Day 17 Prompt: What has been the biggest surprise about writing/publishing your book? What has been the most enjoyable or most memorable aspect?
What has been the biggest surprise? Way too easy! As most people know by now, I’ve published my grandfather’s manuscripts who wrote under the pen name of Stanley McShane. He also painted and sold various paintings with some dubious success under both his pen name and that of J. Wesley Rose. The paintings I have on little pasteboard 8″ x 10’s” were meant to illustrate his books.
- Discovering that my mother really knew little about her father’s life; nor had been sufficiently interested enough to ask or get some of the most basic facts.
- Reading and writing his manuscripts, discovering the tale we grew up with (that of his being born on board his father’s ship the “Marguerite” off the coast of New York) may not have been wholly true. Indeed, in succeeding manuscripts, he offers two additional accounts of his birth–including the one of his birth in a maternity home in New York while his father’s ship was being loaded as it was mentioned more than once that his mother always sailed on the Marguerite (which was named after her) with her husband, the captain. There are no birth records.
- Stumbling over 90 year old English common of the day and sailing jargon also common during the turn of the 20th Century as he claimed to have sailed into the early 1900’s.
- Walking in his shoes through streets still dusty from the choking red clay powder surrounding ghost and near-ghost towns where he sought riches.
- Among the most enjoyable or memorable aspects would have to be the people; those who’ve bought and shared their stories; authors with whom I’ve created a rapport. Among the latter, I would have to note Michael Reisig, who wrote the “Road to Key West“ series as well as my favorite historical swashbuckling, page-turning adventure, the “Caribbean Gold“ series.
But the most amazing and happy surprise?
The discovery of a fella named Gary Long, coincidentally from Idaho where I published the books; claimed he had been in the possession of a McShane painting with one of his poems on the back. The poem stuck with him the rest of his life, although unfortunately the painting went missing. He had apparently been researching the name on the internet and wrote me. I was totally astonished and asked if I could use some of his story in the anthology I’ve been working on. I’ll be sending him a copy that includes his story when I complete and release “Sole Survivor“, due out in a few days.
This writing thing–sure opens up the world to you–doesn’t it.