Saturday, October 25, 2014


Coming December 2014!
This has been some week and a half. At my school, where I love my kids so much, I saw the aftermath of a fight (less a fight, really, than a senseless beating) and injured myself breaking up another. Every day I hear stories of other fights throughout the school. It's getting to the point where I dread walking the halls for fear of what I'll come across around the next corner. When you add to that just how debased the children seem to have become, from little freshman girls using language that would make a trucker blush to the "good" kids doing dances that could only be described as sex with some clothes on, and I ended a tweet this week with #iwanttobeawriternotateacher.

I never thought I'd say it, but I really am losing the joy of teaching and am finding the idea of writing full-time more attractive every day. And yet, teaching pays so well, at least compared to the unsure future of writing, and I really am good at it. I like to think I make a positive impact on my students, though I become less convinced every year that my example and words have an appreciable impact.

The idea of retiring early and jumping into a writing career with both feet sounds great, but I simply don't have that option. I have financial obligations that won't go away simply because I haven't sold any books this week. If I only had to consider myself, the life of a starving writer would be fine. But I don't only have myself to consider. There's another person in my life who depends on my income and, even though we aren't together anymore, my obligation to help her live and pay her bills doesn't go away.

So early retirement is probably not an option, at least not yet. And it's not going to be an option ever if I continue to make exactly zero dollars as a writer. So it's time to quit dawdling. It's time to quit saying one of these days. It's time to quit waiting for an agent or a publisher to come along and take a chance on me. It's time to take a chance on myself. It's time to publish my books. I have two manuscripts ready to sell. I believe they're good. I'm well into the third, and I think it has potential to be just as good, if not better, than the first two.

So here's my commitment: I will publish my first book by the end of this year. I will hold a combination Christmas/publication party at which I will debut Harsh Prey to my family and friends. I will, in the ensuing months, publicize my book in every way I can find, from social media to readings and signings at bookstores, libraries, church basements--anywhere that will allow me. I will tell everyone I meet about it. And in a few months after that, I'll publish the second and do it all over again. And by then, I'll have the third book in the can and ready to go.

If I want to be able to say #imawriter, then I need to stop just saying it and start actually doing it. If it's going to happen, I can't depend on anyone but myself to make it happen.

So those of you who are looking for a good book to put under the Christmas tree for the detective fiction lover in your life, this is the year you're in luck.

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