I apologize that it’s been almost a month since I posted here, but I’ve needed to stay quiet, to step back for a while, not just from the blog but from a lot of social media too, to try to find my balance, both in writing and in dealing with some real-life issues. I have written this post a half dozen times, written paragraphs that turned into pages of my thoughts and some of those issues, medical, family, etc., but decided they breached the TMI boundaries or might get me banned from travelling to the States, so each time I’ve deleted them. But I can’t avoid it completely because you deserve to know what’s happening with Wrangling the Past.
Some of you may remember I wrote back in January that I’d been struggling a lot in the past year, mainly due to health issues that have plagued me for the past five years. At the time I thought I’d gotten past it.
Turned out I was wrong.
It didn’t help when another real-life issue that took all sense of financial security away from my husband and I that will affect the rest of our life. Unless we win a lottery, those real life issues aren’t going to get any better in the near future. All of which has left me creatively paralyzed. I can’t even write blog posts lately, and I apologize to the authors and readers over at Wild and Wicked Cowboys and Everybody Needs a Little Romance for missing my regular spots last month. I went totally blank and had nothing positive I could talk about. I honestly stared at the screen for weeks before, and even on the day the posts were due and had…nothing.
It’s not just writers’ block where I need to get my butt in the chair and my hands on the keyboard and push through it. As I wrote back in January (and it hasn’t changed) I spend 10 – 14 hours at my keyboard every day. Trying to write. Trying so freaking hard. It’s not something where I can just “get over it” or “smiling will make it get better.” (God, I HATE it when people say that to me.) Yet despite the hours I’d stare at the screen, if I managed to write two paragraphs I’d consider it a good day. Then I’d find out I’d written the same scene three times. Or that the story had gone off on a tangent that needed to be deleted. Again. Six months of working my butt of resulted in 30,000 words that just aren’t the type of writing I want to you to read.
All of which led to an email I had to write to my editor at Carina Press asking her to please release me from my deadline for Wrangling the Past. Which she did. God bless Angela James for understanding. I’ll admit I was sobbing as I wrote that email because it felt like I’d failed. It still does.
But you know how they say when God closes a door, he opens a window? Well, He’s left the door open for me still for me to approach when I can, but He also sent me the lovely Tabatha, one of my street team leaders who has appointed herself my chief cheerleader but has become a true friend who lets me vent and yet comes back every day and encourages me to keep writing and gives me feed back. And He sent me the extremely talented Lexxie Couper. A few months back, Lexxie invited me to be part of a group bundle — the theme being firefighters.
In order to give myself a bit of a break, and hopefully find the joy of writing again, I’ve (temporarily) set aside Gabe’s story and pulled out a novella I started writing over two years ago involving a pair of firefighters and the woman they loved. Feeding the Flames will be part of the Five Alarm Alphas bundle coming out November 7th with stories by Lexxie Couper, Desiree Holt, Lissa Matthews, Delilah Devlin, Cari Quinn, Marie Harte, and Shelli Stevens. (Just looking at the other names on that list makes me feel inadequate. I adore the writing of each and everyone of those ladies.) I’ve shared the cover on Facebook, and you can find it on its webpage here on my site, but I’ll do a proper cover reveal and finished blurb in a separate post.
Yes, I feel guilty still about working on it instead of on Gabe’s story for a few weeks, but I need the break. And it is helping me get back some of the joy of writing again, even if it is a slow process.
In the next few months, I’m also going to re-release two short stories that came out back in 2009 — First Night, and Cherry Cottage, both of which were originally free short stories for Samhain’s newsletter, but for the past few years have only been available here on my website. I’m planning on revamping them (slightly), then getting them formatted, giving them new covers (the lovely Tabatha has created some beautiful covers for me I’ll share on another post), and am going put them on Smashwords so more people can find them on Amazon and B&N and other places. I’m also finally going to release Unashamed, a story I wrote specifically for the Northern Heat anthology, only this time in digital format, so it will be easily available worldwide instead of only available in a print book that was hard to get ahold of outside of Canada. I’m aiming for First Night to be up for the American Thanksgiving, but I don’t have any dates in mind yet for Cherry Cottage or Unashamed. (I plan on working on those after I’ve finished Gabe’s manuscript.) These are not new stories I’m writing, but they are all things that I’ve wanted to do for years but have put off because of the Grady Legacy deadlines.
But I cannot stress enough: I am still writing Gabe’s story, but I want it to be the best story it can be, the story he deserves. Let me repeat, Gabe will get his story. It just won’t come out this fall the way Carina–or I–had originally planned.