by Tom Elias

I will start this by saying that all of this is H.E. Ellis’s fault.

This all started in a writer’s forum.  I was (and still largely am) a wishful hack with vague notions of me handing out typed pages, and people giving me money back in return.  I had crafted some short stuff that had been universally rejected by the places I submitted, but beyond that, my portfolio was full of efforts ranging from one to twenty pages, all abruptly dropped and incomplete.

H.E. pointed out some things I might be doing wrong.  I suspect she was giggling, but eventually I saw the truth in her advice.  I sent a re-work of a short to her and got back what I think was an immediate marriage proposal.  But seriously, she decided I’d improved enough to write with her.  Yes, I understand this doesn’t just happen to anyone, and I’ve heard that most Penthouse Letters open with scenarios much like this.

Several weeks, a lot of dead electrons and two story outlines later, I waded into the new and improved pool of writing and found the water to be just great.  Now, you have by now noted that yes, the first two books of this quad written first will be the last two published.  This is H.E.’s strategy, not mine.

Along the way as I was sending sections of work to her for advice, she fired back an email to me that challenged: “I will bet you $20 that I don’t have that you will want to write a full novel after this.”  Actually, it was more of a questioning of the size of my certain appendages, but you get the idea.  She is nothing if not competitive.

So this post serves mainly as an elaborate Post-It note for H.E. whenever she comes up for air from deadline bloodletting.  I tried to call her, but I heard screams and her voice saying something about a ball gag and a reference to my questionable heritage.  She’s forgiven, of course.

So, H.E., let me how to get my $20 to you.

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