Sunday, December 14, 2014

Of Facing the Facts and Forced Vacations

Okay. So. I'm going to preface this by saying that this is a post that I had really hoped to avoid writing.

Like, ever.

But I feel it's something that I finally need to explain, if only because I need to take some of the pressure off of myself where this third book in the Variant Series is concerned. (And also, to an extent, because I feel like I owe you an explanation as to why my projected timelines keep getting stretched further and further into the future.)

Not to worry, book three will still be released in early 2015, come hell or high water (or hospital visits, but we'll get to that part in a moment). It's far enough along that—baring some pretty serious extenuating circumstances that I should be able to avoid—it will be ready for publication relatively soon.

I just need y'all to understand what's happening with me, and I need to finally explain why it takes me so dang long to get my books out to you.

The self-publishing world is pretty fast-paced. At times, the process of traditional publishing seems to move at a snail's pace in comparison.

That's part of the beauty of it. Self-published authors are able to speed things up exponentially, just by virtue of being the sole authority on their writing and publishing process. They can provide their readers with new material almost as fast as they can write and polish it. There are indie authors out there who manage to publish multiple books (sometimes an unbelievable number of them) in a single year.

You guys have probably noticed by now—I am not that kind of indie author.

I just can't write my novels that quickly. And in a market that often expects two or more new titles a year from self-pubs.... Well, it can put a lot of pressure on a writer to live up to that standard.

For the past three years, I have tried and failed to live up to that particular expectation. And it's probably time I explained why.

Like I said at the outset, this is not something I originally wanted to tell you about.

I'm a relatively private person, and this is a topic that I usually avoid talking about whenever possible. It's an issue I deal with daily, but that I try very hard not to let others know about. Mostly because there's very little to be gained by talking about it. It is what it is, and everyday I do my best to deal with it and live my life like it isn't much of an issue.

Most days, I succeed. Some days... not so much.

At times in the past, I've mentioned that my health really isn't the best. If you follow me on Twitter, you've likely noticed a tweet or two referencing this fact.

For the last two years, I've been receiving an IV treatment once every eight weeks to help control an autoimmune disease. (I actually need to receive this treatment at least once every four-to-six weeks, but the insurance company refuses to pay for it to be administered any more often than every eight—and at roughly $2,500 per dose, I'm kind of at their mercy, here. {Really. You gotta love the American health care system.})

For the most part, this treatment program has been successful at keeping me feeling pretty good (if not particularly great) and has kept me out of the hospital for nearly two years.

Unfortunately, the last two treatments I received haven't worked as well as they usually do and it's resulted in a pretty major relapse and the return of some of my worst symptoms. When you add in a run of bad luck and a few personal losses that have caused my anxiety issues to soar to new heights (lows?), and the fact that this particular disease (like most chronic illnesses) is made exponentially worse by heightened stress-levels....

Um... Well... Yeah. I'm kind of in a not-so-good way, at the moment.

I'm currently eight days away from my next treatment and in an attempt to ensure that I make it to that next dose without being admitted to the hospital, I'm going to be taking a short vacation.

A vacation from basically everything, except for sleep, books, and a nonstop marathon of the best movies and TV shows Netflix has to offer.**

I need to take it easy for a bit. And I hope you can understand and forgive me, but that means that all things book-three related are going to be placed on the back burner until I can get my health back in working order.

I could have waited to admit to all this until early next year... And, heck, if everything goes the way I'm hoping it will—and I bounce back from this quickly enough to remain on schedule—I might not have needed to say anything at all.

But the truth is, I needed to finally come to terms with the fact that my health will always be a factor in the speed at which I'm able to publish my novels. And with all the love and support you guys have shown me over the past few years, I felt like I owed you some sort of explanation as to why I keep making you wait such a long time in between books. (Especially after that rather cruel cliffhanger I left you dangling from at the end of Resistance... Seriously, y'all. It's killing me not to just break down and spill my guts here on the blog about what happens next, just so I can put an end to the suspense!)

