The Start of 2024....

The Start of 2024....

If you happened to stop by last month, you would've seen one of two things: either the updates at the beginning of the month or the singular one after I deleted all of them. Last month was weird for me, in a lot of ways. It's sometimes taking a step towards things you 'ought to do' that you realize you're already doing precisely as you should. I always listen to what I feel is right on my insides, in my spirit, far more than any 'head-logic', although, if you know me well... you might know how much head-logic and logic in general plays a part in me as a person. So... sometimes there's a bit of confusion! ha
At least until things become clear.

I'm legitimately sorry if there's any disappointment about plans that I stepped toward then turned away from. I just can't do something that doesn't feel right. I try my best not to post ANYTHING on here until it's already in the works, set, and for sure going to happen. (Unless I'm kind of rambling about things I'd like to do and hope to do, so on.) The thing with that was... I DID do it. Then undid it. *handface*

I even had planned on getting back to pre-orders as a longer thing. Honestly, the end of last year just about whooped me. And when I say just about, that's me being a little kind to myself. It legitimately did take a lot out of me. Between getting the full series (4 books) of From the Ashes out, to the 8 (plus proof for 9) of Carved Legacy, all in the span of a couple months...
It took a lot out of me.
In all honesty, I've been some word beyond tired. I've been exhausted just about in every sense. Mentally, physically, spiritually. And that's unusual for me. But I think sometimes maybe it's a good thing to have to have a moment where you really assess the state of yourself. Then, you can be far more grateful and appreciative of how you get through your days in a better state.

I was asked to take a break, so take a break I did, as well as I ever can do. I lose my mind when I don't work. Sometimes, driving 'breaks' until the wheels fall off is like a breath of invigoration to get back to work in a better state. During the month, I did get proofs done! Regulators is up for pre-order, and the book for the companion to the Reave Series got its first proof. It would need another one if I release it at all. I'd planned to. I just, as I said, always do what I feel is right, and I've always been set that when I hold them in my hands, I just know. And I did with Regulators; I felt strongly this is its time and that the other one... Well, if I'm being straight with you, I've had every intention of keeping it to myself. That was what I felt when I held it in my hands. That it was mine to keep. If I do ever put it out and you've read this? Know I sat here for however long likely struggling with the thought of it, weighing things, and ultimately decided what I've done with all of them thus far no matter the turmoil.

It's just the right thing to do.

Turmoil might be a strange word to hear, but if you've read my 'reviews' of the few that I've written about or caught my ramblings on here, you'll know I struggle with the thought of releasing almost all of them. It's far less about 'exposure' and far more about the content. In the accordion thingies on my My Books page, I get into stuff about content/how I feel about it and handle it.
To maybe put this in the best perspective I feel I can? I realized a long time ago...

If my books were made into movies... I wouldn't be able to watch them.

So. It's hard for me--putting out books with 'sexy times', sometimes even if those are behind closed doors. (I either fast-forward or turn my head with movies/shows, sometimes even with kissing.) It's hard for me putting out books with cursing even though I do on occasion still do it. I don't like hearing it. (Although I could get into a large digression about there being a difference, in my mind, between cursing about this is just sh** and saying I love the sh** out of you.... I just won't.) And yet I'm kind of going to.

None of my books have this stuff or ANY stuff in them 'just to have it'. There are no sexy times just for the sake of them, and there is no tormenting of characters to make the story more interesting. I've written about this before, but I'm reiterating here.

Getting out of my own way for the sake of the characters and the stories was an important thing for me, when writing them. I'm a very... solid person, in a lot of ways. I have my ways; I like my ways; don't freaking tell me I should 'loosen up a bit'. Because loosening up a bit is someone else's way, and I DO NOT LIKE the thought of other people imposing their ways on others.
Me not doing that very thing with my writing was VERY important for me, as a person. I feel that every single story I wrote, every character I met that stretched me beyond myself in its natural state made me a little more compassionate, a little more understanding (if not always accepting in the sense of being 'okay' with things someone just isn't okay with), and a little better.

But there's still an immense struggle for me. As much as it's been proven to me, over and over, that I have ZERO idea how people will take things/stories/characters and can in no way predict as much? What I'm putting out into the world and what potential good and bad can be taken from it is a large thing for me.

