Autumn’s shortening days, falling leaves, and first breath of cold whisper of mystery. A sense of timelessness lingers in every moment as nature lies down to sleep. Secrets dwell in shadow, ripe for the telling. Here, then, is a riddle: how can life arise from death? An impossible task, and yet each spring proves it. This is the cycle all of Creation teaches: in every death, there is life.
Many months of my life over several years went into creating proposals and sample chapters for my Montana Gold western romance series. Besides my own efforts, agents and editors gave hours of their time reading and evaluating my proposals. At one publishing house one of the novels went to publication board, which means that the editorial and marketing staffs reviewed and discussed my project. My husband and I have spent money on a research trip and research materials to help me recreate a bygone era. Given the investment, it’s hard to shelf Montana Gold, even it it’s only for a while.
Out of death, comes life.
The spark that fueled this series will burn on inside me. I know this. It happened with DawnSinger, the story that haunted me until I wrote it. That story went through a kind of death, too, when due to discouragement I tried to kill all my writing aspirations. Because of this, rather than despite it, Tales of Faeraven has emerged in a better state than it would have before. I suspect my Montana Gold series is going through a similar metamorphosis, one I must allow to happen naturally.
Change brings losses and gains, with the losses almost always coming first.
A stray cat recently adopted my family. The timing wasn’t perfect, since my husband and I were about to leave for Montana, and created a difficulty. The cat would need to be cared for in our absence. We might have been able to leave out hoppers of food and water for her but after we spotted four raccoons eating her food at night. Someone would have to come and feed her, but making the family member who was watching our house drive over to put out her food in the morning and then take it in at night would create a hardship for him. We solved the dilemma by luring the cat inside and shutting her into our large laundry room where both she and her food would be safe. We didn’t know if Vanilla (or Nilly) as we dubbed her, was feral or a stray, but she took to the litter box so well, she must once have been owned.
After we returned home, we let Nilly escape into the rest of the house, where she quickly made herself at home. She has so much love to give that the thought of her having lived the isolated, subsisting life of a stray seems especially cruel. When Nilly asked to go back outside, my impulse was to deny her. If I kept her inside I could keep her safe. What if she ran off and didn’t return? What if she stayed out all night and the raccoons got her? Despite my concerns, it would be equally cruel to keep Nilly penned up. She should be allowed to return to her life in the wild if she wished.
I opened the door and set her free.
She went to the edge of the patio and drank rainwater from a planter tray. She preened herself, and then off she went to mark the edges of our backyard garden. This was her territory. Later she came inside to eat and sleep. The next day she wanted out again, and I obliged her. She stayed away longer this time but did come home. Each time I let Nilly out I run the risk of her not returning, and yet I must for her sake and for mine. I’ve gained something by being willing to risk losing her. I’ve learned that she stays with us willingly, something I otherwise would never know.
Need a good book to read?
DawnSinger, Tales of Faeraven #1 by Janalyn Voigt
A headstrong young princess and the guardian sworn to protect her fly on winged horses to the Gate of Life above the Well of Light in a desperate bid to release the DawnKing, and the salvation he offers, into a divided land. Will they each learn in time that sometimes victory comes only through surrender?
Purchase DawnSinger today!
©2013 by Janalyn Voigt