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Breaking the Oath

My original thought was, "No way." Many writers dream of the book signings, they dream of the talks and the readings. They spend a lot of their time planning how they are going to talk to their agent, and though these things interested me in the beginning, when I got a few books under my belt I walked away from these kinds of thoughts.

I took an oath. I wanted to write. I had become obsessed with it. It was my one driving ambition. My line became about ignoring the book signings and walking away from the readings. I had too much to do.

You have to understand at this point I had only written rough drafts of eight different books. I had an entire story in mind and it was impossible. Five series. 25 books. All interlocking. Each series tells its own story, but if all 25 books are lined up in chronological order they tell one story. The idea was impossible. No one could do it and I was not about to let myself get distracted with the trappings of a writer's life when I could focus on the work.

My plan was to let Bekah be the face of the career. Let’s put her name on all the books. Let’s send her to the signings. Let’s let her do the readings. Let her talk to the agent. All of it would be handed over to her and I could just remain in my office. Bottle myself up and stick to doing the only thing I am good at.

This was my plan until I got 18 books in and we self-published. I tried to shove her out front and she flatly refused to go. This was my world, my work, and I had to be the one to own it.

The good days started rolling in.

My first review came out before I even published Liefdom. It was written by a woman whose name is etched on my heart. Her name was Crystal Gomez and she was my first fan. She went on and on about the book. And I started to believe, I started to breathe. I realized I had been holding my breath for seven years, writing and praying but never knowing if my work was any good.

The day that book came out was a big one. I remember after Bekah went to bed just opening the Amazon page and staring at it. I wept that night at the beauty of seeing my work for sale. A few days later, at the dojo I trained at, a friend walked up to me with a printed copy of the book. Said he wanted it signed. I sat shocked holding the first printed version of my book.

When I finished the book The Great Hall,  I slept for almost twenty hours. My 25 books had been written. The story was told. If I published two books a year, the book I had just written would come out in 2028. By then I had decided on my dates: April 15th, the day my fifth grade teacher assigned my very first story to me. And October 5th, the day I was first discovered by my freshman teacher as a writer, and she began to fast track me toward this career. So I knew that on April 15th, 2028, The Great Hall would come out and the story would be told. It was the happiest day of my career. To this day, it has not been beat.

But last Saturday I walked away from my earlier oath and I went to a book signing. I had finished my big story. I had the books done. So I decided I could spend a bit of time with my readers, I could sign a few books and press a few hands. I am here to tell you, there is nothing like it.

I met myself. A fourteen-year-old boy who loved fantasy, was too shy to talk over a whisper and who just wanted to read. I met a woman who loved the idea of my tale and had to buy the entire trilogy blind, knowing she would love it. She agreed to let me use her name in a book. I met other writers, met a guy who taught me everything I needed to know to go to these functions again and again. I spent the day communing with readers and writers, and it opened my mind and my heart to a new understanding.

I was told by the guy beside me that at an event of this size, a good showing was one book an hour. If I sold a book an hour I was excelling. By the end of the four-and-a-half-hour event, I had sold 14 books.

I’m addicted to book signings. I want to be out there, meeting people and shaking the hands of my readers. I want to see their faces and hear their stories. I want to be out there. 

I will let you know when I head out again. Maybe, if I am lucky, I can meet you.

Exiles Giveaway!

I'm giving away an ARC ebook of my upcoming release Legends of the Exiles. It is coming out April 15th of this year and is up for preorder now. The book was finished way ahead of schedule and my greatest desire is to get it out there. This is what I am going to do, send me an email, something simple, your name, why you love fantasy, and I will draw names out of a hat to find out who I can send the ebook to.

Dead Girl

Dead Girl is the gift I give to any who sign up for my newsletter. If you haven't already, download it and enjoy. It's one of the four novellas included in Legends of the Exiles. So if you'd like a preview of my next book, take advantage of this free offer. 

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Jesse Teller, 2443 S. Ventura Ave., Springfield, MO  65804 USA

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