Anyone whoâ€™s been with me for a while remembers how excited I was about publishing my first fictional book, called The SilverJinx.Â It was the result of an argument at a writerâ€™s conference years ago between two writerâ€™s passionate about their genre.Â I was one of them, and I loved writing non fiction.Â The Other Guy was a fiction writer.Â And he started it.
I swear that I am usually a very sweet, open-mindedÂ person more bent towards freedom of self-expressionÂ rather thanÂ the My Way is the Only Way philosophy.Â Thatâ€™s howÂ I know it was all Other Guyâ€™s fault.Â He brought out the worst in me that day, and all with the blanket statement of â€œNon fiction writers donâ€™t have imagination, thatâ€™s why they can only write what they see.â€
That fired my temper up.Â I countered with the idea that non fiction writers are too interested in the real world to hide in fantasy.Â I donâ€™t really believe that, in fact up until that argument I donâ€™t think it had ever occurred to me that one genre wasÂ better than the other.
I wonâ€™t get into all the ugly particulars, but it ended up with us being shushed and heading into our next meeting, faces flushed in anger and hearts pounding.Â I donâ€™t think I heard much of that lecture, all I remember is reciting to myself all the reasons Other Guy was wrong, and vowing to show him up by writing a work of fiction so imaginative heâ€™d have to eat his words and concede to non fiction capability.
Fortunately I canâ€™t stay angry long, and by the time the conference ended so had all my aspirations to show him up.Â It had raised a few thoughts in my mind though.Â At the time I was a contract writer for a military consumer site, and I worked on the side for a local paper.Â I loved what I did, but sometimes itÂ felt stale.
So I started writing my book.Â Like many a baby, it was inspired by an argumentÂ and born without a clue.Â I leapt into the project without much thought, it was just for fun.Â Little did I know my baby was going to grow up and take on personality and life of its own, much like my actual children.
I finally came to the end of the writing part last year, shortly before I was to head off to Australia.Â There was a rush to get it published so I could hand carry a few copies with me instead of paying for shipping.Â It felt like Christmas when the proof copy finally arrived at the house.Â It was such a thrill to see the thing that had lived in my computer for so long have a body of its own.Â
Iâ€™ve always loved new book smell, and the way the pages crack open so reluctantly at first, but I swear a book with your name on it must have pheromones added to the paper.Â I was definitely in love with the perfect, new thing.Â And then I noticed an error.Â The characterâ€™s name of â€œMaeâ€ had been substituted for the word â€œmayâ€.Â Whatâ€™s one little typo, in the grand scheme of the whole book?Â Then I noticed that all the words â€œmayâ€ had been changed to the characterâ€™s name.Â Now we have a problem.Â
One copy was sent out, and I had production halted.Â I was due to leave for Australia within days so there was no time to go through and fix everything, and have it republished.Â I packed the proof copy in my suitcase at the bottom and there it was forgotten in all the excitement of experiencing a new country and marriage.
Iâ€™ve started reworking it about a month ago, and wound up re-titling it End of Mae, which is much more fitting.Â I never associated the name Mae with the month until yesterday when an online friend made the connection.Â That inspired me to stop procrastinating and finish so I can have it ready to republish it at the end of this month, the end of May.Â