Celebration of Community: Ariel Tachna and Nicki Bennett

Monday May 14, 2018

When the opportunity came to reflect on a special meeting with another Dreamspinner author, I debated which story to tell. Bouncing around MediaWest with Andrew Grey the weekend after I quit teaching. Meeting Nessa Warin in Cincinnati the first time, just after I found out that Healing in His Wings would be published by Dreamspinner. The first convention Dreamspinner ever attended and getting to meet Eric Arvin. Realizing that Mary Calmes’s husband and I had gone to high school together. Or any of a hundred more. But really, there’s one story that has to be told.

Fourteen years ago, more or less, I received an email from an address I didn’t recognize in response to a story I’d shared in an online writers’ forum. The characters you’ve spent 120 chapters lovingly creating wouldn’t act the way they did in chapter 121. The rest of the email is lost to the sands of time and changing email providers, but that one line changed my life.

At this point some of you are nodding your heads because you’ve heard this story before, but for everyone else, I read the rest of the very long email in which the sender detailed all the reasons to support her contention. And really, I’ve read literary analyses with less detail than this email. When I got to the end of it, I knew she was right, so I rewrote the end of chapter 121 and sent it back to her with one question. Is this any better?

She said it was, so I posted the revised chapter, wrote chapter 122, and sent it to her, asking if she’d mind taking a look at it before I shared it. She did, and the rest, as they say, is history. Since that day the only things she hasn’t read first are things I’ve written as presents for her. She’s the other half of my brain, my dearest friend, and some days, the only thing that keeps me clinging to sanity.

For those who haven’t guessed yet, I’m talking about Nicki Bennett.

See other authors celebrate community here:

Celebration of Community: Clare London and Sue Brown


Celebration of Community: Mickie Ashling, Damon Sude, and B.G. Thomas


Celebration of Community: Andrew Grey, BA Tortuga, and Rhys Ford