I’m not really a New Year’s resolution kind of person. I try to keep little resolutions throughout the year like exercising every day and not spending too much time on social media. But in reviewing my 2018 year, I realized I did have one resolution: to change my intention. It wasn’t anything big but, like a weird kind of magic, it changed my writing career.
A Year’s Journey
I started out 2018 realizing that though I was a writer, I didn’t have a book to offer readers, I didn’t have a product. I had enough short pieces published but those lived on other websites and in journals and anthologies. I also had a gardening blog but that was full of how-to articles. They didn’t feature the one thing I was aiming to share with the world: my ability to entertain.
So, I shifted into a new gear. I put my writing more front and center and myself truly out in the world. For years, I’d been quietly writing and editing and submitting to agents. But in 2018, I decided to publicly declare myself an author and publish a book, whether with a press or by myself. I created a plan and jumped into the game.
I spent the better part of spring writing Song of the Tree Hollow. By summer, I furloughed my gardening website and focused on creating a site that featured my writing. I researched branding and hired an author coach. I educated myself about marketing and created a strategy for growing my readership.
In fall, I edited Song of the Tree Hollow and published it with KDP. As I mentioned earlier, I priced it low, hoping to attract readers. I did giveaways and promotions. By mid-December, I had a healthy amount of downloads. Things were buzzing along. I was satisfied. I finally had a book to offer readers.
Then something happened that I didn’t expect. Throughout 2018, I’d continued querying my longer, more polished novel, The Forgetting Flower, to agents and small presses. All to rejection. But in November, I received an offer from a small press to publish it.
Intention or Hard Work?
It was such a surprise. I had the strangest feeling in my gut, as if as soon as I’d decided to truly reveal who I was and what I could do in the world, I received a response. What?!
I can’t prove that my 2018 intention of jumping into a more public game aided me in getting a book contract, but it made me happy to follow through on a plan. It was as if once I’d decided to truly go for it, with or without the universe’s help, the universe then helped! Weirdly magical.
Now, in early 2019, I have a new intention: to make The Forgetting Flower the highest quality and most successful novel it can be.
Do you feel rumblings to change your intentions? I’m curious to hear people’s thoughts as we go into 2019. Tell me in the comments below.
Did you know plants make sounds? I didn’t up until a few years ago. The idea is fascinating, and surprisingly already proven in some scientific studies. For instance, at the University of Western Australia, researchers discovered corn plants created clicking sounds in their roots as they grew. Scientists found a similar phenomenon in pine trees coping with drought. The trees’ xylem tissue made snapping sounds when moving an air bubble. In 2017, the Yale School of Forestry produced a sound experiment where they developed a device to translate a plant’s pulses into sounds. They learned that plants vary in their “signatures” or “music.”
Hey everyone, today’s inspirational quote comes from Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Raven.” If you don’t know it, you may want to check it out. It’s creepy and musical and lovely, about how a young man, who, one night while sitting by the fire, hears a raven tapping at his door. When he opens the door and the bird flies in, the bird haunts him, reminding him of his lost love, Lenore. Through the repetition of the word “Nevermore,” the raven eventually drives the narrator mad. He’s tortured not only by his lost love but also by his own mortality.
Hey everyone, I’ve published a short novel called Song of the Tree Hollow. It’s a literary mystery about a young woman who discovers she has a magical touch with plants — and unfortunately, a dark family history. It was fun to write, and one of my warmer, quirkier stories. I thought I’d offer this post on the origins of it. The book is available on Kindle for 99 cents, free on Kindle Unlimited. Please check it out! Thanks.
Even though I grew up in a big Midwestern city, I’ve always been drawn to evergreen trees. When I was little and we traveled to northern Wisconsin to visit relatives, we’d drive through coniferous forests and as soon as the landscape changed from open prairie to enclosed greenery, I felt different, moodier and dreamy. It was as if I’d come home, disappearing into a natural wood that was grand and dark and dared you to enter. The trees were powerful and inspiring. I even found them more reassuring than people. They were my friends, albeit silent ones that lived far away from where I lived.
It’s no wonder that a decade or so later, I landed in the Pacific Northwest. Here, trees grow as tall as buildings and as wide as cars. Thanks to all of the rain and mild temperatures, conifers, mainly cedars, firs, and hemlocks, thrive and the result is spectacular. It’s why they call Seattle “The Emerald City” (even though we logged all of the trees over a century ago). But Seattleites still value trees and many homes feature a towering old tree, especially in the northern suburbs where I live. Regardless, it’s soothing to know you can drive to the mountains in a half-hour and lose yourself in a sea of green at any time of year, even in winter.
A Ravine of Mystery
It’s even more soothing for me because I can look out my back window and see a ravine of cedars and firs. The ravine, a slope of land that leads down to a creek, is part of our property. Occasionally, I wander through to check what smaller trees may have fallen in the last windstorm or how badly the ivy has spread.
A Hollow of Imagining
One day, I imagined what would happen if one of my large cedars had a hollow, how fun that would be for my kids. Hollows are dark and scary and mysterious. A dangerous animal might live there, a creepy goo might be on the inside walls, spider webs might slap you in the face, your hand might sink into mud. All aspects of the imagination light up.
Science Fiction Leads to Speculation
Meanwhile, last year my husband and I had watched the film, Arrival. Arrival is a speculative story about what would happen if aliens actually came to earth. We would most likely send our military to try and communicate with them, drawing on linguists and other experts in the private sector to help. Amy Adams plays such a linguist who learns to communicate with the aliens. The creatures look like a cross between upright squids and tree trunks with vertical roots. When they make noise, they rumble like a bomb. The sound vibrates through the viewer’s stomach. It was fantastic.
How Plants Speak
I knew that scientists had confirmed that some plants create acoustic vibrations in their cell walls and I imagined that that’s what enormous trees might sound like if they could speak. A low massive vibration, not too far removed from the aliens in Arrival. Then I wondered what if someone was born, through maybe a genetic mutation, who could feel and hear those vibrations? Hence, my protagonist was born.
Still, I didn’t have a story. Until my cat Maddie died – and came back to life. I’ll write about that in Part Two of my series on my novel, Song of the Tree Hollow, in the next few days. In the meantime, you can order the book here.