One of the realities of the writing life is being struck by lightning, often in the wee hours, when one’s production schedule could not be busier. The other reality is being unable to escape the lightning. Because once it has hold of you, there is no peace until it’s fulfilled.
This happened to me. With Keepers 2 just announced, Keepers 3 and another novella as well as a novel to finish, lightning struck. My Divine Muse jumped up and down, squealing like a fan girl at a New Kids On The Block concert. My Infernal Editor scowled and told me not to be ridiculous.
My Divine Muse proceeded to jump up and down on his head.
First, I had to make sure I wouldn’t be doing anything to jeopardize my contracted work with Samhain. Then, I had to figure out how to go about executing the thing. I thank the incomparable Hugh Howey for his excellent panel on Self-Publishing at Tampa Bay Comic Con.
Then there was the matter of cover art. I do not own Adobe Photo Shop; nor was it a feasible investment for something I planned to offer for free. I do, however, have several sources of royalty-free images. Fortunately, the universe colluded to send me Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn, who provided an extremely helpful guest post from Derek Murphy of Creativindie on designing your own cover art using MS Word.
Then, of course, there was the story itself, which came from a couple of factors. The most significant one of which was the number of questions left unanswered in Keepers 1. Brighid’s Cross came about because of a special call for an anthology at Samhain. This meant I had to concede to strict word count limits. The rest was entirely my own fault. It was my first publication, and I became obsessed, with every editorial pass, to make the writing as tight humanly possible. I fought with every passage, every phrase, like Buffy struggling with each and every demon of the week. It was exhausting, but I was desperate for people to enjoy it, for my first ever published story to do well. In short, I over edited.
It’s a pitfall of being published. During editorial passes you’re eye deep in the material, over and over again, in rapid succession with that heightened sense of “OMG! Published!” permeating every decision you make. This is especially exacerbated by what I like to refer to as Newbie Nerves.
The good news is I still had my production notebook, and it occurred to me I could answer those questions, and offer something for free on a self-pub forum. This is when lightning struck: origin stories.
Know what an epiphany feels like? It’s an audible, physical pop in your head, apropos to absolutely nothing.
Epiphanies must be respected and obeyed, lest they go away.
So, very soon indeed, I’ll be offering Aika’s origin story, the prequel to Brighid’s Cross, for free on as many platforms as possible.
I hope you like it.