“This really stinks!” proclaimed Honey after reading the original draft of Jonah. “I don’t believe anyone will ever read it.” She handed the forty-five page manuscript back to me.
I was crushed and destroyed. Her words were like machine gun bullets, ripping through my heart.
Oh well, I thought, I never really wanted to write fiction anyway. Maybe, I can write something else with my limited abilities.
Two days later, I had a dream and explained it to Honey. She interpreted it in this fashion: “Oops! God likes Jonah. You need to keep working on it until it’s good enough to be published.”
I was befuddled. What can I do?
So, in 2004, I began reading mysteries, hundreds of them. Michael Connelly. James Lee Burke. Peter Robinson. Elmore Leonard. Ian Rankin. And countless others.
I read magazines for writers. In one issue, an article showed how to take a book apart and learn the author’s secrets. I followed their directions.
While I was doing all this, I was rewriting Jonah, over and over and over again. It eventually became two short novels, 240 pages in total length.
Then, I hired an editor with an attitude. “This makes me want to throw-up,” she said about one of my sentences.
Oh boy! Good editors are not what you call fluffy-types. They don’t have nicknames like Bambi. They are picky, vicious…and needed.
So, Jonah was finished and ready to go to the printer in January, 2008. It’s ISBN number is 978-0-615-17911-7.
To be honest, I never believed that Jonah would be much more than a first novel by a new author. You know, good enough for an opening salvo, with the promise of better stuff to come. Most of my attention had been directed more toward two other novels that I’ve been working on and New Wind Blowing.
But some things have happened since January, 2008, to change my mind about Jonah. Barack Obama was elected president. California and the West Coast have become gay-rights’ battle grounds. San Francisco is in the middle of the melee. Hate Crimes legislation. And Jonah has not been published as yet.
Hmm! If Jonah finally gets published now, some of the story within its pages will provide me with more than enough excitement in the days ahead.
(More on this in the future.)