Facets of Fantasy started out as a five-story collection and my aim in publishing it was practicality. At that time I hadn’t yet written a full-length novel (although I would be doing the first draft of the Harrisons the next year) and most published books I saw were long. I knew readers were more likely to buy something longer because they felt more pages = more bang for your buck. Of course that’s not quite true if the content in the pages is just bloated, repetitious, or poor-quality, but they’ll only find that out AFTER they read the book. So longer was more of a sell, initially.
I didn’t intend for the Facets stories to tell any sort of story together. Actually, I didn’t feel that was important. Short story and novella collections were groups of unconnected little tales, after all. But as the years passed and passed I grew to feel there was a similarity in the three stories that are now in Facets: Halogen Crossing, Jurant, and The Amulet of Renari. "The Trouble with Taranui" grew into a longer novel, City of the Invaders. And "Millhaven Castle" had originally been published in another book. The more I looked at it, the more I felt it didn’t really fit into Facets of Fantasy’s personality.
What is great about this is that the 3 Facets novellas have a distinctive tone, so you know if something belongs with them or not. This means they also have a distinctive audience who wouldn’t be interested in other stories like Millhaven. In fact, the readers of Facets of Fantasy are so distinctive they might not enjoy my other work overall. Facets of Fantasy, with its blend of three different kinds of fantasy types, has a tone unlike any of my other books—a crafted, elevated, broad-reaching tone in which strong characters grapple with a deeply structured world to which they belong. It’s a fantasy book for fantasy lovers. And although I write whatever ideas come into my head, I understand that love for fantasy, so I’m glad I have a book for the fantasy buff.
And there will be more updates.
After Bellevere House was written, I realized I had a lot of books published, unpublished, and in need of republishing. For a while, it looked like my writing career had stalled. After all, with such a disorganized backlog of material and no promise yet that any of the stories had much of an audience, I felt little encouragement to continue. So I just spent some quiet time putting those old stories in order while I waited for the next thing to happen. The Bible talks about “waiting on the Lord,” and it’s a phrase often heard in Christian devotionals and Christian living books. But it’s not easy to see it in action. Patience is, as Lloyd Alexander put it, one of the more difficult virtues.
Waiting was the right thing to do, though, and patience is called a Virtue for a reason. It’s yielded far more fruit than jumping ahead would have. Not only did work on those old publications help me find their audience, I learned much about that audience. I found it wasn’t all the same person. Each book grew under my eyes like pottery, taking shape, until I saw different people in each book. A lot of authors write steadily for just one reader—they become a “go-to” for that reader, a safe place where the reader knows to expect a tried-and-true. That’s great for many people, but you don’t have to write that way. It’s also okay to have many different readers.
And the best part was that taking a couple of years before I worked on anything new allowed many ideas to start flowing into my mind. I now have 4 or 5 exciting concepts that are growing rapidly and each of them is different from what I’ve written before. And different from each other, as all my previous books have been. Without taking time with my older books, my creative juices might have died out. You can over-write, you know. But instead they are getting stronger and in the process, so are my older books.
Waiting means you don’t have all the answers yet. And it also means God does know them and will soon share them with you.
And there will be more updates.
Years ago I worked on a little story that was part Cinderella retelling (yes, one of the many) and then it had this other comedy part in which Cinderella found the Prince was pretending to be crazy—at least, he said he was pretending—while he tried to uncover a plot at court. After all, nobody would suspect him of being an amateur sleuth while he was acting like such an idiot, would they? There was also a princess that Cinderella was substituted for—with the consent of this princess, who had a plot of her own—and that was how Cinderella ended up spending so much time in the palace.
I forgot about this little story for years while I worked on my other books, and in the rush of the last 18 months, touching up everything I’d published, I didn’t remember this story had been ALMOST published. It really almost made it to print round about 2016, but life got in the way. But a couple weeks ago I found a lovely DVD set of Cinderella at a resale shop. It had the disc of extras and the case of the old animated movie, but the actual movie disc inside was of the new 2015 movie. So it was kind of a hybrid and while it wasn’t what I expected when I bought it, I’ve grown to like it.
Watching Cinderella popped that story out of the woodwork again. And while Cinderella retellings never really go out of style, it’s true they might feel a little done-to-death, so I’m considering placing the story in a different setting. I considered the Palladia world at first, but after looking at the story I feel a historical setting might be the most appropriate, in somewhat the style of Victoria. I'm currently mulling over the possibility of Scotland . . .
And there will be more updates.
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I live surrounded by cultivated fields that rapidly give way to wild flowers, wild plants, and wild life. I get most of my ideas while drifting innocuously around my house and some of those ideas get into print.
Bellevere House has been featured on Ezvid Wiki video "10 Wonderfully Inventive Retellings That Interpret Classic Stories in a New Way." Click to see the video.