Ruminations at the end of 2017

I have this blog that I almost never post on, so I’ve decided it’s time to start using it again.

Recently I’ve been thinking about milestones and such, and as I’ve been looking back over the last eight years, I realized I’m coming to the end of an era and starting a new phase in my life.

I wrote DRAGON BOUND just after finishing grad school while I was looking for a job. The economy had tanked, and my degree was in Library Information Science – which was not a good degree to shop around with during the Great Recession.

One evening, as I had dinner with family, they asked, “Do you think you’ll ever write another book again?”

“Oh, sure,” I said with a shrug. “I always wanted to one day.”

Then I realized “one day” was here, so I got to work. And I got a three-book contract offer from Berkley. Berkley wanted to release the books in such quick succession, I realized I couldn’t write them while working another job. They offered me a tremendous opportunity but also a difficult one. I couldn’t accept it without help.

So my family (the ones who had asked if I would ever write another book again) offered to take me in until I got my writing career off the ground. The joy and gratitude I felt for their generosity was overwhelming. I said yes.

That was the beginning of an era.

In the last eight years, I will have moved seven times. Yes, that’s right, seven, and each move has been necessary for one reason or another.

During that time I’ve written twenty-four stories – books, novellas, and a few short stories.

In the course of writing, I’ve hit the USA TODAY bestseller list seven times, the NYT three times, and I’ve won some awards. I paid off my student loans, and I’ve paid off 2/3 of my daughter’s student loans. It’s been a very, very rewarding, scary, exciting, and incredibly dynamic time.

I also received a diagnosis for Sjogren’s disease, and I’m tired.

Okay, fine, you say. You’ve had a lot going on. But why is this the end of an era?

Thanks for asking. I’ll tell you.

Next week I’m supposed to close on a cute mid-century house back in the town where I did a graduate assistantship in Indiana. I’ll be blunt – if I didn’t have Sjogren’s, I would have stayed in Colorado to be near family, but unfortunately my autoimmune disease and the dry altitude in Denver are not suited for each other. So while I have been hanging out and writing by the beach in Southern California, I’ve been laying plans for what my new life is going to look like.

And in some ways, it looks like my new life is coming full circle, back to the place where it all began. There’s a kind of symmetry to it that is pleasing to me, like I’m closing one door to open a new one.

I’ll still be writing in the new place. I’ll be creating stories. December’s going to be chaotic, but then things will settle down. And I can’t help but wonder how those new stories will be.

Because of a deluge of unexpected roadblocks with the purchase of my new house, I won’t be finishing Planet Dragos the way I had hoped, so I’ll have to write the story on the other end of the move. After that, I’ll be writing LIONHEART, which is book three of the Moonshadow trilogy. The order of what I’ll be writing hasn’t changed. The timeline just has to be moved back a month or so.

And after that? I might want to write a space opera. What if I want to write a fantasy? I really liked the world building I did when I wrote The Chosen (to be published in AMID THE WINTER SNOW on December 12th with Grace Draven, Elizabeth Hunter, and Jeffe Kennedy). Maybe I’ll write more in that corner of the Elder Races universe.

Maybe I will want to write about Death, and about Life, and maybe I have some stories I want to tell about a dragon boy who needs to find his way in the world, and I always want to build hope, HEAs (happy every afters) and HFNs (happy for now endings) into every one. The possibilities are fabulous and endless, and I’m excited for what 2018 will bring.

But first I need to complete my eight-year circle and get through this next house move, and then hopefully I will be able to set aside my nomadic lifestyle for a good long time. I’ll be taking a break from writing until January, and after that?

I can’t wait to see what this new era brings.

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