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.