Upon the Backs of Old Drafts

I was sketching on a piece of scrap paper a few days ago. Jotting down a few ideas and scribbling out a few pictures for the fantasy novel I’m currently readying to write the second draft of. I happened to flip the scrap paper over and couldn’t help but laugh at what I saw on the back. It was a page from my first draft of Honey Butter, none of which remains in the final printed and bound book.

There are plenty of pages like these floating around our house, and here I was, drawing up ideas for my second book on the back of the first. Was it only a year ago that I wrote those misspelled, hastily typed words on the paper before me? And now I was doing it all over again with a new story, which will climb from draft to draft to draft and finally publication.

But I think it’s an interesting idea: you may have finished a story, but it will never be finished with you. You build upon what you have already written; you write upon the backs of old drafts.

In the same way, 2018 will build off of 2017 as the new year stretches out before us, inviting, and full of possibility.

And yes, it is indeed January 19th, and we are indeed several weeks into the new year. So this post is a bit late, isn’t it? But it’s still the first month of the year, even if it is not the first day, so I don’t think it’s too late to jot down a few plans and hopes and dreams and schemes for the year ahead. And considering the fact that last year I wrote down ‘finish and publish Honey Butter’ with a tentative pen deep within a private journal, and that it DID happen…this year, I’m going to aim high. Shoot for the stars and you might hit the moon they say! Although personally, I can’t imagine why anyone would want to hit their head on a star in the first place, considering the fact that they are balls of fire, the moon might be preferable.

Alright, enough with the witty wordplay! (For now anyway.) Here are a few of my goals for 2018!

Get Honey Butter into Barnes and Noble

I told you I was going to aim high. This, admittedly, is the one I’m most apprehensive about. But I’m going to try anyway, and you don’t know until you try. Who knows what might happen?

Twenty Reviews of Honey Butter on Amazon and Goodreads

Here’s the part you guys can help me out with. 😉
Okay but really, I’m already halfway there, and it shouldn’t be too hard to get ten more reviews on Amazon and Goodreads in the next year. I see twenty as a decent amount, and if we reach it I will be happy to do a giveaway or book signing or something along those lines in celebration.

Publish Another Book

This may be my fantasy novel or my poetry book, or if possible, both. We’ll have to see what happens. Either way, I will be working hard on both of these. Wish me luck!

Publish Honey Butter as an Audio Book

Yes! That’s right! I’m recording an audiobook for Honey Butter! You have partly my little brother to thank for that. He listens to audio books twenty-four seven and has been asking me to make one of Honey Butter for a while now. It’s slow going, but I should definitely have it done sometime this year.

Also, just to let you guys know. I am currently 50 followers away from 500 on Instagram, once I reach 500 I am planning to do a giveaway of my book and some cute paint card bookmarks that I made. So if you have an Instagram account and haven’t already; go follow me! Just search millieflorenceauthor.

That’s all for now I suppose. But I have a good feeling about the year ahead. Who knows how much adventure it might contain!

Keep Writing!

– Millie

An Author’s Sacrifice

Right now I’m in one of those steady, happy routines. Nothing huge is going on (at least not writing related) and I’m working on a new book, promoting Honey Butter, cooking, reading, and enjoying the coming of fall.

There are always new challenges, of course, one of which is balancing both promotion and writing. I’ve been managing homeschool and writing for a long time, (Plus, when you’re homeschooled your work only takes about as long as you want it to) but adding promotion has taken some getting used too. This is partly because it’s not in any way predictable. Sometimes it means replying to emails or writing informational blog posts. Sometimes it means googling ‘book review blogs’ and sifting through the results or going to award websites and reading through their submission guidelines.

My current writing projects are going pretty well. I’m hoping to finish the first draft of the new fantasy book I’m writing over the next few months. And I’m seventy-five percent done with the book of poems I’m writing.

But away, let’s get to the point of this blog post.

I envy my readers. Not in a bad way, but more of a wistful ‘oh well’ way.

The reason for this is that I can never read my book, and they can. I don’t mean that I am literally unable to read the words, but I can never really read it. I’ve analyzed this story to the breaking point, I always know what’s going to happen next, I’m pretty sure that if I tried I could recite some passages from memory.

I will never be surprised by the plot twist, never caught off guard by something a character says, never wonder ‘what happens next?’. I will never be able to sit down and experience it the way a normal reader would because I’m not the reader.

I guess that’s just the sacrifice an author has to make to bring a story to life. But you know what’s great? Actually, there are several great things;

  1. Other people can experience it.

Dear readers; never take for granted your ability to read and truly experience a book, because the author of that book cannot. This is crazy to think about, but it’s true. Think of all your favorite authors and their amazing books, then realize; they can’t read that amazing book the same way you can! But to give the world a story, and to give you a story, makes it totally worth it.

2. There is more than one author in the world.

Even if I can’t read my own book, there are millions of books out there, and new ones keep on coming. I have a forest of pages before me, all of them ready to explore…

Well, those are my disorganized musings for the day, and I hope you found them interesting. With all the promotion work I’ve been doing, hopefully, there will be some reviews and interviews coming out before too much longer. When they do come out I’ll set up a page here so you can read them if you want. In the meantime…

docendo disco, scribendo cogito,
– Millie Florence

Release Party Recap

This post is a bit overdue,  but I wanted to give you guys a quick recap of the book release party. It was amazing!

The night before the party, my mom and I made a cake that looked like the paint card on the cover of my book.

The afternoon of the book signing, we pulled all the snacks and supplies together, got everyone into the car, and drove to King City Books. We did a little setting up, and then people started coming.

