Many authors place foot to the path of publishing when they are very young; I was six. Summer. The poing-poing-poing of cheap plastic balls bouncing on the street. Kids laughing in the lingering light of the warm New England evenings. All of this coming to me through a window over my bed. My bedtime, you see, was 7:30—no exceptions. So while the neighborhood played Around the World just below my window, I lay sleepless and pouting and frustrated.
That is when I invented my first character. She was queen of all the universe, and she could go out and play no matter what my parents said—and she could take me with her. So while the real world turned outside my window, entire planets sprang to life inside my head.
She stayed with me through a move to Pennsylvania, through junior high, and through high school. I joined the literary magazine and overhauled it. Though I had joined so that I could get my writing in, I wound up having a great time. But, as is so often the way of things, the real world reasserted itself when I went to college. I needed to think about day jobs, 9-5, bread on the table, and bacon. I was getting a degree in creative writing…not much smell of crispy frying pork on that degree. But I did know something related…I’d been an award-winning editor for the school literary magazine.
Editing made money.
So my path into the publishing world was through the back door. I liked contract and freelance work. One of my clients dubbed me a smokejumper because I was always swooping in behind the lines to fight fires. Thus, I wound up becoming a “rescue” editor that took on troubled projects and pulled them out of the fire. This took a lot of time and brainpower. Where I used to lay awake at nights figuring out what Falion and Venae would do next in my novel, I now lay awake wondering how to get that nonresponsive author who was tired of working on a failing project for five years back to the table. I admire people who can write and hold a day job. I’m not one of them.
So my writing took a back seat for a very long time. While I was in publishing, working with the likes of Simon & Shuster, John Wiley & Sons, Silver Burdett & Ginn, and Josey Bass, I was not fulfilling the dreams of that little girl staring up at the sky as the stars winked into view through her window.
A few years ago, I was cornered into starting an online writers group. I’d created or revived several, but none had the effect on me that the last one had. I’d started it to teach a young woman who reminded me of myself at her age. In teaching, I learned so much more than I ever suspected I would. I began writing again, and to my surprise, better than ever. The interceding years that I thought would make me rusty had not. The countless rewrites bordering on ghost writing and lots of bull sessions to fix failed text had solidified in the back of my brain. I reaped a reward I never expected. Now my manuscript is almost done.
My day job still interferes. So about that path to publishing…I’ve decided to leave it. I’m going to open the back door of publishing and exit the building in January. Then I’m going to tuck In a Mortal Shadow under my arm, walk round the building, and knock on the front door.
Wish me luck.
Leasspell is giving away an ebook copy of the novel, The Dead Man’s Deal by one of our members, Jax Daniels. It is an award-winning fantasy murder mystery set in New Orleans. To enter for a chance to win, drop by Leasspell and leave a comment on any post and your email. Winners will be randomly selected from comments left in the month of January. Inappropriate comments will be deleted immediately and are not eligible to win.
Jennifer L. Carson has dreamed about exotic characters and far off worlds since before she was eight. She wrote her first story before she read her first novel. Writing is her life from her career as an editor to her leisure time as a writer and amateur teacher on this subject so near and dear to her heart. She has worked with such publishers as Addison/Wesley, John Wiley & Sons, and Jossey-Bass and currently freelances. But F/SF is where her heart lies. She has moderated for writers workshops at many cons and resurrected or founded three writers critique groups. She enjoys mentoring writers, fixing manuscript plotlines, talking passionately about writing, and creating her own fantasy series If you can’t find her, look no further than the world of Indirian where she is crafting her epic fantasy novel, In a Mortal Shadow. Contact her at mortalshadow at carkees.net.
When Winki Witherspoon lost her husband she inherited his New Orleans mansion, and his magical talent. Can she master it and discover his traitor before she too is destroyed?
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