First off, I want to congratulate the winners of my Gargoyle Charm giveaway. The winners are:
The cats had fun picking the names and I had fun watching them! Thanks so much for playing! ☺
Now that KNIGHT'S CURSE is out and on store shelves, you'd think I could breathe a sigh of relief and move on to the next thing. The build up to this point has been arduous to say the least. It's been years of honing my craft, writing one manuscript after the other and collecting enough rejections to wallpaper an entire room (or two). So do I feel relaxed now? No.
This post is meant to be about the joy of writing, and it is, but there can't be joy without a little disappointment to highlight it properly. So bare with me.
I've been an apprentice novelist since 1995, when I wrote my first manuscript. It took a couple of years to write and it wasn't too horribly bad for a first effort. It even got me my first agent, but looking back I know it wasn't ready. It was a poorly written work of angsty women's fiction and it was just something I needed to get off my chest. I don't even know where it is now. Reduced to digital dust inside a discarded hard drive somewhere I imagine.
I went on to write five more books after that, two of which were published with small presses. It was good training ground. I made very little off those books, which is perfectly fine with me. It wasn't until the second one was published that I discovered how limiting small presses could be. So I decided that if I was to ever be published again, it would be through a large established publisher that could ensure good distribution through all the major and independent bookstores in the country.
All this time I never forgot the joy of writing. Once into a book and cavorting with my characters and their journey, all the gritty realities of the publishing world faded away. I was doing what I loved to do, what I knew was all I ever wanted to do. So the dream of being published took a back seat to just loving the challenge of writing a good book. Every word I wrote was pure joy.
That being said, my focus on writing competed with my other career, the one that brought me income. Even after I got my agent and she worked her butt off submitting my manuscript to publishers, then submitting my next manuscript, I was starting to feel the pressure. I had to make a choice. Yes, writing is all I want to do, but I also need an income. Would this book ever sell? Was it time to let it all go and just settle for being a hobby writer?
I hung on by my fingernails and gradually sunk into a state of depression. I wrote less so I could focus more on finding ways to make a living. I stopped blogging. The economy tanked and I lost 80% of my design clients. I quit all my writing groups because I could no longer afford to pay their meager dues and I had nothing to contribute to them anyway. I gained weight and I cried a lot. I was a mess.
And all this time my amazing agent never gave up on me. She gave me pep talks. She encouraged me. She believed in me. She saved me.
Then it finally happened. I got "the call" from my agent about Luna's offer for a two-book deal. Did I immediately bounce back to life? No. But I slowly crawled out of the pit I'd dug for myself. I had to. I had to write another book to fulfill my contract and I could hardly wait to get started. I felt reborn.
Now KNIGHT'S CURSE is out and everything is rainbows and sunshine, right? *cough* I wish. I wanted this, yes, but most importantly I want to keep this. My goal is for my writing to become a full time career. My primary design client unexpectedly and unceremoniously kicked me to the curb a couple of months ago so that she could hire a different designer. My writing is all I have now and I have no choice but to make it work.
I'm lucky to love writing as much as I do or I'd be in danger of getting that mysterious thing called "Writer's Block." I've never suffered from it, but I understand it's a miserable condition. I have so many more stories to tell and I especially love the stories I have lined up for Chalice in her Knight's Curse series.
So to wrap this up let me just say that getting published isn't the end of the dream. It's the joy of writing that gets you there, and it's the joy of writing that will keep you there. I'm in it for the long haul.