In October of 2006, I attended the Viable Paradise Workshop for Science Fiction and Fantasy writers. I knew it would change my life as a writer, but I had no idea just how tremendously it would do so. I had attended workshops before; in fact, I'd become a devoted "dollbaby" years earlier, through a now-defunct workshop called Side Trips for Women. While it had opened up my solitary world of writing in a void, it wasn't life-changing. Having writer-friends was a huge thing for me, but writing fantasy among mainstream fiction writers is like being the duck in a room full of chickens. We all had feathers, but we were different birds.
I was an X-man, it being the tenth year of the workshop. The mentors that year were Teresa Neilsen Hayden, Patrick Neilsen Hayden, James Macdonald, Debra Doyle, Steven Gould, Laura Mixon, James Patrick Kelly, and Cory Doctorow. Quite the lineup of superstars in the field--one and all. That was also the year Steve's Jumper was being made into a movie, and Cory was winning, or had already won, every honor his peers had to bestow. I was nervous, but excited. Not just a week with such mentors, but with peers! Fantasy and science fiction writing peers.
That path continued unwinding in new and amazing ways. Because of VP, I met sister in Heroines of Fantasy, Kim Vandervort (who attended VP the year after I did.) And because I met Kim, I became aware of Hadley Rille Books. And because of her experience with Eric Reynolds, I knew HRB was the place for me. I wrote Finder knowing I would send it to Hadley Rille. I did. Eric accepted it. It was a wild ride! And in November of 2010, my book released out into the world.
Further along that path, and several months after releasing my book with HRB, Eric asked if I would be one of his editors. I'd already sub-edited four novels for him. "Let's make this official," he said, and we did. I've been one of the fantasy editors with Hadley Rille books for a little over a year. My first solo edit, The Poets of Pevana, releases in June, 2012. I have two more books I'm helping into the world for 2012; and my second novel, A Time Never Lived releases in May. Busy me.
I've sat on panels at conventions. I've done book signings, and spoken to writers' groups. I've pulled some excellent novels out of the slush, and had to reject more than I'd like to admit. I've met some of my favorite authors, and after blathering nonsensically, was treated as a peer, not a wannabe. I am imbued with all sorts of writerly goodness. And, as it all started with Viable Paradise, it's only fitting that it comes full circle--I'll be heading up to Martha's Vineyard this October to work as staff for the workshop, carting, cooking, and generally working myself to exhaustion, and I will love every moment of it.
How about you? Are you there yet? Are you ready to leap onto your path? It begins when you take that first step. Ready. Set. Go.
*Viable Paradise is now open for submissions, and closes at the end of June.