For those of you who don’t know, it has been about a month since I’ve been back from Ireland. It was life-changing. Dublin was amazing. The people there are friendly, and tons of imports! There were French accents and German accents and British accents in American accents, Brazilian and Romanian too! Dubliners are chatty. There is really something to the Irish gift of gab. LOL. The city of Dublin is rich in history from Vikings and from the middle ages. We got to do some really cool stuff, my boys and I. I was there, though, for a fantasy writers workshop run by Dave Farland. The content was phenomenal and worth every penny, but it was so much more. I found my people. 12 students and an instructor. We all have the same frames of reference for jokes from great fantasy literature and movies! Seven days. We bonded as if we had known each other a lifetime. Each day we had lectures and discussion, and each evening we would go to our rooms (a 120-year-old B&B for me!), and we would complete assignments. I loved my assignments. It wasn’t work. It was love. The next day, we would go in and share our what we had written, giving feedback and receiving critique. These people became family. My tribe.
And this week, we lost one to cancer. Sunny Griffith was an amazing human being, uplifting, God-loving, who cherished his family. (“Let me show you pictures of my kids!“) The world will never know the depth of his storytelling abilities, that he was capable of writing everything from deep political and religious fantasy, aimed at adults, to whimsical recipes about trolls’ milk! “Gifted” does not do him justice. Those of us who knew Sunny, loved him and we grieve for our loss, but I also grieve for all who never had a chance to meet him. The world needs more people like Sunny.
So in his honor, I did something bold this week. I shared chapters one through 13 (a little more than half of my current work in progress, a fantasy novel aimed at upper middle grade/young adult with a working title of Blade of Ages) with a trusted beta reader. I am going to get this draft done and then work with an editor. My goal is to get this book out next year!