Well, well, well! Fancy seeing you here again, Friends,
It's been a wild few months since I'd posted anything here. So far in 2023, I've finished edits and getting betas for TWO that's right two, new books! (Ok so that's a technicality, it's a single story that I sliced up into two books. But still, two books.)
Joey and I took a mini trip down to Rehoboth Beach for a night to just disconnect from all the craziness around us, and spend time just us together. It was a great night.
We've had a couple weekends with visitors. In fact, we hosted a get together we called our 'toxic exs' party. We watched the musical, stage version of the Heathers, and made drinks that representing exs. I served simply a shot of bitters - because short and bitter. That's all I'll say! haha.
I also spent time and set up my welcome email, and started working on how I'm going to do newsletters! You should totally sign up!
The next few months for me (possibly the rest of the year) are going to be pretty busy too.
On May 2nd, the first book in my new sci-fi duology releases. And just five short weeks later, on June 6th, the second part will come out. Yup, rapid releasing that. Partly because I'm trying something new with releases, and partly because I'm really excited for everyone to experience the full story.
I've connected with this one on a level that I'd never expected. It was only supposed to be an exercise. I'm not a big fan of writing in the first person. I feel so limited by it. Third person give more scope. So for 2021's NaNoWriMo, I decided to experiment, to do something to grow my writing abilities. Every new thing is a learning experience, right? Well, the story that I started, which was supposed to be rather short, at most 55K words, hooked me. I became absolutely addicted to it and because of the nature of the story, the limits of first person actually made it easier. I ended up falling in love with the characters and just kept writing! I wrote more than I'd ever planned to for it and realized I'd stumbled into a story that I now needed to tell.
Once I'd decided that this was a project I wanted to actually develop and something I'd commit my energy and time to, the word count exploded, and I found that I'd set subconsciously set goals for the story. I decided I wanted to tell an authentic autist's story in a war. I wanted it to not be the story of the quiet kid with autism being like a superpower, and I didn't want it to boil him down to just the autist. I wanted to tell a story about the horrors of war but leave some small sliver of hope. I wanted to tell a sex positive story that had romantic elements that wasn't a romance, and I wanted to avoid the 'chosen one' trope.
And I think I succeeded. Even if it went from 50,000 words to 130,000 words.
After many conversations with my editor and a friend who I'd inundated with snippets and ideas, it became clear that it was too much for a single book, and it had a natural breaking point to split the story. So I re-worked some of it make the break fit.
And now it's done. Now both books are done and they're coming down the pike fast. The Stars Are Black and Cold is just over two weeks away. The second part, In the Shadow of Stars, is just five weeks after.
So, here goes nothing.
After the book release, I've got Once Upon A Book coming in July. I really, really can't wait for that. Last year was my first year at the event. And yes I was there with a MASSIVE toothache, and yes I did end up getting COVID while I was there, but honestly, given the interactions I had, it was worth it. It was so worth it. I got to meet readers and reviewers and other incredible authors. I met folks I'm proud to call colleagues, and even happier to think of some of them as my friends.
And I know this year is going to be even better! So yeah, I can't wait.
**Side note: Once Upon A Book is going to be held at the Bavarian Inn in Frankenmuth, MI on July 14th and 15. If you have the time to travel up there, or are in the area and want to attend, please let me know. As an attending author, I get a few free tickets! Click here and send me and email.**
After Once Upon A Book, I get a week to decompress - alone. The day I get back from Michigan, Joey leaves for a work conference in Arizona... in July. Because that's going to be a comfortable week...
Then, one of my best friends is coming to visit for a week. Jesse is a writer too, and as much of a history nerd as I am, so we'll have a good time of it while he's here, writing and nerding out over history, watching one of our favorite queer shows (which will hopefully have season 2 out). And all around being idiots. It'll be a great way for me to take a break from the crazy year, for just a week.
After that, things will pick up again. I'll be refocusing on the next draft of the third Cryptids books, and all while gearing up for the summer 2024 release of Cryptids II.
Then in September, we're going on an incredible vacation. We're off to the UK, and then an amazing transatlantic crossing on the way home. This trip is our way of celebrating our ten year anniversary.
Part of why we like cruising is because when you're at sea, it's much easier to disconnect. Much more difficult for people to get a hold of you and even if they somehow can, there's nothing we can do about it. It forces us to actually relax and be on vacation.
It'll also be important to me because I'm a Titanic researcher. We're going to be staying in the hotel that used to be the offices of Harland and Wolff shipbuilders in Belfast. H&W built Titanic. So that's going to be a massively emotional experience.
Once we get home from our trip, I'll have VERY little time to prepare for NaNoWriMo which will consume November.
Then the holidays.
Like I said, the rest of the year is a wildly busy period for me. And that's okay. I know how to take care of myself (even if I don't always take my own advice), and I've got a great group of caring people who are my found family.
I can't wait to see what the rest of 2023 will bring, throughout all these amazing events.
Even with it being as busy as it is going to be, one of the most important things for me (and all of us) to remember, other than taking care of ourselves, is to stay ourselves. Don't let ourselves get so caught up in the fast paced lives we're in, or the projects we're working on, or the people we're surrounded by, that we lose ourselves.
Our universe is 13.5 billion years old. There are 200 billion trillion stars in the universe (yes that's billion trillion. Not a mistake). Each of those stars could have dozens of worlds. And there are literally unknowable amounts of worlds that could have life. It has taken 5 billion years for our star to get to its age, and 3.7 billion years for life on Earth to get to this point. And yet, among those incomprehensible numbers and despite the infinitesimally small possibility, you are you and you are the only you. You are the culmination of billions of years and nearly infinite permutations and chances. And regardless of if you believe in a god of some sort or if you believe purely in science, if you're a person of any faith or a person of none, you are exactly how you are. And who you are is infinitely valuable. Because mathematically, there's no reason for any of this.
And yet, in this moment, in this strange equation of possibilities, you're you, and you're the only one there is. And I'm me, and I'm the only me there is.
Maybe the age of the universe, the number of stars and planets and all those incredibly absurd numbers and possibilities might make you feel small, I know when taken for just that, it makes me feel small, but in the end, the perfect chain of events occurred to create each and every one of us. A chain of events that created each of us differently, and unique. We are one human family, yes. But we are also each special, and different, and amazing, and beyond value.
And to know each other, even through these small windows on a computer, and to consider you friends and family, is a gift of the highest order.
You are important, to yourself, to those around you and to me. You're a gift, created by an infinite number of events going back 13.5 billion years. And now two person's events are the same.
Because you are important and special and unique, be kind to yourself. Take care of yourself. Take the time, in the middle of the craziness of work and projects and vacations and travel and everything else going on in your life to take a deep breath, look around even for just a moment. Value each moment, because like you, it's unique and it'll never come again.
Know your value.
And because those around you are important and special and unique, be kind to others, take care of each other. Love each other.
And as always remember:
You are seen. You are loved. You matter.