My wish for all of you is that you spend a few moments of contemplation about where you are and where you are going. Many of us don't want to do that because we simply tell ourselves we don't know. Maybe we are victims of something in our past. Maybe we are recovering from that. Maybe the reflecting makes us sad.
For those people I want to say look at how far you've come this year. Even if you feel as if you are still in free fall, you might still be trying to cling to something that will help you turn it around.
My writing reflects the upward beat in life. In my new and revised Voices in Crystal Book 1 of Children of Stone, Marai has been going nowhere for fifteen years. Years earlier he blamed his inattentiveness to his wife for her death in childbirth. Grieving and ridden with guilt, he built up a fantasy religion of Ashera and Inanna so he might worship and atone for his neglect. When he sees the "star" he thinks it might be the goddess and goes to it. It is a step up and new strength. What results is not a miracle cure, because life just isn't like that. A new journey and perhaps even more difficult choices lie ahead.
My own life follows such a pattern. I was always a storyteller. Stories came easily. The writing part was a little harder but it came later. I was more likely to draw pictures, too. After a few attempts at traditional publishing - all rejected - I gave up and raised my babies but still wrote in the background, drew pictures of my characters and told them stories or read to them every night until they were in their teens.
After they were gone and were starting families of their own I retired I embarked on a new journey with difficult choices. I decided to publish my stories. In 2013 I did. It got, at first mixed reviews. The story was good but the writing and grammatical/typo errors were mind-boggling. I redid Voices in Crystal in 2014 for an ebook and then, after joining a writer's group went on to publish Book 2 Going Forth By Day in 2016, Opener of the Sky (which won 2 awards) in 2017 and Heart of the Lotus (also an award winner) in 2018. As of Book 2 my son began to edit. His first attempts were understandably rough but he continued and by Book 3 he formatted. Book 4 featured his original cover. At that point I realized I didn't have a worthy idea for the conclusion to the series so I re-wrote Voices in Crystal with much greater skill and published it about a month ago, giving my son full page credit as editor and illustrator.
By the way, Book 5 The Lake of Memory will be published by years end or in early 2021.
The books have not sold well at all. I never learned how to market them and learned they were too much "niche" for the average reader. Still, the story was one I wanted to tell and will keep on tweaking and telling. In the meantime I've also published four short stories which will be independently published this year: "Ana's Dream of Flying", "Raemkai's Stairs", "Miss Hattie and the Hoppers", and "The Changeling Princess."
When I wrote "The Changeling Princess" I wrote it for my granddaughter Stell who has Spondyloepiphyseal Dysplasia congenita (SEDc) dwarfism. It's rarer than most forms of dwarfism and wasn't clearly diagnosed until she was 3. Think of Warwick Davis who played "Willow" and a certain Ewok and a Leprechaun. Last year, Stell at age 4-1/2 finally understood what it meant to have SEDc. "I'll never grow up" she said. When she said that it was a creepy thought but then I realized she meant she would never be tall like her brothers. She curled up on my lap and said "But I don't wanna have dwarfism".
Right then I knew I needed to tell her that in many cultures dwarves were believed to be magical.
More than that I knew I needed to write a story that would empower her and maybe other "Little People". "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves" was a fairy tale I liked. I also saw that altered fairy tales sold well. So I sat down and wrote it. Last week I read it to her and to her brothers and my daughter. Stell was so excited. Later on her brothers were telling me it was true. THEY HAD SEEN HER FLY or maybe it was jump up and get into things. "Uh-huh I can fly, Granny. I have magic!" she said.
THAT WAS WHEN I REALLY REALIZED WHY I WRITE
HERE'S AN EXCERPT OF THE STORY. Princess Joy "Snow White" in modern times - tells the reader about her wise nanny Missus Serrie.
Instead there was Missus Serrie.
A small brown-haired woman came into the reflection in the mirror as the image of my father left it. She was a grown-up, but she only came up to my shoulder. A dwarf. She told me my parents and I had been riding in the royal coach when something scared the horses as they rounded a cliff top and they slipped off.
Like magic. I remembered her voice telling me. You, little one, were tossed into a mound of softest grasses nearby, just at the border of the Keep of Dwarvenkind. I had been on patrol there and saw the kings’ men come to rescue him. They searched but could not find you or save Queen Joy. I picked you up and took you to the palace. When I arrived, though, the king was in no condition to care for you. He hired me on the spot to raise you and teach you as I do to this day, Princess Joy.
Princess Joy. I remembered my name now.
Missus Serrie cared for me.
I saw images of her in the mirror, teaching me over the years. Sometimes when we ran, she would chase me. My prank was to get her to leap up and fly a short distance in order to keep up with me. After the last time, she scolded me quite fiercely.
Yes, dwarves can fly, and other things that amaze the “Talls” too. If you behave and stop the silly games, I’ll teach you a thing or two, but not today.
Aww, why not? I had complained, folding my arms and stamping my foot.
Because I promised your father, I would not use dwarf or any other kind of magic. You will not trick me into it or speak of seeing it!
My final vision was of a time something terrible happened. I saw myself running down a forest path. Missus Serrie was chasing me and fussing loudly that I would not trick her and I could just run ‘til I was out of breath.
Soon, I was winded and tired, but far enough ahead of her to bend over to catch my breath. When I raised up, I saw an old woman moving along the path toward me as if she had come out of thin air. She carried a basket of apples.
Oh, what a sweet girl you are, and tired too. I could hear her chirping like a brood hen to a chick. Here – I have just the thing to refresh you – a nice juicy apple!
I smiled, still breathless, thanked her and—
“No! Witch! Princess Joy, don’t…” Missus Serrie was chugging up the path as quickly as her legs could carry her but I had already taken a bite and was floating far away from the old woman and my nanny who had both faded into the realm of dreams as if they had never been there.
For a long time, I felt no more than a curious, silent sadness.
Want to read the rest? It's just one of the stories in a free Anthology: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07ZQV2Y4Q/
Inquisitor (Thaddeus of Venice Book 1) Kindle Edition by Greg Alldredge (Author) 12-3-19
Harem's Dark Paladin (The Vampire's Embrace 3) Kindle Edition by Reed James (Author) 12-3-19 https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0829P1X3Q/
Almost Home: A Second Chance at Love Rockstar Romance (Rock & Roll Forever Book 4) Kindle Edition by Mary J. Williams (Author) 12-4-19 https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07Y5MNS5G/
Never Kiss a Rockstar (Never Trust Book 2) Kindle Edition by Sarah Darlington (Author) 12-4-19https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07Z43JVD5/
Lonely and Lost Paperback – December 4, 2019 by Carrie Humphrey 12-4-19 https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1697113257/