Friday, July 4, 2014

First Impressions

What's the most exciting thing for a new author? Having your first short story accepted by a professional publishing agency. To say I couldn't stop smiling for thirty minutes straight is not exaggeration. I'm unbelievably excited to be one of the authors in Mocha Memoir's upcoming Toil, Trouble, and Temptation series, and thought I would introduce myself a bit and talk about my story, how I came up with it, and what it was like to write.

One of my best friends told me I have an overactive imagination. He was more right that he knew. I'm the kind of author who will literally come up with ideas out of the blue. I once came up with an idea walking to Walmart, listening to music, and thinking two words sounded cool put together. I write best when I let the ideas flow like this, naturally and without effort. Once I know what sort of idea I want to explore, I can't let go until it's a completed piece of work.

As soon as I saw the submission guidelines, I knew I wanted to participate. At first I was forcing out ideas, trying to think of something to write and coming up with half-hearted, unoriginal ideas. Nothing I knew I could have fun with or experiment with or test myself with. So I took a step back, and just didn't think about it. Two days later, that little lightbulb in my head flicked on, and this is what shone through:

A necromancer summons an assassin for the mob. Here's a more detailed description:

Tessa Sterling is a necromancer having a bad night. She's kidnapped and confronted by the most powerful gangster in Boston, then ordered to resurrect his most ruthless contract killer. When those she cares about are threatened, Tessa has no choice but to comply.

But the spirit she raises quickly uncovers the truth about his death, and his rage is insatiable. Hell is about to break loose, and Tessa is the only one who can put the spirit back in his grave, if he doesn't put her in one first...

What could be more dangerous than an undead assassin with anger management problems? The trickiest part for me was the setting. For some reason, all the gangsters I pictured were dressed like they'd just walked off the set of the Godfather. The first idea was that Tessa would be a poor girl from that era and dragged unwillingly into the crime life, finding out that her mother had been murdered by the very people she was working for. I liked that idea and really tried to make it work, but I wasn't as in love with the concept as I originally thought. So I changed things around, went with a more modern setting, and it flowed a lot better. I was writing so hard I thought my fingers would fall off.

The funnest part for me was deciding on how Tessa's gift work, what she needed to do physically and spiritually to summon a spirit from the grave. I think I came up with a really unique concept, and maybe that was part of the reason Call From The Grave was selected for the Toil, Trouble, and Temptation series by Mocha Memoirs Press.

I had a great time writing this little story. The more I think about it, the more proud I am, and I can't wait to see how the final product is received. Hope you all enjoy it, and have a terrific Fourth of July weekend!