So I did this thing.
I went and finished and published my fourth book, The Runaways of Missing Lake! It took me two years to get to this point, which is longer than normal but my life has become busier than normal these past two years.
I was grateful, in that regard, to have a full blown shutdown early this year. (I am grateful about that because we actually did slow the spread and lessened the stress on our medical communities when Covid19 started to take over our country but I am so sad we opened up parts of the country too damned early and now its going to keep this virus in our mask-covered faces for even longer. But I digress….)
I truly, truly loved the early months of this year where I could let my body wake itself up when it wanted, sip my coffee in the hot tub, shower, and then write.
There was still the business of running the farm and I was continuing to do Floor days at the real estate office in February but with Alistair running the Covid19 testing clinic in Bismarck and being in contact with positives (albeit not many in the beginning), it became clear to both of us that I was running the risk of becoming Typhoid Tanya. My boss and the rest of the staff didn’t complain when I did not take another Floor day until June.
(Floor days are when you are the designated realtor who handles incoming calls and walk-ins with interest in local real estate.)
While I didn’t thank the Corona Virus in my book’s back page acknowledgements (it seems heartless when, at this point, almost 190,000 Americans have died) it really is one of the means by which I was able to finish my book.
(I usually wear my various Dog Days of Summer T-shirts when I’m writing or doing big things like finishing the writing or finishing the final edits in case any of you noticed Loki on my shirt… they are all still muses…)
Finishing the writing is a weird thing. I mean, are you really finished? Are you absolutely sure there is nothing more to say? Nothing more Luke has to say to Gwen or Zagros has to say to Luke?
I was actually sure that my story was finished, just like I have been with the other three books. I may not know the exact details until I type them out but I generally have an idea how things are going to wrap up.
This time, I wanted an Epilogue.
It has been on my mind since I finished the third book and even though the other three books don’t have an epilogue, I went for it.
And I love it.
And re-reading the epilogue makes me cry a little bit and it also made Alistair cry a little bit or maybe he just teared-up ’cause he’s a man but I actually think he cried and maybe you will, too, especially if you’ve followed me or us or our crazy antics for awhile now.
The editing process is time-consuming. You have to read without getting too invested in the characters because you can very easily skip a typo. Each of my books has one or two of those but they have become much tighter each time I publish.
One super-fun part of putting the books together is working with my talented illustrator, Ben Brick. We tend to laugh a lot during our visits, which were all over the telephone instead of in-person this time and I appreciate his ability to take my thoughts and run with them.
Initially the cover art had Luke looking almost confident, which is not a trait or feeling he would say he holds (if fictional Luke were here to talk with.) (I wish he was. I miss him and his friends and the dragons and his folks and the teachers!)
With a bit of tweaking Ben made magic happen once again and I am in absolute love of the cover. A friend of mine in Colorado told me she totally judges books (and wine) by their covers and she said my covers absolutely attract her to my books.
When the final edit comes around (after initial editing and illustrations are taken care of) that is when there is potential for me to lose my brain. Its just intense and I really, really, really want people to enjoy the story and long for a book five when they are done. (The epilogue might cause you to yearn for a book one in a different direction….)
What complicated my final edit was the fact I had taken Floor days in July so I actually had some transactions to work on and eventually wrap up. (With the case load in Bismarck increasing at a crazy rate and Covid19 busting loose through the country, Potentially Typhoid Tanya has not been on the floor ever since.)
So it was that last week I closed three real estate transactions while fitting in a few vaccine visits for puppies while fitting in a full day in Missoula that involved two oil changes, hot tub salts, 24 bottles of wine, groceries, grain, salt blocks and lawn care stuff and socially-distant Whoppers-with-cheese-no-onions, while meeting a cool client I have talked to for two years and spending a day and a half showing him local listings because he flew in from California just for this, while remembering that I didn’t remember to correctly format my book for Kindle Direct Press yet again and remembering that it takes a couple of days for me to figure that shit out, while finally publishing my book so we can all buy it online.
If you spoke with me last week and I seemed distracted, trust me, I was.
There is just something about clicking the ‘Publish’ button for the final time.
And now I await my first order of fifty books.
And you can order on all Amazon outlets and any other online bookstore as well. Its also available on Kindle but that took me another couple of days to figure out because of that paragraph above and all of the other stuff I had to do last week.
I can’t wait for my first non-editor review. Alistair thinks its my best book yet but he could be biased. If you get it, I would love a picture of you with the book and I would absolutely love to hear your thoughts.
While my brain is now free to read other books I haven’t started yet. A golf magazine article here, a Covid19 online article there… baby steps for now. But maybe tonight I will start one of the cool-looking books hubby bought me for Christmas last year.
Or maybe I’ll sip wine and listen to the creek outside our bedroom door with a couple of lap kitties and just let myself sleep.