Of all my 23 novels Dinosaur Lake has the strangest story attached to its creation, death and rebirth…20 years later…of any of them.
Not so much because, as a few of my books, it took so long to write or publish, but because in 1993 it was contracted, edited and the final galleys had been proofed by me for a 5th paperback book release from Zebra (Kensington Publishing) after 3 earlier novels with Leisure Books. I even had a stack of the full-color, printed and embossed covers; it was only weeks before it was to go to the bookshelves (in those days the brick & mortar stores were still king, no Internet or ebooks). I strongly believed it’d be my breakout book. You know, the book that’d make my career and launch me into the stratosphere with Stephen King and Anne Rice? How wrong I’d be. But, hey, I thought who wouldn’t love a tale of a cunning but malevolent rampaging prehistoric dinosaur living in Crater Lake, Oregon, and the Park Ranger who, along with a ragtag gang of heroes who’d try to stop it? I mean, I’d always loved anything about dinosaurs…dinosaur books, playing with those little plastic figurines and watching old stop-action dinosaur movies of the 1950’s and 60’s…who hadn’t? Apparently someone. My new editor at Zebra.
By 1994, after four novels with them, I’d lost my sweet editor there and a new one took her place…and over the next year he didn’t like anything I wrote for him and later that year Zebra unceremoniously dropped me and my book (Predator…which never came out but still lingers to this very day like some weird ghost book in every computer on the global Internet) only six weeks away from going to the bookstore shelves. When we were editing the book and deciding on the title and the cover, I’d begged the new editor not to call it Predator (his choice as they hadn’t liked my American Loch Ness Monster title), bad title since there was a popular movie out of that name and the movie, with Arnold Schwarzenegger, was nothing about a dinosaur, and the cover was awful, an empty boat on a lake…what!!! Having that book-my first ever-dumped like that was a crushing experience, let me tell you. I had a stack of finished, printed covers and my final edits were done! But nothing my agent or I could say or do would change their minds. They said they were cutting their horror lines and setting adrift a lot of their mid-list horror authors because horror (in 1994) was on the decline. The new editor-that-didn’t-like-my-writing explained: “And no one wants to read a book about a dinosaur.” Yeah, sure. And six months later Jurassic Park the book came out! We all know how that story ended, don’t we? People loved the book, the movies; they loved dinosaurs.
I’ll never know the real reason they cut the book but that male editor never bought another book from me…which was another weird thing because when I’d met him in New York (I went for a Horror Convention) in the summer of 1993 he’d taken my husband and I out to lunch and gushed over me and said how much he’d loved my last release WITCHES. Hmmm.
Anyway, I got to keep my advance but the book was officially dead. It never came out. I grieved. I was so disgusted I stashed it in a drawer somewhere and tried to forget it. Until now. After I’d finished revising and rereleasing all my new/old 15 books (and besides paperbacks they’re in ebooks for the first time ever) from Eternal Press/Damnation Books in June of 2012 I remembered about my American Loch Ness Monster novel, took it out and reread it.
Whoa, like a lot of my older novels now years later I could see what was wrong with it and how to fix it. Back then I hadn’t seen the head-hopping I did or the awkward phrasing, stiff or overly dramatic dialogue, repetitive words and other things I’ve learned since to recognize and stay away from. Of course, computers help make the editing so much easier. I think I’d done the original book on my electric typewriter. Anyway, telling myself the dumping of that book had been a turning point in my writing life-sending me in the wrong direction for a long time apparently…I couldn’t sell a book for eight long years after that-I decided to rewrite and finally release it. In fact, I was going to do something that twenty years ago would have been unheard of and frowned on…self-publish the book myself. With Kindle Direct. For the first time in forty years I was walking away from the traditional publishers and going on my own. Thank you J.A. Konrath’s blog! I figured I could sell the Kindle eBook a lot cheaper and, thus, use it to introduce (as enticement) more readers to my writing and perhaps, if they liked it, they’d buy more of my other novels, novellas and various short stories. It could work, right? So here it is, re-titled, rewritten, updated and with an amazing new cover I love by Dawne Dominque… Dinosaur Lake.. I hope my readers will like it.
* Update…since 2012 Dinosaur Lake and its two sequels Dinosaur lake II: Dinosaurs Arising and Dinosaur Lake III: Infestation have been my best-sellers hands down of all my 23 novels! They are in eBooks, paperbacks and the first two are in Audible audio books (third will be done hopefully by the end of 2015). As of today, August 31, 2015 Dinosaur Lake has 211 reviews and a 4.1 star average. And it was a 2014 EPICS EBOOK AWARDS *Finalist* in their Thriller/Adventure category!
Thank you, author Kathryn Meyer Griffith