Happy Friday, everyone! Today I have Jeremy Higley visiting my blog with his young adult or teen fantasy story. He shares with us an email he received and what happened afterward. Can you only imagine what he felt like when he got this email?
I still remember the morning I received the email.
“Are you still interested in publishing with us?”
I went to work that day wondering if I’d read the email correctly. I read it again as soon as I got home. Even after I carefully crafted a response and received a confirmation email, it took me a few days to get comfortable telling people. It just didn’t feel real. In fact, it felt so much like a dream I wanted to try going to sleep and waking up again a few times just to make sure. I’ve had so many dreams where something amazing happens and I tell myself it’s real, only to wake up. Even then, it always takes me a few minutes to separate the reality I’ve just experienced from the reality I actually live in. Sometimes I cry.
But no, I’d been sending the first Darksome Thorn novel to publisher after publisher for months now. This was the moment of opportunity I’d been waiting for. I really should tell people, and I did. Eventually.
I wish I could say the anxiety came after the excitement, but they really did come at the same time. Years of waiting, and I was just as scared of messing things up and I was excited about getting them right. This would be the first big step of my writing career. I wanted everything to be perfect.
Well, that kind of emotional confluence is bound to give you nightmares. Yep. I don’t remember most of them, but my favorite sums up my feelings from that time pretty well.
In the dream, I’m on my computer looking for a review of my book from an established author who taught me at college. My excitement bubbles as he praises me from head to toe, only to pop as I realize the book he’s describing is nothing like the one I wrote. Somehow, he found the wrong book and had attributed it to me.
Disappointed and confused, I visit my Mom to tell her what happened. A copy of my book is sitting on the counter next to her as I express my frustration.
“Well, that’s probably for the best,” she says. “It wasn’t a very good book.”
I blink. She gives me an apologetic look as she explains.
“Way too dark and scary. I couldn’t finish it.”
Now, in real life, my Mom was the one who called me the moment she finished the book to ask what happens next. So there’s a dream I can dismiss as far inferior to reality.
Still, it’s thanks to dreams like that I was able to write this book at all. Nightmare after nightmare went into the writing of characters like Azmat and the Dun Ko. I wanted to capture that unpredictability, the way that dreams defy expectations. Dreams can push us into a story we would rather never enter, or else never leave. It’s as if an agency other than our own is at work, a Muse who can’t decide whether she loves or despises us and all our petty hopes and fears.
So, thank you dreams. You might kill me with fright someday, or make me cry with joy, but you’ll never be boring. What more can I ask?
Wow, Jeremy. Good thing you persevered! Tell us a little about the book.
A thousand years ago, the wizards of the Nynsa were tricked. They failed to follow the prophecy of the Darksome Thorn, and now the greatest evil of their time has survived into the next age. They will do anything to fix their mistake.
The Darksome Thorn, meanwhile, has revealed a new prophecy, and the very evil they failed to kill is working to use that prophecy to his advantage.
Forces of evil run rampant in the land of Duskain. Ancient powers are stirring. A greater darkness is imminent...
...and Skel, the foster son of an elephant herder, finds himself caught in the middle of everything...
Skel was running so fast as he went to warn Mynjar and Talon that the grass whipped at his bare legs like dull knife blades. As the tent loomed closer, he could already feel his movements slowing. His feet were starting to sink into the firm earth as if it were a sludgy bog.
The attack was beginning.
“Dun Ko,” Skel shouted, trying to rouse the Eltar in the circle of tents ahead of him. His voice sounded like a whisper to his own ears, but quickly he heard shouts in return. The tents went abuzz with the yelling of frustrated, terrified men and women struggling to rise from their own beds. Skel saw an Eltar woman leave her tent, scrambling with immense difficulty to get away from the camp with a
small child. Her child disappeared from her arms within moments, dissolving into a cloud of dandelion fluff that blew away on a nonexistent wind.
Skel tried to ignore her screams. There was only one child in any real danger tonight. The Dun Ko were simply trying to distract the rest of them, keep them occupied with nightmares and illusions while they sought out their true target. He spoke a few words to the wind. It pushed him faster with a strong gust, knocking over his foster family’s tent as he approached it and blowing it halfway over to the elephant herd. Mynjar, Talon, and their daughters stared at him in bewilderment as he ran past them to stand between the Dun Ko and their intended victim.
“Dun Ko,” he repeated, struggling to catch his breath.
“What’s going on, boy?” Mynjar shouted. “How would you know if the Dun Ko were coming?”
Lonmar and Konsa screamed as they watched their father’s arms suddenly melt off his body like grease in a fire, gathering in black pools at his feet. Talon ran to grab Pynme from his crib, but sank to her chin in the dirt.
“The Dun Ko want Pynme,” Skel tried to explain, but Mynjar was on his knees sobbing, and Lonmar and Konsa were crowding around him, aghast, trying to comfort him. Talon was screaming hysterically, calling for her baby, but Pynme wouldn’t wake up. Smyra was the only one who
seemed to still have her senses in spite of the Dun Ko’s psychic onslaught.
“Are you going to fight them?” she asked. She seemed surprised, but not impressed. She somehow managed to sound condescending, even now.
“I have to try—” Skel started.
“And fail,” Smyra interrupted, “but I’ll help you anyway.”
Publishers Website: http://www.classactbooks.com/index.php/component/virtuemart/cat-young-adult/the-son-of-dark-tales-of-the-darksome-thorn-book-1-detail?Itemid=0
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Son-Dark-Darksome-Thorn-Book-ebook/dp/B01IG983XC/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=U
Let's take a look at the YouTube trailer for this story!
Intriguing and scary! I love the video and the excerpt, I'll have to check this one out. Lets see what else we can find out about Jeremy.
Jeremy Higley was born in California but now lives in Arizona. As of 2016 he’s a graduate student working on a master’s degree in English. He’s also an instructional aide at a local elementary school, a novelist, and a contributing editor for a nonprofit student success company called LifeBound.
Find out more about Jeremy at:
Thank you so much, Jeremy, for sharing your story with us today. I wish you great success with the book.
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