For the last 7+ months I’ve been fairly open about my struggles with writing and depression, and more recently, the mystery illness that landed me in the emergency room and countless doctors’ offices over the last month (and has yet to be identified). Those of you who follow this blog or are friends with me on social media have doubtless seen some of my posts. I decided to be open about the depression in particular for two reasons:
1) The stigma that surrounds depression/mental illness is seriously upsetting, and I feel the only way to change that is through open discussion and for the people who suffer from depression not to feel forced to hide it like it’s some shameful secret.
2) Out of respect for my readers. See, I do 100% believe I’m entitled to my privacy and I don’t blame any author who might be in a similar situation for keeping it quiet. This is a decision every individual has to make for themselves. But, for me personally, because my depression affects everything in my life, including my writing, I wanted to be upfront about it. I didn’t want my readers to think I’m just taking some extended vacation and hanging my unfinished series out to dry without a care that people are waiting for more books. Authors are human—we need breaks sometimes, it’s true—but the reality is I want to be writing, and the fact that my words have seemingly abandoned me is a pain I deal with every day. I’ve written since I was around eleven, since the time when the only people who saw my stories were my friends in junior high, and I didn’t even entertain the hope that I might be able to make what I loved a career someday. Writing has always been cathartic for me, and being unable to write for over half a year now makes me feel like I’m missing some critical part of myself, my soul. Believe me, I didn’t make the conscious choice to stop writing, and I’m fighting to get through this block every day.
The TL;DR version of what happened is that back in October I got hit by the worst bout of depression I’ve ever dealt with. I experienced suicidal ideation, nearly ended up in the hospital, scared my family and close friends, and had to seek the help of a therapist for the first time since childhood.
I am only now, nearly 8 months later, getting to the point where I’m started to feel excited about writing again and hopeful that I’ll be able to break through this block and start putting words on the page. Still, I’m taking things cautiously. When the words do start flowing, I want to allow myself to write without any pressure. I’ve realized lately that I can’t write on a strict schedule. I have to focus on the story that is calling to me most strongly, and yes, that does mean that sometimes it’s a long wait between books in my series. I apologize for that, but I just can’t force myself to work on a project simply because I know I should try to keep series releases consistent, not if in my heart of hearts, I’d rather be working on something else instead. Forcing myself to try to write what I should be writing only stresses me out and makes it feel like a job. And while, yes, this is what I do for a living, I started writing for love and for fun, and I don’t want to lose that feeling—the happiness I experience when I’m working on a project I’m truly excited and passionate about.
So, with all that being said, I’ve had to make a tough decision, and trust me, it’s not one I made lightly. Tears were shed. But being that I’ve received dozens of messages, tweets, and questions about the Portland Pack Chronicles, I know it’s a series that readers are eagerly awaiting more of. My coauthor, Kenzie Cade, is also eager to get back to our boys and continue writing. Unfortunately, due to my current circumstances, I’m the one holding things back—and I don’t think that’s fair, not to her, and not to the readers who’ve enjoyed the series so far, not when she could keep writing and get the stories to you faster than if I stayed involved. Because right now, with the lingering depression and the health issues that have plagued me over the last month or so, the only answer I can give about when I’ll be able to return to the Portland Pack Chronicles is “I don’t know.” So, sad as it makes me, I feel like this is the best decision for the future of the series. I’m sure Kenzie will more than do justice to the Portland Pack boys on her own. She’ll rock it—I’ve told her so—and I wish her much success!
As for my other in-progress series, fear not! The series I’ve started on my own will be completed eventually, even if it takes me much longer than I ever anticipated. I will break through this! I have so many stories I want to write and projects I’m excited about. I’m not giving up. Definitely not. Watch this space, because I’m sure, in time, I’ll have a much happier update to post.
In the meantime, thanks for your patience and understanding!
Hi, all! 😀 Just a quick note about my pre-orders and sales and what I have going right now.
Hook, Line, & Sinker is officially up for pre-order on Dreamspinner’s site, and right now it — and all of my other titles — are available for 25% off. Be sure to take advantage of the sale if you want a copy!
