By Piper Bayard
Most babies take nine months. Some take nine years.
Nine years ago, a friend offered to get me into the insurance business. I had an inactive law license, and my kids had just started back to school. It made sense. They would pay for my licensing and get me set up in business. Money coming through the door on my schedule. Sounded like the perfect fit for a recovering attorney/stay-at-home mom. . . . Except for one thing. If I poured my energy into starting an insurance business, I would never write a book. I could live and die happy without ever selling an insurance policy, but I couldn’t live and die happy if I never wrote a book. And so it began.
The first draft took 5 1/2 years. Yes, really. I sat in the corner of the coffee shop, playing with my memories of all of the people I knew and wanted to know and telling whatever story they directed me in that day. Plot? Why have plot when you have 78 main characters? Tension? Who needs that? Books are where we go to escape tension, right? I took every night, weekend, and summer vacation off, along with an entire year to care for my mother. Eventually, though, I had what was sure to be the next #1 New York Times best selling novel, not to mention a blockbuster movie starring a younger Kiera Knightley and Ian Somerhalder. All of my family and friends loved it. It would produce the greatest bidding war in publishing history!
Then a few rejections started rolling in. What? Couldn’t they see my vision? I swallowed enough of my pride to hire an editor. Enter Kristen Lamb, best selling author, social media jedi, and editor. One of the teachers from my first Dallas/Ft. Worth Writers Conference. When she quit laughing, she called me up and spent five hours telling me exactly what was wrong with my book. I scrapped my “baby” and started over. Page one.
Kristen taught me the difference between writing a novel and hanging out with my imaginary friends. Over the course of the next year and a half, I slaughtered 68 of my favorite 78 characters, introduced a wicked antagonist, wrote action that was connected to a plot, and actually had a few people disagreeing with each other along the way. At the same time, also with Kristen’s help, I built a social media platform which connected me with several best selling authors who I now call my friends and mentors.
After another, much more successful edit, it was time to polish and market. With all of the upheaval in New York among the Big However-Many-Are-Left-Standing-Today, I wasn’t so sure I even wanted an agent or the traditional model. After all, I had a brilliant publishing attorney, Susan Spann, in my corner. I focused on writing my next book–a spy thriller with my writing partner Jay Holmes. It was enough to let my dystopian thriller shake out as it would.
With time and recommendations from Kristen and other new friends, I met up with best selling author and publisher Aaron Patterson of Stonehouse Ink. He chatted with me a bit and decided I wouldn’t be too much of a pain to work with (I hope he still thinks that), so I sent him my manuscript. He welcomed me to the outstanding Stonehouse family of authors.
I’m proud to present FIRELANDS. My nine year dystopian thriller baby. She will be delivered by Stonehouse Ink on June 14 at Amazon, and later at other outlets. I hope she will come to mean as much to you as she has to me. I also hope the rest of my babies take nine months or less.
My profound thanks to Kristen Lamb for making me her social media guinea pig and writing student. Since we met in 2010, she founded WANA International, which is dedicated to providing instruction and support to help other authors on their paths. I can’t recommend her and WANA highly enough.
My thanks, also, to each and every one of you, our readers, for your support in helping me realize this dream. You are the reason.
Next week, I’m swimming back upstream to where it all started, the DFW Writers Conference. This time, I will be a teacher.
Holmes and I wish you an outstanding week of coming closer to your dreams.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Eighty years in the future, America has devolved into a totalitarian theocracy. The ruling Josephites clone the only seeds that grow in the post-apocalyptic climate, allowing their Prophet to control who eats, who starves, and who dies in the ritual fires that atone society.
Subsisting on the fringes, Archer risks violation and death each day as she scours the forest for game to feed her people. When a Josephite refugee seeks sanctuary in her home, Archer is driven to chance a desperate gamble. A gamble that will bring down the Prophet and deliver seeds and freedom, or end in a fiery death for herself and for everyone she loves.
Seeds are life . . . Seeds are power . . . Seeds are the only hope of a despairing people. What will Archer do for the seeds of freedom, and what will she justify in their name?
