It's always exciting when a member of your writing group releases a major publication. It's even more exciting when you mentor said writing group.
Laura Palmer first read a chapter from her work in progress to the group in 2013. The feedback was immediately positive. Later chapters received both positive and critical input. Laura kept writing, kept using the positive input to bolster her on her journey while processing the critical input to make her story stronger.
I remember one particular monthly meeting in 2014. Laura reported she was stuck in the middle of the story. She knew what she had written since the last meeting wasn't working, but she couldn't figure out why. The immediate response from the other members of the group was a rousing, "Don't worry, we'll tell you!"
Laura bravely allowed the problem chapter to be read aloud by another member of the group, and she was right - it didn't work. The chapter clashed with what had gone before in tone and intent and was missing the light touch of magic with which the rest of her story had been painted. However, the beauty of a positive writers group is also a sort of magic, and in the following animated discussion, Laura was inspired to capture for herself what was not working and why...and more importantly, how to fix it.
Laura's willingness to risk her own feelings about her creative work and be open to positive critique provided the true magic of the meeting.
Since then, Laura has been going to graduate school, pursuing a Masters in Public Administration, all the while continuing to write in whatever time she could steal away from her other obligations.
Laura worked not only with our writing group, but also with other professionals in the editing and design process. She took the path to publication seriously, determined to produce the best possible story presented in the best possible way.
Today, I received an email from Laura with the wonderful news her novel, The True Bride and the Shoemaker, had just been released into the wilds of publication. The book sports a beautiful cover, which not only catches the eye, but also captures the magic of the story inside.
I've used the word magic a lot in this post, because the publication of a first novel is a magical experience. I'm delighted for Laura and I couldn't be more proud of her.
THE TRUE BRIDE AND THE SHOEMAKER
There is magic in the streets of Pippington, but most people are too busy to notice.
Shoemaker Peter Talbot needs a little magic. Cheap, factory made, shoes are putting him out of business, his nagging sisters will never let him rest, and his efforts to find true love are constantly thwarted by worldly fickleness. However, the gift of a wild primrose and a shipment of rare griffin skin are about to change everything…When beautiful handmade shoes begin appearing in his shop every morning, Peter is determined to find the source. What he finds instead will be far more exciting and wondrous than he could ever imagine.
The True Bride and the Shoemaker is the first of The Pippington Tales, introducing a city full of magic and everyday fairy tales for those willing to see them.