Years ago when my son, Joshua, was four we’d like to sit on the front stoop together at twilight under a tree and watch the stars come out. It became story time too. That’s where I would spin wild and silly tales for my son.
From that tree and those constellations came one story in particular that grew over many summer evenings. It was about a boy who finds adventure in the mountain forest above his home when he encounters fantastic, talking animals created from their magical ancestors that roamed the earth long ago. He bands together with unlikely friends – a bully, a bear, and an old man – to fight a power-hungry fox who creates an army to rule the forest.
I spun this tale for my son as fantastical as could be where anything could happen – and did. It appealed to my desire to create new worlds where we could live out magical and heroic adventures. The story was that place for my son and I to dream. A place where friendships were forged, loyalties were made, courage was tested, and fellowship ruled the woods – all led by a hero who came into his own, Joshua.
Those summer nights under the stars faded but the story didn’t. A few years later that story became my first novel, Joshua and the Fantastic Forest. I began writing it one fall to focus on something other than the grief of my mother recently passing away.
The story from a stoop swelled in my imagination and became the book of one boy, Joshua Cooper, who finds out how a walk in the woods could change his life – or end it.
And I vividly recall a cold February the 14th when I pounded THE END of Joshua’s tale and shouted, “Happy Valentine’s Day to me!” And then whispered “Thank you, Mom.” Her gifts were left behind and her vibrant colors were long gone, but remain with me still.
This is my one novel that remains unpublished. It sits in a shoebox buy ativan unseen, unread – but not unloved. Just this month I dusted it off to re-visit one battle scene from it and blend it into Joshua and the Arrow Realm, book 2 in my Joshua and the Lightning Road series (book 1 out May 19th!). Finally, in this series, the real Joshua Cooper comes to life.
And it was the love for my son, Joshua, that filled my heart to create that very first book that remains hidden. And it was losing the love of my mother that broke my heart and drove me to finish it. And it is the discovery of my love for writing books that keeps me going. It began with love. It endures with love.
A giant, magical beating heart that breaks and mends itself over and over. A heart that propels us to find our power and change our world – and keep enduring.
I hope you have love – past and present – in your world today on Mother’s Day.
Please stop in to see where else I’ve been chatting this week!
Drawing the world for my book! How my amateur drawing to help me with my story went from sketch to illustration to poster.
Getting your manuscript past the gatekeepers on Literary Rambles. Learning how to improve your writing to reach a literary agent.
From adult thrillers to kid thrillers: my 10 steps to writing scary for kids.
There’s only one week left to pre-order Joshua and the Lightning Road and enter to win an iPad Mini, B&N gift card, and a map poster of the Lost Realm in the book!
Pre-order Joshua and the Lightning Road from your favorite bookseller and email proof of purchase to LightningRoadContest@gmail.com
“Imaginative, vivid, and dazzling…Richly atmospheric…From the initial flash of lightning to the book’s electrifying end, Galanti’s eerie Lost Realm of Nostos is fresh, scary, and deep. JOSHUA AND THE LIGHTNING ROAD is a juggernaut of a thrill ride, hurling the reader through chills, thrills, horror, and hope—perfect for the young adventurer in your life!” –Amazon Reviewer
Stephanie@Fairday's Blog says
What a wonderful post! I loved learning more about how Joshua and the Lightning Road came to be. It is awesome that your mom was an inspiration to you and that you and your son shared such a special time together. Your first book sounds like one that will always be held very close to your heart. Wishing you the best of luck!
Larry Dane Brimner says
What a wonderful story of love, loss, and rebirth.
Donna Galanti says
Thank you, Larry. Michael Kimball, the author of Us, wrote “There is a lot of love in grief” and I believe he was right. And love and grief can inspire us to make great changes.
Oh Donna, this is a beautiful post! A tribute to your mom, to Joshua (both real and imagined) and the love that sustains us through writing and life. Thank you for these words today. It’s the only thing I’m reading online today 🙂
Happy Mother’s Day my friend.
Donna Galanti says
Dana, thank you! Happy Mother’s Day to you as well with your beautiful family. I hope the memory of your mother fills you with love too.