Somewhat of a long story precedes this new release announcement.
It goes like this:
My very first attempt at self-publishing was in 2013. I’d gotten my rights back to Delicious Conversation (now Chocolate and Conversation), and I designed a crummy cover and put it on Kindle. It shocked me when two months later, I saw my bank statement. In fact, I thought I was being punked by my bank or the IRS or someone when I saw the deposit from Amazon. It wasn’t a ton of money, but it was more than I’d made in a month’s time ever before.
Dang! I needed to try to write something else and see if it worked again. Not an LDS rom-com. I needed to write something mainstream. If I could figure out how self-publishing worked, it might just be the creative outlet I needed. The turnaround time on traditional publishing was grindingly slow. I had more stories to tell, and a year or more between books seemed so stifling.
But to do it, I needed to learn how. What I needed was an experimental novel to guide through the process and see what happened.
That book was Super Daisy.
I wrote Super Daisy in about three days while my husband was at his judicial conference and I was trying not to roast in the June sun of Scottsdale, AZ. A little lizard on some rocks kept me company.
It was a wacky story about a disgraced former beauty queen who hit her head, saw Wonder Woman, crashed her jeep, and then woke up with super strength. But being a small-town girl with a nowhere job and a nothing life, her power was pretty useless. And then things got worse for her.
So, that’s the gist of that story.
With my newfound courage at trying scary things, I made a book cover for it. (Not my forte, trust me.) To do so, I had to learn two or three different graphic design programs. The result wouldn’t wow anyone, but I was pleased as blue raspberry punch with it because I’d done it myself. With all that confidence brimming, I rushed right over to Amazon and published it.
Did I edit it? Nope. Did I really think about who would be reading this thing? Not even for a second.
Not written to market, not edited, no professional cover–a recipe for disaster as probably anyone would guess. But I popped it up there in a wave of irrational exuberance.
Super Daisy was my guinea pig book. I marketed, I changed covers. I sent it to reviewers. I made it free. I did all the scary things self-published authors have to learn to do. I did absolutely everything wrong. But I did it bravely!
In fact, in an Old Faithful-level gush of confidence, I even took Daisy to Hollywood and pitched her to a producer, and he bit. (I’ll tell that story another day. It’s a good one!) Daisy taught me a lot.
Fast forward a few years. Things have shifted. The standard for self-pubbed books has gone up a whole lot. I still love Daisy. I can see all her many, many flaws. I know her story is a big, fat mess, and I take her down from publication. I think about keeping her hidden, since she’s such a disaster. It’s that whole “an artist’s early work” thing.
But I love her. I want people to know her. She has a little warm spot in my heart, even though her story is only a quirky, silly bit of cotton candy fluff. I dream that she can have a broader audience.
Then, when my dear friend LeAnn died last August, I mourned. Over and again she had told me this was her favorite book of mine, despite it’s dumbness. She just loved Daisy for all her crazy quips.
Because of that, I wanted Daisy to come back. For me, and for LeAnn, and for the readers who had found her quirks endearing.
Then it hit me. *I could fix it! I could turn Daisy into the teenager she already acts like and it could be the YA novel it was always meant to be at its core!*
So I did. And this week, it became reality. I rewrote it, making her a somewhat broken female superhero, age 17. I edited the crazy out of it. And my awesome friend Dillon McGaughey created a cover that makes me get a little misty-eyed. Doesn’t she just look like an Idaho farm girl sitting on her parents’ house stairs in her slipping tiara?
Lessons learned. I still love Daisy. I know the story still isn’t the most perfect thing. It’s not compelling like The Hunger Games or deep like All the Truth that’s in Me, or addictively despair-inducing like 13 Reasons Why, but I also know that at least a dozen people have told me that they identify with Daisy, that she makes them happy.
I like happy. I like light. I like sweet and fun. It’s candy for your brain and soul.
Daisy makes me happy, too. She makes me happier now that I’ve given her a little better love. I am so glad I was able to make amends for her. She’s still the star of a quick story, with zippy and wacky super powers coming and going and wrecking Daisy’s shot at EVER winning Cliff Calloway’s heart.