New Kid in Town

That's me. The new chick. It's a role to which I'm becoming rather accustomed. Traveling has given me some thick skin, and I do believe that is a tremendous quality to have in this business.

So, for a little background for those who do not know me, allow me to introduce myself.

My name is Dayna, but you may call me D, even my husband does. Shorten it any further, however, and I believe I will be reduced to 'Duh.' So, D it is. I'm a mother of three, wife to one, and master to countless books and pairs of shoes: my two obsessions.

I grew up in small-town Ohio, raised in an old, very old, home that houses hundreds of old, dusty volumes. My mother was a librarian, thus I spent many an afternoon reading under the maple tree in our backyard. I read, a lot, and one day I started writing stories of my own. Poems, songs, short stories, you name it, and I was scribbling it down with a curly pen.

Career problem: no confidence. Though a free spirit at heart, I was one of those who listened to the masses. "A writer? For what? A hobby? Why? Well, that sounds like a nice hobby." You get the picture. I married the ying to my proverbial yang, and what I find astounding is that he DID encourage me. Problem was, I already had it in my head that dreaming was not something I could afford to do. But I did it anyways, and wrote, and enjoyed staying home with my children, nurturing them, but slowly dying inside.

During those years, I wrote, all alone late at night when my mind refused to be calm. This was long before Myspace, or Twitter, when AOL dominated the market. I filled notebooks, binders, disks and folders with my work, never having the courage to send my stories out to the world.

I joined writing groups, and such, honing my craft, reading, and feeling bitter yet another year passed. I traveled, another passion of mine, taking my family with me and writing late into the night. After a trip to London, another burst of inspiration smacked me in the head, thsi one a little harder than my previous 'aha' moments, and I spent three years working on one single idea. I researched, and traveled, and wrote all hours of the day and night, constantly altering and rewriting, meanwhile keeping it all to myself and a group of writer friends.

One day, after moving to Dallas, a very good friend of mine came to visit me from Virginia. With him, he brought some things I still had tucked away in storage. What he brought me, was a backbone. It was a plastic, lidded container filled with notebooks and unfinished manuscripts, including diaries from when I was still in elementary school. He had read one on the plane, and didn't know until the very end it was my diary from age 12.

So, there I was, surrounded my lifetime of unfinished work, and I couldn't have felt lower. He handed me a handfull of letters, including one written by my husband, telling me he was proud of me, confident, and how he'd support me as I follow my dream.

From that day, the decision was done. I worked endlessly on the remainder of the book, the first of five, and sent it out to be critiqued. It wasn't received as I had hoped. Though I snagged the interest of an agent quickly, the line they wanted to take was not what i found to be acceptable. Everywhere I turned, they wanted to shorten it (it's at 108, 000+ words) and change relationships, add more sex and basically turn what I feel is an imortant, well-planned novel into an everyday rag with a generic cover, ready for trashy-readers-anonymous.

Feeling deflated, I decided to take control, as I had in every other aspect of my life, and I began my very own small-press publishing firm. It's all 'in the works' but I can rest a little easier knowing that a: I didn't sellout, b: it will be brought to readers as it was intended and c: I can offer a place for other writers who feel they have been asked to compromise their work.

If you read through all of this, congratulations. I owe you a cookie.

D. VonThaer


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