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Friday, October 30, 2020

GUEST POST: The Judge by Jesse Teller

Jesse Teller is mentally disabled. He suffers from PTSD from an abusive childhood. He is bipolar, suffers from daily to hourly hallucinations, and has DID (multiple personality disorder).

He has been a member of the self-published fantasy community for four and a half years now, has published fourteen books, with plans to publish countless more.

Jesse Teller is not a sane man. He has been declared mentally unfit and is a certified madman. This blog series is a glimpse into the way he sees a small handful of his peers and a look into his own mind. This is an excerpt from the third volume of his autobiography yet to be published.

The Judge

She came into my life during the SPFBO contest. I have entered it two times, this year will be three. The blogger has Legends of the Exiles now. I have no idea what she thinks of it. She might love it. Might hate it.

Legends of the Exiles was the book that was never meant to be. See, there is a huge aggressive movement right now against men writing women. A lot of male writers have a big problem writing women. It is obvious from what they write. And those who are rabid about this topic are lumping all men into that group. The idea is that no men write female characters correctly. That idea is ludicrous. But when you are a male writer and someone says this and corrals you in with misogynistic writers you have to prove them wrong. I felt like I needed to defend myself. The only way I know how to do that is with my writing.

There was a bigger reason for the book’s creation of course. I loved the characters. The book is a collection of four novellas that all cross over each other. These four women had either not been touched on or had barely been touched on in the seven-book epic series they belonged in. They had been side characters. Other female characters had been more important to the story at large. So I desperately wanted to know the story of these four women.

I wrote Exiles as a cool down book after finishing the first act. After the attack on my sanity that The Great Hall gave me, I needed a fun book to write. This did not end up being fun.

Exiles dealt with issues women have to deal with every day. Sexual assault, dick pics, molestation, patriarchal society ruling over their freedoms. The intelligence of women being down played. The sacrifices a woman is forced to make for her family. All of these things and more are discussed and serve as themes for Legends of the Exiles. Every woman who has read it but one thought it was brilliant. Every man had issues with it. So, I call it a win.

I only mention Exiles when I talk about The Judge because she is a strong female and a bastion of women writers of fantasy. She is also a source of hope to me and a source of judgment. She is inspirational in her power and devastating in her ability.

I met The Judge through my wife’s reading of her book. She liked what she read and told me that this was one of “us.”

Us is the word I use for the writers who take their work very seriously. The ones who put money and time into the creation of the product they put out, and The Judge is that.

Her covers are amazing. Her books perfect quality. They are edited, beta read, edited again, read and reread to get them just right, because The Judge has been working on this project for a long time.

When she was young she started creating the world that she writes in. It took her decades to get the first book finished. See life gets in the way. It always does. Kids, work, marriage, schooling. Everything in your life will get in the way of your writing. Plus there is The Wall that you hit.

It happens at about page eighty for me. I am excited about the book and talking about it all the time. I have been waiting to write it for years and when I finally get to start it and leap head first into it, I am so psyched. But at around page eighty it becomes work. I am not as excited. I am far from finished, far from my trophy, far from any sort of accomplishment, and it becomes a chore to write for a long time. The words don’t come, the scenes seem to stretch on forever, and no matter how good a scene you have written you know there are still so many more to go.

The epic books I write have over eighty scenes. Over sixty chapters. There comes a point where I feel they will never be finished. But I have the time, I have the support. I have been given all the tools, and if I need more, I can always find them. I have every advantage. No job. Big slabs of time during the day.

The Judge had none of these things. So, chapter after chapter, page after page, over decades of time she pounded out this book. It never left her. She thought of it constantly. And she had to watch it bubble and hiss in her mind as she did the other things life expected of her and she ached for the time to pound it out.

Races and magic systems. Fantasy with a sci-fi element. More and more, the book showed her over the years, and more and more she waited and chipped away at that first book. She kept writing and she kept waiting and dreaming of the day she would finish it.

But no matter how many years she worked on it; she never gave up. She kept slicing and building, shaping and forming until she had her first novel done. She called it Blade of Amber. It was how she wanted it. It was ready. Now was the time to start the second.

But as she looked at the first and what she had done with it she was not happy. She did not like the final product.

This is where a writer will either pull the book and stuff it in a trunk or just let it fizzle out and become forgettable. This is where a writer pulls their book and slinks off. They give up. Every one of them does. Their writing career was a failed experiment. It is over.

But The Judge would not give up. The Judge does not know how to quit. She does not know how to drop the project she has been working on for so long. So she rewrote it. Reworked it. Jerked out everything she didn’t like about it, and when she had it perfect she rereleased it under the name A Wizard’s Forge.

More years of waiting and aching to get back to the keyboard as the next book boiled and hissed.

She wrote the second book in the series, A Wizard’s Lot and put that out too. Soon after its release she decided she wasn’t happy with it. So again she pulled it. She worked on it for years. Rewriting. Betas. Rewriting. Editors. Rewriting. More Betas. And after many years had gone by, she had a new book for a waiting world.

But this is not the end of the Woern Saga. So back at it. Chipping. Never given enough time to pound it out. She is working on it every chance she gets. Keeping her focus. Keeping her dream alive. Getting it out to beta readers. Fighting through their comments. Rewriting, polishing again, out to the editor, rewriting. The job never ends and The Judge never quits.

Encouraged by the reviews she is getting, encouraged by the things people say about her books, and more shaping and chopping. No one I have ever met has worked harder on a series. No one I have ever met has wanted it more.

A few lines here. A chapter there before life pulls her away again. The anticipation of the next writing session sits on her chest. The chores that need to be done to put out a great product never ending. And yet she loves her story so much, and she is so dedicated that she pushes it on. She works through days of compliments and encouragement. She works through days of silence when no one talks about her work. Nothing curves her love of her world and her character. Nothing dulls the need she feels to get the book out, the series finished. More when she can. She is the never-ending wave that slowly eats away the shore. She is the constant drip of water that cuts through the mountain.

The Judge does not stop. The Judge does not know how to stop. And my respect for her is higher than anyone else in the game. Anyone else in the community of self-published writers. Because there are so many things I cannot count on in my life. My mood, my alters, my bipolar, my hallucinations. So many things are wavering and inconstant. I have a few people to hold on to. And when I begin to lose my footing, I know that The Woern Saga will be finished.

It’s an odd thing to be encouraged by. But when your career starts off as slow as mine has, and you wrote for twelve years without any kind of recognition, then things like the constant of this sort of determination bring you peace and strength.

The Judge does not know that there are times when I feel the need to walk away. And she does not know how frustrated I get when the readers pass by my book. And she does not know that the reason I have not lost hope is because A Wizard’s Forge is out there. And after so many years of work the rewrite of the second book, now called A Wizard’s Sacrifice had broken free. Book two is out again. So much better and so much stronger than ever before.

That is all I need to know sometimes to come back to this board at page eighty-four. And keep typing.

Author Bio: Jesse Teller fell in love with fantasy when he was five years old and played his first game of Dungeons & Dragons. The game gave him the ability to create stories and characters from a young age. He started consuming fantasy in every form and, by nine, was obsessed with the genre. As a young adult, he knew he wanted to make his life about fantasy. From exploring the relationship between man and woman, to understanding the qualities of a leader or a tyrant, Jesse Teller uses his stories and settings to study real-world themes and issues.

 We  are thrilled to be part of the #BardsAndScribes blog tour and you can read the previous stops over here:

31st October - The Lunatic over at Weatherwax Report



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