The first version of this story was written for a high school creative writing course, but really for the first girl that I ever loved, who took the only copy in existence - all 121 hand-typed pages - and moved to another state, never to be seen again. I recently reconnected with her on Facebook. She married a Marine, had a daughter, and lives happily in California. And I'm glad, because before she moved away, it became apparent that although we were attracted to each other, we couldn't actually be together, because we drove each other nuts.
That happened with a lot of girls that I was crazy about. I'm pretty sure it's me. But because I eventually found one that I could be with, and vice versa, even though we still occasionally drive each other nuts, the story has a happy ending.
But the story that I wrote stuck in my mind, and wouldn't let go, even long after the girl that it was written for was long gone.
Something happens, you see, when a story gets beyond a certain number of pages - at least, if you're doing it right. The characters begin to come alive. In small ways, at first, suggesting better dialogue for themselves, then blocking out scenes, and eventually - if you give them enough rope and a little room - writing the entire story for you. All you have to do is put them in the situation you've dreamed up and write down what they do and say. Easy.
That happened with the first draft of that story. Not only that: they weren't done talking. They had lots more that they wanted to say, and the bigget surprise was that a lot more happened after I wrote 'The End' that made me a liar. Their story had only just begun.
About that time, my dad bought our first personal computer (the first of many; dad's what they call an 'early adopter'), and my first word processing program. It took me a long time to learn it: at that time, all formatting was accomplished via special characters that you had to type in, kind of like hand-coding html code (or am I showing my age?). I loved how easy it was to edit on the PC. Instead of breaking out the WhiteOut, painting over the offending words, and then laboriously retyping them enough times that they showed up on top of the paint, I could just hold down the backspace key. Not only that: you didn't have any clear indicator at that time of where a page started or stopped, so I frequently went from my usual 6 pages a night after school and work to two or even three times that many pages, simply because I lost track of time.
When I moved out and no longer had access to a PC, the story wouldn't let me alone. i saved what i had on disk and began the first of thousands of pages of notebooks, graph paper, the backs of napkins, waste paper from my dad's office - anything that I could write on. And the story became a whole world, on that those original 121 pages only hinted at.
There's a lot of clumsiness here. I make no apologies for it. The later books in the series may show my growth as a writer, but I think the story was there from the beginning.
Anyway, here it is, Book One. I hope you like it. All these years later, I still do.
Book one of a series that marmalades the lives of a sarcastic chain smoker who may or may not be God, an immortal hero with second thoughts, a bag lady who thinks she's a Valkyrie, a dysfunctional Dwarf from Brooklyn, a serial killer wizard, a hotsy totsy princess, and a washed-up plumbing supply salesman to save the world from a trans-dimensional bio-terrorist before climate change, a meteor collision, or bad grammar can end it first.