Title: The Founding of Josiah Turn
Series: The Xyon Chronicles
Genre: Historical Fantasy
e-Book ISBN-13: 9780990928805
Paperback ISBN-13: 9780990928812
Publisher: ShyJot Publications LLC, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, a family owned entity
Publication Date: November 10, 2014
Paperback Edition: April 21, 2015
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Josiah Turn knows little about his family’s past and even less about the world outside his mountain home. After a supernatural event kills everyone he’s ever known, Josiah’s lack of knowledge becomes his greatest liability. His second greatest liability resides in the power he now has.
Unprepared for the realities of post-Reconstruction America and unaware of the military’s interest in him, Josiah faces hate, villainy, joy, and purpose in his life off the mountain. But when betrayal unravels the truth behind his past and power, Josiah is pulled into a global plot he can hardly imagine. Compelled home to Appalachia, Josiah must find the strength and purpose to defend the ancient source of his power without destroying everything and everyone else.
In July of 2007 I wrote 489 words, the first four paragraphs about this character, in a response to a Craigslist posting for a ghostwriter. I never heard from the poster, and I imagine that author had a more conventional story in mind.
But Josiah Turn percolated in my mind for many months, and when I determined to be a finisher, I set forth with him in the winter of 2009. I basically forced myself through the first draft built around the fragment of idea I’d had in 2007, and by the time I reached the end I knew it was fatally flawed. I ached to find a way to tell this story, and it came to me on Mother’s Day 2010 in a huge mass of information. The same day, on my kids art paper, I wrote out a time line and broke down the information into a series of novels. Thus, the first rewrite totally changed the arc and timeline of the book.
The Path to Publication
Great feedback from an editor’s critique at a 2011 SCBWI event triggered a second full rewrite. The draft boasted a third person perspective and quite literary verbiage. The editor’s critique encouraged me to consider writing in first person to get more connected with the main character. I immediately laughed off the suggestion (in my mind, of course) because it was ludicrous. My longtime critique partner and mother convinced me to try just one chapter.
So the massive rewrite began! I took the entire book from third person omniscient to first person. I took the tense from past to present. And I trotted it out at a 2012 SCBWI event, where it won a meeting with an editor. This editor felt I jumped into the action too quickly and that the colloquialisms needed to be better balanced. Over the years (and drafts) I entered Pitch Madness, GUTGAA, Pitch Wars, and CAGI. Feedback was excellent, and I met a ton of wonderful people!
From Querying to Self-Publishing
From 2011 through 2013, I only queried eight times. Eight. Why? Well, I was never truly content with the manuscript. Whenever I finished and polished a draft, I would send it to two or three people. I received rejections or nothing at all. I’m not querying now, but it has nothing to do with my past querying.
My family and I opened ShyJot Publications LLC in April 2007. Our original intent was to publish a greeting card line. Life has intervened with many distractions and ‘real jobs’ and emergencies. This year, we came to a crossroads and had to decide whether to move forward or dissolve. We decided to move forward. With Founding.