Published: The Tiny Giant

full cover final

Look at that, I wrote a book. The Tiny Giant is published, available on Amazon and from my online store, and it’s really, really better than I could have hoped. I’ve been so busy with the last iteration, then the nuts and bolts of publishing, everything else got shoved to the side. A few things to know, for the writers interested in these things…

I wrote this book five times.

The first draft was about 83,000 words. The published edition is around 45,000 words.

The final draft has a completely different ending, four new characters, and holds the third “aging” of the main character—from 8 to 12 to 11.

The first draft had 18 long chapters. The final has 35 short ones.

A whole plot line moved to the next book, and a bunch of fancy fantasy world-building crap just disappeared.

The entire process took me four years.

I used an editor and a professional artist/designer at the end. (DO THIS if you possibly can.)

Also, I cried, I was on fire, I was depressed, and I laughed out loud. This is not a process for the faint of heart or those lacking perseverance. There are two things that I think got me through it.

  1. Be Too Dumb to Quit: A lot of what I’ve accomplished in life, well, I got to it this way. My first professional job had a glitch in the hiring process, and I had to temp for a while until a position opened up. I called the partner every week until he finally said he had something. I ran a half-marathon. I wrote a novel. I could have quit at any point, but I didn’t want to tell people I quit. I did all sort of drastic rewriting and revising and improving—because I’m too dumb to quit. It may not be an easy way to live your life, but I’ve been pretty happy with the results to date.
  2. They Can’t All Be Winners: Sometimes, stuff just doesn’t work. Characters, ideas, story lines, words. If you had a dozen children, odds are at least one wouldn’t work out like you’d imagined. I had to make painful, heart-wrenching decisions to get to the end with this. I had to cut things I really liked, true, but I also had to admit that some of it WASN’T GOOD. As much as I wanted the construct of magic I’d made to work, it wasn’t a winner. It was dragging everything down into the Pit of Incomprehensibility. When I took it out, everything was better. (I realize I may be opening the kimono a little much here, but I’m nothing if not OPEN.) On the good side of this, it shows that you’re taking risks when you have things that don’t work. I have a couple of short stories in my drawer that won’t ever get developed because THEY ARE NOT WINNERS. S’alright. I learned.

There will be a sequel, and I’ll be shopping it to traditional publishers as a series when I’m a few chapters in. I didn’t do much of that with The Tiny Giant. I felt like I wanted to learn what I was doing without the distraction–maybe that was dumb, but I still have a book and the publishers are still there. In the meantime, I’ve been doing school visits and that is terrific fun. Kids have the best questions–I might do a whole post about that experience.

If you want a fun, easy summer read, The Tiny Giant is for you. If you have kids in the 9/10+ age group around, this is great summer reading for them. There’s adventure, a dragon, and the unexpected. There are hard decisions. There are some very funny bits. Get it signed at my online store at Little Voices Publishing, or head over the Amazon and use that Prime shipping.

Now I’m working on Bitches and Dead People–all the stories are written and I’m working with a different editor on those, one with specific expertise in short fiction and some familiarity with the horror genre. It’s some fantastic writing, and I can’t wait to share it later this year.  Until then, I’ll be around a little more. Thanks for being here.


PS. Isn’t that cover the most gorgeous thing ever? Steve Ogden at Steve Ogden Art did the cover, book design, and little illustrations for each chapter head. Check him out on your fave media platform for his comics and the behind the scenes on The Tiny Giant. Here’s one of my favorite chapter illustrations. Bahahaha….IMG_7279

Advertisements

Signs of Surrender

img_3597

I watch from inside
as mortal becomes remains
finally, cede control


I am 44, and my multi-hued hair is turning from primarily dark brown to a sort of salt and cayenne mix.  Someday I imagine I’ll have some pinkish fluff on my head that matches the ill-mannered apricot poodle I also intend to have.  I don’t mean to dye my hair, unless I find some shockingly bright color appeals to me.  I suppose then I’ll have to dye my poodle to match.

Why such a morbid poem about gray hair?  Well, it’s not about gray hair.  It’s about realizing that I can’t control any of this, the riotous hormones, my once luxurious hair, the fluid shape of my middle.  I can only be kind to myself.  I can eat something because it makes me feel well.  I can take a walk because the outdoors sustains me.  I can see people, and write words, and spend several hours hand knitting a dishcloth, though my dishcloths have lives that are nasty, brutish, and short.  I can let go of the frustration of being stuck on the worst amusement park ride ever (Ride the MenoCoaster!  Money back if you don’t feel like screaming!) and just….slowly….breathe for a few minutes.

