about three siblings that live in Wyoming and Colorado and are plagued by danger and rewarded with love, and completed the first story, Of Art and Air, which took a bit longer to publish. In between these novels, I finished yoga teacher training and, like many creatives, felt that I could best express the experience through art, so I wrote several poems about the tools and techniques of yoga that became Yogis All: A Journey of Transformation, Volume I. (Volume 2 has been floating around in my head for about 5 years now.) But unable to stop at just poems, I added a pocket folder and cool binder clips and paper clips, a pen on a rope, printed the poems on one side of the paper and used different fonts and colored paper, all in the hopes that practitioners would be inspired to make their own notes in the margins, add their own poems or pictures, and therefore making the “poem project” more personal and useful. I even had it spiral bound for ease of laying it open or folding it back. And because other art often sparks ideas in creative people, I found the photographs of a nature photographer who had spent 7 years on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska incredibly wonderful, and penned 25 more poems to coincide with the photographs in a book I titled Lingering Hand of Creation. Sporadically throughout this length of time, I worked on the second story in the trilogy, but as life is want to do, it got in the way…or maybe I was just temporarily detoured.
After about 2 1/2 years of working inconsistently on the second book in the Tanner Trilogy, I finally “finished” it. That’s a loose term, I think, when it comes to writing. If I were a chef, I might consider “finishing” my meal by plating it and adding a sprig of parsley. But with this particular story, more so than any other project I had worked on, it needed lots of “finishing”. I spent about 4 months doing rewrites, and ended up adding about 30,000 words, which I believe were much needed. After that came the multiple rounds of editing, then formatting and more editing, ad nauseum. I admit that no other project has taken so long to come to fruition, nor has had as many hiccups along the way. Total time from beginning scene to printed proof copy was about 3 1/2 years, and unfortunately 18 months after Book One was released. My goal is to complete the third manuscript, as yet untitled but already has 40,000 words, and have it published in 2015. Of course, other projects are waiting for my attention, like the second yoga poem project, another poem project I’ve titled Of Love Lost and Found, short stories for an anthology that I’m working on with other Phoenix authors, contest and article submissions, pieces too numerous to number or name that have been started and need to be finished for a series in digital form only, and of course the other trilogy clamoring in my head about post-armageddon Earth, a 7 book series about 14th century knights, and the list goes on. This, of course, will all be done amongst other life things like working full-time, caring for my horses, writing blogs and doing social media, blah, blah, blah, because the only way for me to publish books, to get the words from my head to the paper, and have some joy along the way, is to finish my stuff.
There is celebrating to be done for the finished product that reflects creative juice and a lot of reasonable and logical fixing, so I welcome Of Hoof Prints and Heartbeats, Book Two of the Tanner Trilogy into the world! The official book launch is Saturday, February 21. I’ve given it a special price through February 28, both in its print and digital forms. It can be found on Amazon and my website, along with my other novels and collections of poetry and some short stories: www.myjoyenterprises.com
What is your work in progress? If you’ve finished and/or published a novel or poetry chapbook, please share in the comments!