Thanks again for all the love you've shown me lately. You guys totally rock.

I'll see you all again in the new year!

**And if you have any recommendations of your own Netflix faves, or of books that I absolutely have to read, send them my way! I'll adore you for them. Okay, I'll probably adore you, anyway, but if you help me find some fun distractions during the next few weeks, you're likely to be upgraded to Hero status. :)


  1. No worries about possibly pushing back the release date! We are excited for book 3 but we want you to be healthy more. So go relax and enjoy your vacation. I recommend reading Relentless and Refuge by Karen Lynch. Like your books, these are just plain fun to read. I also recently read Alienated by Melissa Landers, which is a YA sci-fi book. I don't normally read sci-fi, but I really enjoyed the book. Finally, you can't go wrong with any Jennifer Armentrout book.

    Also, don't forget chocolate on your vacation! Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Therapy always provides me with my needed rush of endorphins.

    With that, I'll let you go relax and enjoy the holidays!

    1. Hi, Amanda! I absolutely love Jennifer Armentrout's writing—she and Karen Lynch are both in the TBR pile right now and I'm itching to get to both of their series! :) Thanks for the kind words and the support! (And you are so right about the Ben & Jerry's. Chocolate Therapy is the best therapy.) Hope your holidays are wonderful!

    2. Get to Karen Lynch sooner rather than later...they're amazing!

  2. Your health comes first :) never apologise for taking much needed breaks. The books you write are fantastic enough to get me scouring Google to find book 3's release date! I will happily wait as long as it takes to find out what happens to Lex and the gang!
    Hope you feel better soon
    Your newly acquired superfan

    Netflix: Breaking Bad, The Originals, The Vampire Diaries and American Horror Story
    Books: Throne of Glas series and Poison Study series are amazing!!

    1. Thanks, Rachel! I'm so glad you were able to find the blog and thank you for your excellent suggestions! Was a huge Vampire Diaries fan for the first few seasons and have been wanting to get back into it, just so I can be caught up enough to check out The Originals. (And because Damon, really. And probably a bit of Stefan, too, if I'm being honest. And Klaus... and... and geez. I should *really* get back into these shows, now that I've got the time!) Thanks for stopping by the blog and I hope you enjoy your holidays! :)

    2. Haha I missed a few episodes and that somehow spiralled into seasons! So I might have to play catch up with it too :)
      What is it about a bad boy with a nice streak that is so appealing! I wish I could crawl through the TV and steal Damon sometimes :D
      Enjoy your holidays too :)

  3. I hope you get to feeling better very soon! Don't you worry about us, the anticipation will make it that much more thrilling once we get our greedy little hands on book 3 ;-)
    The Hush Hush series by Becca Fitzpatrick is a personal favorite of mine. What is it about a snarky, gorgeous bad boy with a soft side that gets me every time?
    I also love The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, The Violet Eden Chapters by Jessica Shirvington, The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa and The Alice in Zomieland series by Gena Showalter.
    I'm a big fan of The Vampire Diaries, too! (Damon, please?!?) Love The Originals! I really love One Upon a Time. And I've really gotten into The 100.

    1. The Iron Fey are my FAVORITE!
      I liked Violet Eden, too.
      Once is my only TV obsession (HELLO Cap't).

      This, so far, is wonderful. I'm reserving final judgement for the final book (is Book 3 final?), lest you pull a Veronica Roth on us and muck it up in the end. I read a LOT of self-pub YA, and what puts this head and shoulders above the category is the editing. Having a fantastic story is great, but expressing it cleanly makes it sparkle. Looking forward to book 3 (don't muck it up :p )! Kubiando!