Just when that quiet wants to turn to tears, the school bus brings the circus back to town and saves me from a surplus of contemplation.  Maybe I should get that poodle soon, and teach it some tricks.

 

Receipt of Ideas

img_3513

Just write it down
No matter where
Card, receipts
Bleed it there

Capture that chaos
Before it’s gone
Scrawl investments
You may later draw on

When it bursts
Don’t edit, censor
The whirlwind creates
Sense comes after


I have little bits of words scrawled in the margins of everything in our house.  Some of it is probably disturbing for my husband, given the horror stories I write.  I’ve learned that I have to write down ideas.  If I think of a particularly poignant sentence construction, a clever rhyme, a novel that will surely both disturb and entertain–I write all that down.  If I don’t, I won’t remember it.

It’s a bit of young writer’s conceit that if an idea is worth pursuing, you’ll remember it.  Sorting your ideas this way is like having your toddler sort the mail.  You will absolutely get some mail.  The odds that it will be the boring looking electric bill are pretty slim, though, and you might need that.

I write it all down.  Some of it is nonsense.  Some of it I can hardly read.  Some of it turns into amazing stories or phrases or entire poems.  I fill notebooks.  It’s my hoard of possible treasure.

Note:  By “weekly,” I meant pretty much every week, not EVERY week, and by “Sunday” I meant around Sunday.  Last week I was finishing the last rewrite of The Tiny Giant and my head was wrapped up in that, as it should have been.  Have a great week.

 

Light Bright

IMG_2463

cherish the old soul
but diamond dust in my eye
her shiny new one


I am lucky enough to have one of each–a wise little old soul and a sparkly new one.  These littles with the newly minted souls burn fiercely, and she gives me hope that we will find our way, that the mistakes of our past do not have to be repeated.  Love big, cry hard, laugh loud, and try all the things.

Underclouds

IMG_9852 (2)

When the flaming ball in sky
Squints my poor Oregonian eyes,
I shake my fist and yell real loud:
I wish you were behind a cloud!

Stupid sun, enough is enough.
Get thee behind some cumulofluff!
I don’t want to experience your fiery gasses,
And I can’t find my dark sunglasses.

Rain or not, I’d rather post a status
Of overcast with gray-bottomed stratus.
Nothing like some wispy cirrus
To keep that roaster from getting near us.

If you persist, you orb of glare,
I’ll take you all up on your dare,
Call lightning down like Zeus on Olympus
And banish you forever behind cumulonimbus!


I was made to live in an overcast world.  The sun makes me weary, gives me headaches.  I am energized by misty mornings and a sky that doesn’t make my eyes hurt.  I haven’t done the DNA, and my niece says we’re actually Scandanavian, but I take this as confirmation of my Scots and Irish heritage.  Gloomy skies and a taste for morbid stories and whiskey (though I drink bourbon, hence the “e”).

img_9403

Be burned by that nasty sun, you will not.

Microwaves of Nausea

img_3234

Permeating the walls and halls,
The fumes worse than bathroom stalls,
You thought you’d have a nice, warm snack—
Instead it’s a mustard gas attack.

The popcorn doesn’t need that long.
The smoke means you’ve done it wrong.
Last night’s curry should have stayed at home-a,
Now we’re sick from that aroma.

And YOU—with the leftover trout.
Pack up your things and just get out.
If nuking fish is your bailiwick,
Find somewhere else to make people sick.

Crimes against noses linger for hours.
I feel like I need a Silkwood shower.
My nostrils are thoroughly defeated.
Are you sure that “food” should be reheated?


I don’t work in an office anymore, but I cook lunch every morning for my sandwich-hating, food-allergic kid.  Fish sticks at 8AM, folks.  Takes me back to my cube farm days, and not in a good way.

The popcorn was meant to be the other child’s snack.  It only took eight hours or so for that to dissipate.

P.M. S.nack

img_3194

you called me crazy
so I made myself crackers
you won’t get any


I dare you to tell me those aren’t crackers. I know they aren’t, you know they aren’t, but we really don’t need to say some of the things we think out loud, do we?

P.S. That deck rail is finally painted a nice gray color.  Five entire days, I painted.  I might be tired and a little short-tempered, but geez, it is nice to remove that albatross.  Of course, I wear albatrosses like an elderly maven wears Diamonelles, but one less is one less.