Available from Amazon in Paperback and on Kindle
Also in e-book at Barnes & Noble and Kobo,
and at iTunes for iPad and mobile devices.
Woo Hoo You, Piper! Powerful cover. James Rollins on the front? *wipes drool from chin*
I spewed coffee (and contemplated the death of two characters) when I read you had to kill 68 of your favorite 78 characters. Made me wonder how many not-so-favorites bought it in that process.
I applaud the fact that you didn’t give up on your dream or that novel. Can. Not. Wait. To. Read. It. Why didn’t I see any “pre-order” linky-love in this post?
It also gives me more than a wee bit of comfort to know my abysmal conception to delivery timeline for my current novel is not Guinness World Record fodder. This post comes at a great time in my writing life. It gives me hope. It give me inspiration. If gives me hives.
[My protagonist is not twisted enough and my suspense thread is too twisted, so I’m back to the *shudder* plodding process]
I’ll get to meet you at DFWCon. I may or may not be the wearing a cobalt blue wig when I attend your session, but I will attend.
Congratulations, again! You had some powerful (and, painfully honest) support when you snagged Kristen Lamb as a mentor. Repeat *wipes drool from chin*
Oh, Gloria, keep plugging away! It took me almost 8 years to get Dangerous and Unseemly written and published, so there are many of us in this boat. I think we need a t-shirt. 😉
Thanks so much for your support, Gloria. No pre-order since it’s a debut novel and will be out so soon. I’ll be sure to make another announcement on the 14th along with links.
I found that once I started killing off characters, I actually enjoyed it. Now, Kristen and I laugh about my original Cecile B. DeMille Cast of Thousands. She has blogged about pretty much everything she’s taught me. I’m going to push her to write a book teaching people to write a novel, or I will write it for WANA.
Really looking forward to meeting you at DFWCon. You already know and practice so much of what I will be saying about social media. 🙂
The cover is stunning, Piper! Congrats 🙂 I’ll be grabbing myself a copy as soon as it’s out.
Thank you, Marcy! 🙂
Piper, congrats! As you know, I had the privilege of reading an earlier WIP of this – which was fabulous – and cannot wait to read the final version, which I’m sure is even more awesome! (Although I have a Nook, so I’ll have to wait even longer than you Kindle folks…*sad face*).
You deserve every accolade, hon, so enjoy being teacher/role model/author/inspiration at DFW!
Thank you, Kathy. I really appreciate your support. Looking forward to reading Dangerous and Unseemly. Saw Ellie Soderstrom this weekend in Milwaukee, and she said it was excellent. 🙂
P.S. – how could I have forgotten to comment on the cover?? Piper, I love it! It’s fab with a side of awesomesauce. 😉
Stonehouse Ink has some great artists and a very picky man with a keen eye at the helm. Thank you.
That’s awesome, Piper. Congratulations!!! Have fun in Dallas.
Thanks, Kerry! And thanks so much for being such a great beta reader. Good to see you. 🙂
I’m so excited for you and your 9-year-old baby! Your post is inspirational to me, as I’ve been battling with a particular novel for about two years yet still really want to finish this book. I think I need to start back at page one as well.
When people first start writing, oftentimes they come from a love of writing and others telling them they are good at it, so they assume they can write a novel. Then they figure out that they’re not automatically the next Nora Roberts/Stephen King/J.K. Rowling after all. So they start writing and learning and connecting and rethinking and pushing-a-Sisyphus-sized-boulder-up-a-hill until they’re ready and finally have a published book.
Congratulations! Like Kathy, I will have to wait a little until I can get it on my Nook, but I’m looking forward to reading it!
Thanks so much, Julie. I really appreciate your support.
I think that with writing, like with every endeavor, we start out with ideas. Those ideas become work. Then they become more work. And then more work. I think we reach many points in the journey when we actively decide, “Is it worth the next level of work, or do I cash in now?” With most activities in our lives, we reach a threshold and then move on. Most of us eventually commit to something, giving it all we’ve got. For some of us, it is writing. And Moxie helps! 🙂
Congrats on your debut! I couldn’t be more excited for you. I bet you had fun killing off your 70 imaginary friends, but your secret is safe with me!
