One of the (many) weird things I’ve discovered about being a writer is the way something sparks an idea in my mind and it grows in ways I could never have expected. Even the things I know will touch me don’t always have a predictable effect. Take the musical Les Miserables, for example, and the Dream’verse.
Some twenty years ago I saw a touring production of Les Mis. It blew me away. I spent the rest of the weekend in a music-filled haze, playing over and over my Original Broadway Cast Recording Double-Length Cassette that I’d begged/borrowed money to buy.
Before that fateful weekend I’d poked at writing. Like many beginners, I had story starts in many sizes and genres, begun on a surge of inspiration and abandoned when the glow faded. Maybe the ideas weren’t fully-formed, the characters flat, the spark not strong enough…who knows. All I knew was that I had a lot of failed stories that I’d cared about once, that I wanted to care about again. The last thing I needed was another false start, but Les Mis took hold of me and wouldn’t let go. I had to do something with it, even if it turned to cold cinders like the others. Resistance, as the Borg will have it, was futile. I had to try. (Though Yoda and my character Eve Marcori would remind me there is no try.)
I’m no pretty-handwriting-in-a-pretty-journal-while-sipping-tea writer.* I like coffee in big mugs that make a statement on the side, and I use 70-sheet, one-subject, twenty-notebooks-for-a-dollar spiral-bound notebooks. And I eat pretty stationery for breakfast. (Okay, not really.)
Christmas 2005, an acquaintance gave me a lovely journal. It had an iris on the cover, and music notes, and gold writing. It wasn’t my thing, but it was too pretty to give away. So when I felt the need to do something different, that journal was near at hand.
On 1/15/06 I wrote inside the front cover the date and the title: Dreams to Truth Journal (Yes, I felt the need to write that it was a journal.) Below that, I wrote Because I am an excellent writer and I deserve to be published.
I needed to say that, to tell myself that. I felt stagnant. Stuck. Another vacation had slipped by without my accomplishing anything I meant to do. I needed accountability. I needed to write it down. The goal was some progress recorded every day. Every single day–I felt I’d waited long enough to get my butt moving.
Knight Errant is available for sale. Wow. It’s hard to believe.
Taro has been with me a long time, you see. More than…wow. More than fifteen years. He first appeared under a different name and far more bland aspect, in the book about his sister Eve Marcori, former Marine. It wasn’t until years later that he came alive.
Oh, I tried. I changed his name. I invented a background for him, more than just “Eve’s long-lost adopted little brother.” I investigated his family, and the years between Eve losing and finding him. I changed his name again. I said he was sneaky and mouthy, but I couldn’t seem to make him be either. So I followed time-honored avoidance techniques, and I moved on. He didn’t matter that much anyway. Minor character. No big. I finished the book. Over years, I edited the book. In my new novelist happy shiny glow, I sent that book off to DAW–all 249,000 words of it.
Guess what happened. It took them a week–and some of that was transit time.
I got angry. I got determined. I got to writing.
Taro’s got a secret…
Taro Hibiki owes his new sister, former Marine Eve Marcori, more than just his life. She’s given him everything—a home, a family, a future—and she’s working on sending him to college. Taro would rather be shot, but he’ll honor his debt or die trying.
When Taro’s honor—and the rest of him—meet Rafe …