A couple of days ago I mentioned how my life had taken a few recent unexpected turns, and how I wasn't sure what I'd be doing, or even where I'd be living soon. I left off by mentioning my novel, LETHAL OBSESSION, and how I had been unprepared for the reaction its publication brought to me.
Let me take a step back and say even before LETHAL OBSESSION, my life started to change just a little -- though I didn't realize it -- when I first published a couple of short stories last year, PRIVATE DINING and ROOM SERVICE.
When I was a child my grandmother -- whom I miss very much, even all these years after she passed away -- introduced me to stories. She would read to me, and later would listen as I read to her. My home life could be best described as less than ideal, so I found some solace in reading. Then I began writing, creating my own worlds where I could do anything I wanted.
Soon enough I found myself not wanting to write just for escapism, but I wanted to write to elicit reactions from others, like those authors had gotten from me. I'd let friends read my work, and I often judged the work based on the reaction I'd get from them.
Sadly, I don't have any of that early work. My mother tore most of it up one day, not long before I left home. I was on the road a lot after that, and I'd occasionally write stories or snippets of stories in longhand, but most of that was lost along the way as well.
In December 2011, with a new job and a place to live, I bought a computer as a Christmas present to myself and began playing around, doing some writing. A friend convinced me I should try selling some of the work as e-stories on Amazon, so in November of last year I published two short stories, PRIVATE DINING and ROOM SERVICE.
By the end of the year I'd sold a couple of hundred copies of those. They were simple little short stories, only selling for 99 cents each, so I really didn't make any money off of them (I get 35 cents per sale), but I was absolutely blown away that someone would pay, even 99 cents, to read my work. I was doubly blown-away that someone would read one, then pay another 99 cents for a second story!
I wrote a couple more stories, longer ones that didn't sell so well (JENNIFER LOST and then JENNIFER BOUND), before I tackled LETHAL OBSESSION.
I published that short novel at the very end of February, and the response was more than I had ever hoped. I don't want you to get the wrong idea, it's not as if I sold thousands of copies, but it did sell relatively well.
I owe a big part of that success to someone who took me under her wing a bit -- author J.M. Schroder. She found something in that story she liked, so she did some promotions for me, helped show me how to promote it, and has been a true friend and big-time supporter who I cannot thank enough. Actually, I've found many wonderful people who have helped me, given me good advice, and I don't mean to leave anyone out, but Jennie has been an absolute angel.
People bought the novel. People gave me good reviews. A few bloggers interviewed me. Even now I get mails from people on Facebook asking when the sequel will be ready. I was absolutely not prepared for this. This might sound funny, but it became intimidating. Suddenly I felt as if I wasn't writing my stories, but trying to build something to live up to expectations of others.
I will be very open here -- writing that sequel has been difficult. I went through a small period of depression (nothing too serious, I've learned to deal with that when it comes up). Then the issue with my boss and his girlfriend (see my last blog, here) and my job loss and I just felt like everything was a little out of control in my life.
Being jobless I've been able to spend a lot of time alone these past two weeks, walking, thinking (and yes, playing in the rain!). I've re-evaluated a few things in my life, where I've been going, what I want from my writing.
If you read that last blog, you know my life is in a state of flux right now. I'm not sure if I'm going to remain here or move on to some other community. I don't know where I'm going to find a job (and while I'm okay for a short time, I'm like everyone else, I NEED a job).
But I do know this -- writing will be, whether figuratively or literally, my refuge from the world, just as it was those many years ago when I was a child. And I won't be caught off-guard again, or get so caught up in the reaction of readers that I lose focus on the writing that I do.
I am charging full-speed ahead on the sequel to LETHAL OBSESSION (and on a sequel to the shorts PRIVATE DINING and ROOM SERVICE), and I already have my next tale lined up to write when the LETHAL OBSESSION sequel is published. And after that next story is done, I have a few special shorts just for the Halloween season I'll be writing (not to mention a magical little story I need to get done for Kelly -- you didn't think I had forgotten, did you?)
After that? I don't know just yet, but there will be more. Perhaps a third part in the Angela Martin/LETHAL OBSESSION saga, or maybe something entirely different with a new set of characters and challenges for them to work through.
For those of you who have read my work, who have contacted me, or helped me along the way, I offer a sincere thanks (especially you Jennie!). And I'll be putting new work out soon.
As always, thanks for reading.