Sunday, December 9, 2007

A Little About Jaunt (aka Origin Story)

Waaay back in the early '90s, random images in my head of a good guy and a bad guy fighting in strange spacesuits and jumping through time led me to write the scraps of what at first was called "Temporal Retrieve," a fantastically awful name for a book. Starting out as a handwritten script, then shelved for about five years, I instead focused on writing Star Trek fanfic to sharpen my skills, having the youthful delusion that I could actually get one of those published someday. My awakening came when Pocket Books' FAQ basically said "Forget About It," so I returned to that goofy time travel story with the guys duking it out in spacesuits.
After two years spent knocking it out in QuarkXPress, then moving over to InDesign, I had my first draft. And it was too long. Like 130,000 words. Perfectly suited to not get me an agent, let alone ever see it in print. I spent the next three-to-four years editing it, trimming it, having my wife read it, telling me what was good, what was not so good and "what the #@&$ does that even mean?" and I had a shorter, more cohesive and streamlined novel I had re-titled Jaunt.
And so I sent off queries and samples in SASEs to several agents I had selected from the Writer's Market and various online sources like Editors and Predators. I guess some kinda sorta liked it, but thrillers are a dime-a-dozen these days, so I'm sure a noob like me had next to nothing in the way of potential. (Don't even get me started about dragons, vampires or demon-slaying were-cats wearing hip-huggers written by fifteen year-olds and suddenly optioned by big motion picture studios for seven figures.)
I happened to come across Lulu.com almost by accident, in a Photoshop magazine of all places. So I logged on, checked it out, mulled it over for a few weeks and thought, damn, I COULD do this. Design my interior pages? Hell, not even big-time authors get that opportunity. Pick my own cover, design it, too? Ditto. I've been a Mac user and an artist all my life, why shouldn't I finally put those years of doodling with Adobe Illustrator to good use? If it looks like poop, well I'll take the blame. If it rocks, well, I'll bask in the sun. Above all else, this will truly be MY BOOK, not what some big house publisher decides it is, designed by somebody on their payroll. So, with my wife's encouragement, I dove in and produced Jaunt, all the while fixing mistakes and nixing bad/half-baked design ideas, and, hopefully, creating something worthy of being on bookshelves.
Seven months later, here I stand. One book published, two short novels set within another universe prepping for launch soon, and a handful of other ideas that each need my urgent attention. It hasn't always been easy, or fun, but it certainly hasn't been dull, either.
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