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Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Secret Life of Authors

Today we have a guest author, Danyelle Leafty, aspiring novelist and writer in the trenches who is here to talk about what it takes to be an author in Real Life.

Words weave their way from the pages of a book and into the heart of a person. Words have power. Power to strip away the light to reveal the shadows. Power to turn an ordinary apple into something golden and precious.

But words aren’t tame beasts, and they often take on a life of their own long after they’ve been trapped in ink. Working with words is like riding a dragon. It’s exhilarating and wonderful one moment, with gut clenching terror the next. But once I’ve peered into the dragon’s golden eyes, and riddled with it long into the night, I find myself anticipating the next ride, whether it takes me above the clouds and into the stars, or plummeting towards the ground until the last second. Words have a way of seeping into a person, leaving them changed.

It’s important to remember the power of words. They can bruise just as easily as they can heal. They can create just as they can scorch and wither. They can bring out that which is most human, dress it in a tale, and continue to touch lives long after the writer has faded away into the dust.

Being a writer isn’t easy, and one must be prepared to take one’s fair share of bumps and falls. Dreams and reality exist side by side, and words are the fragile bridge in between.

Reality is full of dirty dishes, piles of laundry, diapers that must be changed, and small children that must be loved and taught and cherished. It doesn’t slow down so one can slip off into a dream. It doesn’t wait while I dance in stardust and moonbeams. But no matter the budget that must be balanced, or the floor that is looking at me imploringly, those golden eyes call me time and time again.

Come sit with me and let me show you the world as it could be, as it is, as it always has been. Come riddle with me and we shall find the beginning of mankind and the origin of dreams.

Reality reminds me that there are more pressing things than worlds that don’t exist and people that live only between the space of this breath and the next. It not only points out all the things I’ve let slip since my last jaunt on the back of the dragon, but it reminds me that the bridge is clogged with people like me that stand transfixed by visions only they can see.

Riding the Dragon isn’t easy. It’s a ride with ample opportunity for rejection, and the possibility of falling off when there is nothing beneath one’s feet firmer than the air one has become drunk on. A writer will hear no far more often than they’ll hear yes. Light will break forth, revealing every imperfection and crack of the glorious beast they ride.

But the joy and the heartbreak are all worth it if it means seeing the world a little differently, a little more clearly, than I would if I’d kept my feet solidly on the ground.

Never look into the eyes of the dragon unless you really mean it, because there will always be a part of you, no matter how small, that will forever be changed.

Danyelle is at the glorious stage of Querying Purgatory that involves refreshing her email every ten seconds, because refreshing it every five is just plain silly. Her work is being reviewed by a few agents with wonderful taste in literature.

She has four children that she homeschools (well three—the littlest is too busy teleporting himself to do more than occasionally nibble on a book.) She is daily beset by the Dragons called: Housework, Laundry, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Missing Left Sock, and the To-Do List that seems to grow larger the longer it stares at her.

Fortunately she has a wonderful prince that systematically slays Dinner, Dishes, and Self-Doubt while rounding up the Natives so she can have peaceful moments in which to torture her characters.


  1. This is a great piece, a very nice look at things through Danyelle's eyes. Some of it hits a little too close to home, but that's okay too.

  2. Beautifully written, Dani. WOW! And so true about reality...

  3. Wonderful Danyelle! I can't wait to read your published work someday!

  4. Thanks, guys. And thanks, Lei, for the opportunity. :D

  5. Danyelle: See I told you that you were one of my favorite authors. The power of words. Yeah! :)

    My word verification is suffix. She happily left this blog. :)

  6. Beautiful post like usual. I especially like that you say "words have power." So very, very true.

  7. What a gorgeously written post. And very true too. So inspiring.

  8. Very nice post, and so true!

  9. You are also my favoritest author, dani.
    Thanks for mentioning the prince, I bet he and his woodstock music, and Bob Lonsberry appreciate it.