I originally started writing short stories to hone my writing skills. I hoped that getting a short story or two published would help my writing resume so that I might be able to sell one of my novels. Foolishly, I went about the task completely backwards. I wrote the first novella, “Toil, Trouble and Rot,” before studying the short story market.
When publishers say “Short story” they mean short. Most magazines want works of 5000 words or less. “Toil” checked it at nearly 10,000 words when I was finished!!! I had some paring back to do…
While a somewhat shortened version of “Toil” was on submission, I started writing another short story in the same world. I loved the main character–a fifty-five year old grandmother. Demetria was a very unlikely hero, but one that reminded me of real heroes in my own life. Yes, my grandmother was a gardener, and like Demetria in my story, she was magic to me, creating a beautiful world in which she had a magical way with plants. I worked on four stories in the Kingdom of Sage before I finally sold “Toil” to Coyote Magazine. The problem with all the stories was that they were getting longer–not shorter.
With few markets to submit to due to the unlikely hero and the length, I decided one day to clean them up a final time and turn three of them into a book: Sage: Tales from a Magical Kingdom.
Since publishing “Sage” I’ve had several people ask if I plan on writing a novel set there. Maybe that is where I should have started…
Tell us about your story.
Sword and Sorcery meets Agatha Christie. Three novellas introduce the Kingdom of Sage and those who protect its boundaries. Join Demetria and her husband Ward in their adventures as they protect Sage from evil: Rats, Snakes and perpetrators from within.
Sometimes it takes a more experienced hand to save an entire Kingdom.
The first of these stories, “Toil, Trouble and Rot,” was published in “Coyote Wild Magazine.” The other two are all new, original stories. “Toil, Trouble and Rot” finds the Kingdom of Sage under attack from a deadly and mysterious enemy. In “Dungeons and Decay” find out just how far a mother will go when her child is in danger–and how much magic it takes to keep him safe. In “Call to Arms” every hand is needed when a ghost invades the kingdom demanding old wrongs be righted.
What has your journey as a writer been like? Was there any time when you felt like giving up during the journey?
Oh goodness, I give up on writing on a regular basis! I didn’t at first–enthusiasm and ignorance carried me for at least five years. Then I began submitting to publishers and agents. The rejections were inevitable. I’m stubborn so I just continued to edit each work, resubmit and work on new ones.
After I obtained an agent and she shopped one of my manuscripts for a year…I finally did reach the point where I wanted to give up. At least…give up on the publishing aspect. I stopped writing anything except a short story here or there for probably six months. Truthfully, had Kindle not come along, I might still be there.
Where did you get the inspiration for your writings?
Inspiration is easy for me. I have more ideas than a garden has bugs. Discipline is what I want more of. I need to get my butt in the chair and write the words–and then edit the heck out of them to turn them into a story. The ideas I have always seem greater than the story I produce. I want to create the perfect work that “captures” the entire idea, but perfection is a mirage–always off in the distance, beckoning me closer, but escaping my grasp.
Self-publish or published by a reputable publisher? Why?
I’m self-published, mainly because there was only one or two markets for novellas. When the Kindle came along, I heard that Kindle readers were more open to self-published works. And Amazon was open to publishing my work. So I gave it a shot. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the results.
Do you have plans to develop your novellas in other mediums or otherwise?
I’ve had a few readers suggest that “Sage” needs to be developed into a full novel. I’ve also had a few people request it in paperback. At this point, I don’t have any concrete plans to create a novel…but. There is that fourth “Sage” story sitting on my hard drive. It was too long to make into a saleable short story.
It was getting more and more complex…so, never say never. As for creating a trade paperback, I have no plans to do so at this point. I’m not sure that I could sell enough copies at a fifteen dollar price tag to make it worth my while. One of the reasons I think “Sage” is doing so well is because it is an e-book. It’s inexpensive–and for an unknown author, I think that is working in my favor.
Want to be featured as an author/mangaka on the AMWC Virtual Book Tour? Check out our simple guidelines and we look forward to hearing from you! =3