Last night the editor got Watcher of the Woods back to me–I’ve worked her like mad the last few months, she’s a superhero and deserves a long break before I hit her with Soul Spell and The Killing Beach–so I’ve got those I’m working on today with another read-through before I format it for print for the proofer to review.
She feels it’s even better than Dweller, which is hard for me because it was a tricky book to write and I’m still not sure I like it myself. But she loves it and found it scary, and said these books are definitely my jam and I should write more.
Which is the plan.
I turned forty almost two months ago and while age is just a number, I realize any differences in outlook I have right now is the culmination of the past few years–it’s just something about forty tips one over the other side. Your life being half over (or more than that–I’m doubtful I’ll make it to sixty) makes you realize your life is never going to be what you wanted it to be. I joke about younger photos of myself with, “Aw, look at her, so full of hopes and dreams”, but there is something to that; and before you start with “you can still achieve your dreams after forty!” remember that is not the case for all things. Some things, you simply cannot have anymore.
I grieve for that, but I cannot change it. I have a lot of thinky thoughts about that feeling of running out of sand, that will probably make it into a character’s arc in Waverly’s books.
So having entered my Fuck You Forties (in which I say “fuck you” to everything all the time) I’m finding so much right now is just giving myself the things I always wanted–like Agent Cooper Barbie, and the custom Audrey doll my friend got me to match–because I never stopped being the little girl who wanted those things, and she deserves nice things (another very difficult concept for me, that I deserve nice things–I burst into tears when people say that to me). I’ll decorate how I want. (There is a theme here; I think I’m starting there because that was so formative to me when I was seven/eight years old.) After an ex ruined my credit and the subsequent poverty, I have spent almost three years building it back up again with a shitty Capital One card, and was finally rewarded with actual real credit–I can see how younger people get in trouble with that, as the thought of “I’m an adult, I could buy the thing I want” is extremely seductive, though I manage to not give in. There may be a little $100 espresso machine with a milk frother in my future, though, as gifting myself things is part of adulthood for me.
And this shift means writing the things I want, and I wanted to be a mystery and horror writer when I was a little girl.
This isn’t to say other books haven’t been what I wanted to write–pen name words excepting, every single book has been something I wanted to read. Given that I put my books out myself, I can guarantee that–my tastes may not align with others, but every single book is one of my heart. But I am reconnecting, I think, with who I used to be.
I am probably not going to sell any more books–I’ll probably sell even fewer, as I think Livi was the most commercial thing I’ve ever written and it’s never taken off, and preorders for these other books are lucky to hit double digits. I’m never going to be a bestseller but I’m hoping to squeak by with at least enough money from writing sources to pay the bills and keep the lights on, and I’m content with that as a goal. Writing horror is comfortable to me, like I’m sinking into a blanket from childhood that I’d forgotten but that smells like home.
So I’m going to see what I can get done with Watcher of the Woods today, let the third book in Skyla’s Haunted Pandemic Trilogy of Childhood Trauma percolate (I should probably call that the Hope Falls Trilogy, or Hope Falls Ghosts or something, but the books are all standalone and it doesn’t need an official series title), and continue doing what I want.
And hey, maybe I’ll make a mid-February horror release a thing after this a swell. Sure, October horror releases would be more profitable, but hey, have you met me??!
Since when have I done anything profitable?