Saturday, October 15, 2011

Oh, time, time, time is on my side, yes it is

One of my reader friends, Emma, sent me a copy of an essay by Maj-Britt Rosenbaum, MD titled Sabbatical. I wish I could find a copy of this article on-line because it’s probably the best thing I’ve read on the topic. Rosenbaum perfectly captures the mix of anticipation and anxiety triggered by the very thought of that much “free” time.

“The private fantasy of uninterrupted time--time to waste, time to pour through my fingers if I want to, time to savor, time to loll in--has a different emotional texture than planned time off. Time extracted from the ongoing stream of schedules, commitments, and responsibilities, always balanced against such counterweights as “Can I afford it?” “Do I deserve it?” “What are my responsibilities?” “Will it be worth it?” and “Dare I, can I actually get away with it?”

All this -- and more -- is constantly churning in the back of my mind as I get closer and closer to the end of the year. Am I really going to do this?

In fact, it’s pretty much too late to turn back now. I’ve steadily (stubbornly?) resisted taking on any commitments for 2012, and now most of my publisher’s schedules are filled. If I publish anything next year it will be self-published.

That in itself is exciting. A new direction. A new challenge. A new adventure.

But doubts whisper in my other ear. I’ve worked hard to reach this point, the point of being able to even consider taking a serious amount of time off. Am I subconsciously sabotaging my success?

 Will I miss my fantasy, so shiny and satisfying, so “unattainable”--an ideal I can wistfully compare to my busy, hectic life? With no future fantasy beckoning in the distance, will I instead look back to these busy days as the more rewarding times, when what I did mattered, when I felt useful, and “good,” because I did for others?

How ingrained the work ethic is: to contribute, to excel, to climb the mountain, to use my “gifts” to do, to do, to do--to produce, to accomplish, to succeed.

Oh yes. I feel guilty even contemplating rewarding myself with sabbatical. Especially when everyone I know is busting their butt to make ends meet, to hit their goals, to carve a career out of ice.

Not that I’m choosing a sabbatical as a reward. I’m burnt out. I’ve been burnt out for nearly two years. But so what? I can still produce. The fact that I’ve come to dread writing is sort of beside the point, right? Because as long as I can function, it seems like I ought to.

I suppose that’s why the decision to go on sabbatical feels increasingly like a reward and not therapy.

All I want is the chance to stand still for a while, to reflect, to feel, to listen more carefully to my own voice. Just to wait and see what bubbles up. One fear is that nothing will “bubble up,” that no combustion, no energy will be generated. I fear that only cold wind blows in there--I fear a desert inside.

Yes. Exactly. Worse…right now I can function. I can produce. What if I come back from this break and I’ve lost the ability to drive myself forward, to work under this kind of pressure? What if it turns out I can’t refill the creative well and on top of that, I’ve lost the discipline to march on without water in my canteen?

What then?

It’s a risk. Will readers remember me in a year in a genre where there a couple hundred new titles every month?

I wake up at night thinking are you really going to do this? And yet…and yet…

I prefer to see it as a test run, a chance to find out if I have filled my house with enough life. I prefer to see it as an opportunity to listen to--and to express--my own voice, not the echo of others, not what they want to hear, what they want me to do, but just because, just because.

Maybe it is a mistake. But then, leaving the security of my day job was a risk too, and I’ve never regretted that decision. Not for one moment. I don’t know if this sabbatical will bring equally dramatic results to my life, but I know that for better or worse, I’m going to do it.

And in an odd way, making this decision to leave, grabbing this chance, feels like taking the first step to coming back.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Mummy Walks

Hopefully onto your Kindle or Kobo or Nook or reading device of your choice.

Yep, Mummy Dearest is live and currently haunting the #1 slot on Amazon's Gay & Gay & Lesbian lists.

Genre: Contemporary, Gay, Holidays
Publication Date: 10-04-2011
Length: Novella
ISBN: 978-1-60928-536-4
Series: The XOXO Files
Price: $3.50

The truth is out there. Way, way, way out there!
The XOXO Files, Book 1
Drew Lawson is racing against the clock. He’s got a twenty-four-hour window to authenticate the mummy of Princess Merneith. If he’s not at his boyfriend’s garden party when that window closes, it’ll be the final nail in their relationship coffin.
The last thing he needs traipsing on the final shred of his patience is brash, handsome reality show host Fraser Fortune, who’s scheduled to film a documentary about the mummy’s Halloween curse.
The opportunity to film a bona-fide professor examining the mummy is exactly the aura of authenticity Fraser needs. Except the grumpy PhD is a pompous ass on leave from his ivory tower. Yet something about Drew has Fraser using a word he doesn’t normally have to draw upon: please.
With no time to waste—and a spark of attraction he can’t deny—Drew reluctantly agrees to let Fraser follow his every move as he unwraps the mummy’s secrets. Soon they’re both making moves behind the scenes that even the dead can’t ignore…

Product Warnings
Whoso shall ever open this tomb, er, book shall suffer the curse of the Pharaohs. Okay, maybe not. But set aside a chunk of time for marauding mummies, too many cosmopolitans, illicit sex in hotel rooms, and other non-academic shenanigans.

You can purchase through All Romance Ebooks, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Samhain itself...