First – Before reflecting – I have to say thank you. Thank you to anyone who has bought, borrowed, or in some way read something I’ve written. Thank you for believing in the stories, for wanting to know what happens next, and for falling in love with the characters. Truth be told, I’m half in love with all of them myself. Hell, if Tommy Donagan were real, I’d marry him in a heartbeat!
On February 5, 2019, Salvagium, my first full length novel, was published. It was two years’ worth of work that began so benignly it could never have been called a choice. I was chatting with a friend who had previously beta read several short stories for me. We were both hideously bored that day. He suggested I write him something to read. I agreed, given that he provided me with a prompt and a genre. He chose horror. I’d never written horror before, but I like a challenge as much as the next girl. I also don’t like rules and horror comes with so few.
It was supposed to be a short story. It ended up being a little over 80,000 words. I got to use the crime scene information I learned while obtaining a degree in criminal justice. I mean, arterial blood spray is not something that often comes up in polite conversation. I got to use the information I’d learned obtaining a degree in psychology. Again, not often subject to polite conversations. At least, not in my chosen career fields, haha.
Mistakes were made (and have since been corrected) while going about publishing. For instance, I’d hired a couple of different people to proofread, and my father found 21 typos after the fact. My brain skipped over them and apparently those I’d hired had the same issue. I knew next to nothing about marketing. But I’d done it. I’d written a whole book. And the person for whom it was written likes it so that was a wonderful thing.
Since February 5, 2019, I’ve added several books to my collection, learning more and more with each one. My newest, Nihil Aeternum, is set to release in February of 2021. I’m not on the best seller list, but I feel accomplished. I’m a teacher and my kids think I’m famous because they can Google me. No matter how many times I tell them I’m not actually famous. Between that and a screenshot from when I was an extra in a movie, they feel that’s all the proof they need. It’s an amazing feeling when someone messages me to tell me they liked a particular book, or to ask when the next one is coming out.
I’ve also discovered that, while it doesn’t lead to insta-fame because people generally prefer certain styles, genre hopping has been incredibly satisfying. For instance, Salvagium is horror. Straight up, scary, horror. One friend told me she had to put my book in time out and hide her dolls in the closet. (Probably the best compliment ever…) But Nihil Aeternum is more a hard-boiled, noir thing. It’s what I was in the mood to read and the story flowed. For me, the satisfaction comes from writing something I’ll want to read again.
Two years into this journey, I’m finding that the idea of being famous, the lust of youth to see my name on the bestseller list, isn’t what makes this fun for me. It’s the idea that my books are out there. That I sold several print copies right before Christmas, meaning someone opened my books on Christmas morning, excited about the story. I love writing. I’m not making a million dollars (or even able, yet, to support myself on just that), but I’m finding joy. And, jeez, after the past year, joy is something to which we all need to cling when we find it.
So here’s to the next two. Let’s see where this path leads 😀