When they were teens, Castor McCormick was the bane of Blake Kowalski’s existence. Their mutual animosity led to summers filled with rivalry. Now, nearly two decades later, Cas is moving back into the neighborhood to live in his grandmother’s old house. Blake tells himself he isn’t interested in seeing how snarky little Cas grew up, but when his mother dupes him into visiting his former nemesis, he finds out “pretty” can evolve into “sexy as hell” on the right man.
Cas didn’t think he wanted to see Blake again. No one has ever pushed his buttons like the arrogant boy he remembers from their youth. Turns out, the adult version of Blake still gets him hot under the collar—and everywhere else. With Blake on leave from work to nurse an injured leg and Cas taking time to move and unpack, they form a tentative friendship that turns into a sexual affair neither man can deny. But when Cas’s job sends him out of state to deal with a difficult client, their new relationship will be tested, and if they fail, Blake’s broken leg might not be the only thing to end up scarred.
Release date: November 19
Also available for pre-order (and on sale!) is The Working Elf Blues. Right now, LT3 Press has it for 15% off, but if you wait until the weekend I’m at Bent-Con (Nov 7-9), you can actually get it for 25% off. 🙂
Garnet Evergreen has never heard of an elf abandoning the North Pole for a human, but he yearns to be the first. Ever since he saw Wes, the boy with sorrowful eyes, Garnet felt an undeniable kinship. Over the years, he’s watched that boy grow into a man, and now he’s determined to give Wes a Christmas he’ll never forget. If only Garnet had thought to test his father’s sleigh before leaving…
Orphaned as a child, Wes spends every Christmas alone at his cabin. When he’s woken by a suspicious boom and finds a wrecked sleigh and an unconscious elf, he doesn’t know how to react. Wes isn’t fanciful. He doesn’t give much credence to the stories about Santa Claus and flying reindeer. But a part of him wants desperately to believe when Garnet promises forever, even if life has taught him that no one ever stays…
Release date: December 17
Currently I’m working on the outline for my hedgehog shifter book. Those who’ve been following me for a while know this one has been a long time coming. I’m working on it with a coauthor who shall, for now, remain nameless, but we’re having a lot of fun plotting and look forward to starting very soon. Our hope at the moment is to have the book done by the end of the year or early next.
Also, MJ O’Shea and I are in the middle of revising Moonstruck for its eventual rerelease next year. It’ll be getting around 12K words, including both new scenes and extended ones and whatever other revisions we make to the original.
There are a couple of other projects I’m researching right now too. Exciting things are coming! Keep an eye on my blog or follow my newsletter to stay up to date on all my news.
Catch you later. ❤
Hi, all! It’s been a couple of months since the last writing update, so here goes. 😀
Nur eine Kleinigkeit – Release date: March 25. The German translation of One Small Thing. Now available for pre-order.
Moonlight Becomes You – Release date: April 7. This is the 2nd edition, approximately 60K/200 pages. (1st edition was 44K/139 pages.) Now available for pre-order in ebook and paperback. Cover by LC Chase.
Wood, Screws, & Nails – with Kade Boehme – Release date: April 23. Cover by Paul Richmond.
Works in Progress
HL&S – A spin-off of Wood, Screws, & Nails. – Outlined. Starting soon.
S&S – In planning. My story for the Love’s Landscapes event in the M/M Romance Group on Goodreads. If you’re a member, you can see the prompt here.
The Working Man’s Guide to Wooing a Blue Blood Prince (Clumsy Cupid Guidebooks #2) – with Xara X Xanakas – Plotted and started. Temporarily on hold. Hoping to have this one released in the late summer/early fall, if possible. We’ll see. Wish us luck!
Simon’s Story – This is the as-yet-untitled contemporary story I started for NaNoWriMo. It’s going to be a pretty angsty ride, and I had to put it on hold temporarily when one of my family members became hospitalized and the content started hitting a little too close to home. But I’ve been wanting to tell Simon’s story forever, so I certainly will be going back to it!
**Update on the One Thing Series**
I know I’d said this series would be continued, but, unfortunately, that plan has now changed. The “One Thing” series will stand completed with One Small Thing and One True Thing. I thought long and hard about this, and it wasn’t an easy decision, but I think I’m ready to move on to something new. I apologize to the fans who were hoping for books for Josh or Archer. But there will be new and hopefully exciting things to come from me, both alone and with co-authors, so be on the lookout for those! 🙂