About the Author

When I was young, I wanted to be a writer.  I wrote homemade “books” that I illustrated in crayon and stapled together.  I took creative writing classes and went to Young Authors conferences.  In college, I took years of poetry classes and kept journals.  But I also wanted to be an architect, a singer-songwriter, a sociologist, an actress, an artist, and in my spare time, Indiana Jones.

My energies were divided.

I ended up getting my PhD in Sociology.  For years, most of my writing involved book chapters, research reports, grant proposals, and copious notes on students’ papers.  But I still got to be Indiana Jones in my spare time.  Sort of.

Off and on since my twenties, I’ve enjoyed playing tabletop role-playing games (what RPG used to mean).  Yes, Dungeons and Dragons, but also GURPs, Champions, and whatever new thing the GM (game master) wanted to play with that week.  For many years, I played the role of GM.  I applied my background as a sociologist, training in economics, and interests in Medieval history and religion to create a “home brew” world to set our adventures in.

That world was Eneana.   

I spent years revising rules, figuring out how magic actually worked, and developing distinct cultures with their own histories, religions, norms, and customs.  Eventually, sadly, the gaming group dispersed.  But I kept poking my head back into those hundreds of pages of notes, periodically adding to them whenever I’d hear about an interesting burial rite or social norm that piqued my interest.

As long as we’d been gaming, I had an excuse to go play in my fictional world.  Afterward?  Not so much.  Picture it:

“What have you been up to lately?”

“Oh, I spent all weekend wrestling with this nagging internal contradiction in the structure of an imaginary religious organization in a fictional world.”

Yeah, it was starting to sound less like a hobby and more like a psychosis.

I wanted a socially acceptable way to talk about my make-believe world, to share it with others.  I wanted to “do something” with it.  So I started writing stories.

At first I focused on the stories that people who lived in Eneana would know.  Myths and legends and fairytales—Eneana’s version of the Odyssey, Romeo and Juliet, Adam and Eve, Little Red Riding Hood, Siddhartha, and King Arthur.  Everything from the origin stories of the great religions to the folk songs behind the images painted on tavern signs.  Lately I’ve been adding more stories about everyday people who live in this world, too.  (Although some of them turn out to be the sources for later legends—surprise!)

For months I told friends that the plan was to put the stories on a blog and share them.  (Example party conversation: Them: “You’re writing stories? What are you going to do with them?”  Me: “I’m going to put them on a blog.”)  See?  Totally reasonable adult behavior: I had A Plan.

It took about a year to actually bring that plan to fruition.  At the end of June 2015, I got my baby blog up and running and posted my first story.  It felt great!  I was officially doing something with Eneana, hooray!  I’m no longer a weirdo spending all my free time thinking about things that have essentially no impact on the real world, because now I… have a blog.  Gee, seeing it written down like that, it doesn’t look that much better, does it?  Hm.

Fine, I’ll admit it.  I spend a ridiculous amount of time in a make-believe world.  But hey, it’s my make-believe world, and I like it there.  And now that I have this blog, you can come keep me company!

I wish I had a map of the world to show you, or even a decent timeline.  I do have drafts of each, but the more details I work out, the more logical inconsistencies I notice.  (For instance, “Wait, that river can’t go uphill!” and “Why would anyone migrate through the desert when there’s a perfectly lovely coast right there?”  Sigh.)  I’m hoping to produce a map sometime soon.  It’s my new Plan. But you see how long that last plan to start a blog took, so I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you.  Instead, I’d go check out the pages About Eneana and Major Societies, which include lots of cheater information about the people and places mentioned in these stories.

I hope that each of these stories holds up well enough on its own.  But I also hope that if you read more of them, you will enjoy them even more, as you start seeing the links that tie them all together.

By the way, the photo I use for my thumbnail is a woodblock engraving my mother did of me, from a photo taken a long time ago, I think when I was home visiting from college.

