Three years ago next week, I attended my first writers conference: Chuckanut, in Bellingham. There, on the second day, during a session about storyboarding your novel, I settled on one of three ideas for a novel I’d had kicking around in my head for at least a year. I just knew. It was the right time. It was this story.

 

There, on the third day, in the break between sessions, the life I was carrying began to let go. It was in writing this blog post, The Scariest Thing a few days after the conference, that I realized how my universe had shifted.

 

Three weeks later, as I sought to heal from this round of anger and grief, I turned to the page. I couldn’t yet lift my head to look forward, but I found a way to create life in the moment. I began writing a novel. I’m so glad I marked that day in words: Today was the day

 

Last week, something else happened. This:

 

These are the ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) of my novel. The uncorrected proofs sent to book reviewers and bloggers, bookstores, and used for marketing and publicity purposes. They aren’t quite the real thing—official publication is February 2016— but damn if they aren’t real enough.

 

I’m giving away most of the copies in this box, details here: In Another Life ARC giveaway  The real deal is also available for pre-order on Amazon: In Another Life: Pre-order on Amazon  I’d be over the moon if you took the order details to your local bookstore and/or library to request they order the novel for their shelves. Booksellers & Merchandisers can contact Valerie Pierce valerie.pierce@sourcebooks.com from my publisher and she’d be happy to send them a galley.

 

This novel is the life I’ve created. Since that July day, I haven’t stopped writing. I haven’t been able to. Another of those ideas I carried with me to the conference is becoming a novel: I’ll have a solid first draft by the end of this week or the next. In between, a second novel is now on submission. Other short stories and essays have found their way into their world, and still others I am letting rest, until it is their time to be polished and sent on their way.

 

But this. This thing that has happened.

 

I can’t believe it, really.

 

“Who wants to become a writer? And why? Because it’s the answer to everything. … It’s the streaming reason for living. To note, to pin down, to build up, to create, to be astonished at nothing, to cherish the oddities, to let nothing go down the drain, to make something, to make a great flower out of life, even if it’s a cactus.”
—Enid Bagnold