“I’m okay. I’m alright.”
That’s what I told everyone.
And I thought I was.
Yes, I hardly had money for food, hardly had thoughts of the future, had no hope for the past, and no one around me whose shoulder I could cry on, but I was going on day to day.
I was okay, wasn’t I?
Let’s go back to what happened:
November 2011: I was happily married, getting my crap together after I’d kind of fallen into some sort of funk the summer before. I sensed something wasn’t quite right from my husband’s side, but he seemed to be dealing with it and said it didn’t have anything to do with me. I was writing a fantasy adventure romance. I got about halfway through.
February 2012: My husband said he wanted a divorce. He was in love with someone else.
Okay. Fine. I cried.
Alright, maybe I fell apart inside every morning all over again. It happens, right? Many marriages don’t make it. So pick yourself up, brush yourself off – Wait, don’t fall apart. Put that ugliness back together! Yes, there you go. Now. Square your shoulders, smile, and move on. Get this novel finished.
So I hunkered down and wrote. Feverishly. My marriage was down the drain, I hadn’t been able to get pregnant, I didn’t have a job, so I had to get published and make this novel thing work.
Sometimes I broke down
In the bathroom at home, in public, at night… often my mom would call at those precise times, as if she knew. Was I okay? she asked.
Yes, I was fine, I told her. And I told myself: Pick yourself up, brush yourself off, buy that cheap pasta, those frozen vegetables that are on sale, rolls for lunch. Okay, I know you’re hungry, but write some more.
I finished the book, tried to find an agent for it and failed (although one who actually requested the full manuscript said the love interest reminded of her Valek in Maria V. Snyder’s Poison Study, which I’ve not read yet but seems like a promising comparison).
I gave up on it
I gave up on the manuscript. I gave up on finding someone else. I ended up self-publishing other books. I returned to my job testing software.
Life went on.
Then, a few years later, I looked at the manuscript, and this is what I saw:
In the first half, a fun fantasy romance romped between the pages – the part written while I was still married.
In the second half, the part written after, I destroyed everything. Anything beautiful that I created in the first half was pretty much slaughtered in the second. The lovely, magical birds turn into bloody predators. The romance gets mauled by outside forces (but is it destroyed? Did I go that far?). All the new characters who came in were tormented in some messed-up way.
Obviously I hadn’t been okay, not at all, when I’d written it. I lied to everyone. No, I wasn’t okay. I was a shambles.
In that second half, in that twisting fury of emotion, I created the most magnificent bastard ever
And he is the most magnificent bastard, at least among the books I’ve written myself. I didn’t even know what that was until my friend directed me to the definition of Magnificent Bastard on TV tropes and pointed out that this character was the epitome of one.
Which means the character who seems to become everyone’s favorite, no matter how immoral he is, rose from the ashes of my suffering, and, you know, my misery was almost worth it, reading about him.
I lovingly call him ‘Rhysand on Crack’
I call him that because I was reading A Court of Mist and Fury while doing the final edits on The Ever Spirits and kept thinking what a baby Rhysand seemed compared to my magnificent bastard. Compared to the things my character went through, Rhysand was cruising on Cloud Nine, like seriously. And on the toughness scale, sorry, Rhys, you can’t compare to Kevrick (in my unpopular opinion 😛 ) But then, Rhys is a love interest and is meant, at heart, to be upstanding and noble while Kevrick is… um… maybe someone who read the book can help me out here?
Anyway, now, years after my husband said he wanted a divorce, and four self-published novels later, I’ve returned to this story, edited it, smoothed over the rough edges, and…
I’m finally about to release it in all its emotionally wrought glory
It’s coming out, ready or not, on February 28th, 2017, and I felt it deserved for readers to hear its backstory before I put it out. I would be a liar if I said I didn’t cry while writing this, as I sometimes do when I think of the me I was before and after the divorce, because I really did think I was okay – I lied to myself, too, every day, in every way – and only later, through this manuscript, did I see how much I wasn’t.
So to anyone else going through something bad, keep going. Eventually you might come through with your own magnificent bastard, in whatever form he comes, whether through a character in a story, or maybe even through a new love in your life, or in a tough new attitude that makes your heart more resilient in this callous world. Just don’t give up.
Now that you know what went into this book, if anyone wants to read it, it’ll be up on Instafreebie for free until March 6th, 2017. Or if you feel like being a financial supporter, it’s also up for pre-order on Amazon. (For the blurb, see below. For an excerpt, see here.)
In any case, thanks for reading, and I mean that from every corner of my heart. As always, petitions are at the bottom of the post for anyone wishing to add their name to a cause.
What is The Ever Spirits even about? Or, The Blurb:
Alynah Commonborn no longer exists.
My overlord forged me into a pawn taught to fight, to detect poisons, and to disconnect my soul. Now, in a land where our spurious peace is at an end, I am a concocted lie – princess, decoy, murderess, spy – with only one truth left: greater loyalty to my family than my country. I play the overlord’s heartless daughter to save their lives, but in so doing, I condemn my entire nation to an alliance that will destroy it.
Then a ruthless foe kidnaps me for his own agenda. I need to escape to alleviate the coming disaster, but my every attempt fails – and the stakes keep rising. I’m falling in love with my silver-haired captor, making it harder to fight him. More and more die for my deception, making it harder to believe in. And the ever spirits in the spirit realm keep sending me back from the dead, making me realize that more than my family’s lives hang in the balance, and not only the spirit of my people will break if I fail.
But I am Alynah Commonborn – what’s left of her – and I will not fail.
As usual, here are petitions for anyone wanting to sign to help save endangered animals or support environmental causes (some of them are pretty old; the newest are at the top of each list, but all the links still work as of today, Feb 26th, 2017, so hopefully they’re still valid):
- Thank the Bumi Hills Anti-Poaching Unit
- Help save wild orcas from extinction
- Cougars in the Santa Monica Mountains are at risk of extinction
- Save hummingbirds
- Today is World Whale Day
- Save Vaquita Porpoises
- Save the Slow Loris
- Save the Wolves
- Save Reindeer
- Save Ring-Tailed Lemurs
- Protect the monarch butterfly
- Protect Sea Turtles
- Save Snow Leopards
- Save the Bees
- Sign Your Name To Save Elephants
- Save Giraffes
- Save Polar Bears
- STOP the brutal slaughter of whales
- Save Jaguars
- Support the Endangered Species Act
Yay, you’re releasing it! Yay yay yay.
Yeah, you read it in an earlier version, didn’t you! I did redo it quite a bit, but I kept your favorite scene (when he brings her back) 😀