When the well-preserved body of 17th century mapmaker Johannes Cellarius floats to the surface of a bog in northern Germany, and a 57 carat ruby rolls out of his fist, treasure hunters from around the globe race to find the Lost Tavernier Stones of popular European folklore.
And let me say, what a race it is. To learn more about the novel visit www.stephenparrish.com.
But wait that's not all. Stephen has also created a virtual treasure hunt. He is giving away a one carat diamond to the first person who can find the image of one he has hidden somewhere on the web; the contest is described at www.tavernierstones.com.
Now a guest post from Stephen.
A Tangible Vision
There isn't an aspiring writer within the sound of my voice who hasn't envisioned his or her book at the top of the New York Times bestseller list. Or making an appearance on Larry King Live. Or throngs of fans waiting in line to buy an autographed copy. For my part, I've always entertained a fantasy about being an extra in a major Hollywood production of my novel; my daughter pointing at the screen, saying, "Look, there's dad!"
I think all such visions are normal and healthy, if unrealistic. There is one vision, however, that is not only realistic, it has magical powers: holding your published book in your hands.
That was the vision I kept before me as I wrote my novel. It was the vision I burnished in my mind as I faced a hailstorm of rejections, first from agents, then from publishers. It was the vision that helped me break through. Because I knew all along that it alone, among all my other visions and fantasies, was truly achievable.
All writers are naturally book lovers. They enjoy the feel of books in their hands, the smell of open pages. The content of the book is, of course, the point of it all, nevertheless a book can't help being a tangible entity independent of the words that comprise it, however important or enlightening those words may be. A book is a tactile object, a physical incarnation of the author's imagination. An artifact.
Trust me, you'll pick yours up, over and over, just to hold it in your hands.
Envisioning doing so will change the way you approach your goal. On a conscious level, you'll turn the computer on when you don't feel like it, you'll eek out one more paragraph before shutting down. But the real magic happens in the subconscious mind.
A vision is nothing more than an image of something that doesn't yet exist. For reasons that aren't clear, the subconscious mind continues working on problems even after the conscious mind has given up on them. Mathematicians are well acquainted with the phenomenon: they often wake up in the morning with a solution that eluded them the night before.
Keep a realistic vision before you, one that you consciously know to be attainable, and your behavior will adjust in ways too subtle to notice. Your focus will sharpen automatically. Maybe eventually you'll climb atop a bestseller list, autograph a thousand copies of your book in one afternoon, and buy Johnny Depp a beer "after work." Until then, those fantasies aren't likely to help much; the subconscious mind is hard to fool.
Picture your book in your hands when you sit down to write. Picture it in your hands when you go to bed at night. Picture it in your hands during every idle moment of every day.
If you're anything like me, your hands will shake as you open the Fedex package from your publisher. The artifact inside will be solid and dense. It will smell that wonderful smell of having just come off the press. You'll sit quietly for a few minutes, staring at your name on the cover, running your fingers along the edges and surfaces. Holding it.