Wednesday, May 18, 2011

First Book Stories: Windmaster by Helen Henderson

Another great story comes your way from Helen Henderson. I met Helen when I was a featured guest at the Long Ridge Writers Group forum. We're graduates of Long Ridge, so we share  kinship.

Windmaster - A Journey on More than Water by Helen Henderson

Although the solitary life of a writer may be perceived as calm and uneventful, it is in reality a roller coaster. After months or even years of work, you've finally typed those two little words, 'The End,' and turned a short story into a full novel. The sense of accomplishment is quickly doused by self-doubt and fears. Is it good enough? Will a publisher like it? Many authors don't get past the uncertainty and never submit their works. I did and this is what follows.

The excitement of reading "We would like to offer you a contract" makes you want to shout. Flurries of emails and phone calls wing themselves to friends and family. Then reason speaks up. You will never get rich...and your release date is a year away. For the second time, the joy of being an author submerges beneath reality.

Unease deepens with the arrival of the dreaded 'Edits.' Responses range from 'She's crazy' to hitting yourself in the head and muttering, "How could I have missed that?" A tip, maybe you didn't. Some word processor programs like to autocorrect text behind your back. You wrote 'aboard' and sent the correct impulses to your fingers who dutifully typed in. (That is my story and I'm sticking to it.) Now you move to the next scene, blissfully unaware your evil computer overtyped 'aboard' with 'about.'

Eventually the book goes to production and you breathe in relief. You survived yet another mind-numbing step. The next highpoint can come in hours, days, or weeks. Each day you watch the emails to see if your cover appears in your mailbox. The email opens and what stares at you is not necessarily what you expected from the carefully-crafted hints you provided in the marketing forms. However, after looking at it, a discovery surfaces. The artist captured your main character from her silver hair and gold bracelets of rank to her strength and attitude. It's perfect!

Now I've brought you up to date on the making of Windmaster. My first novel will be released in ebook by Champagne Books this coming June and in print later this fall. I admit, as I contemplate promoting, my energy ebbs and flows. For the next year, I'll be jumping back and forth on two different treadmills as the contract for Windmaster Legacy, the sequel to the upcoming Windmaster, has now been signed.

There is one thing for certain. My scream when the print book comes out and I hold it in my hand will be so loud that a telephone won't be needed to broadcast the news.

A feature-story writer and correspondent, Henderson has also written fiction as long as she could remember. Her heritage reflects the contrasts of her Gemini sign. She is a descendent of a Pennsylvania German/Scot and a Czech--a coal-miner's daughter and an aviation flight engineer. This dichotomy shows in her writing which crosses genres from historical adventures and westerns to science fiction and fantasy.
Join her on journeys through the stars, back to the past, or among fantasy worlds of the imagination. The path begins at


Kathleen said...

Congrats on the second contract, Helen! I hadn't heard, but I knew it would happen. Now it's up to the dragshi to soldier on. :-)


Julie Eberhart Painter said...

I was born a coal miner's daughter, too. Wilkes-barre.

Looking forward to your book(s).


Helen Henderson said...

Response to Kathy - Dragons wing and dragons burn. Dragon shifters live and learn. Now all the twain need is a publisher for the future to be born. Thanks for the comment.

Helen Henderson said...

Response to Julile - Besides kin in Wilkes-barre (where I had a great time at a few years back at the Beach Boys concert to celebrate the town's founding) ties to mines in Hazelton and Weatherly. Thanks for posting. Helen

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Great post, Helen - you exactly convey what that first acceptance is like (having just had my first novel published!). Well done on the second acceptance. Interesting heritage too - I'm a full-blooded Scot, with Irish ancestry (like most Scots).

Pat McDermott said...

Helen, you've described the roller coaster ride perfectly. Your stories sound wonderfully imaginative. I look forward to hearing your scream :-)

Helen Henderson said...

Response to Rosemary, thanks for the kind words. Hopefully, someday I'll be able to find out more about that end of the heritage and visit the highlands. Helen

Helen Henderson said...

Response to Pat, thanks for the kind words. I think if all authors / writers yelled the first time we saw our name in print, whether a short story or novel, non-fiction article or documentary, the sound would eclipse that of Krataoa.

Anonymous said...

UPDATE on Helen Henderson: Last May when she said that "My scream when the print book comes out and I hold it in my hand will be so loud that a telephone won't be needed to broadcast the news." Below is her news. "I received a late night email that Windmaster is now available in paperback at or And as I predicted, I yelled. The sound rolled across New York Harbor, bounced off Manhattan's skyscrapers to head eastward across the Atlantic Ocean.

Don't let the yell frighten you off. Join me on journeys through the stars, back to the past, or among fantasy worlds of imagination. The path begins at