The last day of my current career and the tale behind my next.

When will my phone stop working, I wonder? (3 business days later, it’s still working! Kind of.) What happens to the emails that are sent after today that I’ll never view? Do they just … go away?

And, Will the team be OK? Don’t be silly — of course the team will be OK — but how long will it take for them to be better than before I left?

Stop worrying Donna, it’ll be in no time, the new guys are great. Will people miss me?

I bounce up and down in my chair and look through the glass walls of Narnia, my gaze framed by puking Aslan, over at the tall standing desk that guards our front entrance. On it lays a bouquet of flowers sent from Montreal by the loveliest of lovelies: Marilou. Next to the delightful bundle of blooms sits a vase filled with chocolate edibles sent from my loveliest fan of all: Michael, my husband.

I sigh, bounce some more, and look back at the dust covered thunderbolt display in front of me. I am truly spoiled.

Precious hours of productivity (and bottles of beer) were sacrificed to send me off with panache and style. A generous gift certificate to my favourite restaurant was purchased and tucked away in a white envelope, my name scrawled on the front, and slid into my hand with a sly grin of appreciation.

Another card — hidden beneath the first — contains a collection of heart warming and supportive words. Countless comments and autographs that were painstakingly collected, one-by-one. As I read (and re-read) each scrawled message I marvel at each person’s sentiments. Some of you I’ve known for years, others I’ve known for days, and yet each of you managed a perfect message.

Back to my thunderbolt display.

I’m counting down minutes to 5pm on Friday, December 5, 2014. Old habits die hard but this isn’t really an old habit. Actually, it’s not a habit at all. I don’t resent time spent being productive and I’m not the person to track clock hands. But today is different. Today marks the end of an era. At 5pm tonight — for the first time in 13 years — I am officially unemployed.

Heads down shoulder-to-the-wheel, I half-built-half-stumbled-into something that can fill a lifetime with joy. Great pay, 10 minute walking commute from a beautiful house-on-the-lake(pond) to an office covered in floor-to-ceiling windows. A top notch team composed of people I’m proud to name friends. A leader I’m proud to name brother.

I’ve somehow secured professional respect and credibility abound, and to externals that seem to matter in this world of domain knowledge and software applications, I’m an up and comer.

Crazy.

Those of you who know me don’t wonder why I’ve chosen to “throw it all away”. Those of you who don’t know me can get onside because from what you do know, I’m kind of quirky (“She really loves her pets,” I’ve heard whispered in explanation).

Having left so much on the table my inner fears have me imagining a single question on everyone’s mind when discussing my nebulous future. These are the same irksome fears that prevent me from offering an answer in advance of the question. Lingering and unspoken: “So. What’s this story you’re writing about, anyway?”

Thankfully, some time and space (the new home office is awesome) has made the answer simple: Robin and Quinn. More accurately, Wren (my niece) and Evan (my nephew).

Ambiguous answer? I agree, allow me to explain.

Synopsis (V1)

Flight of the Shadowblood Fleet

Robin — an impetuous and dessert-loving 11 year old girl — and her ghost-twin brother Quinn, have been found. Their safe haven, a stone walled estate hidden deep inside a birch grove in the wilds of Nordland, has been discovered.

A mysterious centaur and stranger, Mr. Roberts, crashes into their front entrance to deliver the news: Robin must leave home, immediately! With no time for stories or explanation, and just as mysteriously as he appeared, Mr.Roberts disappears and Robin is shipped to London by herself where she is forced to live with an Uncle she never even knew she had.

A true motoring enthusiast and collector, Uncle manages despite all odds — he has only one eye, after all — to deliver Robin to Shadowblood, a sea and air worthy vessel he calls home.

Shadowblood, a sleek and dangerous flying ship, is home to members of a secret sect known only as the Kinsguard. Trained-from-birth adults and children who have left their own homes to secretly stand guard by the last of the Kin: Robin.

It’s up to Robin and Quinn to discover why they’re being hunted and to uncover all the chilling consequences if Robin is caught.

During their quest to find answers and safety, they must return to an ancient majestic city that’s buried deep beneath earth’s crust. Home to an undisturbed and seemingly magical civilization that has been preserving humanity’s secrets for thousands of years.

But Robin is troubled and the path they travel is fraught with danger. She is haunted by elaborate memories that belong to ancient ancestors whose lives crumbled to dust ages ago. As they race to stay ahead of their enemy, the pressure becomes unbearable because if Robin is caught there’s only one possible outcome: the end of free will and humanity’s enslavement.

(fantasy)(historical fiction)(young reader 11–14)(awesome!)

End.

So, what do you think?

For those of you whose interest I have managed to keep, the Grand Plan (GP) is this:

  1. Finish the novel
  2. Write age-appropriate (~3–5) children’s stories and picture books that indulgently show case my novel’s characters
  3. Finish the story (series of novels) while continuing to write age-appropriate children’s stories for an aging audience

Somewhere along the way I’ll build a fan base [insert brow waggle]; secure an agent who will work with me to get published [knock on wood]; and become a better artist [pause for effect].

But Donna, what does this have anything to do with your niece and nephew? And, I had no idea you were passionate about writing!

First, a correction. My ambitions are less noble than passion or “writing for the sake of writing”. My ambitions are rooted in my growing family. They’re also rooted in my memory of being little Donna and my husband’s memory of being little Michael. I am creating an experience for Evan and Wren that little Michael and little Donna would have adored, and it’s an experience that can only be created now.

Here’s the thing. The stories I’m writing are first and foremost for my niece and nephew but the little tykes are too young to read an entire novel. They’re not too young to learn or (optimistically) grow to love the characters that come to life in the pages of a novel.

My goal (hope) is that one day, after having been exposed to the characters and their stories over the years, Wren and Evan will be inspired to read the full backstory in all it’s many-paged adventurous grit. Some parents may fall in love with what I’m creating for my family — some won’t. Call me optimistic once more, but my intentions are to write each story to stand on it’s own two feet.

And there you have it! Full open kimono — that’s the GP.

For those of you who are mildly curious+ and have waited patiently for me to share: thank you. Everyone’s suggestions, support, and feedback is wildly welcome.

Wish me luck ;)

Donna

PS — thanks for reading!