Friday, May 4, 2012

One long ass update...


Howdy! Since I finally have a few free moments, I thought I should post an update about Eternal Embrace and Eternal Desires. Both books will be coming out in late Summer. I’m about 75% done with the changes that need to be made to Eternal Embrace and about 85% done with the final edit of Eternal Desires. But I wanted to let you know that a few weeks ago, just after I made the announcement about not quite being ready to release Eternal Embrace, Chad (my hubby) found out that his Boss has no intention of transferring him back to his “home” store (the one in the small town we live in). Instead, they’re keeping him as the manager of the store that’s over an hour away from our apartment. Chad’s been making the long drive sometimes six days a week for over a year now, which adds 10 hours to his already 50+ hour work week, and he’s still a full-time college student. Needless to say – the guy is running on fumes and feeling really beaten down. So we've decided that it’s time for us to move closer to his job. As if the ridiculous gas prices weren’t enough motivation alone… But anyway, we found a really nice 3 bedroom apartment (which means I’ll actually have an office since we’re only in a 2 bedroom now!) that’s exactly 1.6 miles from Chad’s store, and our move-in date is mid-June.

I’ve been trying to plan for the move while working on the books, but now I’m at a point where I need to focus on packing and all of the other craziness that comes with moving. I also have to get the Heathen registered with her new school. And since Chad’s still out of the house for 12 hours a day, 5/6 days a week, and he seems to have 2 projects due for school every week…all the preparation and packing falls to me and the Heathen. And the Heathen’s still in school until May 30th. So in a nutshell, I won’t be able to get back to working on the books until the middle/end of June.

I know the move will help Chad a lot in terms of stress, but I also think it will help me a lot, too. For the last six months or so I’ve been feeling like if I could just get these books out, maybe I could make enough money that Chad could find a different job. If I could just get these books out – I could fix everything. So I’d sit down to write, and where a year ago if I’d get stuck on a scene I’d just step outside to smoke (I know it’s bad for me) and within 10 minutes brainstorm a fitting solution for the scene, for the last six months or so when I’ve gotten stuck I…well, I panic. I start thinking about how I absolutely need to get the book done ASAP, how I can’t afford to be stuck because I can’t help Chad or make things better if I don’t get the books out. Then I sit down at the computer and nothing happens. I sit there, staring at the screen, freaking out a little more every few minutes that my word count doesn’t change. And in the few times when the word count does go up…I come back later and read over what I’ve written and realize it’s all forced. I’m not following my characters as I should be…I’m pushing them in whatever direction leads to the end of the book, in the quickest fashion possible. And let me tell you – that doesn’t make for good reading. Well, at least not in my opinion.

So it’s my hope that once we get moved, and Chad gets 2 hours of his daily life back, and in turn the Heathen is a lot happier because her Dad is around more…I’ll be happier for it. Because when Chad and the kid are happy…I’m happy…and then writing becomes a very easy, and very fun endeavor. And I really want to get back to the place where writing the series is fun and exciting, instead of it feeling like a ever-looming obligation.

Which brings me to the last topic I wanted to address in this update…

I’m not sure how well this is going to go over, because words on the internet are a very funny thing sometimes. It’s hard to convey certain types of emotions well in text. And while I find it easy to do for my characters while I’m writing a book…it’s a very different animal when I’m attempting to express my own personal emotions. But here goes…

I’ve received some e-mails in the last few months from readers who are either: A) Pissed off because I haven’t answered the e-mail they sent me yesterday/a few days ago/last week, or B) Pissed off because the release date for EE has changed again, or C) Pissed off because Odin’s book isn’t out yet. I’ve answered all of these e-mails personally but I also wanted to address the topics in public, because I know not everyone who gets pissed about something will shoot off an e-mail…but they still might like an explanation.

