Alright, if you’re not a Supernatural fan, you probably won’t understand this reference. “The Road So Far” episodes typically take place just before a major event in the series and include clips of important happenings in the season/series up until that point, during which Carry On My Wayward Son plays. I’ve always thought that if my life had “The Road So Far” episodes, Paradise City by Guns N’ Roses would play instead of Carry On My Wayward Son. This song has popped up repeatedly during major moments of my life. It was played all through my childhood by my parents, and then by me as a teenager in my car. It was during a live rendition of this song by Slash feat. Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators that I began to feel the stirrings of an upheaval in my personal life. And of course, it was one of the only songs played at my sister’s wedding that I managed to shake off my nerves and enjoy. It pops on my car radio at moments when I need a boost, and I actively seek it out if I want to feel happier/more upbeat.
Today is June 1, 2018, exactly one year from the day my book goes live (barring any major catastrophes, please knock on wood). If there was ever a “The Road So Far” moment in my life, this is it.
So what brought me here? Well, in the summer of 2016, as I grappled with some deep, agonizing anxiety and depression, I found myself clinging to music, podcasts, as well as seeking out new reading material. I’ve always secretly loved male/male romance, specifically fan fiction, and wanted to try my hand at writing it. I had no idea where or how to start, so I began to seek out books to help me…and promptly fell down the rabbit hole. For some reason, the love stories in these books hit a nerve with me that male/female romance never has. To this day, I still can’t quite pinpoint why. I beat myself up over wondering if I objectify gay men, but in the end, these stories just move me in ways no other books before have. And I’ve been an avid reader all my life!
After reading a handful of books, I began to chip away at writing my own story. While these stories moved me and I felt the writing bug bite me harder than it ever has, I was still very anxious and depressed. It was during a particularly dreary drive to work on November 11, 2016, that I realized my story had potential to be something else. If I worked hard, I just might have a real story to tell.
Unfortunately, for about six months, I only picked at the story I was writing. I almost gave up on the whole thing at one point and without my best friend, Chelsey, encouraging me to keep at it and reassuring me that it was an important story to tell, I might’ve actually let it die.
On July 3, 2017, during the long holiday weekend, I sat down and I wrote out the entire rough outline for my book. And then I wrote out not only my first chapter-completion schedule but also my novel completion and launch schedule. Something hit me that day, just as it did on November 11th of the previous year. Only this time, it made me very aware of how quickly I was approaching 30. Single, no kids, I realized that I didn’t want to let 30 come and go with nothing to show for it.
I don’t remember exactly when, but at some point during 2016 or 2017, I sat down alone in a quiet room and asked myself, what do I want? What do I really, truly want out of my life? Clearly, I don’t want a relationship, or I’d be in one. Clearly, I don’t yearn for a family, or I’d take steps towards building one. And obviously, I am more than capable of making things happen when I want them. I lost 110 pounds and have maintained the loss. I went vegan on 1/1/17 and have maintained my diet. I managed to get myself up to running 3+ miles several times a week at one point. I am more than capable. So…what did I want, more than anything?
Well, folks, I think it’s safe to assume that the answer to that question was to write books. And because male/male romances are the stories that move me above all others, those are the type of books I want to write.
On September 11, 2017, I completed my first draft, coming in at 82,717 words. I sat on it for a month before I began a grueling – and ill-timed – rewrite.
On January 13, 2018, I completed my second draft, coming in at 77,127 words. I sat on it for another month before performing a more traditional self-edit.
On April 10, 2018, I completed my third draft, coming in at 73,713 words. I then handed it over to my beta readers and since receiving it back from them on May 10th, I’ve been plugging away at another self-edit.
So, where to from here?
Well, I’m working to have my fourth draft completed by July 15th so that it can be turned over to the professional editor on July 16th. She will have it for approximately 10 days-2 weeks for the first round before returning it to me. I will then take a week off from my day job to focus on applying all edits within a week before returning it to her for the second round of editing. After the second round of edits are applied, I will then hand it over to a professional proofreader for the final brush up. After those tweaks are applied and the book is professionally formatted, I’m clear to send it off to be officially copyrighted. If all goes according to plan, it will go to copyright by the end of September. Copyrighting can take several months, and though you can absolutely publish a book prior to receiving the official copyright, I want to try to wait.
You may be wondering what I plan to do between the end of September 2018 and June 1, 2019. Well, I need to apply to have a spine and back cover produced for this book. I desperately need to work on this website. I also need to work on a marketing/launch plan.
And that, folks, is the road so far, as well as the rough map of what’s ahead. Thank you so much for being a part of this journey.
And now, for my personal favorite rendition of Paradise City…