So, was the blogging challenge a success? Yes and no. Given that my primary goal was simply to give myself something to do each day, the answer is yes. The blogging challenge game me a reason to sit down at my keyboard after sending my kid off to school.
At the same time, the challenge was a failure. I hoped that forcing myself to write a bit each day would help jump-start my creativity, but it didn’t quite work. What I’ve learned is that blogging uses an entirely different part of my brain than writing stories. So although I had fun, I won’t be continuing with the “one post per day” theme.
I don’t really know the answer to that.
The thing is, I announced this hiatus back in August, so to readers, it probably seems like it just started. Like I haven’t really been away yet at all. But that post wasn’t when the hiatus began. That was just when I finally decided to share it publicly. For me, this hiatus has been going on for quite some time. It started all the way back in January.
It’s scary, when I look at it that way: I haven’t written anything in ten months.
Nothing At All?
Well, no. That’s not quite true. Technically, I have three works in progress, but none of them are romances. One is a scifi adventure that I’m cowriting with another author. One is a YA adventure with dragons, as requested by my daughter. The third is a regular old (non-romantic) thriller. But despite having all these stories, only one of them qualifies as “in progress”. The scifi story is slowly moving along, thanks to my coauthor.
The other two stories are completely stalled at about 10k words, and have been for months.
So you see, this hiatus isn’t at all new for me. In fact, at this point, it’s getting a bit old. So, does that mean I’m ready to dive back in?
I wish I knew.
One thing I’ve been halfway considering is Patreon. It’s not that I need the money. It’s more that I have this half-fledged hope that the enthusiasm of subscribers would help ignite some of my old enthusiasm for writing. I could share deleted scenes, and maybe some of the little vignettes in my head (like what Cole does on Hope’s fifth birthday, or what happens when Jaime and Levi meet Jared, Matt, Zach, and Angelo). Some of my writer friends have told me great things about Patreon, but I haven’t quite decided to make that leap yet. (I haven’t entirely ruled it out yet, either.)
The other part of my hiatus is my boycott of social media. Contrary to what some people may think, this is *not* because I don’t care about engaging with readers. I love talking to readers. Engaging with fans is absolutely my favorite thing in the world. The problem is, I haven’t learned how to do that on Facebook or Twitter without also exposing myself to a seething cauldron of yuck. (For a more detailed explanation of “yuck,” see this post.)
For what it’s worth, I might start using Instagram again because it’s fairly benign. I may allow myself back on Twitter sometime late in November, after the election is over. I use Tweetdeck, so it’s pretty easy for me to lock down who and what I see. And not being able to tweet during football games is driving me crazy.
Facebook is a different beast entirely. It’s much harder to screen what I have to see over there, and simply unfriending or unfollowing obnoxious people also has the potential of causing drama (something I want no part of). But believe me when I say, I *do* want to interact with readers. It’s just hard to decide if the positive side of FB (the occasional messages I get from fans) outweighs the negative (the never-ending shaming, bickering, and genre drama).
One option is to have my fabulous assistant Kelly take over most of my FB stuff, and simply have her alert me if and when a reader is actually trying to reach me. Another option is to keep my fan page, but delete my regular account. But those are only possibilities. I could also just go back to what I was doing before: mostly ignoring FB, and only logging in when somebody emails me or tags me. No decisions have been made, at this point.
What’s Down the Road?
As it stands, I have no new releases lined up. I don’t even have any ideas fleshed out. I have nothing but the WsIP I mentioned above, none of which would be published under this pen name. Does that mean there will never be another Marie Sexton book? I honestly have no idea. I could wake up tomorrow with an idea and end up with a new book out as early as next spring.
Anything I say at this point is pure conjecture.
- Trailer Trash will be available in audio later this month. Jon Solo is narrating. He did my audio versions of Blind Space and Between Sinners and Saints, and I’m so excited to hear how it turns out. (I can tell you that in the audition, he absolutely nailed Cody’s voice.)
- Winter Oranges will be available in audio sometime after Thanksgiving. This one will be narrated by Nick J Russo. The auditions were so long ago, I don’t remember anything about them, but I’m sure Nick will do great as well.
- For those whose first language is something other than English, there are lots of translations down the road. I only have an exact date for one of them: Accanto (the Italian translation of Shotgun) will be released on October 25th by Dreamspinner Press. I also know that Return will be out in Italian in the next month or so (from Triskell Edizioni). Roped In should be out any day now in French, and Trailer Trash will be available in French in about March of next year (both from MxM Bookmark). There may be more. I usually learn about the translations a few weeks before release, so unfortunately, I can’t give you any more details than that.
I want to thank every single one of you dropped by during my blogging challenge. Please know that I am *always* happy to hear from fans, no matter what. I wouldn’t be here at all if it weren’t for readers. At the moment, I’m not checking FB or Twitter, but you can always email me (email@example.com), or leave a message here on my site.