For those who fall into the A) category:

I do my best to answer my e-mail as quickly as possible, but sometimes I fall behind. I’m not a New York Times Bestselling Author. I don’t have a staff of people or even an assistant answering my e-mails for me. It’s just me on this end of my e-mail address. I try to set aside a few hours every other day to tame my inbox – but sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day. I’m sorry if it takes me a longer than you find acceptable to answer your message. I truly am. I can’t even begin to express how grateful I am to each and every reader who not only picks up one of my books, but takes the time to drop me a note. I also understand that if it weren’t for you – writing the series wouldn’t be as meaningful or lucrative as it is. However, I’m not going to answer your e-mail with the same urgency as I would “answer a phone call from (my) Mom or daughter”. I love you guys…I really do, but to be bluntly honest - I don’t love you as much as I love my Mom, and I certainly don’t love you as much as my Heathen. You’re important to me, without a doubt, but if I have to give up my e-mail answering time in favor of helping Chad or the kid or my parents with something – I will…without a second’s hesitation. Hands down, my family will always win over the books.

Also, e-mail isn’t perfect…and my spam filter is the devil. E-mails regularly get lost in the interwebs, and I can’t answer an e-mail that I didn’t get. And while I try to go through my spam filter frequently, it’s not a perfect science when you’ve had an e-mail address for as long as I’ve had my darknesswithinnovels.com address. And with the number of places my e-mail address is openly posted on the internet (review sites, book sites, etc.) I think I get more spam in a day than most people get in a month. So please, if you don’t hear back from me within a week or two, please, please, please just resend your e-mail. I answer EVERYTHING I receive. I’m not “blindly ignoring (you)” or “taking (you) for granted” or “indifferent to (your) loyalty”. 

For those who fall in the B) category:

I’m sorry. That’s really all I can say. I’m not the kind of writer who can power through books while my mind is stuck on family/other personal issues. I wish I could escape into writing the books and leave everything else behind during that time…but I can’t. I’ve tried many times and it just doesn’t work for me. No one is more frustrated by what’s happening with the release dates than I am. In a creative sense, I despise not being able to find that mental place where the words just flow. In a personal and professional sense, I abhor not following through with what I’ve said I would, considering I’m a huge proponent of making good on your word. And in a financial sense, which ties in with what I feel are my familial responsibilities as a wife and mother…I hate knowing that each time I push a release date back – I also push my own much-needed paychecks back. Nothing about making the decision to move a release date is easy, and there are much deeper implications on my side than just a change of date. I know that not being able to read a book when you thought you would is hard to swallow. I’ve been an impatient reader waiting for a book that’s release date has jumped around many times. It’s not fun and it’s also very frustrating. But at its core, pushing a release date back for me is much like taking time off from work without pay…when you know you can’t afford to. It sucks in ways I can’t even begin to explain.

Again, to be bluntly honest, the books don’t even come close to paying my bills every month. They make for a great source of part-time income most months – but they don’t consistently put food on the table. Chad’s paycheck is the only thing that reliably puts food on our table. And with the amount of time he works per week, plus school seminars and coursework – I have to take care of everything else in our lives and at home. For example - if I told Chad that next month he has to pay all the bills, he would, as we call it in the Turner household, SpongeBob me. He’d give me that blank look that just screams he has no clue what the hell just happened. He has no idea when most of our bills are due, and aside from the big ones like rent, the car payment, etc. he wouldn’t even know which account to pay them from, let alone the usernames or passwords to actually pay them online. He works 12 hours a day, goes to school full-time, and does his best to spend time with me and the Heathen on the in between. I handle every other aspect of our lives right now, and I’m perfectly fine with that because I know it won’t be like this forever. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to ask him to do anything now that might jeopardize his 3.98 grade point average when he only has 8 months left of college. No way. Screw that. I hate moving release dates. I hate all of the stress and anxiety and every other horrible feeling that comes with it…but I’ll take any and all of it over making things more difficult at home. My family will always win over the books.

So to those of you who are ready to pull your hair out because you’re tired of waiting for EE, I am truly sorry. If you’re willing to hold on with me for another couple of months while I settle into the new place then attempt to maneuver my writing schedule back onto some kind of even keel, thank you for understanding and for sticking with me.  But, as a few have politely written me to say, if you feel as though it’s time to move on to another series that releases in a much more timely fashion – I totally understand. I can’t say as a reader that I wouldn’t be tempted to do the same. There are thousands of great books out there, and I hope you find them all and love every single one. :) I still thank you for the chance you took on the Darkness Within series, and for all the support and encouragement you’ve given me. And please know that, no matter whether you come back to my series later or never touch it again – I’m so very sorry that I disappointed you.

