Not everyone will love my debut novel – such a statement is not a self-defeating one; it’s one based in realism. THE SPIRIT PROJECTOR is a love story in its subplot, yes, but more so a romance of the author and the words I chose.
I did not set out to win a race or compete against others. I wrote the story inside me calling to the artist within. I crafted visuals I could stand to envision, settings I could imagine living in, and characters whose presence would be welcome. The journey towards publication was a personal one – full of stumbles, doubts, and rewrites. Through all of the “will anyone love it as I do?” wonderings, I came up with all the possible critiques future reviewers might draft. The people pleaser part of my personality caused me to worry so intensely of being judged as a failure that I held on tight to a project I loved.
Rejection in love keeps me from opening my heart – my writing is a reflection of who I am and what I love. TSP is me opening my heart to the world, hopeful that others will embrace it, and thus me, as it is; flaws intact. Letting go and trusting others with the very essence of me remains one of the scariest moments of my life. I could’ve continued to assume all of the negative responses possible or trust that someone, somewhere, would understand what I was trying to achieve – and thus, understand the core of who I am.
Self-love and pride carried me through the initial excitement of debut publication. I felt beautiful, worthy, and loved. And then, slowly but surely, the rose-colored glasses faded to clear and reality set in; not everyone will love THE SPIRIT PROJECTOR. They will find faults, lose interest, and move on to another. My debut creation contains errors, reveals a tangential mind, and a fantastical ideal of love. I’m okay with that. In accepting TSP with all its flaws and beauty, I discovered my own. Not everyone will understand nor love me – especially if I keep my heart closed; to expect any different is irrational. However, the ones who do – they are the keepers; the friends, family, and romantic mates meant to walk alongside as we navigate this life.
I am proud of what I created, typos and simplicity included. I embrace once again the artistic spirit within and the beautiful woman inside and out. I look forward to meeting the man who loves both the book and the author.
Due to a variety of circumstances, I knew very little about my paternal grandmother’s family growing up. All I knew was that it was rooted deep in our family lore that we were of Native American lineage. It’s only within the last 15 years, since I started genealogy research, that I discovered that the family lore was just a tale (thanks a lot, AncestryDNA 😉) and that so many factual stories were there for the telling. When I discovered that my paternal great-grandmother had a half-sister born on the same month and day as me, well, I’ve been fascinated with Aunt Reba ever since.
In May of 1924, my aunt Rebecca “Reba” DeYoung entered the world and made a positive impact on those around her. You only need read the comments from her sister’s son (who lived with Aunt Reba and his grandparents) to confirm.
“At the age of 25, Reba bought us our first car and took driving lessons and learned how to drive…Reba had also bought a house and we would now have a home of our own for the first time and I would have my own bedroom.”
From writings of George E. Chapman, 2008
My Aunt Reba never married, resided with her parents, and was close with her family – a path I see myself walking five decades later.
I had no image to match with her name, because I’d never met (to my knowledge) my grandmother’s mother or aunts and uncles. Plus, there are limited family photos of that side of my family tree. Aunt Reba was a mystery to me, until this past year when a distant cousin reached out to me via a genealogical site. He found a whole collection of family photos of my direct branch of the tree and generously sent them to me. I finally, finally, met my great-grandmother, her siblings, and the woman who stills intrigues me – Aunt Reba.
According to her nephew, George Chapman, Reba was an important part of his life – as he recorded a decade ago in writings for his children and grandchildren; a copy of which his daughter-in-law shared with me a few years back. George’s grandma Nina and Aunt Reba were close according to his writings – and the family photos I recently received include many pictures of them together. George recollected with his Aunt Reba before her death about their time growing up as they were but nine years apart in age.
I see her smiling face in the treasured photos and feel a kindred spirit looking back. Perhaps next year, once we’ve slowly found our new normal, I’ll travel to Michigan and visit the places important to Aunt Reba. To pay my respects and honor a woman much like myself. Learning about the women who came before me reaffirms my confidence in the woman I have become. I am honored to share their roots and will continue to tell their stories. Happy birth day, Aunt Reba, and may your spirit be full of love wherever it now calls home.
[Sidenote: I named one of the characters in my debut novel, THE SPIRIT PROJECTOR, Rebekah before I knew about Aunt Reba. The fact that the real person was also a beloved family member, maternal figure to the next generation, and full of joy fits in perfectly with the character who became my favorite (shh, authors do have favorite characters).]
We are all navigating through the current global health crisis the best way we know how – for ourselves, our loved ones, and the greater community. Our concerns vary according to the immediate needs before us. Some are scared and don’t know when they’ll next be paid (how will they put food on the table or provide for their family), others feel their rights are being infringed upon and want to take their life in their hands – certain their choices won’t impact others.
We’re dealing with the issues facing us in individual ways and yet what may benefit us in the short term may cause serious ramifications in the not-too-distant future. We are the United States of America, trying to form a more perfect union.
In the most challenging of times, when we’re at our most vulnerable, our country becomes stronger when we unite as one; when we acknowledge our differences and unite under a common goal. We won’t all agree about how much government should be involved in our choices or who should receive tax breaks, but we can come together to save the lives of our countrymen and women.
Glimpses of our best selves are all around us: Teachers sitting on a student’s driveway to read to them, groups of community members making/donating masks and other PPE for medical professionals, business oweners coming up with innovative ways to safely provide their services, and everyday Americans following the advice of leaders in the medical/scientific/infectious disease fields.
From South Dakota to Pennsylvania, California’s coast to the Great Lakes, we will overcome what ails us if we agree to disagree and find common ground. If we cannot, I worry the foundation built over 240 years ago will crumble beheath us.
Stay strong. Stay alert. Stay home. Stay the United States of America!
I did it, friends! My debut novel is in the self-publishing process – with a tentative release date of January 2020.
Those of you who’ve followed along on this journey likely recall my many claims of “finishing” my book; draft after draft after draft. I held it tight, afraid no one could love it as much as I did. What if no one likes it? What if no one reads it? Will critics tear it to pieces? Do any of those questions warrant answers?
To quote one of my characters, “I chose to control that which I could.” I love the story, the tone, the mystical feel of what I created. The characters came to life and will live with me until my spirit and body part – probably even longer.
This novel is a tribute to that which inspires me: genealogy, fairy tales, magic, and love. It’s a story focused on internal conflict, on obligations and expectations, and finding strength through love of self.
I am currently awaiting the proofs for the text, e-book, and book cover. If all goes smoothly, the novel will be published within a month’s time.
I’ll update soon once I have a concrete timeline for publication and pre-sale!!!
I read the following Young Adult novel within less than two weeks; the last 176 pages in one morning! I was so enthralled by the story that I rushed to Goodreads to post my review. I will write a more in-depth review soon, but for now here’s the one I just posted to Goodreads.
Like a composition of soaring melodies and grounding harmonies, Marie Lu’s THE KINGDOM OF BACK is a novel I’ll never forget!
I borrowed this novel from my local library and knew within the first twenty pages that I’ll end up buying a copy to read again and again. Marie Lu’s exceptional skill crafts chapters you can’t wait to start, paragraphs that keep you reading on, and lines that resonate long after you turn the page.
This memorable read blends that which I adore: magic (real and faery-like), historical fiction, and a heroine’s journey that you don’t just understand but feel in the deepest parts of the soul.
Thank you, Marie, for taking us on “Nannerl’s” journey and inspiring generations to come!