Markrrel nalin is how the elves of Lorata say thank you. I was considering explaining how thankful some of my characters are for those who came into their lives and changed them, healed them, or rescued them, but I decided I would let the books speak for themselves as far as gratitude. Really what I need to do is show my thanks as an author, because I do have a lot to be glad for (and it’s not even November!).
It has been a rough year all around (especially the time when I went the way of Empress Arialla and nearly bled to death), but I feel like each month has gotten better and better. I want to back up, though, and begin at the beginning. When I first started writing– when I first got the idea that I wanted to make a real, live, published book, it was the early 90’s. I was just a kid, but I had the ambition. My writing was nowhere near the sophistication that I wanted it to be, so as much as I wanted to be in print, I waited because it had to be just right. I’m glad I did, because the story evolved so much since then, and I like what it has become. Sometimes I think it will never be good enough, but I know that I’ve come a long way.
Back then, I didn’t have a personal computer. My school used Apple II e’s, and if you got the color screen for the day instead of the green, you were pretty awesome. By middle school (7th & 8th), we were using Apple Macintoshes, the kind with the flying toaster screen savers. We had dot matrix printers. I stuck to writing in lined paper, so I always kept a notebook with me. I was always re-starting because I wanted to make it neater and correct my mistakes. Still, I had a lot of support from my parents and teachers, who really encouraged me to keep writing, and I am grateful to them for that. A couple teachers told me, “If the author of The Outsiders can write as a teenager, so can you!” and I loved the thrill of being compared toe areal author.
It wasn’t until I finished the eighth grade and was getting ready to start high school that I got my first Windows computer. I’d had an Apple II e for a while, but I didn’t use it for writing, so finally having Windows 3.1 was pretty amazing for me. I would sit and write in Word, type of stuff that I had on paper, and just be happy as a clam… so yes, I was very thankful for it. I had a lot of new technology to distract me from writing, though, but in retrospect I am thankful that something was giving me time to grow and develop as a writer, to mature my ideas and make the plot more realistic. I had gotten a whole case of printer paper to go with my new IBM 386 (as a present for doing well in school, no less!), so I would print what I had written so far and carry it with me to read over between classes, then go back and edit it in the computer. I spent a lot of time re-reading, because I wanted the beginning to be just right…. and sometimes I just started over altogether. Still, I always had people who believed in me, and that kept me going.
I did a lot of reading in those days, and from authors who are still very dear to my heart. I read a ton of Anne McCaffery (mostly just the dragon stories; can you tell?), but also Tamora Pierce and Richard Grant. I got my appreciation for history from the American Girls stories (don’t laugh!), and in high school I thrived in European history. In middle school, I learned how to play Magic: The Gathering, and really loved the fantasy aspects of the game. I had just gotten Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest and Shining Force (Sega was thriving back then), and was absolutely surrounded by all things medieval and fantasy. I was completely inseparable from it, and I am thank for every fantasy thing I had.
As high school went on, I upgraded to Windows 95, then got a new computer with 98 on it. No need for OS rivalry here…. I’m just saying that every time I got a new computer, I had to back up my book and put it on my new system. I am glad for hard drives and 3.5″ floppy disks, but I am reluctant to say the same for Zip disks; mine kept having issues and nearly killing my book files. Then I discovered the worlds of anime, and a whole new world of imagery opened up for me. It’s important because I later ended up studying everything about Japan and realized mow much I loved culture, and I was able to pull that into my book and create all of these kingdoms and systems and… well, everything that Mraté and Manastaecies (the two major continents) are today. So yea… anime helped make it happen. Final Fantasy and Shining Force and Legend of Zelda helped make it happen, even if you don’t see it.
By the end of high school, I had been spending time in RP chat rooms on DALnet (yes, I was an IRC nerd), reading when I wasn’t on the computer, still working on my story (I even tried running an AD&D campaign based on my world, but the players were all being goofy) and… wow, I was still doing well in school? I am such a nerd, and I love it! I am thankful for it. I am grateful that I have a mind that works so well, and for the chance to have a good education, and to live in a (fairly) peaceful place with little more than typical teenage angst to distract me.
I will add that I had been listening to Type O Negative since middle school… it was introduced to me by the same people who taught me how to play MTG (but refused to teach me AD&D, for shame!). I’m just going to thank Adam and Jon specifically, but really everyone in the group, who kept me in the fantasy world (even if I did have to be good and study a lot). You know who you are! I have been in love with the band TON ever since I first heard them, and I don’t know what life would have been like without their music. Peter Steele, the lead singer, was always an inspiration, and several of his songs have fueled my writing. So thank you, and thank you again and again!
I studied New Age religion (Celtic, Wicca, etc), which I never stuck with but appreciated just for the knowledge and concepts. I ended up switching to Buddhism, which has helped me in a myriad of ways over the years, around the time that I moved on to college. I hated all of my English classes because they cramped my style, and but I put up with them anyway. I made friends who that it was really cool that I was writing, and I kept on working, as busy as my studies kept me. I work on book one when I could, which was never as often as I would have preferred, and the few professors who knew I was writing were really supportive. I finished college, went back for more, and now here I am: I have a master’s degree, and I’m working my tail off.
I finished book one this summer, and it was with a complete sense of, “I can’t believe I just did this.” After all of those years, all of those revisions, I have something complete. I doubt I’ll ever see it as perfect, but I’m still proud. I did it because I have the support, the technology, the resources, and the inspiration. And now, all I can think of is getting my keyboard burning while I work on book two.
So thank you all, family and friends, authors and artists, believers and spiritual guides. But thank you specifically to my mother, Tony, Peter Steele, Professor Turkon, Adam and Jon, Skev and Lasivian, Buddha, and, I really should say, the world, the universe and everything else. Markrrel nalin!
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