In August I left my husband of twelve years (we’d been estranged for the better part of our marriage anyway) and started work as the Marketing Director for Sapphire Blue Publishing.  By November, their long-neglected marketing program was on the upswing.  Unfortunately, other factors had to be considered and my work wasn’t enough for the owners of Sapphire Blue to keep it open.

So I got laid off.

Some time ago I made the decision to put all my writing eggs into the Sapphire Blue Publishing basket.  Loyal?  Yes.  Savvy?  Not so much.  Luckily, when they closed their doors they returned all of the authors’ rights immediately and let us walk away with our books and cover art.

That opened the door to self-publishing.

Many of my colleagues from Sapphire Blue Publishing are pursuing a mix of publishers and self-publishing but I realized this was a great opportunity for me to be completely independent.  I knew great editors and graphic artists and I’d have the opportunity to rework some books I’d admittedly rushed through production.

The Path to Freedom

The Path to Freedom was my first full manuscript and my first published novel.  Tina Gerow did the editing on it and I love it just the way it is.  The 2008 version remains unchanged and is now available in electronic formats for 99 cents.  It will soon be available in paperback from Amazon.com.

A Taste of Liberty

Sarah Stevens wins the lottery (so to speak) in this story but there is so much more to the story that the reader doesn’t know.  I rushed this story when I should have taken my time and expanded on the details.  They’re worth telling and readers deserve to know them.  I’ll begin expanding this book to double it’s original size in January and hope to have some talented editors help me polish it for a February publication in electronic and paperback.

Freedom’s Promise

Another story I rushed through.  I should mention why.  While I was working on these two books, my marriage was falling down around me.  I was desperate to create something of my own and tried to do it too quickly while everything else crumbled.  It wasn’t an easy place to write from.  It isn’t easy writing happily ever afters when what you thought was yours turns out to be a steaming pile of shit.  So I’d like to work on this story too.  Ideally, I’d expand on it in March and have my editor friends help me polish it in April.  Then I’d release something with twice the original story in both electronic and paperback.

Stealing Liberties

The fourth installment in the Task Force 125 series was to be my very best work yet.  It was under contract with SBP but not yet complete when they closed their doors.  I have a hardcopy riddled with notes and bleeding red ink everywhere.  The first draft was good but the final is going to be fantastic.  Things happen in this story that loyal readers would never have imagined.  Even I couldn’t believe most of them but, as any writer will tell you, there comes a time when you need to surrender to the muse holding a gun to the back of your head.  So I did.  Then life happened and I had to tuck the manuscript away for a while.

That’s when I met a character I’d written.  He wasn’t just any character either.  He was supposed to be a minor character that would be killed off.  You know the kind, the Star Trek Ensign that beams down with the landing party.  The guy who dies so the story can move along.  But once I wrote him, I couldn’t kill him.  I wrestled with it for three days but he’d become integral to Sarah’s story.  Oddly enough, the man I met six months later would become integral to mine as well.  Unfortunately, fact and fiction didn’t run parallel for me and Sarah.  Regardless, this episode in Sarah Stevens’ story must be told.

Why so much detail, you ask?

Because I’m doing this completely on my own and it helps to have someone to talk to at the end of the day, even if it is just a blog.

There are stories here that must be told, people here you have to meet, and events that will change lives.  I have the stories and I have all the words but delivering Sarah Stevens’ stories in a comprehensive manner means I need editors – few authors can deliver a book worth reading without them.  I also need cover art and that means staying true to the other covers in the series and staying with the same artist.

So I took a stab at a Kickstarter campaign.  Pledges were generous but they weren’t enough to meet my goal so I never saw any of them (kickstarter being an all-or-nothing proposition).

This is why some artists live in shabby little lofts, go without food and heat and scrape together what money they can to buy supplies to feed their muse.  Canvas, paper, paint, ink, frames, covers…all food for the muse no matter what your form of expression may be.  So, with a week left to 2011, and stories that must be told, I find myself changing strategies.  I can do this myself.  It will a great deal of time and much work, but it can be done and, in the end, it will be mine.  It should make a hell of a story when I’m gone too!