I always managed to do things of significance in years divisible by five. I have attributed this strange phenomenon to the fact that I was born in 1955, which is a year divisible by five.
In 2010, I began the long road to leaving my on-call job at my local library system. County budget cuts put temporary workers in the cross-hairs first, and the library system did not disappoint in this regard. I was essentially furloughed from my work since July 2010. To quote a Chinese proverb: "A crisis is an opportunity riding the dangerous wind." Not working can pave the road to creativity in a big way, especially if you have a patron in the form of a loving husband.
Having spent years writing serial short stories around the Thundercats (a 1980s animated TV show) in my fan fiction, I thought I would give a novel a go during National Novel Writing Month. Once the thought formed, a non-Thundercat idea popped into my head. I had a beginning and an ending for a story that involved two woman attempting to make sense of their lives against the backdrop of 2012, the year the Mayan calendar ends. All I needed to do in November was write the soft, gooey middle. And to my own amazement, that is exactly what I did. I had my urban metaphysical novel.
What to do with it remained an issue. I could have just posted Coffee with Thunderbolts on my Thundercat web page, along with my fan fiction. Indeed, that was my first inclination. However, 2010 was a year when I seriously felt the passing of time; many nights I did not dream, but instead pondered my mortality. We do not know how many dawns we have left. A slew of unexpected deaths drove that home to me. This book was my shot at formally publishing a book. So, like the Fool in the tarot, I decided to leap off the cliff to see if I could fly.
The experience of publishing the book was more like hurtling to the earth as I was completely without any comfort zone during the process. Unlike writing, I am convinced that engaging in editing is a form of demonic possession. Doing whatever is necessary for starting a business venture, however small, is akin to being stretched willingly on the rack. My learning curve was as steep as the ascent to the peak of Mt. Everest.
Somehow, I prevailed (whether for better or worse, I still do not know). Sending two copies of my printed book off to the Library of Congress was a transcendent experience, and the moment I knew that I had at least succeeded at what I had set out to do.
So, I recommend that if you think you have a novel in you, do NaNoWriMo, and surprise yourself. Then challenge yourself by self-publishing your work. You will learn a great deal about yourself in the process.
Coffee with Thunderbolts currently sells on Lulu, as well as Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other Internet booksellers. Clicking on the book link will take you to information about the print version. There is a two chapter preview as well. The book is also available as an ebook in both the PDF format (suitable for PCs) and the EPUB format (suitable for e-readers). You will see addition icons for those versions. My Author Spotlight link on that page also has some additional information as well.
If you read my book, and either enjoy it or despise it, I would love to hear from you, so drop me a comment.
Marianne G. Petrino