My Path to Publication
by Annie Douglass Lima
I’ve loved books since even before my mom taught me to read at age three. When I was seven years old, I had a sudden inspiration for what I thought was an amazing story and decided then and there that I was going to write a book and be the world’s youngest author. I ran to my room in great excitement, found an old notebook and a pencil, and started in. Well, that first science fiction novel was never actually finished, let alone published, but it got me started. After that, I can’t remember a time that I wasn’t working on at least one book, with lots of poetry and short stories on the side.
My high school English teacher, Mrs. Wood, was a big encouragement to me, both personally and in my writing. She taught an after-school creative writing club, and for various reasons all the other students dropped out one by one. When I was the only one left, I was afraid she would cancel the club, which was the highlight of my week. But she was willing to continue, so I met with her every Tuesday afternoon. I would bring in whatever poems and stories I had written that week, and she would critique them and help me see ways to make them better. My writing improved a lot during the two years she was there, and I will be forever grateful that she was willing to invest so much time in me. I really don’t think I would be where I am today if not for Mrs. Wood.
Prince of Alasia, which I started in college, was the first book I finished that I thought was worth trying to get published. I spent years looking into traditional publishing and trying to get an agent, but to no avail. Finally I learned about Kindle Direct Publishing and did it myself the indie way, eleven and a half years after I first started writing the book. A few months later I added the paperback edition. It was quite a thrill to finally fulfill my childhood dream!
Next came In the Enemy’s Service and Prince of Malorn. I purposely designed the series so that the three books could be read in any order and each one could stand on its own. Each book deals with events surrounding the same major political incident: the invasion of the kingdom of Alasia by the neighboring kingdom of Malorn. Prince of Alasia begins on the night of the Invasion and describes what happens to twelve-year-old Prince Jaymin after he is forced to flee for his life. In the Enemy’s Service tells the story of those who were not able to escape from the Alasian palace when the enemy invaded. Prince of Malorn begins several months earlier and focuses on the Malornian perspective of the events leading up to the Invasion. In each of the books, main characters from the others make brief appearances and interact with each other at the point where the timeframes and settings overlap.
A year and a half ago, I accepted the challenge to write a book in the month of November for National Novel Writing Month. The Collar and the Cavvarach is very different from my Annals of Alasia fantasy series. It’s darker and grittier, and it takes place in a world almost exactly like our own, except that slavery is legal there. I’ve spent the last year and a half editing and polishing it up, and I really think it’s my best work yet. It’s very exciting to me to finally have it available on Amazon!
I’m no longer seeking an agent or traditional publication, because I don’t think it would help me much. I already have a good editor and cover artist. When it comes to the writing/publishing/marketing process, marketing is my biggest weakness, but the way it works these days, authors are still responsible for most of their own marketing either way. A traditional publisher wouldn’t be likely to do much for me that I’m not already doing anyway. So, I’m content to self publish, and I anticipate continuing to do so for the foreseeable future.
Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is desperate to see his little
sister freed. But only victory in the Krillonian Empire’s most prestigious
tournament will allow him to secretly arrange for Ellie’s escape. Dangerous
people are closing in on her, however, and Bensin is running out of time.
With his one hope fading quickly away, how can Bensin save Ellie from a
life of slavery and abuse?
What is the Collar for,
and What is a Cavvarach?
The story is set in a world very much like our own, with just a few major
differences. One is that slavery is legal there. Slaves must wear
metal collars that lock around their neck, making their enslaved status obvious
to everyone. Any slave attempting to escape faces the dilemma of how and
where to illegally get their collar removed (a crime punishable by enslavement
for the remover).
Another difference is the popularity of a martial art called cavvara shil.
It is fought with a cavvarach (rhymes with “have a rack”), an
unsharpened weapon similar to a sword but with a steel hook protruding from
partway down its top edge. Competitors can strike at each other with
their feet as well as with the blades. You win in one of two ways:
disarming your opponent (hooking or knocking their cavvarach out of their
hands) or pinning their shoulders to the mat for five seconds.
Want to Find out a
Click here to read a description of the setting and what life is like for
slaves and others in that world.
Collar and the Cavvarach from
Smashwords (for Nook or in other digital formats).
from Biola University in Southern California. She and her husband Floyd
currently live in Taiwan, where she teaches fifth grade at Morrison Academy.
She has been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since her childhood, and
to date has published ten books (one YA action and adventure novel, four
fantasies, a puppet script, and four anthologies of her students’ poetry).
Besides writing, her hobbies include reading (especially fantasy and science
fiction), scrapbooking, and international travel.
Connect with the Author
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