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Hello. I must be going.

leaping_goldfish

I have come up for air in order to have a crisis. I think it’s one of those things that go through the mind of most forty somethings. Maybe it’s the beginning of the midlife crisis, maybe it’s just hormones. What I do know is that it’s horribly annoying and probably something that I should vent within my own inner circle, but what else is the internet for other than to share inappropriate feelings and give fodder to the NSA?

Is this it? Is there more to life?

Ah, that age old question. The ultimate first world problem left for the privileged white middle class who don’t have to work four jobs to make a living and feed their family. I should be a Catholic for all the guilt I harbor over this very thing. I am embarrassed for even bringing it up, but sometimes you gotta just go with it and so here I am. Stuck on this very thing.

It’s not the first time I’ve battled with my own self-doubt. I have toyed with and picked at this nagging suspicion that life was supposed to be more somehow, that along the way I had gotten off the bus one stop too early. Had I missed a turning somewhere? Had I made a poor decision that somehow had led me down the wrong path?

I’ve had a lot of questions, but not many answers.

At first, I had tried to pin it on making the conscious choice not to have children. Yeah, I know, how very un-American of me. Just saying it out loud makes me feel like I’ve committed some sort of crime. But yes, I chose not to conceive. It was the right decision, trust me. The thing is when you don’t have children, they don’t give you a manual on how to live the rest of your life. When you ask a friend who is inevitably married with children (which is most of them, let’s face it) the usual response is “I don’t know. I’ll get back to you when little Tommy stops dropping my jewelry into the toilet.” They don’t have the luxury to answer such a acerbic question as that. Your friends with kids are just doing what they have to do to get through each day. Their life is their kids, well, for the next 18 years at least.

So the no children thing didn’t help maybe, but it wasn’t the root of the problem.

Next, I turned to my physical world. Had I become bogged down in materialistic things? Had I allowed my parents values to overshadow my own? Why had I needed the big house with the perfect furniture and the fancy china that serves 12? When had those things ever been important? My husband likes to say “the more things that you own, the more they own you”. He’s right of course, but it didn’t feel like that was it either. Even now, I could get rid of most of those things, but it still didn’t answer the nagging question of purpose. What’s the point? I’m 41 years old and not getting any younger. What am I doing with my life?

It’s probably why I ended up being a writer. And why sometimes I’m not a good friend or wife. The introspection can be paralyzing. Sometimes I just need to shut everyone out until I get lonely enough to come back around. It’s not nice and perhaps it’s even cruel. I know I’m in one of those places now. My own company seems preferable to anyone else’s – anyone who is in close proximity to me or real. Imaginary people are okay, real ones not so much. The fiction is often more satisfying than the reality.

So how does one get over this hump, this need to define one’s self by purpose?

I don’t know.

Odyssey, a short story, & other epiphanies

Hello fans and friends,

It is Friday, which means blog day.

After several weeks of distractions including a lovely trip from our UK family, I’m getting back up on that horse we call writing. Spring is just about gone, the sweltering days of a hot, humid Virginia summer are touching down upon us and I’m about to get trapped back inside my house with the A/C cranked up on high. Although it seems bad, this is a good thing. The two extremes of the year are probably the only time that I get anything done writing-wise so I look forward to a prolific summer of getting Watcher re-edited and back out in the public sector as well as getting through the final push on Protector (fall release, fingers crossed).

That, of course, means I have a few announcements.

The first one makes me a little sad. For those who don’t know, I got waitlisted for Odyssey – one of the top residential SF/Fantasy workshops in the country. I had hoped that there was one poor soul who would not be able to go so that a space would be freed up for me, but alas it wasn’t meant to be. The May 24th deadline has come and gone and I am now in Virginia for the summer. My short story based on Roxanne by the Police is now up in the Mixtape Collection if you’d like to read it – it’s the story that I submitted with my application.

So poo.

In different news, like a boomerang flung once but comes back again, I’ve decided to continue to go indie and NOT query for an agent for The Shining Ones series. I know, I know, can I just make up my mind already, right?

The thing is that it just doesn’t make sense to try to go the traditional publisher route these days. Not only is it hard to get a deal, but the deal you get is probably so disadvantageous that you wonder why you thought it was a good idea in the first place. Seriously. The ideal situation is probably being a hybrid author meaning that you get a publishing deal for hard copy only, ┬áleaving you the author in charge of digital. Cause frankly, if you can do the numbers yourself via ebook why would you then turn it over to get less money?

It just doesn’t make sense. Plus, if you get the numbers on your own then the likelihood is that you can leverage your platform or brand in a better deal with publishers if you have a proven hit. See, I know how to throw the lingo around, too. I’m halfway there . . .

So, I lost about a year with my flip flopping decision and many nights thinking that the only way I could be validated is with a deal . . . I have since changed my mind. I’d rather just write and get stuff out there and not wait years to see my stuff in print. Either my fans will love it or hate it and that’s what truly matters.

This will be good news for most – you’ll get your wish for Protector this year.

xo

shawnee