Thanks, Susie! 🙂
Thank you, Chase. 🙂
Very inspirational. You give me hope, I am three years into my first attempt. There is always hope!
There is, Rob. Just keep swimming. 🙂
Way to go! I can relate to your journey. I’m at 7 years, and Kristen in in the mix, too. I can’t wait to read your story. Be patient with me. I still need to read Ellie Soderstrom’s book. And K.B. Owen’s mystery. And Patricia Sands’ romance. But you are sooooooo in the queue. I can’t wait for summer. Just finished reading Leanne Shirtliffe’s book — OMG! Hilarious! And it should be out any day! So many great writers; so many great books being born. It ain’t a race, but I’m glad you popped this one out. Finally. Mazel tov!
Thank you for your support, Renee. I really appreciate your encouragement over the past few years. 🙂
Thrilled for you! Truly! 😉
Thank you. 🙂
Wow… nine years? Now I don’t feel so bad! I totally hear ya about slaughtering members of the cast of thousands. My earlier drafts had enough characters for a Cecil B. DeMille production. Book plot sounds intriguing. Congrats, Piper!
To a peace-loving gal, conflict and tension are really hard.
I know what you mean! I’ve worked so hard to get the conflict and tension out of my life. It was real work to get the hang of putting it into my books. 🙂
To someone who thought her “baby” was getting a bit long in the tooth (since January 2009), your post is really inspiring. The fact that others have stumbled on “newbie novelist” blunders means that I’m running along on schedule.
LOL. My baby has it’s adult teeth at this point. I think it’s required that we make the mistakes. 🙂
Piper, you’ve no idea how inspiring this post is to me and I’m beaming right now for you and your book release! I’ve got two years of starting over completely on the same stuff and I’m about to it all again. I know this is time where you learn the most, and it’s wonderful to see how that paid off for you! I can’t wait to get your book! Like, Renee, up there, I’ve got a long list to read, but I’m excited to read each one! Congratulations, friend! So excited to see you this weekend!
Thanks so much for your support, Jess. Can’t wait to see you at DFW! 🙂
Is there any way we could buy a signed copy from you at DFW? 🙂
I wish! But it won’t be out yet. June 14 is the due date. Talk to me, though. I’ll get author copies that I can mail.
Piper, I’m so excited for you! There is NOTHING like the thrill of that first book. Sending it out into the world is an act of bravery. May yours be justly rewarded! I can’t wait to read it.
Justine, you just rock. It’s that simple. Thank you for your support. 🙂
Awesome Piper! Super proud of you. TOTALLY deserved.
Thanks, Clay! 🙂
HOORAY!!! I love your cover, and congratulations again (in public this time) on the upcoming release!!
This is such a great novel. I loved it, and I cannot wait for the release. Such a fantastic thing to see the dream come true!!!! (And I love that we’re debuting in the same year too!!)
Thanks, Susan. I love it that we’re debuting together, too. You’ve been such awesome support, and thanks so much for the outhouse info. You really made my story richer, or at least smellier and more disgusting. . . . In a good way. 🙂
A thrilling cover for what sounds like a truly thrilling story. Huge congrats, Piper! Wishing you ever-expanding success!
Thank you, August! 🙂
Congrats, Piper!! I think we should have a drink this weekend to celebrate your cover and upcoming release AND Donna’s birthday!!
You’re on! Looking forward to seeing you. 🙂
Congrats, Piper! That’s awesome!
Thanks, Catherine! 🙂
Congratulations, Piper! I love the cover. It looks awesome! 🙂 *tosses confetti* *hugs*
Thanks, Jami! 🙂
Congrats, Piper! Awesome cover. Looking forward to checking this one out.
Thanks, Bill! I really appreciate your support. 🙂
far beyond cool! Sounds like a great story. (Got a good laugh over the 78 main characters!)
