Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Is there an author in the house?

Some of you likely recall my post "where did the author go?" from several years ago. This post is basically a follow up to that, as well as a look toward the horizon.

This weekend, I made my first public appearance since about 2012. I was nervous for many reasons, not the least of which was my long hiatus. Thankfully, it went really well. ConCarolinas, while not the biggest convention, has always been a favorite because of all the great friends who attend it. Thank you everyone who stopped by the table to say hi, who attended panels, and who chatted at the bar and/or breakfast. All of you made this a wonderful first con back, and I am encouraged to expand my schedule further in the future!

But where have I been? Well, that is a murky tale, and I don't like putting too much of my personal life out for public consumption, but I feel that those of you who have stuck around deserve some information. So, let me try a little non-fiction here:

I ran into some health troubles several years ago. At first it didn't affect my writing too much, but these things tend to have a ripple effect, and eventually it began affecting every aspect of my life, including my writing. As that happened, I began falling behind and missing deadlines. This caused a good bit of writing-related anxiety, which caused its own snowball effect. I began falling further and further behind. Third Blood got lost. Grave Memory eventually got turned in and miraculously released on time because my editor is a saint. But by that point, things had spiraled out of control. Every aspect of my life was in shambles. Depression had set in, tangled into every aspect of my life. In regards to my writing, I'd fallen so far behind that I'd passed the point of embarrassment, and in my deteriorating mental state, reached a point that opening my laptop caused panic attacks. I stopped answering emails. I more or less fell off all social media. And more devastatingly, I stopped writing.

Before this point, I can't really remember a time I didn't write. When I was in school, sometimes I might go a couple months without writing, but even as a child, I can't think of a single year I wasn't creating stories at least part of the time. But now I wasn't writing. I was barely reading. (looking back, I was barely living.)  Both my physical and mental health were falling apart. My personal life crumbled, leaving me adrift, and my professional life? Well, the reverberations of all of it shattered my identity as a writer. I was drowning, and I was tired of fighting to swim. I nearly died.

When a life boat came, I spent a lot of time shivering and looking shell shocked before I finally made it back to land. But then things got better. Then they got A LOT better.

I'm much healthier now. Much happier. But starting to write again was hard. It felt like wading back out into the water, the soft lap of waves at my ankles reminding me of being in over my head and being dragged under. My reemerging identity as a writer feels fragile, the edges still jagged and sharp from where I shattered earlier.

So, it has been a slow return. The most important part, the writing, returning first. I have plans to increase my presence here and on social media as well. And of course, to break my hermit-like ways and travel a bit more. Maybe I'll eventually tackle the years of backlog in my email. But those will take time--and hopefully I'll get on point enough to save what is left of my career--but in the meantime, my main focus is back to writing and trying to catch up.

GRAVE VISIONS has been fairly well received, and book five is coming together. It is due later this year and should be on shelves in Fall of 2017. There is a sixth Alex Craft book under contract that is projected to release in 2018. I'm not sure what will happen with Alex after that. I'd love to continue her story past this story arch, but we will see. I'm also itching to write some more Briar Darque short stories like the one which appeared in Kicking it (or even a full novel following Briar). We will see. THIRD BLOOD is currently a deconstructed mess on my old harddrive. I haven't looked at it since my hiatus began, but I have every intention of resurrecting it (or possibly starting again from scratch) after I turn in book five in a few months, so hopefully I will have news to share on that front by the end of the year.

And that is where things stand.

I'll try to be a little more vocal here and on facebook to keep you abreast with what is going on, but even if I'm a little quiet, know that I am writing again. Books are coming. Thank you for sticking with me.

22 comments:

LSJ said...

Great to have you back on board, Captain. Smooth sailing and constant winds be yours (except when you choose, of course. Whirlwinds make for good tales)

Anonymous said...

Baring yourself for public consumption is truly a feat of courage. But, those who have followed you, loving your books...caring about you as a person...we applaud you for not only surviving, but overcoming. Thank you for sharing such a personal part of your life with us, and I look forward to future book releases...and hearing from you online. Best wishes

Karen Reynolds said...

Happy you are back writing. I have enjoyed reading both of the series you have out. Looking forward to reading about further adventures of Alex .

Auby Watson said...

Dear Kalayna,

I wanted to acknowledge the courage, fortitude, and perseverance it took to come out of your "safe, dark, shelter". Had you never written another word that still would have been an accomplishment. The fact that you were able to overcome to the point that you wrote another novel and are planning ahead to multiple others is amazing. Wading into the waters of anxiety and depression, fighting against them to accomplish goals is something that even the greatest of olympic athletes cannot achieve unless they have dealt with the situation themselves. I am glad to know that you are at the ";" point in your writing career and not a "." because you have much to give to the literary community still.

Dana said...

So glad to have you back. The excitement I get when reading an Alex novel is like no other! And thank you for this. I understand your feelings. I have been there. But the strength you have shown is commendable! I wish you nothing but success and happy days ahead!

lexxington said...

