An Anniversary Story

[— Karen Myers —]

10 years ago, on October 9, I indie-published To Carry the Horn, the first book of a fantasy series.

This wasn’t the culmination of a long-standing dream with lots of childhood wishes, false starts, and abandoned projects. No, it was my very first bit of story-telling, ever. I skipped the “childhood illustrated scribbles”, “fanfic circulated amongst teenage friends”, etc., and waited until I was 58 to write my very first work, not as a short story, but as a 442-page entry for a 4-books-plus-stories series.

And I would probably never have fully embraced the endeavor without the company and encouragement of many of the folks on this blog, and others like you.

You see, when I started, I didn’t know any other writers socially, and had barely heard of indie-publishing. Of course, I had devoured thousands of books (I married the only man I ever met who had more books than I did – we’re talking circa 2000 book boxes worth of storage). My genre favorite was SFF, but I had never been moved to create a story myself.

And then… one morning, my husband and I were driving to one of the weekly fox hunts in Virginia where we and a few others followed the hunt by car (yes, this can be done). Along the way we lamented the uncertainties of retirement, what we would do with all our “stuff”, and so forth, and then one of us suggested, “We should just retire to Elfland. We could hunt, and fish, and I bet they read a lot of books…” and – WHAM – Cernunnos whacked me over the head and told me to get going. I began dreaming plausible plot threads that night.

The first struggle was all about “gee, that stinks, doesn’t it?” – experienced taste vs beginner’s writing – but it didn’t take all that long to settle on a form and process that worked for me. (I had taken up various musical instruments and forms from scratch and had a pretty good idea of what the whole new-craft-from-standing-start process was like, including the psychology of self-doubt and disappointment that comes with the territory.)

Once the writing was under control, I faced all the indie publishing challenges that everyone does, as one of the pioneers. It helped that I was a data nerd already, with a career in tech and data analysis and small businesses.

It was finding the communities of writers (and indies) that really gave me my final confidence to just commit and start publishing. (Although by then, the sheer joy of writing would have swept all barriers away.) Ten years later, and I’m still having a ball. 8 books (2 series) and a few stories are out, 2 ½ books of a new long series are written (and will be released when book 3 is done), and nothing will stop me now, Cernunnos willing and the creek don’t rise.

I just wanted to give thanks to some of the folks who counsel and encourage writers and indies – you have no idea how much that’s worth to people you may never meet in person. Keep it up, and they’ll return the favor.

16 thoughts on “An Anniversary Story

    1. Who says I’m normal???? Unless you consider the 2000 book boxes normal. 🙂

      But definitely waylaid — I dream in “story” now, and drive my husband nuts pointing out the story structures and related timing in TV shows & movies.

      1. :has no problem with thousands of boxes of books as normal:

        You didn’t think in Story before; you do now. Thus, normal on that vector. 😀

  1. Congratulations!

    I definitely want to second that part about the community. I’ve written bits and parts for year, but never finished a complete story until that thing last year. It was not good, but it was a start.

    Now I’m finally working up stuff of my own. Still sketching scenes and characters and motivations, which somehow seems to want to turn from a scifi Western into a vampire romance? No I don’t know how or why my mind works either…

      1. Which is probably how it will end up. My understanding of the demographics of the typical romance novel consumer is they’re looking for characters they can imagine themselves as, and I’m pretty sure very few of that demographic is going to want to envision themselves as the sparkly/creepy vampire.

        I mean, even the ones it might resonate with probably don’t pick up something labeled romance looking to experience the redemption of the blood addict…

  2. Congratulations!

    I always told myself stories but never wrote them down or even considered being a writer. I read voraciously too, and married a man with more books than I had (8,000 volumes and counting now for us).

    Then at 54, I started writing and like you, I didn’t start small. Three novels and two nonfictions later, I’m still going.

    It’s wonderful to find community with other late bloomers and know I’m not alone in not “always wanting to write from the time I could hold a pencil”.

    Best wishes to you.

  3. Congratulations, Mrs. Myers. That sounds very similar to how I got started last year, getting ambushed by a plot. May you have many more years and books.

    Completely off topic, and tooting my own horn for a moment, ‘The Lone Star, the Tricolor, and the Swastika’ hit #1 in Alternate History new releases on Amazon earlier this week. Thank you to everyone here who gave me advice and ideas.

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