    2. The Iron Fey is one of my favorites, too. Prince Ash, melts me (or freezes...either way, please!) And don't even get me started on Phoenix! Haha! My friend and I had many heated debates that finally ended with an agreement that I have an unnatural attraction for the "bad" guys (they're not BAD just...misunderstood)

      Oh and I'm pretty sure the only reason I watch OUAT is for the Captain ;-)

  4. This might be a duplicate I'm very much computer challenged have already entered this message before.
    But it may not have posted. I am 57 so have been reading a long time therefore I am going to give you some books to read that are not on the current recommendations list. One of my absolute favorite fantasy series the Roman by and Mccaffery . She also wrote a standalone book called Restoree. If you're looking for something really different you might like any of the books written by Dick Francis . They are pretty outdated if you start at the beginning books, but I find there a good portrait of the past, and of the technology available at the time they were written . Now going to go out on a limb for minute and share with you my latest addiction. As you say you will spend time on Netflix check out a story by the name of coffee Prince. This is the Korean production with English subtitles . I have found that I really enjoy the shows because I read them and watch them so they're like giant picture books . Take very good care of yourself you have a lot to give others in pure enjoyment so it is imperative that you keep as healthy as possible and enjoy life as much as possible . It is my mantra that no matter what I will be happy . Time is so fleeting why waste it on negativity when for the most part all negativity only makes you feel bad and doesn't change your circumstances. So join me and be a queen of positivity and go fantasy go.

  5. Aww, prayers to you. I hope it all goes well. I stumbled across your books yesterday (Yes, I read both in two days time.) because I've recently declared a necessary vacation of my own where I would do nothing but enjoy my family and read books. I wrote a post very similar to this on my own blog not that long ago. Only I have a different set of medical problems I'm dealing with. I just wanted to say that you are not alone in feeling the indie pressure. I totally understand where you're coming from and wish you the best of luck in the future with everything. Take time to get better. I waited too long to take a much needed break and suffered for it. Your health is above all most important. Your books are awesome enough that I'm sure your fans will be ready to welcome you back with open arms once you're ready. I will be anyway and I'm awesome, so really, that's all that matters. (kidding) But I just signed up for your mailing list. looking forward to the next book--whenever it may come out. Thank you for your talent!

  6. Hi Jena,
    your health should always come first - but since this blog entry is more than a month old by now, I hope you are feeling better already.
    I just wanted to tell you that I just finished reading your two books and I loved them to pieces. :-)
    It was such a pleasure reading them; it was fast-paced, funny, exciting... and of course, the characters! There was no way to not fall in love with them (especially Kenzie, I love her and her witty comments).
    Of course, I really look forward to book 3 now (after such a cliffhanger...), but take all the time you need for writing - I am sure that all of your fans will willingly wait and it will make us look forward to the new book even more. :-)

    Should you still look for book recommendations - I saw someone mentioning Karen Lynch's Relentless/Refuge books. Read them - you cannot not enjoy reading them.

    Keep fighting and thank you for these awesome books,

  7. I just stopped in for an update and saw your post. I think it was incredibly brave of you to share this and I hope that by now you are feeling better. I loved the first two books and look forward to the third. Please keep your health in check so you can continue to deliver these books! It's inspiring that you care so much about your fans to push past your personal problems but your health needs to come first. Best wishes. Tracey

  8. I truly admire and understand your situation. I too have an auto immune disease and am disabled. I read and try to write. Mostly read because of s 'brain fog' that leaves me not as imaginative as I used to be. So my passion for creative writing is lived vicariously through books such as yours. Will pray for you and just say blessings for now. I truly hope you are better soon. I know those treatments, or in your case, the lack thereof, can be a serious thing. I have discovered a few alternative things that truly help. All legal!! Lol. After many years of dealing with this and becoming a sincere skeptic to 'alternative' help, I actually have been helped by something real. I don't and can't sell anything so I want you to understand their is no ulterior motive here. I am dealing with a form of arthritis and am 60 y.o. Still love your books BTW. My kids and I are all big readers. Take your time Jena. You will get it done when you can and it will be great!