Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Story behind the Story

         And the Starting of a New Adventure...

                 (In which I announce some epically exciting news!)

I hope you enjoyed all the subtitles.  I couldn't resist!  In my last post, I promised you some very exciting news and here at last you have it:

Today I signed my first book contract!

Still tentatively titled Out of Darkness Rising, my novella is going to be published by Flaming Pen Press and is currently planned to be released in summer of 2012!

In October of 2009 I started a story.  It was originally written for a short story contest and supposed to be limited to 1200 words.  I hadn’t been writing for more than a few hours when I realized that the story I wanted to tell could not be adequately told in 1200 words, so I kept writing.  And a few days later, I ended the story at 9,000 words, scribbled “the end” at the bottom of the page, and buried it in the dust bound trunk of my computer’s hard drive. 

At the start of the summer of 2010, I rediscovered the story, blew away the dust, and discovered as I leafed through the moth-eaten pages, that there was still more to tell.  So, I started rewriting and expanded the story with the goal of turning it into a novella.  By October, after months of writing, rewriting, editing, and revising, I pronounced it “finished,” and having also spent the summer months researching publication, I sent a query letter to Flaming Pen Press. 

Several months passed while I waited to hear back, and in the meantime, I started work on a new fantasy novel Song of Leira, and for a while I forgot about Out of Darkness Rising.  In January, I went on a mission’s trip to Haiti and happened to share an excerpt from Song of Leira with one of my team members on the flight home.  I had begun to feel discouraged about my writing, but she was so encouraging about it that I came home ready to dive once more into Song of Leira and finish the first draft.  When I got home, however, there was another surprise awaiting me.  

I received an email inviting me to submit the complete manuscript for Out of Darkness Rising to Flaming Pen Press.  I hastily polished the manuscript and sent it off a few days later and then waited again… 

About two months later, in March of 2011, I again happened to check my email one night and discovered a message informing me that Scott Appleton of Flaming Pen Press had decided to accept my manuscript for publication!

We spent the next few weeks discussing book titles and cover ideas, etc.  Then I moved away to camp for the summer and only had computer access on the weekends, so further work was put on hold for a while.  Finally, last Saturday, I received an email with the book contract attached!  And now, after a few days of careful scanning and deliberation :) the contract is signed and sealed and en route to Flaming Pen Press!  

Signing the contract
signing the contract...

Needless to say, I am very excited about this!  A dream come true!  I know that there is a lot of work left to be done, but I'm looking forward to it!  It is said that adventures oft' come in pairs and that certainly is the case in my life!  This past year has been a series of adventures, one right after the other.  And yet another adventure begins tomorrow: college!

Between one adventure and the next, I'm going to be very busy!  But it is a good kind of busy!  And I can't wait to see what's going to happen next.  At times, life is like a wild stagecoach ride, but it's nice knowing that God has the reins and I can sit back and trust Him to steer things according to His perfect plan!

~ A Servant of the King

Out of Darkness Rising

For the villagers on the accursed Island, life has only one meaning: death.

Bound to the Island by the curse, the villagers suffer beneath the iron claw of the serpent, daily breathing the poison of his breath, and dying to appease his insatiable appetite.  Darkness reigns unchallenged.  With the constant threat of death looming over her, Marya lives the life of an outcast, longing for something more, yet scarcely daring to hope… until the stranger arrives.  Kind, in a world of cruelty, unafraid in a place of terror, the stranger clearly is no ordinary villager; his footsteps echo with the forgotten lore. 

Torn between legend and the harsh reality of the Island, Marya gradually begins to realize that everything she has ever known is only a small part of a greater tale, an ancient promise marching down through the centuries to ultimate fulfillment on the Island’s barren shore in a sword abandoned and arms opened wide… yet which will prove stronger, the promise or the curse?  


  1. Congratulations! That is so exciting, and the story teaser sounds intriguing! Do you know when the novella will be released?

  2. That is very exciting news...Congratulations!! You will be greatly missed around here but know new adventures await! We will be praying for you!