The rest of the evening passed in a flash. At least thirty people showed up! And honestly, I can not thank them enough, the support was amazing! My mom and I were worried we would run out of cake, but actually, we ran out of books! We sold out of Honey Butter copies about halfway through the event.

It’s fun, and kind of weird, to sign your books for people. I practiced my signature a lot before the event.

Fall is almost here. Leaves change color, the air cools. It’s the season for apples and pumpkins and soup and baked things. I think my next book might take place in fall. I’ve started working on it recently, and it’s very refreshing to start something new. I love Honey Butter; it’s a sweet story and will always be important to me,  but I’m a fantasy writer at heart. I’m ready to write about magic and forests and adventure. I haven’t been working too seriously or with a goal in mind, on my next book, but I have been writing it, and that’s always a step in the right direction.

docendo disco, scribendo cogito,
– Millie Florence

Eclipse

Hey, everyone!

So it has been a couple of weeks since my book was released and things have gotten kinda crazy. Crazy in a good way, mostly. I’ve been getting so much support from the online writing community and from my friends and family around here. Big thanks to all of you!

I’ve also been working on promoting my book, no easy feat since I’ve never done it before. If you’d like to help, leaving a review on Amazon or Goodreads would be amazing! Reviews really help my book.

I also received print copies of my book in the mail recently and it was so rewarding. To really hold my own book and read its words on cream-colored paper. A note to all unpublished writers: holding your book is everything you hope it will be. I’m not going to lie, I cried when I opened the box with my books.

It was also fun to show my siblings the dedication I wrote in the book. I dedicated Honey Butter to them, but I’d wanted to keep it a secret until I got the printed copies. My plan worked. 🙂

On a completely different note, I have a poem to share with you!  You’ve probably heard about the eclipse that happened, maybe you even got to experience it. I hope you did, it was other-worldly.

In case you didn’t, though, I wrote the following poem about my experience. My family drove to a place where we could see a full two minutes and forty seconds of totality. It felt way shorter than that though. I hope you enjoy it!

Eclipse

First, the color drains from the world…

The sky has a pallid gray tint,

As if a lens has been put between us.

The heat of the day evaporates silently,

New air, thin and cool,

takes its place; breezing over us.

Each blade of grass is shaded a brilliant neon.

Excited tension emanates from the watching figures.

They know that every passing second could be the one that sends them into the unknown awaiting experience.

And then it does.

Suddenly and silently the shadows fall,

They pool on the ground

And run into each other

And join together as patches in the blanket of night illusion.

“Look up!” someone says,

and I do.

Almost expecting to see the half-covered yellow dot

In the dark sea

That I’ve seen through my paper glasses.

Like a computer-generated image,

Just a two-dimensional dot on a black screen.

But this

Is so different,

So real,

Exploding into every dimension.

So much like a fantasy or a dream that it has to be real.

A shining band blazes around a jet-black circle.

A fiery, sunset-like crown encircles the horizon in every direction.

Shadows ripple on the ground like the light coming through blinds.

I look into the sky and stare and stare as hard as I can,

Holding onto each moment of the phenomenon around me.

Clasping the world in its strange twilight zone,

as bright as the night of the harvest moon.

In the distance, I hear people shout,

And I’m trying to take a breath of the sky,

I’m trying to drink the shadow of the moon and the fire of the sun.

And that’s when the world starts to shift.

Like a drop of food coloring blooming its shades into a glass of clear water; the darkness recedes and day returns.

It’s as if the sun has blinked, for only a moment.

And the process reverses.

I wonder if this is how time travel feels.

And then it’s as if my mind is eclipsed,

As it tries to hold on to the wonder it experienced,

Just until I can find a pen.

docendo disco, scribendo cogito,
– Millie Florence

Published at Last . . .

Well… Honey Butter is published.
I guess when you boil that down it means two main things:

 

  1.  You can read it.
  2. I can start a new story.

Both of which are equally hard to wrap my brain around.

If you love reading then you know it’s not just understanding what the words on the page mean. It’s immersing yourself in an entirely new world. Becoming friends with characters that make you laugh, wince, and cry just like real life friends. It’s seeing things a totally new way. A way that makes you think long and hard about the world around you. A good book isn’t just words on a page. In the words of Ray Bradbury:

“The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us.”

A good book does that. Whether or not my book is a good book I am not in the place to judge. That’s your, the reader’s,  job. But now that it’s published, the readers can do their job. And if my book is good, will it ‘stitch the patches of the universe together’?

It’s a terrifying and wonderful thought. That something you wrote could do something or impact someone in this world. Whether it actually will or not you can’t really know. All you can do is keep writing, which brings us to the second thing.

What am I going to write next?

As strange as it may sound, I’ve never been able to ask myself this question before. Until now I’ve always written until I got sick of the story I was writing, and by that time I had another story idea I was burning to write. So there’s never been any question what I was going to write next. Now I’m faced with the choice between two or three story ideas that I’ve had for a while. So while I’m deciding on those maybe right now it would be best to take a break from writing and promote my book. Now that my first book is published a lot will be going on around here…

 

Keep an eye out for giveaways and events! If you subscribe to my newsletter then you’ll get notified whenever a new one pops up. (What? You knew I’d be putting that in here somewhere.)

If you would like to buy a copy of Honey Butter I would be very grateful. Below are the links to places where you can buy it.

Amazon    Barnes & Noble    

Thanks so much to everyone who helped and encouraged me along this journey! And, as always…

KEEP WRITING!

docendo disco, scribendo cogito,
– Millie Florence