Woodblock of Joy reading

© Sylvia Pixley

This is what I look like in color, a couple decades later:

Joy at Chomp Sushi - less glare

69 thoughts on “About the Author

  1. This all sounds very intriguing, and I wish you every success on your writing journey. I’ve read a lot of fantasy in my time and, like many people, love myths and legends – and, of course, fairytales. I’ll be interested to see your map and time line when they’re done. (Having not yet read any of your posts, you may well have done them by now). I’m glad you’ve decied to share your stories with others. Best wishes … Millie


    • No map or time line yet, I’m afraid. The closest I have is the post on Major Societies, which covers the main human cultures over time. I find that as I write, I keep “discovering” new historical facts that the characters tell me about — not to mention things about my draft map that don’t quite make sense (e.g., Wait, why would anyone have settled here, much less made it their capital city? Oops.) — so maybe I need to write some more before committing to those details.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That sounds like a good idea. Stories do tend to change as we write, and you’d probably find yourself updating a map very often. You probably need a rough idea about the layout, but leave the deatail until the end.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I forgot to say that I’ll pop onto your blog tomorrow night and read some of your posts. I’m still playing ‘catch up’ after being away and I have four of my (very much grown-up) children visiting until tomorrow. I’m looking forward to reading your work.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I like that you developed this world out of a role-playing one. I GMed for a few years in a world that I progressively created. I’d like to write some stories based there as well, at some point. Good luck with it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! It’s definitely a fun exercise, I’d recommend it. I thought about going back and making the world not quite so very “D20 3.0,” but I’d already developed so much of it. So yes, there are still elves and halflings and gnomes, and arcane magic differs from divine magic, etc. But the hundreds of pages of home brew rules are also there, so at least there’s a quasi-logical rationale behind why all these things exist and how they work.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. “Architect, a singer-songwriter, a sociologist, an actress, an artist.” Very ambitious!
    I’m glad you didn’t give up on the world inside your head. Who cares if people think it’s crazy? Eneana must go on!
    And I love your about page…very entertaining and personal.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, glad you enjoyed it! Having a blog where I only post stories*, I don’t get my own personality across that much, except on the About page and in comments, so I was hoping to connect a little more here.

      To be clear, I wasn’t planning to be ALL of those things — not at the same time, at least. I just couldn’t narrow down which one I wanted to focus on “for real” while I was trying to juggle all of them as hobbies.

      * At least one exception is coming up soon.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. After reading your short at Wolf I got curious about the author but also about the world. I haven’t read much yet but I plan to browse around and take my time reading everything I can. Although medieval isn’t my favourite genre I’ve also played D&D before and sometimes I find myself enjoying the stories despite the era/age they’re in.
    There’s nothing wrong with spending most of your time inside a world you created, anyone that ever created anything can relate, I’m sure. And your about is absolutely lovely and not long at all, it flows really nicely too.
    Hope to keep in touch and learn with you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Mah, and welcome to Eneana! You’re right, other people who have created fictional worlds probably spend a lot of time in theirs too. We’re not weird, we’re writers! (Yeah, I’m just digging myself in deeper here, aren’t I?)

      I hope you enjoy what you read here, and that the medieval-level tech doesn’t turn you off too much. Actually, the time line goes back farther, so it starts more along the line of ancient Egyptian tech level. Plus it’s not *our* Middle Ages — when you take out Christianity, knights, chivalry, and jousting, you end up with a pretty different world.

      I’ll be interested to hear what you think!

      Liked by 1 person

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  8. This sounds such a good project to be working on, I do like how you have immersed yourself into the Eneana landscape and sorted out some of the world it inhabits. One point that did interest me, among many, was that you have begun writing about the ‘ordinary’ people. I have found with my own fairy tales the ordinary folk are much more interesting to write about other than the kings and princes and what have you because the ordinary folk are not restricted by anything……so good luck with your tales, I shall follow and watch how you go… Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s exactly what I’m finding out too — I thought I would be writing standard fairy tales, and I end up writing about real people. Although it’s also interesting to get inside the heads of the legendary leaders and heroes and see what *actually* happened in those events whose stories get so modified over time. Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