    When Mr. Appleton was here in IL, he told me that there was this novella that he was going to publish. He said that he could hardly wait because it was so good, and of course that had me really curious by the end of our conversation.


    *does happy dance*

    so exciting! I'm so happy for you. (I'd give you a hug, but that might seem weird... maybe not. Well, take it or leave it. *tentative hug*) :D :D :D

  4. Preliminary information for "Out of Darkness Rising" is now up on FlamingPenPress.com Congratulations Gillian!

  5. Hello Gillian,

    I just saw the news on Scott's facebook page and came here to congratulate you. Congratulations! Scott told me he had an excellent novella that he'd accepted but I didn't know the details until now. I look forward to reading Out of Darkness Rising and welcome to the stable of Flaming Pen Press authors. (Despite how you may have interpreted the contract, we don't have cookies...)

  6. Woh.




    This is absolutely FANTASTIC!! This completely hit me upside (or downside?) the head. Unexpected as a Kansas storm!


    This is...this is something else! Wow!

    I feel redundant. >_> But really, words can't express how epic this is. This is amazing! :D

    I look forward to reading it! Real paper, real cover, publication!... *shakes head* This is truly something else!

    Good luck with all of the publishing stuff, and congratulations! A new Christian fiction author with a fire for Christ is loosed upon the market: our forces are growing! This is immensely encouraging for all of the writers like you out there (including myself). Good luck, and may Christ shine through your work!

  7. @ Mary Ruth Pursselley - Thank you! We don't have a definite date yet. But summer of 2012 is the plan!

    @ Jacob Parker - Thanks for stopping by! Wait a minute, no cookies? But I thought it said... Oh, sad day!

    @ Star-Dreamer and Jake: Haha, I know! It's pretty exciting! I'm still trying to convince myself that it's really happening... :)

  8. Gillian, congrats! I love the book cover that Scott has posted at Flaming Pen. I discovered the artist, Jared Sloger, when looking for an artist to do the work on the interior of my second book. You can check my site out at www.ryannwatters.com. Jared is also working on the movie project with Gold Pictures to film my series. Again, congrats and keep up the good work!
    Eric Reinhold, Author
    The Annals of Aeliana

  9. Eric, thank you! I just saw the cover a few days ago and I am very excited about it! Wow, a movie based on your books! How exciting.

  10. Wow, my gosh, girl congratulations a thousandfold! Good GRAVY! Wow! (OO)

    May the Lord bless you as you journey into this next season of writing, as you see the fruit of all your labor :]

    Wish I could give you a massive hug.... (ps I love the picture of you! You're really pretty and your hair rocks. :P)

    Anyway, here's some more confetti *throws confetti*

  11. I used an unacceptable amount of exclamation points there... My apologies. ;)

  12. This is so exciting, Gillian! =] I'm so glad that you took the skills God gave you and put them to a great use. Clearly He's blessed you indeed. I'm looking forward to getting your book myself! I'll be praying the rest of the process goes smoothly.
    In Christ,
    Michael Meyerdirk

  13. Hey! I'm new to your blog (Jake advertised it on his blog) but that is absolutely fantastic!!! Whenever it's published I look forward to reading it! :-D Congratulations! I hope God does great things through your story, Gillian! :-)

  14. Congratulations! :) Scott's activities are ones I follow with great interest... I only recently decided that, hey, I write Christian fantasy full of Dragons, and that seems popular right now... so I've wanted to start reaching out and making possible networking and publishing connections with other fantasy writers and specifically Christian writers. You are all so inspiring!

  15. I'm so excited for you Gillian! Congratulations!!! I can't wait to read the whole thing!


Love hearing from y'all, so please join the conversation! All I ask is that you keep all comments friendly with the goal of starting enjoyable conversations about fantasy and good books with other novel lovers! Overly negative comments will be banished to the netherworld and the less than pleasant company of the various balrogs, trolls, and monsters already imprisoned there.