Now, for those of you who might side with the extremely few who’ve written me nasty e-mails, calling me every name in the book, and then claimed that I’ve not only ruined your life, but my own, for not getting the books out on time...all I can say is - I don’t exist for your entertainment. I’m not a machine whose sole purpose is to pump out stories for your amusement. I’m a person, whose life is full of the same problems and issues that yours is. And know that if I threw my hands up right now and decided to never finish the series or write another book – it wouldn’t ruin my life by any stretch of the imagination. My daughter doesn’t love me because I write books. My husband doesn’t love me because I write books. My parents don’t love me because I write books. And in the moments before I take my last breath (hopefully many years from now), rest assured that I will NOT be judging the quality or richness of my life by how many books I wrote. I love writing, and I love writing the Darkness Within series in particular, but my overall happiness isn’t bound to its execution or completion. My family is and will always be my top priority…and nothing will ever change that.                        

Oh, and if you happen to be one of the few who feel your life is being “ruined” because the books aren’t coming out on time…there’s nothing I can even say to that. Well, there’s actually a lot I can say about that, but I try my damndest never to be rude to my readers…no matter what kind of strange reasoning or insults are being flung in my general direction. I’m sorry…I just don’t know how a paranormal romance novel or the absence of can ruin a person’s life…the logic there doesn’t make sense to me.

And last but not least, for those who fall into the C) category:

Odin’s book is the only book I’m still ahead of schedule on, but I can’t release it until after Eternal Embrace & Eternal Desires. Each of the books hinge off the previous story, so releasing Eternal Embers would throw the entire storyline out of whack. I’m sorry, I know you love Odin…but I can’t and won’t release his book out of order.

So there you have it. If anything I said above offended you - it wasn’t meant that way. I tried my best to be as honest as possible and not sound like yet another ungrateful author-behaving-badly. But like I said, sometimes tone is lost in text and people read the words with an attitude or sarcasm that wasn’t meant to be there. I am and will continue to be extremely grateful to everyone who’s given my series a chance, whether they’re pissed at me about the release dates or not. I’ve never been the kind of person who likes to disappoint anyone, but right now I have priorities that supersede the books. And for as much as I’m genuinely apologetic for not being able to set a concrete date for EE & ED – my focus right now is on what’s best for my family…and I’m not sorry for that. Ever since the first time I had to postpone Eternal Hearts, way back before I signed with my agent, I’ve worried that I’d lose my readers if I had to change release dates. And to be honest, I still worry about it, even now. But I want you all to know that I have no intention of stopping or quitting the series (which I've also received frantic e-mails about)…it may just be a little slow going for a while.

As always, if you have comments, questions, or concerns – feel free to leave a comment here or drop me an e-mail. I’ll get back to you as quickly as I can. ;) I may end up building a wall of boxes around my desk as I pack…but I’ll definitely leave space so I can get back to my computer!

Have a good one!

~Jen     

3 comments:

Bev Harrison said...

Jen,
I have just read your blog post and just cannot believe people would say that you would 'ruin' their lives by not putting out a book on time.
Bloody hell, don't these people have lives ???? What an absolutely insane thing to say.
I was going to send you an email about my proofreading service, but will not add extra to your inbox. I know just how stressful moving can be as we are in the middle of packing up our daughter's house for her move on 22nd May. Exhausting.
What I will do though is give you the link to my website and leave it entirely up to you as to whether you contact me or not.
Cheers
Bev
(an Aussie)
www.bevharrosproofreading.weebly.com

Ashley Buchanan said...

Please Please dont listen to the crazies !!! If your fans are true fans of the genre then we all know how it is with a series... you can tell when it's being forced or when the author is preoccupied. I prefer the excitement of purchasing a book that has been well done and that the author is proud of which then enhances the story. This series is great and i appreciate all the extra thought and effort it takes into writing, while i LOOVE reading I know that I could NEVER write a series... lol. As you can tell im not a real fan of puncuation... I'll leave that to the experts. Keep up the good work because I think your great at what you do !!!!!

Cindy Papken said...

I got your first book free through bookbub and finished it today. Loved it! Urban fantasy is my favorite genre, but as in all genres, it isn't always well written or a great story. Yours is both. Great story, great writing. I just bought Drake's book and can't wait to buzz through it. I'll be looking for more from you.

Congratulations on a job very well done.