Tuesday, January 14, 2014


I am excited to announce that starting this week (and then every following week) I am going to post a section of Birchthorn, starting with the beginning all over again. If you are confused, I'll explain. Birchthorn is a short novel I started on the blog a few winters ago. It is based right here in Washington County, NY around the time of the Spanish Flu Epidemic (1918). It is the story of Anna and her farm, her community, and the odd things happening at the edges of the fields and farmland. There's something horribly wrong with this corner of the world and not understood at all. A creature, once called Birchthorn, is active for the first time in known history. The only evidence of its existence before come from legends handed down to the Native American population from their ancestors that Walked Across Oceans. Some think it is a wolf, others a demon, and some just think it is a figment of the overactive imaginations of group hysteria.

Birchthorn is a folktale, and I'll be telling the tale right here. Since it has been years since I last visited it I will be rereading and rewriting the earlier parts and posting them first. After that every week a new section of the story will be posted here—yours to enjoy, comment on, and share with friends. The plan is to keep posting it until I am down to the last few chapters. At that point I will finish it in private and once it is done start a crowdfunding project to get it turned into a printed book, my first published work of fiction! After talking with Tara and Tyler of Going Slowing about their adventures in self-publishing, it seems like an affordable and profitable way to tell a story. People who contribute to the Birchthorn Project at the lowest level (come funding time) that will get a signed copy of the book before it is available anywhere else. When the books are all printed and mailed I'll maybe offer an ebook as well? I'm not sure, as this is all new to me, but it does excite me and that's half the battle!

I like this as a creative challenge as well, because the only way I'll be successful with this is if I can create a story compelling enough to get people hungry for more. And even if the story is just okay in the end, well, at least I put my energy into something as wild as a work of folklore! Stories are a nice place to live in my free time. And taking this on reminds me of a panel discussion I watched with the folks from Geek & Sundry (one of my favorite channels). Someone is asking advice on how to deal with Youtube trolls and what starts as phscology ends up as a discussion about being creative and the need to be vulnerable. Felicia Day, creator of Geek & Sundry says something like this: If we all took the time to write a paragraph about a cat, every paragraph would be different and that's beautiful. What's important is to create at all, and not stop. I stopped writing Birchthorn because I felt I wasn't good enough of a fiction writer to make something people would enjoy, or critics would praise. But writing Birchthorn for me isn't about literature - it's about adventure. If I can get the same pictures in your head as I see in mine, that AMAZES me. And if we all start to know characters in the book like people in our lives, that is just as wonderful. So I'm writing my paragraph about a cat. Anyway, watch the video and see why I have a crush on Wil Wheaton.

So expect Birchthorn Chapter 1 today And more of it every week or so! And I can not wait to hear your feedback, ideas, and guesses about what is really going on in the story.


Blogger Kyler and Sylvia said...

Great to hear Birchthorn is back!

January 14, 2014 at 1:18 PM  
Blogger Kyler and Sylvia said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

January 14, 2014 at 1:19 PM  
Blogger Maria said...

Can't wait for you to tell the tale! I've been waiting! :)

January 14, 2014 at 3:01 PM  
Blogger Sylvia said...

I am so glad! I enjoyed the first few chapters and even did some research about the glass plates in the greenhouse.
Can't wait to hear of the adventures.

January 14, 2014 at 4:40 PM  
OpenID T. Crockett said...

I'm really excited to see Birchthorn's return. Good for you.

Speaking of vulnerability and creativity, you might like the On Being interview with Brene Brown. It's called The Courage to be Vulnerable http://www.onbeing.org/program/brene-brown-on-vulnerability/4928

January 14, 2014 at 6:39 PM  
Blogger Elle Cashen said...

You go Jenna! Looking forward to hearing your story! I believe it is going to be GREAT!

January 14, 2014 at 6:55 PM  
Blogger lemontreelane said...

I thought about Birchthorn just last week... Glad to hear it will return...

January 14, 2014 at 10:18 PM  
Blogger Laurie said...

Can't wait! It hooked me on the first go round. Excited to see where it goes.

January 14, 2014 at 10:42 PM  
Blogger Stephanie Fisher said...

This is a crazy cool idea. Can't wait to read the installments!

January 15, 2014 at 6:35 AM  
Blogger Stephanie Fisher said...

This is a crazy cool idea. Can't wait to read the installments!

January 15, 2014 at 6:35 AM  
Blogger Cat H said...

Excellent!! Looking forward to a great tale.

January 15, 2014 at 8:59 AM  
Blogger Glyndalyn said...

Glad Birchthorn is back.

January 15, 2014 at 10:25 AM  
Blogger Glyndalyn said...

Glad Birchthorn is back.

January 15, 2014 at 10:25 AM  
Blogger Jenny said...

Excited to read Birchthorn again! :-)

January 16, 2014 at 11:48 PM  

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