It’s no secret that I’m a terrible blogger, but I feel like I should be saying something. So, what does everybody want to hear about?
School starts in four days. Not that I’m counting the minutes or anything. (Actually, now that I say that, I’m sorely tempted to go find a countdown widget for my blog.) I’m a mom who values silence and often opts for simple over wise. I’m not necessarily proud of that fact, but there it is. This is the first summer I’ve kept my daughter home with me instead of shipping her off to daycare, and while it wasn’t as horrifying as I anticipated, I’m definitely ready for her to go back. Our house has somehow become The House to play at. I think it’s because Lazy Mom = Permissive Mom. If only I’d had the energy to be Strict Mom, they might have all found someplace else to play.
I’m also counting down the days until I leave for Italy! I’ll be there September 6-23. I’m going with a group of women. I think there are ten of us (maybe twelve?), and I’m the baby of the group (which I love). We’ll have several nights each in Rome, Venice and Florence, and shorter stays in Siena and Lucca. I’ll try to post some pictures and updates, as I’m able. I’ll also be doing a few updates over on Coffee and Porn in the Morning, so please check that out as well.
Writing this year has been erratic at best, full of spurts and stops. Partly it’s because I traveled too much, but mostly it’s because I’m finding motivation hard to come by. I’m sure everybody gets tired of hearing authors complain about their work, but the truth is, sometimes it really is work, and nearly every author I’ve talked to is facing this exact same crisis on some level. More and more of us look longingly back at the now-dead stereotype of Joan Wilder, an author locked alone in her apartment with her typewriter and her cat and a few bottles of vodka. Many of us would trade our eye teeth for that. But that’s just not the world we live in. Sometimes I think I’d be better off going back to my full-time office job.
That never lasts more than about a minute, though.
The truth is, writing can be fun and rewarding, but it can also be a bit soul-sucking. And I know some people will scold me for that, because for some reason, we’re never supposed to admit it. It’s always supposed to be fun, and there are plenty of people who feel we have no right to complain. Maybe they’re right. I don’t know. What I do know is, it takes a lot of heart and serious guts to pour so much of oneself into a project, and it’s often hard to remember what the bright side of it is. Somebody pointed me at this article recently, and what struck me hardest was this quote:
A book is whittled down from hope, and when I start to cut my fingers I push it away from me to see what others make of it. And I wait in terror for the judgements of those others—judgements that seem, whether positive or negative, unjust, because they are about something that I didn’t really do. They are about something that happened to me. It’s a little like crawling from a car crash to be greeted by a panel of strangers holding up score cards.(Read more http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2012/08/everything-is-fiction.html#ixzz23popDjjm)
That image is so apt: standing by wreckage, battered and confused and wondering what the hell happened, only to look up and find more horror. And that may sound like I’m talking specifically about readers and reviews, but honestly, that’s a very tiny part of it. It’s not just seeing your work torn to shreds. It’s also seeing it pirated within minutes of release. It’s being told that you should be happy about it (not just by the pirates, but in one case, by an editor). It’s knowing that you can’t say anything real on any platform without being attacked. It’s feeling like it’s you against the world. All. The. Time. It’s knowing that even something as innocuous as this blog post will undoubtedly draw fire. That there is no safe haven. No place where we can be ourselves. That no matter what we do, the wolves are there, ready to tear us apart.
I’m beginning to sound melodramatic, so I’ll try to rein it in. The short version is, 2011 was a bad year for me, and although 2012 has been a bit better, it’s a slow process to get back to where I was. I’m not sure I’ll ever really find my way back to that pretty little meadow where I started. This is just another step in the process, I’m sure. The bunny’s not so much afraid anymore as he is angry. He’s pissed, and bitter, and if he chooses to play, it’s often in fields I’m unfamiliar with.
I guess we’re both steal healing.
Anyway. That went a bit wild and heavy for something that was supposed to be simple and off-the-cuff, didn’t it?
The bright side is, 2012 hasn’t been a total loss. I did finish Saviours of Oestend, which I’m very proud of. I joined Total E-Bound’s Clandestine Classics with Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. I started the Tucker Springs project with LA Witt. That one’s a tad bittersweet, because I failed to write the novel myself, but Heidi helped me and the novel is done. It’ll be out in only a few weeks actually (you can pre-order it now!). Heidi and I also finally finished The Chicago Project (renamed Family Man). We started this book a year and a half ago, and we finally wrapped it up back in July. It’s with a publisher. There’s a contract in the works. I won’t say much more than that until it’s official, but we do anticipate its release in early spring of 2013.
What am I working on now?
I know everybody wants me to say that I’m working on Jon and Cole. Or maybe Matt and Jared. At the very least, you want me to say, “Something in Coda!” But the truth is, Coda is pretty far from my mind right now.
I’ll wait a minute for you all to quit screaming.
Now, don’t get me wrong. In many ways, Coda owns my soul. I love those boys. They’ll always have a special place in my heart. But Coda was really born of innocence. It came from wonder and joy and excitement, and those are feelings the bunny is hard pressed to remember right now. I’m not saying I’ll never go back, but it’s either going to take time, or it’s going to take some kind of wondrous, magical elixer for it to happen soon. For better or worse, that’s just not where my muse lives right now. My muse lives in dark alleys and wind-swept prairies. Maybe someday he’ll come home.
So, what am I working on? Right now, I’m about 36k into a dark, kinky cyberpunk about a whore and sex slave. It’s called Release. I had hoped to finish it before leaving for Italy, although at the rate I’m going, that’s not likely.
Other than that, I have absolutely nothing going. Sure, I have ideas. I have inklings. I consider other things now and then. But Release is the only thing I’m serious about at the moment.
Anything else? Let me think.
I had three print releases on Monday, so if you missed that, scroll back one post. We’ll have more snark tomorrow, and the wonderful and talented Anne Tenino will be hosting a giveaway, so please stop by. If you don’t have it already, you can download my app. It contains excerpts from each of my books, plus all of my updates and announcements. You can find that here:
Of course after Italy is GayRomLit! I am a Sponsoring Author (although admittedly, I don’t remember exactly what that means). At any rate, I’ll be there with swag and books and more swag.
Speaking of which, what kinds of swag do you all like? I’ll probably order more. I do have trading cards for Matt, Jared, Angelo, Cole, Deacon, Aren, and Valero. I’m ordering Dante and Cami soon. We’ll probably have some for El and Paul by then, too. Hit me up for some if you see me at GRL.
I’ve probably babbled enough for one day.
Take care, and enjoy the last bit of your summer.