So … it’s July. Somehow. The midway point of the year. I guess that also means it’s time for an update on how things are going over here in Cherry-Land. How am I doing with all my author goals for 2023?
General Life Things Happened
I got married! It was a whole thing. Then I went on a Roman Holiday (and was distinctly not Audrey Hepburn-like). And then I came home and metaphorically died for four days because I got COVID.
That was … fun?
I’d decided a while ago that I was going to take a not-quite-hiatus from publishing before the wedding. I didn’t want the added stress of deadlines on top of trying to plan the wedding.
Sometimes, I Can Be Really Smart!
That was a really, really good decision. Work was busy, wedding planning kind of sucked, and from about February to April, every single weekend was eaten up either by wedding stuff or general family stuff. The week leading up to the wedding was kind of hell.
Surprisingly: everything went off without a hitch, and everyone at the wedding had a blast. Rome was fun, except we got rained on and there are so many tourist traps.
COVID was not fun—the opposite of fun, actually. And I always think I’m going to have more time than I do on vacation, so I always plan to get, like, nine million things done and then accomplish nothing at all.
Work Is Back to Being Hell
When I got back, I had to sort of jumpstart my business again. (Remember, publishing books definitely isn’t what pays the bills over here. Or, well, it is—but other people’s books. Not my own.)
I had a couple of down weeks, which was nice. But I was also just recovering from wedding/honeymoon/COVID, so I took it pretty easy.
Work went from zero to 100 and now has fallen off again. There’s always an ebb and flow. On the one hand, when I’m not choked with deadlines, I have more time for author stuff. On the other hand, I’m not usually making enough to cover the bills, so I have to hit pause on author-related initiatives.
So, now I’m trying to figure work out because it dropped off. Also, our car was totalled, so we now have to pick up car payments.
COVID Isn’t My Only Health Issue
I also figured I’d push pub dates back into the fall so I had time to deal with upcoming books. Editing and typesetting and proofing is no small feat. I am almost done with Rare Flower, although there are still quite a few things I need to get done. Some of them are art-type things.
Unfortunately, my hand has been inflamed and painful since early December now. I was originally diagnosed with de Quervain, but I’ve now developed a lump on the side of the wrist (which is still extremely painful). I’ve been to the doctor a couple of times and had imaging done, so I’m hoping we can figure out treatment soon.
This has really been affecting my ability to do virtually anything: typing aggravates it, writing and drawing are out, doing dishes is a hard pass. Not to mention I’ve been in pain pretty much constantly for about six months. It’s a low-grade pain, very tolerable, but it does grate on you after a while.
If I can get it resolved, I’m hoping I’ll be able to do more typing and more drawing, with less pain. (And maybe get the wedding thank-you cards written up and sent out.)
Frankly, I’m a Bit Fried
So between work-wedding-honeymoon-COVID-my hand being fucked up-car-getting-destroyed, I’m feeling a bit burnt out. I’m trying to take things a bit slower and ease myself back in, although work really doesn’t want to let me do that and my hand is causing problems.
What does all this mean for what’s on the horizon book-wise?
Well, as I said Rare Flower is going into its second round of proofing. That means it’s almost done, and ARCs will be up soon. (In fact, information on that and a preview went out in my monthly newsletter today.)
Editor has also sent back Evan and the Alpha, so I’m working on revisions to that book. It comes out mid-October.
I was hoping to be able to share some more news about another book coming out before the end of the year, but I’m waiting on my cover designer before I share too, too many details. But: Editor has Saved by the Selkie, so you can expect more information about it soon.
I’m also going to have work in two anthologies: one comes out next month, the Pleasure Planet anthology. And there’s the second Fated & Claimed anthology coming out in early December.
What about All the Other Author Goals from January?
Let’s pause and laugh at Past Me. Past Me was hopeful and ambitious and bit off more than she could chew. Those author goals I posted in January were … unrealistic, at best.
There will be no new Zodiac book this year. I’ve printed off a copy of Two Scorpions and I’ve picked Book 7 as my Camp NaNoWriMo project for this month. (You can follow along with my progress on the NaNo site or via social media.)
But there’s no realistic way I can get either of those books out this year.
I have also started work on a second selkie book, which I’m hopeful we’ll see maybe early next year. And I have a novel booked for the end of next year now too—which might get bumped up. Maybe. We’ll see.
