It’s my birthday! Yay!
Okay, how should I start this? Well… let’s begin here. The first half of my twenties was a glitzy trailer of itself: pageant after pageant, cheer-leading, finishing my undergrad and grad degrees.
But a month before I turned 26, all of that changed. I stopped doing pageants, I stopped cheer-leading, and I had no intention of going back to school any time soon. Nothing that made me happy for the last half-decade made me happy anymore.
Personal evolution? Sure.
So with my fancy grad degree, I took a crappy job. I was overqualified and underpaid. It kept the lights on and a roof over my head, but little else. I fruitlessly searched for better gigs while staring at bills and ceilings every night, wondering what I was doing (wrong) and who I was anymore.
I wish I could say I had a burning bush moment. I didn’t.
But despite having a job that bored me to pieces, I did have my book shelf. I’ve always loved storytelling and thus I’ve always loved books, but at this time my appetite became voracious. I was discovering YA— particularly YA fantasy —with series heavy plot lines, extensive character ARCs, and lavish settings.
And then I realized I wanted to write again. I’d journaled since I was about 10, but weaving a story— a BIG story— was another animal. Sure, I wrote for my friends (winks at Angelica Jones, Cierra), but this tingle in my spine was something different. Something more.
So I wrote a scene swirling around my head (what ironically is now Chapter 28- Swordplay) and from there a 55,000 word manuscript was born. It was also a burning pile of crap, so I tapped my dad and my work buddy Erica Johnson, also book lovers, to be my trusted Beta readers. Colin McCullough watched the story grow as well, eager to point out the cool as well as the WTF plot points along the way.
Despite this help, I needed a professional editor. Through a Google search, I found Wise Ink and immediately got that… “these are my people” feeling. I connected with Amy Cutler Quale and Dara Moore Beevas, and my now project fairy godmother Laura Zats. We started an initial round of edits under the eye of Kellie Hultgren, who pointed out all of my bad habits and misused turns of phrase. And there were a lot.
But that flaming pile of crap grew from 55,000 words to around 80,000 (far superior) words. And from age 26-28, I tried to go the traditional publishing route.
Until traditional publishing just wasn’t working for me. There’s waaaayyy more around my decision to go #indie, and it’ll be in forthcoming www.introvertprobs.com podcast episodes (as well as the entire scary and exciting process of becoming an author).
But now… FINALLY… I can shout at the top of my lungs that my debut novel, The Blazing Star, will be published on December 6, 2016. It’s a YA semi-historical fantasy about a Chicago teen who travels back in time to ancient Egypt.
And here is the gorgeous cover!
On my 30th birthday, I feel so fulfilled I could burst. I can also say I have a much better day job now LOL
You can also order your copy today at www.imanijosey.com. If you order a paperback before December 6th, you will receive a signed copy!
Cheers and thank you’s!
Thank you to Laura Zats for believing in this project. Thank you to Amy Cutler Quale and Dara Moore Beevas for creating Wise Ink and answering my freak out calls. Thank you Patrick Merlotney for the wonderful proofread. Thank you to Steven Meyer-Rassow for having a strong artistic vision for this concept and making a more gorgeous cover than I could have imagined! Thank you to Tamyka Jones for lending her gorgeous face to Portia’s character. Thank you to my extraordinary mentor Shveta Thakrar for teaching me about wish lines and the magic of short stories. Thank you to Kellie Hultgren for editing that ugly first draft and loving Sikara as much as I do. More cowbell! Thank you to Billy Montgomery for seeing the podcast to life, and my wonderful interns Mick Heintz and Jasmine Cambry Watson for working behind the scenes on this. Thank you to Angelica Jones, Erica Johnson, and Cierra for believing in my work. Thank you to Colin McCullough for… everything. Thank you to my dad for typing my first stories when I was kid, my mom for investing in sturdy bookshelves, and the multitude of writers in my family who normalized being word weirdos. Thank you to my amazing editors Amanda who taught me not to rely on voice, and Jamie who is still teaching me not to overwrite. Thank you to my Bison sista Rhea Whitney Reid for the new author photo, as well as Danielle Williams for the face beat and Nikki Thigpen for the fancy hair. And thank you to Rachael for the PERFECT new website.
Whew! Time for birthday cake!