As another year comes to a close it’s normal to look back and reflect on what the past year has held, and what the goals or hopes might be for next year. I know some people poo poo this type of thing, but for me it’s always been something I’ve done. There are good years and bad years of course. As the saying goes, ‘you can’t win ‘em all.’ In 2013, while I certainly didn’t win ‘big’, I feel I had a lot of victories and a lot to be grateful for.
Around last January I started to think about music again. I had been dedicated to the idea of becoming a singer in my earlier years and had spent some time in my late teens/early twenties singing in rock bands. I lived for it. I decided I’d try again, this time with only the hope of finding people to play music with. The feeling of standing in a room making music with other people is not quite like anything else and unless you’ve done it, it’s hard to describe.
Terrified, I auditioned for a band. I hadn’t auditioned in years and wasn’t sure what was going to happen. What did happen was that I shocked myself. Sometimes a person does that. I didn’t expect to get hired but I did, pretty much on the spot too. I can’t even tell you how good that felt. But as good as that feeling was, it didn’t last. I realized over the course of the six or eight weeks I was in the band that I simply don’t feel the way I used to feel about music. I once had a fire and passion for singing and would have done anything and put up with whatever I had to just to be able to get onstage, but as events began to transpire between band members (as they do with all bands, this was not unique to this band at all. All have disagreements and personally I think the biggest thing successful bands have is a group of people who gel. From there you can work with whatever challenges come along) it was evident it wasn’t a happy situation, or at least, I wasn’t happy with the situation.
I bowed out, which I think was the best decision for both me and the band, but became a little depressed. Music, while it’s something I love and can’t live without, is probably not something I’m going to be a participant in, and that’s ok. I came to the conclusion that what I was missing in my life was the act of being creative and so I turned to my other creative passion, which is of course, writing.
I threw myself into it and on March 23rd, The Vampires of Soldiers Cove went up for sale. I didn’t know if anyone would read it or even care. Since that day it’s been downloaded thousands of times and I’ve sold a respectable number of paperbacks, the book’s paperback edition even landing on Amazon’s top 100 in Fantasy books, ranking it’s highest at #74. The kindle version was #94 in the UK paid store as well. During one freebie weekend promo event the book went all the way to #1 in the free kindle store.
People, I’m sure, think, ‘big deal your free book was #1’. I can understand that but if you knew how many kindle books are free on a daily basis, well, let’s say I was really proud that day.
I also had my first book signing, which was an epic hit! Followed by my second book signing, which was an epic failure. I’ve also published three other books and had a setback with my illness. With every year there’s some good and bad. All you can do is appreciate the good, and cope with the bad.
Many, many people have contacted me both publicly and privately to say how much they love Rachel and Gavin. I love hearing that of course, but it’s still a little weird when people talk to me about the books. I lived alone with this story in my own head for so long that it’s still a little surreal to hear other people discuss it, but I love that they love it. As a writer that‘s really what I value. Not the praise, but the knowledge that other people get it. Not everyone has of course and some people are obviously not fans, but that can’t be helped. Nothing is universally loved, but it’s liked enough to spur me on.
As I look ahead to 2014 and the release of (hopefully, if all goes well) three more books and a brand new movie blog that I’ll be launching with my friend Tiffany, I want to say a special thank you to those of you who’ve supported me this year. I may not have won the publishing lottery but I’ve made lots of new friends and accomplished things I never thought were possible for me. All I want is to keep writing and entertaining. At heart that’s really what I am. The biggest thrill I get is being able to take people away from their lives, even if only for a little while. We all need that break from the mundane routine of life, and things like music, books and movies provide that.
So here’s to you, the readers. Thank you for reading and sharing and prodding me forward. Also here’s to the indie community. A year ago I didn’t even realize it existed but it’s proven to be a vast and supportive network from which I draw strength daily.
And here’s to 2014! It’s onward and upward from here.
I wish you the happiest of new years!