Yes indeed! It’s finally here! Nearly four years after she first appeared on the page, Valya is finally officially published! The Dreaming Land I is free on Kindle for a limited time here. There’s also a paperback version if your bent runs that way. Last I checked it was already climbing the charts for both Epic Fantasy and Literary Fiction => Romance, which turns out is totally a category, and one where TDLI definitely should be, in my opinion. A huge thank you to all the ARC readers, everyone who’s already downloaded or bought or will download or buy a copy, and especially to those of you who have posted reviews! As a reviewer myself, as well as an author, I particularly appreciate those readers who take the time to share their thoughts on a book.
I feel like I should have something profound to say at this moment. Although The Dreaming Land mini-series is the last of the mini-series that makes up the overall Zemnian Series, I wrote it before publishing any of the books, and it was in fact TDL that convinced me that it was time to get serious about putting them out. I had the sense as I was finishing it that things were finally coming together, that the series and my writing abilities were finally turning into what I wanted them to be.
But, to be honest, today I feel like crap, so I don’t know how profound I’ll be able to be. Which is only fitting. I started writing TDL during winter break of the 2013/2014 academic year. The idea had come to me sometime earlier, for reasons that maybe are best not delved into, but let’s just say I started having fantasies about taking revenge for rejection. Sue Grafton apparently wrote A is for Alibi instead of murdering her ex-husband; I guess this was my version of that.
Anywaaaayyyy, after the Terrible Day the first week of November, 2013, something was very very wrong with me, and it was still wrong with me that winter break. Plus my computer crashed and was off having its hard drive wiped. Since I had a series of interviews, both in person and via Skype, already scheduled for the first week of January, I went over to the local mall, and, wandering through it like a lost soul staggering through purgatory and in constant fear of passing out, bought an iPad.
Between bouts of lying on the couch wondering if I were dying, I started composing what would turn out to be the opening chapters of TDLI on my iPad. Note to the wise: the iPad is not the ideal tool for writing a novel. It was also not the ideal tool for submitting conference proposals, and maybe not for conducting interviews either, but while my computer and external hard drive were off being resurrected by the power of prayer by the Notre Dame IT department, the iPad managed to come through for all those things.
As I wrote TDL, which morphed into something longer and longer and longer until the file started crashing and I had to split it into three volumes, I got sicker and sicker, something that is reflected in Valya’s journey throughout the series. But even in TDLI there are harbingers: she has frequent dizzy spells and bouts of dehydration, goes through periods where she feels like she’s separated from everything around her by thick glass or deep water, and feels “burned to ash from the inside out.” The theme of healing, which takes on greater and greater importance as the series continues, is introduced there, and it is the course of Valya’s healing journey that the books chart. She is, as I wrote about here, my tribute to the character of Eowyn, but an empowered Eowyn in a female-led world.
I finished writing the whole TDL mini-series during the summer of 2015, when, after a period of comparative improvement, I started a serious downward slide into late-stage neurological Lyme disease following an undiagnosed case of walking pneumonia. Since I couldn’t walk for more than a few feet during part of that summer, writing was about all I could do, and I did it with a vengeance. One can, no doubt, quibble about many things in TDL, but one thing I can state for certain is that, fantasy or not, it is very much about real things, and definitely from the heart.
Thanks for reading!
The universal link to TDLI is here.
And, speaking of healing, my story “The Dragonbone Wand,” set in a completely new, dragon-based universe, and featuring a healer, is available in The Magical Book of Wands, available for preorder here.