As of 9/29, the Dream began ten years ago.
I’ve told this story before, so forgive me if you’ve read it — but those old original blog entries were lost long ago. My Beloved Sister called and told me she’d done it. She’d finished a book. A HUGE book, well over 400 pages single spaced. Of course I had to read it and somehow in there admitted that I’d been writing too. I just hadn’t told anybody.
Seriously, like nobody knew. That Man knew I dabbled a little but that’s all. He didn’t have a clue about the Dream. Even I didn’t know what the Dream was. Not really. Not yet.
I’d written a little when I was younger in 5th/6th grade, but other than a story I’ll politely call The Black Stallion fanfic, I’d never finished anything. Just drips and dabs. Here and there. My little Gone With the Wind wannabe. Little snippets that caught my fancy. Dreams I’d had that I thought were cool and wrote down, incomplete and sketchy.
After Molly sent me her book, she insisted I had to send her what I had, even though it wasn’t finished. I went through my old files and found the one book that was the most finished. Then titled My Beloved Barbarian, I had a whopping 270 some pages finished. I’d gotten to the dark moment (I didn’t know what that was then) and sputtered out.
But I’d been dreaming this book for YEARS. I mean, I would literally put it in my mind at night and fall asleep while it played like a movie in my dreams. I knew pretty much how it ended – it was just all those pesky details. Plus, time. Even then, I didn’t have a lot of free time. It was my hobby. The little thing I did to escape into my world. It was mine and mine alone.
I’d never shared it with anybody. Until I sent it to Molly on 9/29. I still have that cheesy embarrassed email I sent her. The subject: turnabout… With a few blush, blush, gasp, brace yourself comments scattered throughout. Even then, I wrote sexy romance with some very politically incorrect elements I didn’t think or know to call BDSM. There are some things in that original draft that never made it into the “final” version available today that were highly BDSM. Even if I didn’t have a clue what I was doing.
Within a few days, she’d read that rough incomplete draft and ORDERED me to finish it. Like right now, sit down and finish it or I’m going to drive up there and kick your ass. So I promised her I would finish the first draft by Christmas. Surely I could do it in just a few months.
That’s how it started. A simple promise. Finish the book. But it wasn’t so simple, because the Dream started to grow. I’d dared let it out of the box. Someone had seen it. Someone had read it. And now it was loose. I couldn’t put it back.
I didn’t want to put it back. I was going to write like I meant it. I was going to finish that book and write another and another and another. I wasn’t ever going to let anything stop me.
I finished that book by Christmas. In fact, I even finished the sequel. What followed then was a couple of years of learning, brutally honest critiques, RWA contests, etc. The Dream got beat up a little. I was told the book would never sell. I should just put it in a trunk and move on. But I couldn’t move on. I couldn’t let the Dream die.
It wasn’t the first book I sold (Survive My Fire), but Drollerie Press did quickly accept the book that went on to become The Rose of Shanhasson. By then, it’d been through more major rewrites than I can count. Through it all, though, the core of the Dream remained. It’s been a long road. I had several different editors on the books. Drollerie Press eventually closed its doors. And yeah, that could have been the end of the Shanhasson books, but by then, the Dream had grown too large to ever be denied.
And yes, they are still na’lanna, my beloved. They always will be.