Thank you for sharing. I remember having pre-ordered your book and amazon writing me mails every other month reminding me that they didn't have a release date and would keep trying but I could always cancel if I wanted. I did not. Everything was well worth the wait and I'm happy to hear you're doing well now!

Overcoming social, physical and psychological stress always is hard because one is never just affected by one of them as they often cause each other. More people have been there and it's good, afterwards, when able to breathe again, that life goes on.

Thank you for writing!

Anonymous said...

I am just happy your back and I am looking forward to the next Alex Craft book.

Tamsin Silver said...

It was wonderful to see you...and it is MORE than evident that you feel better and have joy in your heart again. I'm so happy you found your way through it all and have come out on top. No one loves you less, if anything, we (writer pal fans and fans in general) love you more. Lookin' forward to havin' ya back in the saddle with stories about Alex and the rest of the gang as we all take it a day at a time! :) *HUGS*

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your words, your stories and your talent with us. You are strong, I know sometimes it may not feel like that after such an ordeal, but picking yourself up like that isn't easy, and as for announcing it online, you have shown tremendous courage. You have a lot of people who love you and your work out there, and none of us "judge" you for taking a break to heal. The fact is that the daily pressures, having everything put out online etc. Its so far from our natural norm, that we're all feeling it and no ones really talking about it. You found the strength to pick yourself up again and that says volumes about you, we all fall. Thank you. X

Amanda Ronan said...

I'm so glad you're feeling better and doing better. I'm glad you're back to writing. I love your books. Keep you chin up and just take it a day at a time.

Lynn GH said...

Super glad you are back and healthy!! Here's to the future!

Tara Bonestell-Dobnak said...

It takes courage and strength to share your story. I love your books and any true fan would understand whatever direction you wanted to go in, and support you through it all. Everyone falls, no one is perfect, and those that claim they are, live in glass houses. Thank you for the world of Alex Craft, and take care of yourself. We can wait.

Astrid said...

I'm just happy you're back and healthy. Some things are just too personal to share...so I totally get that you went off the grid.

Wishing you all the best for the future.

Brittani Gaddy said...

I wasn't able to attend ConCarolinas, but I desperately wanted to. You've inspired me since I first started at USC and reading this...just makes me admire you that much more. No one's been able to relate so perfectly how it is to lose yourself to an illness (mental or physical). I used to write all the time, thus why I looked up to you as a mentor for my writing, but due to illness, anxiety, and depression I haven't been able to write in the past year or so. I have definitely been losing hope and feeling like I've just completely lost part of myself. Reading this gave me hope. Keep it up. We're on your side.

Kalayna Price said...

Thank you everyone for your kind words!!! They mean more than I can say.

Jessica @ a GREAT read said...

So glad to hear you're doing better!! I was worried for the longest time when I saw your absence! But I'm never one to be pushy, even when it comes to caring and wanting to know if people are okay. I guess it's like social anxiety or something, but I always think of it as extreme shyness! I will patiently await Third Blood's arrival! I fell in LOVE with this story when it was seriously the first review book of my blogging career, that I can recall! And I am dying to read this one!! So I will happily await news later this year! Even if you want to self publish it, just let me know! I will go to whatever avenues necessary to read it!! :D

And again, I am sooo glad to hear you're doing better! Would also LOVE to meet you one day, so if you're ever near the St. Louis area, let me know! ;)

Unknown said...

Love your work, so sorry things got so crazy for you. Looking forward to the next Alex book willing to wait as long as you need!

kiwi_chick_2882 said...

Its not easy thing to bare yourself to the public, well done you. I'm sure I speak for many fans in wishing you much happiness from here on out. Honestly though I love the books, I'd much rather wait longer than have you in over your head, I'd never want an extra book at the cost of your health.

Anetaki said...

I'm sooo happy you are back and that you feel so much better. I absolutely love your Alex Craft books and I never gave up on my hope,that you would return one day. I'm truly sorry you had to go through such hard times and I hope from the bottom of my heart, that only good times are ahead of you now.

Valarie said...

Don't stress or worry about being away too long! Your die hard fans are still out there patiently waiting and I assure you they are just THRILLED you are back and well! I had a similar situation with my health and actually wrote you an e-mail back in the day, LoL. Too much to put here so I'll resend it! Thank you for coming back and facing your fears! It shows just how magnificent of a person you've become! <3 xoxo <3

Anonymous said...

Halfway through the new book after re-reading the Alex Craft original books. I have to say that this book seems every bit as good as the first ones. You still got it. :)

Glad you're feeling better. And happy to know that more books are coming. Don't worry if the process is slow. The fans will be back because the writing is good. And if you're happy the words will come. So put your happiness first.

Susan C.

Mendi Winslow said...

So glass your back. I love your books and the world you have created. I am sorry to hear you have been going through such a hard time. Always remember there are those pit hear sending you good vibes.