Of course, I’ve been lying to myself too, coming up with a million reasons why I haven’t written much over the past year and a half. I’ve blamed fatigue from my thyroid, knowing full well it’s always been an issue – and it’s never stopped me from writing. Family obligations? I’ve had those all along too – and watching Aria has never been a 24/7 thing.
So what’s the real truth?
Probably a combination of those two things, the deaths of a few people I either loved or cared about over the past eighteen months, some unexpected stressors, and a few other things put me in a mildly depressed, very burned out place. And for more than a year, I was afraid I’d lost what it took to be an author.
I kept trying to write. Steven (book 2 in the Double M series), Weko1, the Coach’s Boys Christmas special, the Enza prequel… I’ve tried writing all of those – and more – but I’d get to a certain point, different for each one, and I’d be stuck. And I just could not write more.
I tried doing a challenge with another author – a short story, roughly ten-thousand words, every month for 2017. It took me until late July to finish and publish my first one. I even had trouble writing one short story.
It was crazy. So in a kind of desperation, I jumped on an opportunity this spring – writing in a fictional world with three other authors. The plan was to have five novellas written by the end of September. I had part of one done by then. I’d tried a couple of other ideas for a series of five stories but those didn’t get far. Then I thought, I’ll just do a standalone story and hope for the best. That was like pulling teeth but in a panic because I didn’t want to let the others down, I finally managed to finish it.
And then, and I’m still not sure where the idea came from, Haunted Depot: The Ghost Curse was born. And it’s like whatever was blocking me, whatever wall was there that made it impossible to write, it’s gone. I’m having more fun writing than I have in almost two years. I’m finishing stories – and it’s looking like the Coach’s Boys Christmas novella will actually be published this year. I’m also hopeful for Steven and Weko1.
To clarify, I will continue writing sweet, contemporary romance too.
Now because the Haunted Depot series is urban fantasy, I’ve taken on a pen name: J.J. Belding. J.J. because it was my Yahoo nickname for several years, Belding because it’s the name of a city my family lived in when I was in first through third grade. After much research, it just makes sense to keep the genres separate because some of you prefer my contemporary romance. I’ll be trying to add a link at the top of this website for J.J.’s website, which will just make everything easier for all of us.
In closing, for today, I’d like to share a couple of covers with you. The Ripple, the standalone story that was so hard to write, is due out on the 14th of this month and this is the final cover. The first Haunted Depot installment, along with a Christmas novella, will be available next month but I’m still playing around with what I want – but this is close to what the final version will be.