The composite novel I’m currently working on is one whose first seeds sprouted in 1992.  But the stories I had so far written were set aside for several years, and it wasn’t until 2006 that I came back to the project with renewed vigor.  Ideas came so fast I could barely get them written down.  Characters took shape.  The book developed an entirely new purpose, one I was truly excited about.

But here we are, seven more years down the road, and I still haven’t finished the first draft.  Why?

It’s not that the book doesn’t need to be written, or that it’s not worth writing, or that I don’t want to write it.  It does, and it is, and I do.  But I have never tried to write and teach at the same time, so my writing has been confined to summer, winter, and spring breaks, and in addition, I discovered not long into the process that as a writer, I have REAL ISSUES with two “writing disorders” that interfere with my progress:  Butt-in-Chair Syndrome, and a particularly insistent and particularly evil Inner Editor Demon.

Butt-in-Chair Syndrome occurs when you realize that you absolutely must dust all the baseboards in your house before you can sit down to write another word.  Then you tell yourself that if you can just beat this level of Candy Crush while the ideas percolate, then you’ll be able to write.

But when you finally do sit down and write something, your Inner Editor Demon steps in immediately to tell you that everything you’ve written is crap.  “What makes you think you can write?” she says.  “You suck!  You couldn’t write your own suicide note!”

She’s very convincing, and you believe her.  So you set the book aside once again and go back to playing Candy Crush, which you’ve gotten quite good at.

It was in the middle of a particularly bad night last summer, while randomly cruising the internet looking for motivation and a way of killing the Demon, that I stumbled across Holly Lisle’s website (http://hollylisle.com/my-articles/).

“How to Think Sideways,” it said.  It piqued my curiosity.  I browsed through a few pages.  Tried some of the methods she suggested.  And they worked.  She had a “Write a Book With Me” page, and I joined it.  Two days later I had an entirely new story, one that I had known the details of for at least two years but hadn’t been able to make myself sit down and actually write.  And suddenly here it was, finished.

To say I was pleased would be an understatement.  But then the new semester began and I again set my writing aside.  And what with one thing and another, I didn’t get much done during winter break, either.

In March, during Spring Break, I found myself in Holly’s site again. I officially enrolled in her “How to Think Sideways” course, and I was still on Lesson One when the moderators of the site posted a call for submissions to an anthology Holly was putting together—an anthology of her students’ best work.

With this motivator singing in the background, and using some of Holly’s invention methods, I sat down and wrote another brand-new story.  Well, not brand-new.  It was one I had started the summer before, gotten stuck on, and set aside.  It’s called “A Play of Hopes and Fears,” and it’s part of Eighteen Crossroads, but as with most of the stories in that collection, it’s also a stand-alone.

I submitted it with two hours to go before the deadline.

In May, I received an email letting me know it had been accepted.

Calloo, callay!

The editor asked for only two edits—change “check” to “cheek,” and “loathe” to “loath”—but I spent nearly a month revising the story anyway.  As I’ve said before, I’m an inveterate reviser.

But I did get it submitted with time to spare.

OK, so that’s the backstory.  Here’s today’s news:

TODAY IS THE BIG COVER REVEAL.  Here it is (imagine fanfares blowing!!):

AdventureCreationSmall COVER REVEAL rec'd 6-30-13

The anthology will be available for purchase both electronically (Kindle, etc.) and in paperback, through what the mods refer to as “the usual venues” (I assume Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.), on July 24.  I don’t know the price yet, but I suspect it’ll be very low.  Holly believes it’s better to sell a whole lot of inexpensive books (and courses) than just a few expensive ones, and I have to agree.

I’m told the moderators had planned to include thirty stories, but when the submissions came in, they had such trouble limiting themselves to thirty that they went with thirty-five instead.  The stories contained in the collection cover a wide array of genres, from fantasy and sci-fi to horror, romance, mainstream, and lit fic.  There’s something here for everybody.

I hope you’ll check it out!  Remember the day–July 24!