The words of the books people read stick with them. Even if the word-for-word parts slip away into blurry recesses, even if the characters fade, there are parts that just stick. Realizing that when people read your books they're not only choosing to 'spend the day with you'... they're also allowing your words into themselves. And that scares the absolute daylight out of me sometimes.
I've gotten SO MUCH GOOD from these words. So much good. But sometimes the fear gets ahold of me, worrying... This bad thing is in here to show this isn't how people are supposed to treat other people or accept from others. What if it comes across as this thing is perfectly fine when it's not? It takes a long time for that to become apparent. Or... What if this beautiful thing that is good in my eyes and spirit actually hurts someone?

There are times where love interests might seem so dreamy but are really just jerks. And ain't that the dang truth about life sometimes? That you think someone is one thing, and certain qualities of them might bring up warning signs, but you just... quiet that inside yourself.
It's happened to/with/for me more times than I could say and has at times caused more damage to me than I'm going to say right now. But maybe, sometimes... that damage is apparent in the books. And THAT? THAT is important to me. As private as I am, the thought that my experiences could help people in some way, even if it's just telling someone in some roundabout way: You're not alone. I've been there too.... Well. That oftentimes is what causes me to say...

You know what? Me getting hung-up on my fears might stop me from doing the one thing I wanted to be able to do in my life down here--help, and make good with what I learned.

I've spent almost the entirety of my adult life working towards that and doing my absolute best. And I'm grateful to have been able to do as much.

Getting out of my own way with the writing was one thing. Getting out of my own way with the releasing of the books is and has been another completely. I feel I'm making good progress with it!

Realizing... Even some of the YA books I used to read? Had 'sexy times'. Some (not many but a few) had rather consistent f-bombs dropped in them. So, in some sense, when those are in YA books and not even ADULT books...?
I dunno. It's just kind of hard when it's in YOUR hands. I do NOT live life with a mentality of: Just because someone else does something, that means I can and should too.
I just like to think...

If you're doing things with the best intentions, weighing all of it from an unselfish standpoint of not what you would like to do but what are you capable of doing that is or could be of benefit for another...

That matters.

Regulators actually helps with that, I think because those 'kids' are so innocent in their ways, so untarnished from society and the world, that seeing any 'crudeness' from them is kind of like watching babies play in mudpuddles. Kind of adorable and silly no matter any messes made. And I might be the only person who sees it and them that way! But I do.

It's all been steps towards a better place. And I believe that in every sense.

I'm not sure what the year has in store. I've accepted that me planning is kind of a waste of time in some ways! (Although hopes and dreams are good to be gotten into lines and substantiated, I think.) THE PLAN is what it is, and I'll do what I can. So... In some ways, I can't tell you what's in store for the year. I can tell you what I'm THINKING, what I'm feeling and hoping.

Getting the Regulators trilogy out is very important to me, due to the underlying message of it.
I might work on a screenplay, if it feels right.
I might release the companion to the Reave Series. (5 books)
I'd imagine I'll release the last 2 books of Carved Legacy! (Although there's a large part of book 10 spoken in Elvish that I've been putting off creating more of the language for, and the thought of it... Well. With my current exhaustion? I honestly am just not at the place for it. (If you could've seen my face when I remembered/realized....))
If I release the companion to the Reave Series and the rest of Carved Legacy, I can get into releasing the larger sagas of them. (Generational things with both. Carved Legacy actually comes in parts. Each saga of the two has about twenty books in them.)

My hopes are that my exhaustion will get sorted.
That discouragement will fade far beyond reach of me.
That I'll get over the fears. Ideally seeing that the words I've written will affect people in positive ways, potentially help with something or other for them.
I'm hoping very much for substantial nourishment all around.

I'll keep doing what I always do--my best, and working hard. What that will end up looking like? No idea. But I'm looking forward to seeing it, whatever it is. ^.^

Know I'm here wishing everyone the absolute happiest of new years and that all your hopes and dreams are within your reach. And I'll be hoping for you the same things for me--that you feel fulfilled, good, and are far from the claws of any negative or harmful thing. Hoping we all each day move a little closer to better, in absolutely every sense.