Short Story Collection Reveal

It’s time for a big reveal! Not just the cover and title of the short story collection, but a synopsis as well!
And what better day than on Dani’s birthday?
Without my usual ramblings (those come after!) here we go:

On the surface, Dani’s a laid-back, easy-going joker. Dive a little
deeper and you’ll find that still waters do run deep. Dani keeps more
than his share of secrets, and life as a joker might just be the only
way he can deal with a past that should have broken him.

Hear his story, told by the people who know him best. The ones who
knew him when his laughter was genuine. The ones who were there
through the worst that life could throw at him. And the ones who
stayed by his side while he picked up the pieces.

Coming Fall 2013
Warning – Danio’s Prelude will not be Young Adult
There. Now that the fun is out of the way, I’m going to ramble as I like to do. If you’re planning on reading Danio’s Prelude, I suggest you read this:
First, I’d like to say that I never intended to publish this. When I was writing Semester Aboard and didn’t know where to go, I’d step back and write a little drabble. I wrote about whatever struck me. Some were events prior to Semester Aboard that were mentioned. Some were just random moments in the lives of characters. Whatever I felt like. They were written from just about every point of view. Some I even wrote multiple times, from different characters’ perspectives.
When I was done with Semester Aboard I had pages and pages and pages of short stories. As a result, I ended up with solid backstories for all of my characters. Dani, in particular, ended up with a colorful past. I even had to do some major rewriting of Semester Aboard, because the characters had changed so much from when I started writing it to when I finished. I credit all of that to the short stories.
Dani was always meant to be the dark and mysterious type. He’s got a few stories that not even Jen will ever hear in full. Some are mentioned outright in Semester Aboard, some are just barely hinted at. And there will be a few more revealed in Snow Bound. But, as I said, I never planned to reveal it all. It was one of those things where I knew the character so well that I just couldn’t keep his past from popping up. Like how you learn a new word and suddenly you see it everywhere and you wonder how you’ve never stumbled onto it before. When the opportunity to include a mention of Dani’s past presented itself, I found it impossible to cut.
Even though I knew that Dani would raise some questions, I didn’t expect as many as I’ve gotten. I’m still surprised by the number of Dani fans who have asked me questions and posted speculations. I started to think that maybe I should write something about his past.
While working on Snow Bound I noticed a lot of people putting out novellas and things. I filed the idea away for later. I was working on the short story for Paranormal Days Gone Awry and I started seriously contemplating a Dani story, Alpha-readers encouraged me to write one and, when I decided to go for it, I found three problems.
First, what to write? Dani *Semester Aboard spoiler alert!* was 81 during Semester Aboard. He’s got a lot of history. I didn’t like the idea of a novel jumping from one major life event to another, especially with such large time gaps in events. There are a good thirty years just between when he meets Thomas and when Semester Aboard starts! Since most of his story was already in short story form anyway, I realized that it would work great as a collection. It cut out the need for cluttering it up with things like “Twenty Years Later…” or adding filler to get from one event to the next. Short stories allowed me (and the reader) to drop in on a scene from Dani’s life and then jump right back out again. So, that solved that problem.
My next problem was who? Semester Aboard and Snow Bound were narrated in first person by Jen. I wrote one of my little drabbles in third and wasn’t a fan. I’ve written in third before, but somehow, I feel like first is the “right” point of view for the entire More than Magic world. As I said, I had all different POVs in my short stories. Some of the Dani ones were from his and some were from other characters. Some of Dani’s stories just can’t, and shouldn’t, be from his POV. I decided that, rather than have a mix of stories from the main character’s POV and other random people, I’d go all the way. None of the stories would actually be told by Dani.
Soon, I had twelve stories, with twelve very different narrators. The collection will span from Dani’s childhood all the way up until it parallels Semester Aboard. The narrators themselves are a mix of main characters we know, including Jen, characters we’ve only met briefly, and some brand new ones.
And I was down to my last problem. Audience. Semester Aboard and Snow Bound are both Young Adult. I’ve also started using the new (to me) term New Adult to describe them, as I’ve always thought of them as “Upper” Young Adult. But, back when I was originally working on the short stories, I wasn’t writing for an audience. I’ll say it again, I never planned on publishing them. So, I didn’t hold back. I didn’t try to limit any cursing. Dani, as some have noticed, has a foul mouth. You should (and will) see him uncensored! I also didn’t tone down the violence. I’ve been told to “write what scares you”. As in, push your boundaries and write outside of your comfort zone. And I did scare myself. I wrote some violent, dark, and twisted stuff.
So, what to do? It was most certainly not Young or even New Adult. Should I leave it alone or tone it down? I’m still a little unsure of my decision, but I left it dark. I decided that, even though it were subtle at times, everything Dani did in Semester Aboard (and in Snow Bound) was affected by the past I had already written. To tone it down and make it YA would, essentially, change the character of Dani. Even though readers don’t know the full story, I still felt like cleaning up Dani’s past would alter the core of his character. I decided to take the risk and leave it.
If you pick up Danio’s Prelude expecting another YA novel, you’re going to be very disappointed. There’s some very foul language, extreme violence, torture, and a whole lotta angst. On the plus side, since I was going adult anyway, there’s a little bit of ‘steam’ thrown in. If you get my drift.
Last, since I promised I would explain it, the short stories will not be in chronological order! They can certainly be read that way, but they won’t be laid out like that in the book. I’ve arranged them in a very particular order to balance out some of the darkest stories with the happier ones, add some suspense, and to introduce characters in a different fashion than they would be chronologically. I’ve been thinking of it as Danio’s life “on shuffle.” I hope that readers will stick to the “randomized” order. Then, if they choose to reread, they can do it chronologically.
Thanks for reading! If you’ve got any thoughts, such as my venture into adult fiction, having different narrators, randomizing the short stories, or anything else, please let me know!

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  1. I will sure want to read it, but hope there is not too much steam, as its Dani we are talking about, if you know what I mean, that kind of thing is not for me, lol, I will still give it a try. Hopefully soon I can get time to get some other books in, schedule is booked right now with tours, lol. I will spread the word. 🙂

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