For the first time in a thousand years, the men in Noll’s village possess the freedom to love whom they will. In order to give each man the chance to fully explore his feelings, the lord of the village decrees all marriages null and void until both spouses declare their love for one another and their desire to wed again. What many women think will be a simple matter becomes a source of village-wide tension as most men decide to leave their families and responsibilities behind.
Rejected by the lord and ashamed of her part in the village’s history, Noll withdraws from her family and lives life as an independent woodcarver. This changes when her sister accuses her of hiding her former husband Jurij from her—and when Jurij eventually does ask to move in. Determined not to make the same mistakes, Noll decides to support her male friends through their new emotional experiences, but she’s soon caught up in a darker plot than she ever dared imagine possible from the men she thought she knew so well. And the lord for whom she still has feelings may be hiding the most frightening truth of them all.
Google Play | BAM | Chapters | Amazon | B&N | TBD | iBooks
WHAT I’VE LEARNED FROM THE MANUSCRIPTS I’VE SHELVED
by Amy McNulty
If you talk to most any author, they’re likely to tell you that the first book you read with their name on it wasn’t the first manuscript they ever wrote. They’ll probably even have a few manuscripts between published books that never saw the light of day for various reasons. My experience is a little different in that I don’t have any completed manuscripts I’m shelving permanently at the moment—I’m a hybrid author, and I believe that there are ways to get your work that agents and editors might not have connected with out there (like Wattpad and self-publishing) because there will be readers who enjoy your stories. However, I do have several unfinished manuscripts I consider shelved for the foreseeable future.
One was way too long and full of pointless scenes and I wasn’t even halfway to the end. That was my first attempt at writing a novel, and I took the best parts from it and included them in Nobody’s Goddess. The second manuscript I shelved was my first (and so far only) attempt at writing a MG novel. I felt inspired and had this wacky idea and found it fun to write for about 10,000 words before I got stuck. My third shelved manuscript was a YA suspense I wrote 50,000 words of before I realized the magic elements I was weaving into the contemporary setting weren’t working out and I had no idea how to finish the story. I wrote an entire outline for my fourth shelved manuscript, a YA/NA historical fiction, but I wrote less than a chapter of it because I just wasn’t feeling the new (to me) genre despite having that initial idea. For my fifth shelved manuscript, I wrote a few chapters that I really loved, but I couldn’t finish an outline and lost interest. My sixth shelved manuscript was actually my attempt to rewrite that YA suspense (the third shelved manuscript) over from chapter one with new characters and no magic but a similar concept. This time, even with an outline, I got stuck at 58,000 words and wasn’t feeling the passion I needed to figure it all out.
That’s a lot of false starts. I partially blame the “shiny new idea” other authors talk about. When you’re in the middle of one project and you’re committed to finishing, you all of a sudden get an awesome idea for a new project, but an idea is just the very start. That’s different from having the entire thing plotted and carrying it through to the end, which is where all the hard work comes in. I know from experience I can lose passion for a project even toward the end. However, although I hope to get back to most of those projects someday, even if I don’t, I don’t consider the time I spent on them a waste.
Even if those words never see the light of day, they helped me stretch my writing muscles and practice writing dialogue and narration and painting scenes. I discovered what it was about the projects that attracted me to the ideas in the first place and how that compares to the passion I felt for the projects I have finished. I learned that it’s okay to fail and that I can still succeed again afterward. (Between shelved projects, I successfully finished six manuscripts.) Not every project may work out, but every project sparked something in me that reminded me why I love writing and creating new worlds. I’ll continue carrying that lesson with me whenever it feels like I’ll never finish another manuscript so I’ll feel encouraged to keep writing.
Amy McNulty is a freelance writer and editor from Wisconsin with an honors degree in English. She was first published in a national scholarly journal (The Concord Review) while in high school and currently writes professionally about everything from business marketing to anime. In her down time, you can find her crafting stories with dastardly villains and antiheroes set in fantastical medieval settings.