My dear, dear readers. It's been over a month since you heard from me on my blog. I've been spotty on Facebook and mostly absent on Twitter (which I guess isn't all that different from normal). I could give you a lot of excuses. I could tell you I've been too busy to keep up with The Sheriff and Mrs. Jannsen. I could tell you that I've been preoccupied with events and releases. But those would just be excuses and would only be partially true.
The truth is harder to admit to because it's something I don't face often. Depression. Certainly not to the point of being clinical or needing to seek professional help. But it has been there just the same. I forced myself to finish (and truly did enjoy) writing Holly and Mr. Ivy. Partially, the writing gave me an escape and since I knew exactly where I wanted the story to go, I didn't have to think to much about it. Just let the characters carry the story. The other part was having spent a good chunk of change on a gorgeous cover, the practical side of me insisted that I needed to do something with it. I put on a brave face when talking to people. I tried to get into NaNoWriMo which is one of my favorite parts of the year. But my heart just wasn't in it. I knew it, but I tried anyway.
Oh, I've gotten a few things done. Holly and Mr. Ivy released and I set up tweets and Facebook posts about it. I participated in an author open house which did great things for boosting me out of my funk. I've had tables at two local craft shows which has increased awareness of this small town author and gave me a chance to get out a little. I've painted all the horses in my inventory and they're all lovely. Christmas has definitely been on my mind, which might show just a little. I've been helping prepare for the Fellowship of Fantasy Anthology release as well.
But with the few things I did get done, there were lots of things not getting done. Mostly writing. I started Let Him Call You Sweetheart, a sequel to Holly and Mr. Ivy. I also started a project called Toil and Trouble which may end up a short story, might be a novella and may turn into a full-fledged novel, not sure yet. But I only started them. I haven't worked on them in weeks. The Sheriff and Mrs. Jannsen has been abandoned all together which is certainly not fair to you readers who so enjoyed Scarlett and Blizzard and were looking forward to helping with the next story. And we won't go into how far behind I am on my children's Christmas story.
So the question I had to answer was, "What are you going to do about it?" I've done some thinking and I think I've got the best solution for this time.
I'm giving up on NaNoWriMo, sort of. I plan on getting myself into a writing routine and setting goals that are doable and meaningful for where I am right now. With three littles at home vying for attention and homeschooling the oldest, 50K in a month just isn't practical. Especially when that month is filled with birthdays, releases, Thanksgiving, and other obligations. I definitely don't need the extra guilt and pressure of watching my word bar flounder.
Jumpstart The Sheriff and Mrs. Jannsen
I need to get back in this because I know it's something you've all enjoyed. I've linked the first chapter above. In the next couple days, I'll get the second chapter finished and posted on the blog. Then it will become part of my writing routine. Every two weeks I will write and post the next chapter, using your suggestions to keep the story flowing.
Illustrate and Write
I've changed directions on my Christmas story at least three times since September. Not good for getting things finished. So what I've settled on is a story with coloring pages instead of full-color illustrations. My children love to color and they like more challenging pages than most children's coloring books provide. I'm sticking with the Fairy Christmas theme, so there will be lots of fantasy creatures to color in, but there will also be a fun, rhyming story to go along with the coloring pages.
Release Parties and Blog Hop
Fellowship of Fantasy is releasing our very first anthology, Fantastic Creatures, on November 17th. It is available for preorder right now for $0.99, but will be free on release day. (We learned you can't set up a free book for preorder.) You can learn about it at our website and we would love to have you join us for the release party between 2:30 and 6 (CST) on the 17th. I will be putting a lot of time and energy into that for this week and the days following the release. There will also be a blog hop featuring several of the authors and stories to be found in the anthology. I will have Lea Doué on my blog as well as a list of blogs to go to for more information. The other cool thing about this blog hop: it's a scavenger hunt. Each blog post will have a clue which you can use to enter into a giveaway of a Kindle Fire and 12 new eBooks! It's going to be a lot of fun, so make sure you stop by here on the 17th.
It's November and that means it's time for me to start my annual holiday sale. Last year I donated proceeds to the Community Enhancement Foundation of Plains to bring a grocery store to our small Kansas town. This year, I'm helping my little brother (if you can call someone four inches taller than you little) get to Iceland for a study abroad opportunity. I'll be sharing an interview with him soon, but you'll notice that everything on my website it currently at reduced price and you should be watching regularly for special deals. If you prefer to do your shopping on Amazon or have giftcards to Barnes and Noble or other retailers, don't worry. I'm including sales from all of my current outlets.
Readers, I love you and I appreciate so much your patience, encouragement and love. It means a lot to me. The healing process can be slow, especially when it's your heart trying to heal. But you look for the sunshine, you thank God for the little miracles that keep you going, and you take one day at a time. Now it's time for me to rise up and shake off the melancholy. It's time to get back into the things I love doing. And it's time to show you wonderful readers all the wonderful things I've got in store for you.
Big hugs readers, and I'll chat with you again soon. I promise.
Jessica L. Elliott
Author, artist, mom and super-genius