Saturday, November 26, 2016

Who Was Most Influential For Me?

Our topic this week was to talk the person who was most influential on our early writing career. I agree with some of the others who have said that at different times in your writing life, different people will be most influential. To that end, Andre Norton is, and always will be, the most influential in terms of the original spark that set me loose to write my stories set in the stars. She fired my imagination with her many varied worlds, including the science fiction, Witch World and her ancient Egyptian novel Shadow Hawk. I just needed much more romance than she was able to include at the time she wrote. To my great regret, I never met her but she was my inspiration.

The person I really want to talk about today was the most influential in terms of my ever getting published and also on being independently published. My daughter Elizabeth. As my girls grew up, they always saw me writing away in the evenings and on the weekends. (I had a fulltime day job at NASA/JPL.) I made one or two not very serious efforts to submit a manuscript somewhere, at a time when you did it kind of the way Joan Wilder did in “Romancing the Stone” – a big messy pile of typed paper, in a box held together with rubber bands. Although I was mailing mine off to fall over the transom into the slush pile, not having drinks with my editor in NYC. I had no editor, no agent and no idea how to get one.

Beth is also a writer, among her many varied talents. A Berkeley graduate, she worked very hard at her craft and became a published author years before I did, with several books at various publishers. She did a lot of research on the industry and the new trends, including self-publishing.

One of E. D. Walker's titles
E. D. Walker
In late 2010, I decided to get serious about becoming a published author, in part because I was energized that I actually knew a published author – my daughter! I wrote a paranormal romance novella and proudly ‘submitted’ it to Beth, for a serious critique. We agreed she would lay it on the line, really provide blunt feedback and tell me what areas I was lacking in. I’ll spare you the entire list but it turned out I was making ALL the newbie mistakes, probably plus a few. Show versus tell, info dump, and head hopping were the most egregious, along with near total lack of interesting stage business for my characters to do, and ways to show emotion through actions.

 I’d asked for it.
 I accepted it.
There was about a week where I said, that’s it, I’ll never be published.
The world was dark.

But writing is like breathing to me. I HAVE to do it. And I was definitely at the stage where I wanted to start sharing my stories, not just write them down for myself…so I had to learn how to write successfully in the here and now.

I picked up the story again and tried to work through the issues. Beth sent me blog posts, how-to posts and more. She provided more feedback (as did my other daughter, who is a freelance editor). I felt I was making progress. I abandoned the paranormal novella and its flawed plot, which will probably never see the light of day and worked on my science fiction romances instead. Beth sent me a link to a Carina Press call for Ancient World romances because she knows how much I love stories set in ancient Egypt and – feeling inspired – I wrote what became Priestess of the Nile and sent it off.

And in late summer 2011 Angela James gave me The Call. Carina acquired my story.

I can’t ever express enough gratitude to Beth for all the tireless help she gave me, and continues to provide as needed.

She was also instrumental in my going into indie publishing, with Wreck of the Nebula Dream in March, 2012. I’ll save that story for another day because coincidentally, I’ve finally written the sequel to that book. It’s the sequel my readers have asked for most often and now the book is here! Star Survivor is the continuation of the story for Twilka and Khevan.

Here’s the blurb:
The survivors of a terrible wreck meet again—but this time only one can survive.

The long-awaited sequel to The Wreck of the Nebula Dream…

They survived an iconic spaceship wreck together. She never expected to see him again … especially not armed to kill her.

Twilka Zabour is an interstellar celebrity. She built on her notoriety as a carefree Socialite who survived the terrible wreck of the Nebula Dream, and launched a successful design house. But now the man who gave meaning to her life, then left her, is back–this time for the worst of reasons. Will he kill her … or help her survive?

D’nvannae Brother Khevan survived the Nebula Dream in the company of a lovely, warm woman, only to be pulled away from her, back into his solitary life in the service of the Red Lady.  Now Twilka’s within his reach again–for all the wrong reasons. Khevan will do everything within his power to discover why Twilka has been targeted for assassination, and to save her.

But Khevan is not Twilka’s only pursuer. Will allies Nick and Mara Jameson arrive in time to aid the couple, or will Khevan and Twilka’s ingenuity be all that stands between them and death?

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  1. Replies
    1. Thanks! There's no stopping Beth, I firmly believe!

  2. Love the role reversal of the daughter teaching the mother! YAY family!

    1. Yes, people always assume I got published first but nooo....