The year that just ended may well come to be referred to as the Year That Shall Not Be Named. Aside from personal drama, (a close friend in the hospital since March and counting, my co-author’s sister’s lung function is 37%), there was publishing drama. First, Samhain Publishing announced they were closing, then chose not to and tried to gaslight the writing community by asking in a hurt tone, why did you think we were closing? Maybe because they announced they were. Words have power, sunshine. Then Torquere Press melted down in spectacular fashion, leaving those of us that believed the stories from the owner feeling lied to and cheated. One of their top authors is owed $39,000 USD, editors haven’t been paid (one is owed $3,500 USD and another over $2,000 USD). Then, if that wasn’t enough, All Romance eBooks announced it was closing and gave authors and indie publishers four days notice. Furthermore, there is mounting evidence that the owner, an author in her own right, took salaries from book earnings and may actually have committed some serious financial fraud. Then in November, the stunning upset in the U.S. election shocked many, myself included, ushering in a storm of disgusting white supremacy, homophobia, and misogynistic sentiment. I’m ashamed to say I don’t recognize my country right now.
It’s enough to scare an author back into her hole, and I’ll admit, it did.
But that was 2016. It’s 2017. It’s time to rally.
So rally we shall. It’s important for creative people to create, in times of great darkness and times of light. I was planning on working on a memoir, In the Shadow of the Mountain: Growing Up with a Mentally Ill Parent. It’s been a rough project to work on, for what are probably obvious reasons, but now it’s more important than ever to me to tell my story. Invisibility leads to oppression; we need to be out and proud. Our stories matter.
Which brings me to stories – Rachel and I have recommitted to ours and are hard at work/play on the next two books in the Persis Chronicles. That’s right, the next two books. Here’s what happened: we drafted Book 3, Sapphire Dream, and then realized we had a problem. We had over 80,000 words, but half of it is not going to end up in this book. It needs to be told from another character’s point of view. Add to that the fact that half the story is a journey that doesn’t need to happen, and we’re into major rewrites. But I’m pleased to say that Ruby Sands, the resultant second half of Sapphire Dream and now Book 4 of the Persis Chronicles, is nearly half done and fully plotted out. I don’t have a release date yet, because we just got our rights back for Emerald Fire and Emerald Keep and are going to release all four books together, but it will be in the first half of this year (and in the first quarter, if I can possibly make that happen).
I’ve also started workshops again. My passion is Story, both writing it and helping others to get onto the page. Accordingly, I’ve started the Prompt Circles with Writer Zen Garden up again and our first one is Saturday, January 21st. There’s more information on our Meetup page, here. We’ll be doing some other classes online in February and March on writing, and another Artist’s Way track starting on January 22nd. Details are on the Meetup, and also the main Writer Zen Garden page, here.
Beyond that, I’m knitting up a storm and taking classes at Craftsy in knitting, weaving, and sewing (and some other subjects). I’ve made playdates with friends to sew and knit, both in person and online through Google Hangouts. If you are interested in playing too, please let me know in the comments.
If you, like me, are feeling small and helpless in the face of a changed tide, please know you are not alone. Journal. Your thoughts matter, and having a relationship with yourself is just as important as having one with your loved ones. Communicate. Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, reach out to your friends and family for support. There are groups online and in person that can give you much-needed community. And most of all, make stuff. If you cook, make food. If you knit, sew, draw, color in coloring books, whatever it is: do it. Make time, right now, this week, and do it. Get off the internet. Mindless surfing is hazardous to your health. Creating is therapeutic. Make. Write. Create. The world needs your creations.