What a journey it has been! Three years ago this month, I published my first book. It was fitting it was a fairy tale, because that’s what it feels like holding my published works in my hands. Now, three years later, I can’t hold them all at once! Fourteen books and counting, with more in the works. So, what have I learned along the way?
Today marks a milestone, a dream come true. Today, roots that were planted a year and a half ago burst into bloom and bear fruit. Today, everything we’ve worked for is made real. Today, I own a bookstore.
I feel a bit like the Velveteen Rabbit, as I gather supplies to set up the ribbon cutting for our new shop. I feel that love has made me real. The love of my daughter, who is the best business partner and friend I could ask for. The love of friends who have stood by us through thick, thin, and more. The love of my parents through the years and the veil of heaven. The love I feel for creativity and the drive I have been blessed with to make things happen. The love for all who share my passion for books and handcrafting.
I always say I am living, walking proof that all things are possible. That is no less true on this day, this special day that marks a new beginning. Even now, we are working to change the face of indie publishing and to lift up all of us who believe in this endeavor. We want to create a community around the amazing work of indie authors, get their books the exposure they deserve, and help them succeed. Books are not a zero sum proposition and it is possible for all of us to succeed, if we’re willing to do the work. Well, Ellie and I are not only willing to do so, we have done so, and we’re not stopping now.
More is in the works for this little shop of ours… this little slice of heaven, this magic in the midst of the suburbs. As always, our plans are bigger than four walls and a floor. They are flying higher than any ceiling. They are deeper than any tap root. Our hopes and dreams for the Pipe & Thimble Bookstore and all whose books pass through our door are as limitless as our passion for what we do.
Two years ago today, I released my very first published work. For some who knew me, it came as a surprise. For others, it was long overdue. For me? I still don't know if I can find the words to describe that moment.
I've had other moments since. Other moments where I pushed the publish button. When I signed my first books for strangers, and beloved friends. When I gave a first interview, won that first award, attended my first Festival of Books. I watched others take the leap, sitting right beside them in some instances, and seeing that same light in their eyes. It's a light that never dims.
When your first book is published, something changes inside you. If you write, and publish, simply for the joy of sharing the stories inside you, the joy never ebbs. And, when you tap the well, dipping into the flow of cosmic creativity, you cannot stopper it again. The process changes you and you change the world, one story at a time.
Every story I write is special to me. Each one holds pieces of my heart and my soul. The Treasure of Ravenwood will always be special because I wrote it for my daughter and because it was my very first published book. Even as I return to Ravenwood this month, I experience that same indescribable feeling all over again. Even as my daughter and I write another children's book we thought up, just yesterday, we see the way a story can change the lives of both the author and the reader.
Then, I was new to self-publishing and riding the wave of possibility. Now, I am still riding that wave, finding my footing, hanging ten now and then, and no less thrilled to be on this adventure. I hope you'll continue to hang out with me, and maybe even purse that dream of yours. C'mon in! The water's fine!
Two years ago, I began my journey as a published author with a fairy tale. I'd written it years ago for my daughter, at her request, and it only seemed fitting to begin there.
In the last two years, I've published historical fiction and children's books and am about to publish my first non-fiction book. I've participated in author events, the LA Times Festival of Books, and more. There are no words to describe how it feels to publish for the first time, to hold your own book in your hands, to read it to others, to receive rave reviews. Every single book feels that way and, yet, as with first loves, none equal that very first book.
Ravenwood is a tale of love and trust, a story of being true to oneself and being your own fairy godmother. It is a story loved by both young and young-at-heart and has become the go-to book for readers in need of a touchstone, when they need to believe in things even when they cannot see them.
The entire experience since has been just that, a fairy tale and a dream come true. This month, I will return to Ravenwood to celebrate its anniversary. I invite you along, as we sidle up to the imposing iron fence and see what happens.
A very special night in June of 2015 resulted in a new children's book. Some friends were out with my daughter and I, celebrating Ellie's first book release. We had finished up our Chinese food (appropriate given her "slight fried rice obsession") and were driving home, under the bright light of the June full moon. Our friend Dan began to talk about his earliest childhood memory... asking his mother, "why does the moon follow me?"
I settled into my chair back at home and wrote the text of what would become my second illustrated children's book. I sent it to Jessica, who is an amazing artist as well as Dan's fiancée, and we decided to release the book in July of 2016, as a surprise in honor of Dan's birthday.
Since then, the beautiful illustrations have brought my story to life. Ellie added her own special inspired images to Jessica's, and I couldn't be happier with the result. A very special coloring activity book compliments the story book, which itself is a quiet, sweet lullaby in a book.
I love writing and I love sharing my work by publishing my books. I especially love working with others like Jessica and Ellie, to bring my children's books to life. I hope you'll love this collaboration as much as I do. Why Does the Moon Follow Me? releases July 9, 2016.
When you publish your writing, you often find yourself writing in the same genre(s) over and over again, especially if you find some measure of success with them. But, never one to be content, I gave something new a try this year.
I was invited to participate in an anthology. It would be my first such collaboration. The stories all had to contain a dragon, of some sort, and this was not something I was used to writing about. Still, I thought I would give it a shot. I love the idea of trying new things and I especially love adding to my backlist.
The first story idea petered out quickly. I have no idea if I'll ever revisit it. That left me with nothing. That is, until one night, when an idea showed up and I was off and writing. Interestingly, I found myself, at the end of that effort, with a YA dragon short story. Both YA and fantasy were new for me and, I have to say, I absolutely love this story.
Dragonmarsh opens with seventeen-year-old Remi Drake arriving at her ancestral estate. Despite her vivid imagination, the place seems to offer her little in the way of entertainment or distraction. That is the point, however, given that she has been whisked away from home by her distraught mother, who will do anything to keep Remi out of juvenile hall. An ancient family estate, a teenage girl who feels banished from the world, a mysterious book, and a very strange old man. What could go wrong?
Dragonmarsh is one of six stories in A Horde of Dragons, along with other original stories by Ellie Lieberman, Kindra Sowder, Raven Williams, Jena Baxter, and Guy Donovan. It releases July 1, 2016 and makes a milestone for me in many ways!
Sweet reads and sweet dreams!
There is magic in words. There is a place writers go where the words flow, seemingly on their own. When we come back from that place, it often feels as if someone else wrote those words on the page.
I still get that feeling, when I revisit stories I wrote, especially if it's been months. It's fresh and new and I even see things in the story I missed before. I marvel that I can do that, given that I wrote the stories in the first place.
Recently, that experience has been taken to an entirely new level. I'm honored that two incredibly talented voice artists have taken on producing audiobooks for The Treasure of Ravenwood and To Miss the Stars. I knew the moment I heard each of their auditions that they were the perfect people to take on these projects.
How did I know? I felt an inexpressible joy at hearing them bring my stories and my characters to life. I had tears in my eyes and felt chills of excitement at just the small taste each audition offered. I can't wait to hear the finished productions, given the quality of just the first 15 minutes of each project. And, I can't wait to share them with you!
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