For those of you who have followed my shenanigans for a while, you know that I've been actively publishing in the Romance genre since 2009/2010 when Sheet Music placed 2nd in a Passionate Ink contest.
Since that time, I've published 10 novels and novellas, completed a Master's degree, moved to Boston, moved to Georgia, moved back to Boston, and had two major surgeries. It has been, shall we say, a wild ride. While much of this has been rewarding, there has been a lot of heartbreak and hard stuff as well.
Last year, I found myself at a crossroads, totally drained and not a little depressed. Physically, I had worn myself down to the point of utter nothingness. My brain, predictably, was struggling with the hormonal after effects of a hysterectomy. It's safe to say I ran out of cope.
Add to this the struggles I had with writing, rewriting, and editing both Surrender the Dark and Taste the Dark, and I had a complete failure of self-confidence and will. When Random House decided to cancel the series and asked me to come up with another concept for them due in part to poor sales and in part to my inability to face Akito's emotionally difficult story, I had nothing left to give.
Failure is a funny thing. It teaches you a lot, but in the middle of the experience you can often only see despair and a sense of creative annihilation. In the midst of that despair, I convinced myself that nobody wanted to hear from me and I was going to go away. For good. Never to set pen to paper again. (All of you authors out there can laugh at me now.)
If you look at my social media stats, you'll see that I certainly *thought* I was serious about not coming back to writing. It was a broken, dark time. (And *shakes fist at Akito* Taste the Dark didn't make this any easier!) Ultimately, when my job called me back to Boston from Georgia, I deleted everything I could of my author life and walked away. That, it would seem, was that.
Then, an amazing thing happened about 3 months ago...
I started to get fan mail. Letters and comments and support from people I'd never talked to before, who I didn't know, but who somehow I had managed to touch with the creative spark I thought was dead. They fed that spark back to me and reignited something within me.
That something was hope. The greatest gift one human can give to another.
For those of you who think you have nothing to offer--that your reviews and letters and social media posts fall into a void that we authors never see or hear or consider--I can tell you that you have a hell of a lot of power and influence. Many, many times for good (and a few heart rending times, for bad), you affect us in profound ways.
So, what I'm doing now, with the help of some amazing friends (both new and old), is paving a new path forward. I'm rolling up my sleeves and reformatting my existing backlist, and sticking my toes in the creative wellspring you've un-dammed. Thank you for reaching out, and for sticking around while I get my *bleep* back together.
Follow me on social media and I will follow back. Each little click is a point of light in the darkness. I know it sounds corny, but knowing you're there is something that keeps me going.
As E.M. Forster said in the flyleaf to Howard's End, "Only connect..."
Thank you for connecting. It has truly made all the difference.
These are the musings of a cynical romantic. Heroes on the page may be closer than they appear.