It’s been a few weeks since I last spoke about my upcoming book, Tracking Desire.
On September 22 (Hobbit Day!), the GoFundMe campaign officially ended (although the link will be live until publishing day, in case you would like to get in on the prize bundles) and I began the editing process in earnest.
When I began the campaign, summer was in full swing and I was in shorts, enjoying the balmy winds drifting lazily through the lush woods behind my house––and thinking my choice of whiskey as an accompanying drink to my live readings was a bad choice. Now, I sit at the writing desk in my typical winter ensemble of a cardigan, sweats, and slippers, the trees letting loose their amber leaves––and very much appreciating the way the whiskey warms my gullet on its way down.
As we move deeper into autumn, the self-imposed publishing deadline of “end of the year, hopefully by Christmas,” looms ever-larger, and I wanted to let you know where we stand on that goal.
I have two primary updates for the progress of the book:
First, the editing has been a deeply enjoyable, though arduous, process. I have been challenged not only to tighten up the prose where necessary, but to have been challenged to reassess several of the presuppositions I brought into this project almost three years ago. I believe the final result will ultimately be the best version of this book and my story that I could possibly offer at this stage of my life. That said, there is a possibility this task rounds the corner of the new year and requires a bit more time to be done right. I hope and believe it will not prove to be so, but I wanted to share the possibility.
Now, on to the exciting stuff.
I am giddy with dreams fulfilled as I can finally say words I’ve longed to be true: the cover for my first book is ready to be revealed!
My new friend and fellow member of the Inglorious Pasterds Pub, Destiny West (check out her other stuff!), painted a stunning watercolor spreading across both the front and back of the book, and then finished it off with great design work to fit one of my endorsements and a tongue-in-cheek author bio (because I can’t take myself too seriously).
When we first discussed the cover, I spoke with Destiny about a passage in a semi-autobiographical short story by (of course) Tolkien, Leaf By Niggle:
It had begun with a leaf caught in the wind, and it became a tree; and the tree grew, sending out innumerable branches, and thrusting out the most fantastic roots. Strange birds came and settled on the twigs and had to be attended to. Then all round the Tree, and behind it, through the gaps in the leaves and boughs, a country began to open out; and there were glimpses of a forest marching over the land, and of mountains tipped with snow.Tolkien, J.R.R.. Tales from the Perilous Realm (p. 286). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.
For the main character, Niggle, this painting began as an individual leaf, but over time it “[sent] out innumerable branches, and [thrust] out the most fantastic roots”––an experience I have discovered in my own tale’s telling as it began with a single blog post about my ministry experience, an almost therapeutic exercise, which slowly found itself entwining with my whole life of love and devotion and failure and faith.
I, too, have been haunted by what lies beyond the edges of my story, the possibilities and potentialities, all leading to… well, something, I hope. Whether it’s the Great Mountain where the sun sets, or merely the next stop on the journey, I will not know until I arrive.
But then again, we never truly arrive, do we?
I hope this cover inspires you as much as me, and I especially hope it inspires you to read the book when it’s finished!
Thank you, again for your support and I look forward to finally releasing my story into the world.