Painful Passage of Time

When I was on vacation I received an e-mail which, under normal circumstances, would have depressed me in a big way. One of my short stories, “The Snow Queen,” which was published in an anthology retelling fairy tales, will be returning to me at the end of this month.

There’s nothing bad about it; the contract simply expired. I’m not being booted from the publisher or anything scandalous and dramatic. Not only that, but it was a short story that was attached to an anthology and this is to be expected (it happens to everyone. Believe me; I checked).

With “The Snow Queen,” the rights revert to me and I can do whatever the hell I want with it. I can retool it, I can expand it, I can get a new cover for it and upload it for sale (or free) on Amazon, or I can let it sit there and collect dust. I can write a bunch of short stories and publish them on my own or see if the publisher will take them back in a collected form (I imagine that this will depend on my popularity, which is laughable and, I imagine, negligible at the moment). As far as that goes, I have a lot of options, but there’s still a sting to it, you know?

That’s not the source of the sting, though. The real point is that the contract on the short stories is good for two years, and the novels are good for (I believe) three years. This means that the short story I published in the Mythologically Torqued anthology, titled “Threads of Discord,” will be returning to me some time next year.

What’s bothering me is that my novel , Winter’s Trial, should be returning to me sometime this summer, I believe. Well, I don’t know how that all works, but Winter’s Trial is the first in a series of four books. If that returns to me, then what’s the point for anyone in me branding it as the first in a series? Not only that, but it forces me to look at my accomplishments — or lack thereof — and really come to grips with it. I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. I didn’t think I would start with gay stuff or stay in that genre, but it’s a good publisher with nice people, and you have to start somewhere. And, with that logic, the years rolled by.

To date, I have published one novel and two short stories (both as parts of separate anthologies). Winter’s Trial is a long book and took all of three months to write, so the fact that I have not written and published more is absolutely absurd. There are no excuses. Life happens, and I used it as an excuse to put my writing off. My confidence is easily shaken, and I had ideas for no less than three huge novels in that time in diverse genres (and more ideas than that if I’m to be honest), but they would have been so big and so involved, that I felt I didn’t have the skill level or the practice to do them right. Yet. I still think that’s true, but I let it stop me. Again and again. (And how the hell do I expect to get the experience I feel I need if I’m not writing?! Makes no sense, does it?)

So, three years later and I have brushed past my life-long dream. I have come within striking distance of the beginning and no further. And time marches on. It’s painful. Looking back at all this, looking at all the time I’ve wasted, at all the excuses I’ve had (some actually legitimate, most not), the only conclusion I have come to is this:

There’s no use beating myself up over it. I cannot turn back time — nor would I want to. Yikes, those have been three rather ghastly years. All I can do is see where the fault lies, realize that I am here 100% because of my own inaction, and vow to myself to do better.

In the meantime, I have sent an inquiry about how this whole process works while telling the publisher that I am writing the second novel in the series. There’s no going back now. Gotta get my ass in gear. Personally and professionally, there is no other option now.

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~ by Darren Endymion on April 28, 2016.

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