I got an unexpected notification from my email client this morning. It reminded me that tomorrow is the 23rd birthday of Chronicles of the Shadow. CotS went through a lot of phases, including a publishing contract with an unsavory outfit before the days I knew about Writers Beware. But on that December 31st so many years ago I sat up one moment out of the blue and decided to write. Being the young, impulsive and extremely stubborn type, I jumped out of my chair and started writing a novel. There was no preamble, no thinking about it, no shorter stories. By some miracle and encouraged my friends I actually finished it – 26 chapters of absolute trash of which I was deliriously proud. I still have the handwritten pages, and no I’m not letting anybody who wasn’t there at the time see them.
Right about ten years and countless miles of life passed before I ever looked at it again or tried to write. I’d forgotten it existed until I came across four chapters one night while talking to a friend driving long distance who needed kept awake after we’d run out of conversation. I don’t even remember which friend – how sad is that? Much like that New Years Eve so many years before, I jumped to the computer after we hung up and started it from scratch once more. One really bad book became three and later four merely horrible books and I’ve been writing ever since.
I might still be revising that old wreck if it hadn’t been for the courtesy of A. C. Crispin who had the courage to eviscerate it rather than spare my feelings. I thanked her a year or two later and was surprised that she remembered me and her critique. I finished my newest novel only yesterday, amazed to this day by the wonder of the process and eternally thankful to all the professions like Ms. Crispin who’ve offered me a word of wisdom or encouragement along the way.
Happy Birthday, CotS, we’re over a million words now and still scribbling….