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  10. May I just say you look beautiful in your mother’s woodblock carving and in your pictures!! Your smile is sweet! I love how you came to create the world of Eneana and I am looking forward to read more and specially the backstories, the fairy tales and the songs… I don’t know what happens to me when I smell fantasy adventures in the air but I love this feeling!! Keep writing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Megan! I’ll admit that I’m a few blog award posts behind at the moment ((BLUSH)) but I really appreciate this and will post my response as soon as I can! So I guess the answer to whether I’m doing well is — busy — does “busy” count as “well”? Also: ACK! No, let’s stick with busy, that’s better. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for thinking of me G! But… I’ve been thinking about it and can’t figure out how to get quotes from real people into the theme of Eneana. I’m already struggling trying to get these blog award posts (in progress) to work and worry about going too far off-track. So I will respectfully decline, but am looking forward to reading the rest of your quotes!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. My first thought on reading your bio was… I want to play some RPG’s with her! (I miss my old D&D gaming days of yore) My second thought was… I need to devote more time exploring this world of hers. She took the time to create it and it sounds like fun so why not? I’ll be combing through your blog very soon on my own little adventure. Thanks for the time you’ve spent on my blog and I look forward to many exciting stories from Eneana!


    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by, Chris! And yes, I would like to play RPGs with me, too. Those were good times. Emphasis on the “time,” as in, wow, GMing took a lot of it. But this writing thing is a pretty good hobby, it turns out, and I get some board-gaming in here and there to keep me sane. Please do take a look around Eneana. I’ve put a lot of stories up since last June, and each one adds more new glimpses into the world and its people. Hope you enjoy it!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. You had me at: “But I also wanted to be an architect, a singer-songwriter, a sociologist, an actress, an artist, and in my spare time, Indiana Jones.” It’s like you’ve read my mind. I love your world building and prolific imagination! Wow. Good on ya!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad to have lured you in, Rachael! (Cue wicked cackling.) I haven’t been blogging long, but already I love how I meet all these other writers I have so much in common with. What fun! I hope you have some time to see some of the world building in action. I’m doling it out in small flash-fiction sized bits, which I never considered until I tried it, and now I absolutely LOVE. I learn more new things about Eneana from being inspired by these random photos than I would ever have guessed. Plus it gives me a welcome break from the horrors of revising my novel and still “counts” as writing. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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  14. What an interesting person you are, you have created an amzing world with a beautiful name, all the best to you and your Eneana, love that, really love that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes it does! I think the hardest part is deciding what you want it to be about, and what you want to include. Then trying to find the write WordPress theme and picking images and such — all the practical stuff — took up some time too. I really enjoyed taking the free WordPress Blogging 101 course, that helped me think through things I hadn’t considered before and meet a lot of other new bloggers. Good luck with your blog!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I am surprised I haven’t been here before, Joy, I was sure I had been.
    Anyway I love your page, your ramblings, your dreams, your engraving and your photo.
    Thank you for your frequent visits to Sound Bite Fiction, please know you are always welcome there.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Sometimes capital cities exist because an eagle landed on a rock and someone imbued meaning to it (Mexico City’s origin story). Maybe it does not have to be logical, maybe some things can be lost in the mists of time and just “always” were done that way. It probably seems like a cop-out to a rational structured storyteller, but real life is neither rational nor structured. I long to read your book-length treatment. Your wood-cut picture is gorgeous, as is your real photo. *crush on Joy Pixley.*

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aw, I have a crush on you too, dear old friend! And you’re absolutely right that the real-life origins of some of these cities, cultural traditions, holidays, and the like are so random and ridiculous that they simply would not be believable if you put them in a fictional world! I do try to mix things up in Eneana though, to better reflect the realistic irrationality of human cultures.


    • Well, I can leave a comment on yours, no problem. But not on this other one. Though it seems I’m the only person affected. So I’ve submitted it to the forum. See what they can come up with.


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