Saturday, August 9, 2014

First Story -- Karen

First Story

Well, before I begin, I need to acknowledge this auspicious occasion. It’s my PROSERVERSARY! J I began writing with The Prosers just one year ago (*today* - honestly, the symmetry is so appealing.) This was my first post.

(I’ll do a small update in an afterward.)

But on to the fun for today. The other Prosers and I chatted this week about a topic we could each do our own take on, something kind of fun like a blog tour, but since we all blog together here it’ll all be in one place. So the topic we chose to write about is our First Story.

Unlike a lot of other writers, I haven’t always known I wanted to write. I didn’t grow up writing stories like a madwoman (like my 10 year old daughter does!) I journaled on and off for a long time, and saved those journals (hat tip to my 6th grade teacher, Mrs. Carroll, who told me that she kept her teenage journals so that when her boys were teenagers and were complaining that “you just can’t understand what it’s like!” she could shove her journals at them and say, “Um, yeah I can.”)

Instead, I fell into writing suddenly, like a meteor crashing down to earth. I started writing as a New Year’s resolution in 2007. After rediscovering reading and my love for fiction that prior holiday season, I just decided to start writing. I was instantly drawn to science fiction and writing for YA and MG (Middle Grade) ages because it was discovering the science fiction section in the library when I was about 12 that lit the fire of a lifelong reader under me. I couldn’t believe all these stories existed about adventures out in space. I dove so deeply into that section I think I read every single book my small school library had that was categorized as science fiction. Asimov, Heinlein, Douglas Adams. My first true loves.

It was a natural fit, then, to begin my writing career by trying to write my own science fiction tale, but one with a girl as the main character. As much as I loved the authors I had found, none seemed to be telling the stories about smart clever girls who were good students and interested in boys and nail polish and went on adventures. Did not seem like a hard thing to me! 

So with all that as a long intro, I bring you the opening to my first story, Apples on the Moon, which was a winner in a contest sponsored by the National Space Society and Hadley Rille Books (when I finally got the nerve up to submit it!) and appears in the Return to Luna anthology. It’s also available on all major ebook outlets as a 99c short story. Enjoy!

“Jack says a freighter drone from Earth’s due in tonight, C-Dock.” Julia said. She flopped down next to Ali on the bottom bunk of the room they shared. “His cousin is on shift. He said there are…” Julia paused for dramatic effect, eyebrows raised, “…Apples! And if we bring some credits he can arrange to get us a few, ahead of the rush.”    

“Apples! Are you sure?” Ali said. Her eyes narrowed. “You’re not just saying that to get me to go, are you?” Ali didn’t usually join in Julia’s Lunar Colony adventures.    

“No, I swear, Jack is positive. If I were telling you something to get you to go, I’d mention that Kofi will be there.” Julia winked. “Some of my friends from school too. Interested?” 

A mighty battle waged in Ali’s head as she considered Julia’s proposition. Kofi and apples; what could be better? Kofi was cute, and it had been at least three months since fresh fruit had come through the LuCol docks. But she had Molecular Physics homework due next week. And the thought of going out with all those kids had her a bit paralyzed. Ali wasn’t as sociable as Julia was. She had a few close friends, not a crowd of kids like Julia. Then again, she’d lost two friends to Earthside transfers this term alone. Her pool of acquaintances was shrinking fast.

Afterward: We lost my Dad on August 21, 2013. I miss him every day and still have that general feeling of “he’s just on a long trip.” A really long trip, eh? It’s hard to know how to be here in this post-Dad space, but we’re each finding our way. I realized in a roundabout way that the experience we had as a family--sharing our journey through Dad’s illness with our writing--was unique. Death is not a subject we discuss much here in the U.S., and our openness opened a lot of people’s hearts, and gave us the space, I think, to grieve out loud, something we so rarely give ourselves permission to do.


  1. I remember Apples on the Moon! Yay! It's such a great story. I didn't realize it was your first one. Wow. This is great, Karen. Thanks so much for sharing.

  2. Bon Proserversaire! It's been great to have you. I'm glad you started writing, Karen. The world needs more stories with real life young girls in the hero roll. I grew up reading heinline, and Addams, and Card, and Le Guin, and real life young girls were too often sidelined...(in all but Le Guin).Great post!

  3. Yeah, grieving is a weird process. Of all the losses I've had in my life, I think it's helped whenever there has been some sort of big grieving ritual for those that remained. Sometimes I wish we had those big parades like they had in New Orleans, if for no other reason than to give us space to say, here is my grief, here is all of our grief, and we are not alone in this.


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