Monday, November 30, 2015

The wait is over

My first officially-published novel has been released. Chaser went live on Amazon earlier today.

A bit of background on how this book got started and how it developed along the way:

Chaser started as a short story way back in 2006, if I remember correctly. It got turned down by every publisher and magazine editor I sent it to, like everything else I sent out over the years. Only two of the editors told me why (beyond the form-letter "it's not right for our magazine, but good luck with it elsewhere" rejection). One of them had a silly objection to it: the story had advanced genetic engineering and cybernetics technology, but the characters used only slightly futuristic guns that fired bullets, instead of ray guns. That made no sense to me because technology doesn't advance at the same rate across the board. Right now, we've landed people on the moon, sent probes to other planets, moons, and comets, and most of us carry around computers in our pockets that are more powerful than the ones used in the Apollo program ... but at the same time, we haven't cured cancer or the common cold, we don't have flying cars, and we still dig holes with shovels. So I was never able to wrap my brain around that as a reason not to accept the story.

But the other one was even worse because it was pure bullshit. In the original story, there was one very small bit with the main character wanting to celebrate her first success at her new job, and trying to decide who to invite on a date so she could share her good fortune. Just two or three sentences where she thought about calling a guy she'd known in high school, and then a girl she'd known in the same school ... and then she thought about asking both of them out. Then the villain started gunning for her and she had to spend the rest of the story dealing with that, and the dinner date never came up again.

It was just a little thing I tossed into the story because I thought it made the character a bit more interesting. But this editor said the story "deserves to be published" (his exact words) yet he rejected it because of that one tiny bit of business. He told me that he would publish it if I rewrite it and remove "all the lesbianism" ... as if the story was nothing but this character going to town on her girlfriend or something, rather than one brief mention of it that had no affect on anything else in the story. I went back and forth with this guy a couple of times through email, but he wouldn't budge. Okay ... he had no objection to the violent content and the hero brutally killing the villain, but he had a problem with the hero being anything other than straight? Uh-huh. Guess what, buddy? Kiss the darkest part of my pasty white ass.

So I told him no, I wouldn't compromise the character to suit his bigotry. I told him that I'd get the story published without him or that rag he edited. And even though it took a few more years, that's exactly what I did.

I decided to flesh it out into a full book, and I added a subplot with the main character dating both of her high-school crushes, and had the relationship work out, because screw that guy.

So the book went through a few more drafts. Something about it still wasn't really clicking into place until I decided to change it to first-person perspective just to see if that had any effect on it. And that's when the book really came to life.

I started submitting it to publishers again, and finally one accepted it. I got the email soon after I moved to Tucson. Couple more drafts, some polishing, etc. -- and now it's done. And damn, it's good to see my first officially-published book there.



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