Another one of my author goals from January involved serials. The problem with serials is how long they are. I’ve got four or five of them in the works right now, all of them in some various state of written. But none of them are done.
I’ve been foolish in the past and started posting serials on the assumption that I will find time to write more before I run out of stuff to post.
Untrue. Lies. Do not ever fall for this line of logic. It is a trap.
So, yes, I am working on serials. I am hoping that I will get my act together and post them sometime soon. Maybe. Eventually.
Who knows? Maybe I’ll be foolhardy enough to throw caution to the wind and just start posting them, then take a very long hiatus or abandon the work.
I am working to get some more stuff out to newsletter subscribers and I’m toying with the idea of a Patreon—with deleted scenes, early access, that sort of stuff.
The big problem here is capacity. Since the day job (and caretaking the house) takes up the biggest portion of my time, I like to spend what little free time I end up with writing, rather than scheduling posts and making up art and so on.
It also takes me forever to get a book out, in part because I follow very traditional publishing processes. I know some authors get their books edited in two weeks and punt them out the door soon after. That works for them. It does not work for me.
Oh well. At least you’ll never be able to accuse me of using AI to get these things out the door faster.
Motivation? Inspiration? Don’t Know ‘em
Perhaps the biggest challenge facing me right now, though, has been a lack of inspiration. Or maybe it’s motivation. I’m not sure.
I’m also not sure it matters because, at the end of it, it really just means I haven’t exactly been able to sit down and write. I feel restless, and ideas don’t want to stick.
I know, by and large, that’s burn out. And it’s not necessarily burn out from writing, but burn out from the other areas of my life. I’ve been “quiet” in the publishing arena, but a lot has been going on behind the scenes.
And that’s unlikely to change—like I said, work’s already back to previous levels and I’m looking at August projects, into September. I have five stories coming out in the next six months, some of which need to get out of the draft stage still. Some of them are being edited and revised. But they all need attention.
That’s on top of the general busy-ness of life in the summer. We just got back from a short trip to the lake. We hosted a Canada Day get-together this weekend. I have social engagements with friends the last two weeks of July, back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to—
You get the idea.
September’s likely to remain busy, as it’s my birthday and I’m planning a trip. October brings with it Thanksgiving and Halloween, and next thing you know, it’s November and we’re hurtling toward the end of the year again.
It’s so far away and so close at the same time. There’s so much I want to do—to write, to accomplish—but there are so many other things I’m obligated to do as well.
The More Things Change …
This is nothing new for me. At this point, it’s simply the pattern of my life. I think, to some degree, the winter is quieter, easier. And that allows me to be ambitious. When spring unfurls into summer, though, life explodes again.
I do have much more energy in the summer, which is great. But I’m also not a twenty-something any longer. Staying up late, writing to all hours of the night, and then managing to haul myself out of bed again in the morning and accomplishing everything I need to do in a day just doesn’t happen anymore. Much as I might be a night hawk, I also have to be realistic about energy levels and how to keep them high.
Again, this is nothing new for me. I think I’ve been complaining about time pressures since I started publishing. I’m not sure what not having figured it out says about me at this point, but there we have it. Maybe some day I’ll discover some magical solution that means I have time and money and motivation constantly.
The Road Ahead
Briefly, here’s what the rest of 2023 looks like:
- August 8th: On the Pleasure Planet (anthology)
- September 19th: Rare Flower
- October 17th: Evan and the Alpha
- Late November : Saved by the Selkie (Mythos Island 1)
- December 4th: Fated & Claimed 2 (anthology)
I don’t want to give too much away, but here’s what I think is on deck for 2024 at this point:
- February: Sugar & Spice 1
- March: Mythos Island 2
- June: Zodiac 7
- October: Zodiac 8
- December: Pleasure Planet novel
- ??? : a serial launch, perhaps
As noted before, I want to get more out for newsletter subscribers as well, so I’m looking at getting maybe a couple of shorts ready too. I don’t want promise too much, especially since nothing is speaking to me at the moment.
Even though it takes me a while and my plans often fall through, please remember the plan is always, always to deliver more. It’s just that … writing takes time. Even more than that, it takes inspiration. And if I’m slow as a snail, it’s because I’m always striving to deliver the best for my readers.