Question Answered

English: Interesting Story

English: Interesting Story (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Someone asked, so I’ll answer:  Yes, I do other writing than this blog.  In fact, I have four novels to my credit (through what’s now come to be called “standardized publishing”), a small collection of short stories via a small press, and a self-published fantasy novel.

The four novels are media tie-ins, which basically means I was allowed to play in someone else’s sandbox.  Two are Star Trek based (ICE TRAP, written in collaboration with two other writers under the pseudonym “L.A. Graf” (which, incidentally, stands for Let’s All Get Rich And Famous), and SHELL GAME.  Neither is high literature, but they were fun to write and I’m grateful for the opportunity to play in Gene Roddenberry’s much-loved universe and work with the fine people at Pocket and Paramount.

The third media-tie is a Quantum Leap novel, SEARCH AND RESCUE.  Awful title, I know, but I have a lot of affection for this book for many reasons.  It was another step in learning my craft, it got rave reviews from the folks in Canada who actually DO search and rescue (Ellen Ferguson at Wells Grey Park filled me in on how it is done and sent me scads of info, God bless her), and it’s a silent tip-of-the-hat to my long-standing friendship with writer/singer/artist/all-around-good-person Pam Hohmann (in much the same way that each episode of QL was an acknowledgement of the relationship between Sam and Al.)  Again, not high literature, but who expects it to be?  It was FUN to write and editor Ginger Buchanan at Berkley was terrific.

The fourth media tie-in was a script-to-novel adaptation of the premiere episode of the short-lived series EARTH 2.  This was a real learning experience, taking someone else’s words and creating a novel out of them.  It required the smoothing of action between scenes, rather than the herky-jerk one can experience with film, and a lot of back-and-forth between me, editor Ginger Buchanan (again, lucky me!), and the folks in Hollywood.  (Funny story:  in the script (and remember, the show hadn’t yet aired, so I had no idea what the final result would look like), one of the characters dies.  I did this terrific scene (if I do say so myself, although Ginger agreed) where they’re burying the guy and these two kids are really interested because, well, kids like gross stuff.  I didn’t go into unnecessary detail, but I let it be known that maybe the guy didn’t look especially…um…pristine.  And I got a message from Hollywood:  “Tone this down.  He’s not really dead, remember.”  Seriously?  Who knew?)

DARLING WENDY AND OTHER STORIES is the collection of short fiction, produced by Seventh Circle Press/Seventh Circle Books.  (Sadly, no longer with us.)  Although I might wish there’d been a tad more editing with these stories, I’m very proud of this little book and hope to some day do a larger collection with these spiffied-up and included.  Don’t be fooled by the somewhat ‘soft’ title — these are dark little tales, every one.  An interviewer once said to me, “Wow, these are really sort of depressing.”  I was startled.  “You think so?” I said.  “I disagree.  In each, the protagonist ultimately gets what they’re after…although it may not be what you (or they) expect.”  The title story won First Prize from the New England Writers Network, and another tale “To All a Good Night” was included in Amoskeag, the journal of Southern New Hampshire University.

WEATHERCOCK is my fantasy novel.  I have gotten no small ration of shit over the title from people who either make stupid jokes about the last four letters, or are made uncomfortable by them.  Whatever.  There’s a reason for the title and if people can’t accept that a weathercock is another name for a weathervane (an item that points out change in the wind) then that’s their issue, not mine.  I love this story more than I can say.  At its core, it’s a story about fighting the expectations of others to find one’s own way in the world.  I’d share the synopsis (mid-wifed by writer Wen Spencer, Goddess love her), but it gives away pivotal plot points.

I’ve gone into detail elsewhere in this blog about why I chose to try this book as a limited-run, self-published venture.  Am I glad I did it?  Yes and no.  I think my lack of success in selling the book through regular channels (something I tried for a long time) was my inability to write a decent synopsis.  (Yes, those things matter.)  A little guidance from Wen went a long way, and I may try the standard route again with this book.  What self-publishing did gain me was getting the novel out to readers.  Overall, the book has received high marks.  Oh, there are some who didn’t like it.  (There will always be some who don’t like what you write.  You can’t please everyone, so don’t even try.)  If you care about such things, you can read the reviews on Goodreads and Amazon.

As for what I’m working on now?  Well, there’s a couple of short stories hammering at me, and a second WEATHERCOCK book, and a writing friend and I are thinking of dabbling in mystery, so…yeah, there’s writing to be done admit the general turmoil that is my life at present.  But the writing will win, I know it will.  It’s what I do and what I am.  I can’t not write.

And for those who wonder, yup, the books are out there to be read.  The media tie-ins can be found on several sites that carry used books, as they’re all out of print.  Same for DARLING WENDY.  There are a few copies of WEATHERCOCK still available and they can be purchased through Amazon or my website

I mean, what the heck?  The holidays are coming, right?  Give the gift of reading.  (And if my stuff doesn’t appeal to you, please try Wen Spencer or, if you’re in a mind for books for middle grade kids, the work of MJ Allaire.)



About Melissa Crandall

Longer ago than I care to admit--although I will--I cut my writing teeth on fanzines and media tie-in novels. Since then, I've moved on to narrative nonfiction, speculative fiction, and essays. I write to explore and understand the world around me, the things I see and experience nearby or from a distance. If I shake myself up, cool. If I shake you up, even better. Not gratuitously--what's the point in that?--but to set what I know, or think I know, on end and realize, "Well, doesn't it look different from this side!" My work is neither sexually explicit nor graphically violent. Let's face it - your imaginations will come up with things far worse than anything I could write, no matter how descriptive. Besides, it's just not my thing. I live in Connecticut with my supportive husband Ed, a cat named Ruby who might just think she's a dog, and an epileptic Australian shepherd named Holly who isn't quite certain anymore who she is, except she knows she loves her mommy.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Books, Darling Wendy, fantasy, Fiction, Independent Writers, Literary Fiction, Mainstream Fiction, Melissa Crandall, MJ Allaire, novels, Quantum Leap, Reading, Science fiction, self-publishing, Shopping, Star Trek, Weathercock, Wen Spencer, Writer, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Question Answered

  1. Good history! While I knew a lot of it, you tied it all together nicely. Now I have more reading to do!

  2. Barbara says:

    For those of you who have just “met” Melissa, run out, at least electronically, and grab Darling Wendy and Weathercock. Both books are part of my permanent library. They are amazing. Each will keep you up at night, reading, reading, reading. Give them as gifts to your friends with [slightly or greatly] twisted [in the most flatterings of ways) perspectives on reality!

  3. MJ Allaire says:

    Thank you for the call out, my friend! Your work is absolutely amazing and yes, the gift of reading is a wonderful thing! Autographed books make fantastic gifts for readers of ALL ages!

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