As I get ready to self-publish my first book, I thought I might share the journey it followed to get here. Those of you who follow me on Twitter or my Facebook page, mostly handled by my talented wife, you may have seen clues about the story of a white dragon, a green dress, and some bacon with hashtags galore about Eighteen Fools. We are currently in the final stages to send it forth into the world. Though my first few attempts at a book were more in the comfort zone of thrillers and horrors for me, this is the first book feels like it all came together. I have almost shelved it many, many times; however, with much encouragement, and the anxiety to match it, Eighteen Fools will see the light of day.
Eighteen fools started out as a doodle in 1996 while I was stationed in Korea. The original 18 fools represented the 18 of us that were in my platoon. One at a time we rotated back to the States. My roommate knew I spent laundry time writing short stories, so he challenged me to do one for the platoon. In the original, the dragon was being hunted by eighteen stalwart warriors of first platoon. One by one they fell to the dragon in order of our ETS (End of Time Served, the military loves abbreviations.) from Korea. It was a good laugh for a few of us, but it ended up as a memory and a piece of paper in the trash can.
Somewhere in the mid 2000’s while sitting around bored, I began to doodle a story about a girl escaping a mean duke. I sent the first chapters to people to review, but it really was not a complete story idea. So, it was shelved then scrapped.
I wanted to participate in this writer’s competition, which is really more an exercise called NaNoWriMo (https://nanowrimo.org/ Nation November Writer’s Month, at least military abbreviations are short), in November 2014. In this challenge you must write a 50,000-word story from the first to the thirtieth of November. Challenge accepted; I just needed a story. This was intended to be pure fun… although anyone chasing a dream of being an author, hopes that any book they write will be published. None of my ideas of thrillers, mysteries, or horror suited the exercise. Besides, it was meant to be a challenge. That is how the idea formed that I would bring back the story of 18 fools, but this time not just a dragon hunt. I wanted to incorporate the story of the captive girl escaping the Duke. And to be honest, I wanted the Dragon to have a bigger role and have relatable personality. The story was done November 28th, I hit 50,000-plus words, and had a rough story. I went through the process of editing and reworking but eventually shelved it.
While working on another eventually shelved manuscript (see a pattern here?), I worked with a great Editor/Mentor, Heather Cashman. Heather gave me a new way of looking at my writing and how to develop the story. New Eyes brought new ways of seeing all my previous writings.
A few months ago, I dusted off Eighteen Fools, a few voices outside my Mother’s (who has to, by unwritten law, be supportive) told me to try Eighteen fools again. This time the story focuses on Elya (the Maiden) and Frackus (the Dragon). I took to heart all the criticisms and troubled spots, ignored all the good comments except what to keep. I appreciate good opinion and praise as much as the next person, but when the book is in development, you want don’t want to hear anything nice. It is the only way to grow and fix the errors. Now, I feel it is ready for the world to see.
Thank you for all those who supported me and pushed me to this point. I will post more when the book is available.