October Newsletter (2019)

I wanted this newsletter to go up on the first of the month, but my back has gone completely out on three different days this week: one day it was so bad they sent me home from work because I just... couldn't stand up straight. At all. So that's been a thing I've been dealing with and I'm sorry for the tardiness.

I've also been grappling with some personal revelations that I'm not quite sure what to do with; I feel like I need to get them out and down so they stop being scary and start being made real. So here we go.

When I began the Earthside series, I envisioned a multi-book series much like the Xanth series that meant so much to me as a child. Book after book with no end in sight, with a sprawling magical world and new protagonists cropping up from the supporting casts of previous books. I plotted. I planned. I have planning notes for books with Mina as the protagonist, with Elric, with Lavender, with Joel, with Jing, with Reese. I love them all, these characters, and love the world I made for them.

I was also planning to get these out the door quickly, ideally one book a year alongside other smaller projects. I didn't think anything of ending Survival Rout on a bit of a cliffhanger because the next book was going to come out a year later, pick up directly on its heels, and be about apprehending the dangling villain before he can hurt Aniyah again. I had a chapter-by-chapter outline, I knew exactly what happened each step of the way, how long could it take to write a book? I'd written several at that point, after all!

Then I started No Man of Woman Born as a side-project. My husband at the time asked what was taking all my creative energies and causing me to type frantically away at the keyboard day and night and, excited, I told him. His response to my working on a "trans book, by a trans author, for trans readers" was not... super positive. On the days I set for working on Earthside, I found it difficult to write romance when my own relationship was not doing... super well. I stared at the pages and realized it just wasn't coming, and so I set Earthside to the side for a time.

After my divorce, the association of the draft with my husband only increased and I've spent the better part of a year trying to cajole, bribe, force, and hector myself into writing a book that I just can't seem to write at the moment. I know the words. I know what needs to go on the page. But my fingers just can't seem to do the thing. It's the most vexing thing I've ever experienced.

And when I try to work on other projects--Narnia posts, patreon fic, trans stories, anything--a little voice in my head screams "YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE WRITING THE OTHER THING" and that means nothing gets on the paper at all.

I've been blaming a lot of this on... well, everything. 2019 political stress. Work stress. Divorce stress. New medication stress. Back pain. But. BUT. Writing drabbles for my DM this last month at her command made me realize... I like writing. I miss writing. I just don't miss feeling like a failure every time I sit down at the keyboard because I'm "supposed" to be writing something else. That part isn't helping me.

So with that in mind, I am going to make an announcement: I am putting my Earthside project on hiatus until future notice. I really hate doing this and I particularly hate doing so when I left Book 2 on a cliffhanger book; if I could go back in time and change that, I would. I can tell you that [the rest of this paragraph has spoilers for Survival Rout] even though Aniyah does not remember Timothy, he does not re-kidnap her. Mina (who you may remember from Poison Kiss) discovers that he's been working for the True Fae and she goes on a city-wide hunt to capture him before he can hurt anyone else.

I hope that someday I can pick up Earthside again. Hell, even while writing all this out I feel a spark of "ooooh, I miss that". Maybe I just need to find the right writing group or "critique cheerleader" to send my drafts so they can bang the table and go "more!" (I work best when I'm writing "for" someone, as seen with my DM drabbles.) If anyone wants to volunteer for that in the comments, god bless you. But any work I do on Earthside will be "extra" in addition to the projects I've been neglecting. I want to make those my "official" focus, at least for a little while.

With that in mind, what are my goals for the year?

I want to write another Narnia post. I miss those.

I want to write a sequel to No Man of Woman Born. I...I don't need more projects, I know. But every reader who wrote me saying they needed these fairy tale stories, it... it touched me every time. I'm not sure what this sequel will be about, as I think I'm done with the prophecy angle for awhile; I'm kinda thinking I might do a collection of (some of) the "Disney Princess" fairy tales, but with transness. I want that.

I want to share more of my D&D stuff with you. I really don't know if there's any interest in this or if you're all just humoring me, but I put together some handouts for my Curse of Strahd players and I'll be damned if I won't show them to someone. So here we are.

Moving on:

October Stuff: 

- I did a live-watch of the Alien series and I hope you enjoy those as they go up. I really love the franchise, despite its occasional misstep.

- D&D handouts for Curse of Strahd!

- I plan to continue my Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney live-play on YouTube.

Reminder! It's a new month, which means new paper books for the $25 patrons and new bookmarks for the $5 patrons! If I don't have your address, send me a message on the internal system or email me at AnaMardoll at gmail dot com. I love sending ya'll things!

An index to the deconstructions on my blog is here.

My YouTube channel is here. The Phoenix Wright videos are here.

Do you like "Tumblr Threads" which collect funny tumblr posts? I have one here!

My Twitter account @DivorceKittens with stories and pictures is here.

I know this newsletter was a long one and not necessarily everything you'd want to hear. Thank you so much for being here with me. I love you all.


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