Biggest royalty check to date and a watershed decision

It’s not nearly as ominous as it sounds, but it was fun to receive the latest royalty check from Amazon. Biggest to date, but sadly not anywhere near what it would have to be to make a living. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t had such expectations. I’ve only been doing this for two years. And writing success takes time, for most people. And I think I’m on track.

There are interesting connections between Family Ties and Spanish Bay, not just pot...

There are interesting connections between Family Ties and Spanish Bay, not just pot and hippies…

I haven’t been writing much in the past few weeks, mainly because we’ve been traveling. For some reason, I can’t focus with people around me, and vacation and travel is to be inspired, not to write. It just doesn’t work for me. However, I did write a short story for my Opus 7 project. Less than four thousand words, but it’s an interesting glimpse into the life of a single mother.

Hopefully I’ll be able to write a couple more stories, maybe even one that’s a bit longer than this one, just for good measure. We still haven’t decided what to do with Opus 7. I don’t know if I should put it out as a book or just publish the single stories as they are or save them for anthologies. We’ll see. My publisher is busy and the last thing they need is yet another manuscript to work on. I’m not the only author in their stable.

Speaking of manuscripts, Spanish Bay is well underway. The first four chapters are edited and we’ve already submitted 1,500 words for the annual Featured Author Anthology published by GRL for the conference in San Diego. Should be a great way to create some buzz. Like all my books, “this one is different” from the previous books. Sure, there are similarities in theme between all my books, and in this one, we also see a return to a scene we’ve visited in Family Ties. There, Dan is conceived in Big Sur, and the hippy community of the late sixties and early seventies. In Spanish Bay, we return to the California coast, albeit a few miles north in Carmel. Neil’s grandma is an old hippie and come to think of it, who knows, she might have known Dan’s parents… It’s almost full circle.

Cover mock-up for Spanish Bay, my new novel coming in October 2015

Cover mock-up for Spanish Bay, my new novel coming in October 2015

On the subject of circles, I applied for another job yesterday, and this one I really, really want. Yeah, i have bills to pay, but that’s not even the primary reason. The main reason is boredom. Don’t get me wrong, writing is awesome, but it’s also very lonely, and sitting here in the house, day after day, by myself, stuck on an island (as beautiful as it may be here), is taxing. I miss the collaboration with other people, and going to conventions is a reminder of just how much fun it is to work with other people, to be around other people. But more than that, I also miss the impact of what I do. Yes, I do get messages from people who love my books, but I miss the direct impact of my work on an organization, on people, on society.

Few authors ever get to this point that they are so famous, so known, that their tweets have an impact, that people care about what they say. J.K. Rowling is one such example, I’m far from being where she is, and I wonder if I’ll ever get there. Probably not, so I need to ask myself how I can make a difference, because I really want to. Even if I never were to publish another novel, I’d be happy with the ones that are out, with the work I’ve done. I have no regrets as such.

I recall the first story, Family Ties. I remember the pride and sense of accomplishment I felt when I put down the pen. I was so proud. I had finally done it. I had written a novel. The second one, Jonathan’s Hope, followed suit just three weeks later, and it is still my most successful book. Odd, eh? I decided to publish them, just to see that I could do it, and the rest is really two years of history, and here we are, waiting for novel number six to hit book stores. I would have had regrets if I’d never published Family Ties, if I’d never tried to walk down this path, but in just five and a half months I’ll have worked as a full-time author for two years. Maybe it’s time to do something else.

I know that the vast majority of my colleagues, even the most successful ones, still have a day job, and they still manage to write. Why shouldn’t I? Beats watching meaningless shows or b-reels on TV… And who knows what kind of inspiration one can find on the job?

What is your take fellow authors? Are you inspired by your day jobs or are they simply a means to the end of writing? Do you love your day job or do you simply get on with it because it pays bills???

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Enjoy your hump day! Friday is just around the corner…

Hans

PS: I hear that we have the best chances to see hundreds of shooting stars tonight, as our planet flies through the Perseids this week (see featured image.) If you have clear skies, look up tonight and make a wish!

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