Long Time Gone

Long Time Gone

I just realized that its been over a year since I was here. Over a year since I had made the announcement that I was thinking of giving up writing. And outside of a few short stories, I haven’t written in even longer than that. That’s embarrassing to admit and shocking to say out loud. No one could have predicted what 2020 would bring. Nor could we have predicted that a year later, we’re still learning this new reality we find ourselves in

But after such a dark year, hope springs eternal. With the last of winter finally starting to ebb away and the sun returning after what seems like a life time, I find myself looking toward my piles of unwritten book ideas…the plot for The River and The Mountain and the new dates for signing events that have been rescheduled with the promise of 2021 being the year we can all get back to our lives as we knew them.

You might have noticed that I’ve redone my website, my branding… ordered some new pretty things as I’ve dipped my toe back into the waters of the Indie world. I miss writing. I miss my worlds. And I miss you all. It’s been too long and I need to stop pretending like I can let it go. I owe myself more than that. I owe you all more than that when you’ve been waiting so long for the next book. I owe my characters to have their stories told when they’ve been shouting at me louder and louder lately. 

I’m going to listen. I can’t promise it will happen quickly, but it’s going to happen. These books are going to happen because I have so many things to show you inside the Tribe, so many new worlds and characters you need to see in other worlds that found their way into my head when I was sure there the word well had run dry. I have new stories I need to tell you. And I’ve already been a long time gone. 

Back to Basics

Back to Basics

I’ve been thinking very seriously about quitting writing. There, I said it out loud. No self motivation was working and I’d retired myself without ever actually saying the words. I haven’t published anything since October of 2017 and that weighs on me, but not as much as the things I see in the publishing world have weighed on me since I first dipped my toe in the indie waters as a wee green writer.

I decided to take some time away, to think about what I want and my career goals outside of the influence of an increasingly toxic social media world, inside the writing sphere and outside. I can’t say that I have a plan yet, but I have 12% of a plan and that 12% includes stepping back from social media and the negative effect it has on my motivation, ambition and plans. I’m going to focus on my path forward, far from the madding crowd.

Being a writer used to be a solitary pursuit, an individual driven by their own creativity to create stories that eased their fevered minds. Not for the masses. Not for the lists. Not for awards or market trends. They wrote their story as they needed it to be told and I think the writing industry has come full circle. I’m stepping back not from writing, but from the increasingly rabid and rapidly degrading climate of the indie writing machine.

I’m going to go back to basics.

I’m going to write my stories. My way.

A Writer Looks at 40

A Writer Looks at 40

I think I know just how Jimmy Buffet felt when he wrote that song. I came onto the indie publishing world long after it had already reached its peak, when the pioneers were now the role models for success and the market was flooded daily with new authors seeking to make their mark.

I’ve only written two books. One acclaimed by a respectable organization and I’m proud of that. Not exactly the stuff of mark-making, though. To be honest with myself, there are a host of reasons that have kept me from writing any more. Self doubt. A bitterly competitive market. Indie politics (yes, that’s a thing). Real life. It all compounds until your creative inspiration is struggling to breathe, its pulse erratic and thready and you can’t help but wonder when you’ll sit down at your computer to write and instead of the Windows start up tones, you’re greeted with the flat monotone of your muse finally giving up the ghost.

My muse has been on life support since roughly October of 2017.

I’m looking at 40. Hard.

I don’t have a tribe, but I have a few close friends, a tight inner circle who tries to help me find a way to get my muse out of the ICU. Like Stitch’s family, we are little and broken, but still good. They tell me to keep going. Maybe I should listen.

Now that I’ve laid my soul bare, I want to try to get my desire to write breathing again. It’s time for me to charge my defibrillator and get my muse back to the land of the living. I see you, 40, and this is going to be my year. Because while I’m looking at you right now with disappointment and self-judgment, I want to look back at you with a sense of accomplishment and success. I’m going to leave my mark. I’m starting now. Better late than never.

Changing with the Seasons

Changing with the Seasons

It’s been a long time, Dear Reader, and I see you shiver in antici…

…pation. So do I. Or maybe it’s trepidation. Or frustration. Some kind of -ation, certainly. Time always passes, the seasons running through their cycle, and the speed at which it marches by is staggering, the relentlessness of which I didn’t realize until I reformatted the Tribe Novels for my new branding. I haven’t added to that world since 2016. October of 2016, in fact, and saying that out loud (or typing it, whichever) sank in the pit of my stomach. I started to wonder if I could even call myself a writer anymore. An author, sure. I DID write two books. Pretty damned good ones, I think. But as William Faulkner famously said, “Don’t be a writer, be writing.” I am not writing. I don’t know why. It’s not writer’s block, because my inspiration and muses are legion. In fact, I had another PNR series idea pop up on me last night. What I am lacking is motivation. I WANT to write, but I don’t want to WRITE. I want the stories in my head to magically appear in manuscript form on my laptop. Of course, that’s not how this works.

I am still nearly two months away from my move to Charlotte and the library/office waiting for me there, with it’s promise of inspiration and productivity. I’m afraid that the longer I wait, the further away I’ll get from ever writing again. I can’t let that happen. Not to me. Not to you, my beloved readers, who still email me to find out when I’ll be going back into Wright’s Holler. But in a moment of self-recognition, I remembered that I am part of those hills, the fifth generation born of that rugged part of the Appalachians. If there’s anything us hill folk know, it’s our way back to those forest-covered valleys. If you hear and see less of me in the coming weeks and months, don’t worry. I’ve just found my way home.

Standing Before Greatness

Standing Before Greatness

I believe in signs and omens…in great messages from beyond that point you the way you were meant to go. Maybe it’s my superstitious roots. Maybe it’s my need to believe in destiny. Who knows? The point is, I believe.

I thought that attending Apollycon this past March would be the sign I needed to regain my desire to write. While it helped, it wasn’t the push I was hoping for. It was walking through the Library of Congress that gave me that awestruck inspiration that I needed, a spark to relight the fire, if you will. The library is a monument to the writen word, adorned in art and quotations that reminded me just how important books are. Even the poorly written ones are a bound recording of a single human being’s thoughts and that, dear reader, is a precious thing.

I was awestruck. I was dumbfounded. I was filled with a sense of pride that I could call myself an author. I could count myself in those numbers. I am an author and in not writing, I am doing a disservice to the legacy those walls protect. I found more than inspiration, though.

On the first floor, in a far corner, contained behind a pane of non-reflective glass is the reason that all the words we write have traveled.

A Gutenberg Bible.

I fangirled. I cried. I touched the glass and lets its importance wash through me. It’s not because it’s a Bible, thought the importance of that fact didn’t escape me. It’s what the book represents. For the first time in the young history of the written word, it was made available to the masses, or at least to more than the few handwritten copies could reach. Information and ideas could be printed, bound and shared, blanketing across a population that had been lost in the dark, with only their cleric to help them find their way. There was nothing outside the dim cage of their lives. Then Gutenberg built his printing press. He printed one Bible. And another and another, changing the world of literature as it was known. But it was more than that. It changed the nature of human consciousness. The population once contained in the smallness of their own existences now had access to the outside world, to thoughts and concepts beyond their own. Gutenberg’s press was a way to bring people out of the darkness into the brilliance of philosophical thought, histories, fictional worlds and beyond. They saw a beacon of intellect and reason in pages that they’d never before touched. They found illumination. It started with a Bible and now whole works are shared in bookstores, libraries and online, allowing access to anyone. So many are searching in the dark, reaching out for something more than what’s right in front of them and words are a way through. We are the authors, the creators, the makers of worlds. We are the light. Don’t let it go out.