Things are still slightly insane around here, but they’re slowly tapering off! Here are some highlights: SACANIME! Yup, I will be at the SacAnime Con on August 29 -31, and I will be sharing booth space with my partner-in-crime Dawn Star Wood! Books, prints, paintings, bookmarks . . . you name it, we’ll probably have it! Here’s where to find us:
Among the other things to be had . . . there might even be a brand new book! That’s right! THE SHAUGHNESSY FILE is coming soon, and tomorrow (7/31) is the big cover reveal! I’ll be hitting the web on some awesome blogs hosted by some awesome people, and they’ll have some excerpts to share! In the meantime, allow me to tide you over with this tantalizing look into the world of the magical 3rd District.
And on another note, over on PDMI Publishing’s page, I shared the following story of how I got into writing. It has touched many people, and I am sharing it here again in the hopes of reaching out to more teachers to remind them that what they do counts.
I have been writing since I was fourteen years old. We won’t get into the quality of those early years, but the fact remains that I was, in fact, writing. It was never my intention to write. Don’t get me wrong; I have always had a wonderful affair with words. I was reading by age three (non-picture books), and I was the kid that Scholastic Books had on a pedestal because I single-handedly kept them in business. (They sent me free books just because they thought I might like them. Seriously!)
By the time I was in Ninth Grade, however, I had something of problem with English classes. Horrific levels of peer abuse in my preceding grades had led me to loathing school in general and English in particular. Why did English get my wrath? Because I flunked it in Seventh Grade, thanks to my peers either destroying my homework, stealing it, or generally keeping me in such a state of terror that I was lucky I could verbally communicate let alone concentrate on grammar and syntax.
Starting with Eighth Grade, I went into home study. My teacher was named Mrs. Valeen. She was . . . there are no words for how bloody incredible she was as a teacher. (And, yes, was is accurate; she passed a few years ago. I will forever regret never getting to hand her my first published novel.) Mrs. Valeen looked at my test scores (GATE student in 99th percentile, consistently scoring at college level starting from age six and on) and then looked at my as-yet-cruddy homework results. The disconnect amuses me in hindsight and frustrated her in that time.
So around comes Ninth Grade and my English class. My grades were still, uhm, not nice. We were in a series of spelling words with certain construct and foreign origins. Amongst them were quiche and cliché, if that gives you an idea. The assignment for the week was to write a one-page story using said spelling words.
Oh the pit I fitched. I didn’t want to do it. It was stupid. It was boring. I got the polite, teacherly, equivalent of ‘shut up and do it’, and so I sulked more, sat down, and I wrote the dumb thing.
Have you ever heard of a gateway drug? That was mine.
And addiction is indeed the word for the way I have to write. There’s no option about stopping. Even if what I write is never seen by anyone else, I still have to produce it. I was once asked where I get my ideas, and all I can say is that I sometimes wonder if I have an ability to see into another dimension where what I think is fiction is in fact reality to someone else. (If so, apologies in advance to those characters/people that I sometimes both literally and metaphorically stepped on with a dragon.)
Almost eighteen years down the road, I think that if I tried to give a total word count for my life, it would be in the millions. The fact that I can now share pieces of those millions with others is one of the best feelings in the world. People who don’t know me can pick up one of my stories and be lost into my other worlds and, for that short time, share the amazing space inside my imagination. And it all came to be because some silly teacher just wouldn’t let me be a slacker in English class.
It’s amazing what can happen when someone believes in you, isn’t it?