Nice you’re going to be speaking to others about writing (DFW perfect place for a conference) Enjoy the ride and will be watching for the debut.
The worst part is that I’m not exaggerating. Kristen made a list of all of the characters in the first 100 pages alone. There were 68. She didn’t even know there were 10 more to come. 🙂
Thanks so much for your support and encouragement.
Congratulations! I can’t wait to read it!
Thanks, Diana! 🙂
Congratulations, Piper!!! No one deserves this more! I am counting the days to June 4th, when I can buy a copy and start reading. 😀
I was so excited for you I mistyped … June 14th. Gah!! 10 extra days to wait! 🙂
Thanks so much for your support and friendship, Elizabeth. 🙂
Awesome, Piper! The cover looks brilliant and the premise is great. AAAAAAAAAnd you have the best recommendation on the cover as well. It’s going to be great, I know it!
Thanks so much for your help along the way, Nigel. Looking forward to your book, as well. 🙂
So excited for you, Piper! Huge congrats to you! Looking forward to reading it when it comes out.
Thanks, Tami! 🙂
Congratulations. I can’t wait to read this!
Thank you, Jeff! 🙂
Every time I see your book cover I start getting misty. It’s like my first grand-baby 😀
Congratulatoins Piper! From the description, I like the “seeds theme.” Best wishes to you and Holmes in all your endeavors.
Thank you, Ted! 🙂
Congrats, Piper! Have fun at DFW, sorry I won’t be able to attend and hear you speak.
Thanks, Kathleen! You will be missed. 🙂
Cool! And congratulations! A wonderful outcome, and all best wishes for every success. The moment when that first book appears – it’s always special.
So’s the moment when the second and third books are published (etc)…but it;’s never QUITE like the first.
LOL. Thanks so much, Matthew. 🙂
Congratulations, Piper! Been following your progress from a distance, and I have to say, this is incredible news. So happy for you! Again, deepest congratulations!
Way to go, Piper! Cover looks terrific and I’m putting June 14th on my calender. I’m also inspired by your story. I’ve had a couple rejections come through for my first novel, and am back to the editing process.
Super, super excited to read Firelands. Congrats on getting James Rollins to blurb!
Hi Gill. Thanks for your good wishes. Good thing this is a fiction book and not an archery manual. 🙂
From the deepest part of my heart, I am overjoyed that your new book “Firelands” is coming out in June. Can you believe it is truly happening? Because of your story in this post about the journey of writing your book, I don’t feel as bad that there have been as many obstacles in my life. But like you, at one point I’ll have to ask myself and be honest w/my answer, “Will I be happy if I don’t write this book?” I will have to put my book #1 if I want to complete it.
Like others, I cannot wait to read it. The one thing I find myself doing when I read books written by people I know is I ask myself, where do they get the ideas for the plot and characters? What part of the author’s story is in this story? The better I know the person, the easier it is to answer those questions.
Once again, congratulations, Piper, and may the road continue to rise up to meet you for as long as it can!
What a touching message. Thank you, Monique. I genuinely appreciate your support. All the best to you. 🙂
Way to go, Piper! You’ve got far more readers than I, yet you still stop in to like my little posts. I appreciate it. I just finished novel number five this month–still looking for that elusive publisher. I’ll be reading yours, though. You can count on it!
I love your blog! It was the first one I found when I came on WordPress, and it’s always worth the stop. You’re a fantastic blogger, and I’m always learning new vocabulary from you. 🙂
Thanks so much for the support and encouragement where the book is concerned. I can’t tell you how I appreciate it.
Wow Piper your new book sounds amazing and how great to have one of the greatest mentors out there to assist you, Kristen rocks and so will you. I have a similar story with “Broken” which has taken me years to write, I am nearly there but not quite yet. If you want me to review your book on my blog, give me a shout. I will also post on Goodreads, Amazon and Facebook.Well done Piper xxx
Thank you, Athena! That would be awesome! I appreciate your support. All the best to you with “Broken.”
This is a wonderful story–and congratulations! I’m curious to read your book. 🙂