The Prize

Months ago I began my first “official” post to this blog by talking about my adventures in self-publishing and why I’d taken on such a daunting task.  It was a multiple-choice question, with “All of the Above” being the correct answer.  One of the answers (answer B, I believe) encompassed in that All of the Above was “I wanted it read, in its entirety, by someone who felt no imperative to like it.  No imperative to hate it either.”

For some reason I can’t fathom, I’ve put off sharing the results of that adventure on my blog.  I’m shameless in shouting it from the rooftops (irritating as well), but I’ve said nothing here.

Cue the drumroll….

I received my review from IndieReader the beginning of this month, and although I didn’t win, I did get a 5-star review from a reviewer who mirrored back everything I’d stuffed into my little 304 page tome.  She GOT it!  Not only did she get it, but I know now that my vision manifests on the page with such clarity that it remains intact once it reaches the reader .

Do you know how amazing to me that is?  I’ve been living with this vision for over 30 years.  Its ultimate fulfillment does, admittedly, remain incomplete until I’ve finished the last book in the trilogy.  (Do people even refer to them as “trilogies” anymore?  Or do they just use “series” to cover all contingencies?  Hmmm.)

There is a key to this reaching, and my reviewer even mentioned it.  A few years back, I made the decision to send Lisen, the hero of the piece, to spend a few years on earth.  Important years, ages 10 through 17.  Now we view a large part of the story and the strange, nonsexist world in which its characters live through the eyes of someone who knows us as her own.  She may be Garlan, but she often steps back to study her world as we as humans would, giving the reader a sense of accessibility that had previously been lacking.

I did it.  I wrote my best.  I rewrote my best.  I formatted for publication my best.  I designed a “professional” cover even though I’m anything but an artist.  I put every bit of best that I possess into Lisen and into Fractured, and it worked.  I hope one day that the borders of Lisen’s niche expand to include many more readers than she currently has nipping at my heals for volume 2 (Tainted, due out late this year).  In the meantime, I take pride in the fact that although I didn’t win a prize from IndieReader, to me I won the whole damn lottery.

Sanity—Vastly Overrated

I’m a mental case.  An antisocial, introverted, scared-as-shit-of-everything mental case.  And I find myself wondering if this isn’t a prerequisite for a writer.  Then again, there are some apparently very sane, very together people who write like crazy but aren’t.  Crazy, that is.

It really cuts into my ability to produce.  I’m saner when I’m writing on a regular basis, but getting to writing on a regular basis requires that I believe in myself.  I’m a mental case, for god’s sake; I never believe in myself.  Ah, the ambivalence of it all!

But here’s the thing.  I’m pretty good.  At writing, that is.  (Forget about believing in myself; never gonna happen.)  I write novels; I make short stories long.  I plot and plan and manipulate and finagle until the mix gels and makes magic.  I’ve gotten better over the years to the point where now I believe that my abilities as a novelist are pretty well set.  I’ll seek out critique when I’ve done everything I can on my own, and then I’ll send the second and then third books of my trilogy out into the world.

For you see, I no longer need to seek out validation from a whole group full of writers over multiple rewrites.  I’ve found my mojo, and I know my weaknesses.  Deserted, the second book in the Lisen of Solsta trilogy (see “A Taste of Deserted” below), is far from perfect now, but it will evolve under my hand, my watchful eyes.  I don’t have to stand up and shout, “Pay attention to me!” anymore.

And you know why?  Here’s why.  I sent Fractured, the first volume of Lisen of Solsta, out to two contests, and this week I received a review from one of those contests.  It’s only the first step of many in this particular competition, but Lisen and Fractured are moving on to round two.  I wrote a while back about how I decided to publish independently and then enter these contests so I could get a review from someone who had no reason to like the book.  And amazingly, my reviewer, who, indeed, doesn’t know me, not only gave me five beautiful gold stars (out of five) but also noted that I, D. Hart St. Martin, am her “new favorite author.”

Wow.

It doesn’t get any better than that.