Today I saw a quote from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which still stands as my favorite TV show of all time: "Every girl that could have the power will have the power. Can stand up. Will stand up." For those who have never watched the show, this is from an epic moment in the last episode of the season. To me, it says you don't have the potential to be strong, you are strong.
I've always loved the moment in stories when the woman takes back her power or finally wields what she has had inside of her all along. I'm a Wonder Woman lover, but Helen Keller is my hero, and I miss Maya Angelou's voice. The women who fought for our rights in this very real life story are inspirations. International Women's Day honors those women before us, it honors us, and it brings awareness to the disparities that still exist in equality in our country and around the world.
I've always recognized the day, but this year it means far more to me than it has in the past. If this country's political climate has shown me anything, it's that we are still fighting for our rights. That we need to still fight for our rights and for our voices to be heard. It has shown me that despite my own experiences with inequality in the work place, I have been privileged enough to not fight too hard before. I have been too unaware of the struggles going on every day.
As each day ticks by and another fight arises to maintain our rights or the rights of our fellow human beings, I find myself reminded of Story, Jess, and Kestrel from my book Fractured Dream or Blake and Shelby from the Reaper's Daughter. I write strong female characters because I believe in the inner strength that we possess. Magic is awesome, but they beat all odds not because of their special powers, but because they recognize their inherent power within. Because they persevere against all odds. Because they persist. I think often about all the books I've read where women fight against oppressors, fight to make the world brighter, fight to save the world. I think about Buffy. And I think about all the women fighting for their rights around the world. But instead of magic, they use their intellect. Instead of super strength, they use their voices. Instead of battles, they march.
Today, I am unabashedly proud to be a feminist. I believe in equal rights for women. I believe in equal rights for all human beings. Happy International Women's Day to all the amazingly strong women in real life and to those who have inspired us in fiction. As Laurel Thatcher Ulrich said, "Well behaved women never make history." And as Mother Teresa said: "I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples." Let's make it ripple.
When I was in my first year of college I wrote about dreams for an essay. I had a very good reason why. Months before I'd had a dream that my relatively older (I was 18, him 23), snowboarder boyfriend—#firstlove—had moved to Colorado without any goodbye but a letter. I woke up from that dream, sobbing, to him calling me. Understandably, I told him of the dream, and at the time, he assured me he'd never do such a thing.
Fast forward to a month after my freshman year in college, and there came the day I couldn't get a hold of my boyfriend. No pages (this was almost 20 years ago, so pagers were the norm) were answered. No phone calls returned. A couple of days later with still no word from him I was told by his friend's mother that he'd moved to Colorado. He'd been too chicken to say goodbye. Prophetic much? Now a married woman, I've long made peace with the heartbreak of that time. But the dream still haunts me.
After the essay, my English professor recommended that I read Inner Work by Robert A. Johnson. So I bought it. I did read it, and while I don't remember much of it, I've always been impressed with the idea that dreams are messages we're trying to tell ourselves. Perhaps therein lies why my very first book holds dreams as a main element to the story. It is, after all, called Fractured Dream. And to the main character, dreams are incredibly significant.
In fact, parts of Fractured Dream were inspired by dreams. I think they're important. Just the other day, I dreamt there were bats hanging around my house. Now, according to SleepCulture.com, Bats "are very sensitive to the other members of their group and constantly communicate with them. A dream of a bat suggests issues associated with free will and freedom as well, since bats can fly!" Now I think the dream could have been spawned by my obsession with all things Halloween, but I've also been very affected by the election and political climate, so much that my husband has voiced a number of times that he'll be happy when it's over so I'll stop worrying.
I've struggled with my platform, wondering what I could offer that isn't already covered in full by authors— writing tips, editing tips, getting published tips, nothing if you're big enough and don't have to blog anymore. I think my thing is dreams. I'm going to use this blog as something of a dream diary. So tell me your dreams. I think some of the most kick-ass ideas come from the craziness of our brains in after hours. I I know I've got lots of crazy dream stories to tell.
My Publishing Life
It was Friday, pizza and movie night with my husband and son, when I got the instant message from my marketing manager ... Did you see the latest Booktrope announcement? I knew before looking, I'd had a feeling that I hadn't taken seriously. I should have.
When my publisher, Booktrope, announced they were closing late last month I was instantly awash with a mesh of emotions that sent me straight to the wine. Once I was sipping some Apothic, the movie forgotten, by me at least, I waded through the confusion, anger, disbelief, and fear among authors and team members that accompanied the announcement in Booktrope forums and teamrooms, I felt my anxiety rise. Some people showed their best colors, others their worst. I tried to show my most reasonable, supportive, and kind face in the midst of widespread panic.
I'd been wanting to try different avenues of publishing for a while. I've read that some of the most successful authors are those that are diverse among platforms and publishers, which I deemed a good way to go about this crazy publishing business. But I'd also planned on publishing with Booktrope for a long time to come, as long as they'd have me anyway, so I wasn't ready for my books to not be available come May 31. I'm in the middle of writing a sequel after all! Booktrope was my first book home, and ice cream soon followed the wine chased down by intense uncertainty. What would I do next?
I could self publish, which seemed to be the avenue the majority of my fellow authors were planning on taking ... I thought about it, agonized, called my sister to whine. But when it was all said and done, I knew I wasn't ready for that. I wanted the support from a publisher, I always had. First and foremost, I knew I had been given one blessing with the news. After having spent eight years writing Fractured Dream, I could barely wait to set my first book baby free back in 2014. Looking back, I see mistakes I made as a new author, ones I've been wanting to fix. I believe so strongly in this story, I spent years building the world, and with the second one getting closer to being done, I knew I really wanted to re-edit Fractured Dream and make it better. So that is what I'm choosing to do. Unfortunately, Fractured Dream is going to disappear for a while. When I'm ready, I'll be looking for its new home along with the second book in the trilogy, Shattered World. And it will be back, I promise!
As for The Reaper's Daughter, I'm happy to announce as of June 1, fantasy publisher Dragon Moon Press will be my second book baby's new home. I'm excited to join this new publishing family and I have a good feeling about it.
Once I'm done editing Fractured Dream, I'll be back at the bit, finishing up Shattered World and continuing to work on a Sci-Fi YA Romance I'm feeling very passionate about.
For now, both titles are available at discounted prices until May 31! The Reaper's Daughter is currently 99 cents and Fractured Dream is $2.00.
Now that the dust has settled, I'm truly thankful for Booktrope. They made me a published author and realized a dream I've had almost since I could read. I got to work with and meet some amazing people, made friends with kindred souls, became a book editor, and was given the opportunity to be immersed in a community of like-minded individuals, those who love to write, read, and breathe words.
It's life and it goes something like this:
"Look on every exit as being an entrance somewhere else.”
― Tom Stoppard
A Fairytale of Sorts
So I'm bummed that I missed out on the chance to post on National Tell A Fairytale Day last week. I actually didn't know such a day existed, but now that I do you can bet I won't forget it next year. To make up for my lapse, I'm still going to post a fairytale of sorts here. The story is called The Golden Fiddle, and it's a story within a story because it actually comes from my epic fantasy novel, Fractured Dream, but it also stands on its own. I hope you enjoy!
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The Golden Fiddle