Returning to Erâth

On Sunday, I tried moving a large bookcase, and ended up severely hurting my back. I’ve been to the chiropractor three times since, but in the meantime, I find myself unable to sit, stand, or move, and have been more or less laid up in bed for the past four days. At first, I spent most of the time sleeping, trying to ignore the pain in my lower spine, but as the days wore on I found myself getting progressively bored, and in need of something to distract myself from the agony I’m currently in.

Back in March I published the second of my contemporary YA novels, The Broken, and found myself wanting to turn back to the stuff that started it all: fantasy, and The Redemption of Erâth. Although I have three books completed in the series, there are still four to go, and it’s taken me ten years to get this far, so if I don’t hurry up and keep writing, it might never get finished.

I’ve been working on and off on the fourth book for a while, actually – I’m about eight chapters in at the moment – but progress has overall been fairly slow. I have the basic outline and plot laid out, and really at this point it’s just a question of getting words down on paper (I really could have used NaNoWriMo as an excuse to get this done, but really I find excuses to not get things done if we’re being totally honest). But since I have the rest of this week on my back, and next week off from work (a short vacation that didn’t pan out, so I’ll be staying home), I feel like I have an opportunity to actually get some of this writing done.

Alongside writing the continuation of The Redemption of Erâth, I’ve started to give some thought to who I want to be as an author. As Satis, I write Lord of the Rings-inspired high fantasy, and have done for the past 10 years. In that time, I’ve really garnered no true readership, a smattering of reviews, and I can count on one hand the people who’ve told me they actually really like the story. (This isn’t to say I don’t believe in the story, but really has more to do with my inability to market it well.) On the other hand, I’ve done reasonably well with my contemporary YA, written under my real name – particular my first novel, 22 Scars.

This has led me to wonder what the best way to gain readership for The Redemption of Erâth is. I’m not having much success selling the books, or even with giveaways, and given the serial nature of the story (it’s really one huge story that takes place over the course of seven novels), I’ve started to think that I might want to return to the original idea behind the story: posting bits of it each day or week online for people to read for free. After all, I’m not in this for the money, and really would simply like to know people are out there, reading my work.

To that end, I’ve decided I will publish the entirety of The Redemption of Erâth online, for free, through Wattpad, Inkitt, and here on WordPress. I will start by uploading the first five chapters of Book One, Consolation, later today, and the remaining chapters will be uploaded on a semi-regular basis (every few days, I think at the moment). Once we get caught up to where Book Four is so far, I’ll start posting completed draft chapters as they come.

I’m excited to see if people are interested in this story again, as they were back in 2012 when I first started writing and publishing drafts of the first volume! I’ve learned a lot about writing since then, and I hope that my skill as an author has improved, but most of all I just want people to be able to read my writing as easily and accessibly as possible. The books will remain on Apple Books and Amazon to purchase, both digitally and in print, but for those of you wanting a free fantasy story, it will be here for you as well.

Once the first chapters hit, feel free to let me know what you think – I always value criticism and feedback!

Ten Years in the Making

It occurred to me, as I sat here trying desperately to think of something – anything – relevant to say, that I started blogging here on WordPress almost exactly ten years ago – October 5, 2011 was my first post. And as I thought about that, I thought that really, that’s a pretty long time.

In some ways, a lot has happened. I’ve written and published three (and a half) books in The Redemption of Erâth series (with more to go, if I ever get there) and two stand-alone YA books under my real name; I’ve published over nine hundred individual posts here on Satis Writes; I’ve recorded five albums of music (that will likely never see the light of day). My son, who was seven when I started writing fantasy for him, will be going to college next year.

But in other ways, not much has changed. I’m still depressed. I still struggle to do things that others find easy. I still don’t know how to do my taxes. I’m still me, and me hasn’t changed much in ten years. I’m not famous; I don’t have an agent; I’ve never successfully convinced anyone to represent me or my writing. I do it all myself, and get it out to no one.

WordPress has been kind to me; it’s been a community that helped me through difficult times, and gained me readership, fans and friends. I don’t spend nearly as much time here as I used to, and it shows in my likes, readership stats and views. But I will keep writing, because I kind of don’t know what else to do. Every time I commit to writing more, or again, I fall out of it just as readily. Every time I say things will be different … they never are.

Recently I’ve fallen into an exceptionally deep depression that I’m really struggling to rouse myself out of. I posted on Monday about loneliness and validation, and … haha, got no likes. It doesn’t help.

I realize it’s a journey, of course, and that it comes with its ups and downs. I’ve had some great times over the years – for example, some of my first book launches (virtual, of course) were exciting, and I got the opportunity to connect with and get to know lots of different authors, readers and fans of fantasy and writing in general. There’ve been some absolutely awful times, like when I found myself in my car in the woods of Pennsylvania, wondering what the easiest way to die would be.

I’ve even been featured on WordPress’ front page twice, for articles on raising children and mental health. That was a long time ago, but I remember it fondly, as being part of a supportive, caring community.

In the end, of course, whatever comes is what will come; whether it be fame, fortune, recognition, anonymity, misery, or death. I can’t control the future, anymore than I can change the past. But I can at least recognize the steps that it’s taken to get me here, and the fact that, despite sometimes months of absence at a time, I continue to return to WordPress, continue to write, and continue to try and reach out to the world at large.

So here’s to celebrating ten years of blogging; and who knows – perhaps to ten years more.

We shall see.

So Much To Do, Not Enough Time to Be Too Depressed to Do It

Sometimes, I think I do too much.

My wife would argue this isn’t the case, and she’s probably right, for the most part – in general, in life, I really don’t do much at all. I’m actually pretty freaking lazy most of the time, which is why it feels like there’s always so much to do – I never really get around to any of it.

No … what I really mean is that, in my creative endeavors, I overstretch myself frequently. The common trope of the writer is that they’re always writing – anything except their story. Sad, but true. I always have at least two trains of creative thought going at any given time: writing and music. Within that, my writing is split between fantasy (The Redemption of Erâth), which I haven’t touched in a long time, and young adult novels, one of which I most recently completed earlier this year. Music-wise, there’s always so much going on, including three nu-metal albums to accompany said young adult book, as well as grandiose orchestral suites and metal operas. I want to write a goth rock album, and who knows what else as my musical tastes change and evolve.

The problem is time. As in, there just isn’t enough of it. I started work on The Redemption of Erâth almost ten years ago, with the idea to write a seven-book series; so far only three have seen the light of day. I took time off to write two young adult novels, both of which were extremely challenging in their own right (mentally and emotionally draining), and for the past few months I’ve been working on a metal/orchestral suite of songs that I just completed on Friday. Still, I don’t think ten years ago I thought I’d still be trying to write my fantasy series.

To top it off, I’m not getting any younger. I’m not really old enough to be terribly concerned about my mortality (nor am I famous enough that I worry about leaving unfinished works behind to torment my adoring fans), but it does cross my mind that in almost forty years I’ve failed to make a career out of anything creative, and if I died tomorrow, I really wouldn’t have much of a legacy to leave behind.

The worst part is that, when I do have time to create, I’m often too depressed to be able to focus on it. This affliction that’s lasted my entire adulthood is truly a blessing and a curse – it gives me the inspiration to create dark and gloomy worlds, and at the same time prevents me from actually getting any of it down on paper. I want to write; I want to create music; and I don’t want what I’ve finished so far to be all that I ever make. I just find it so impossibly difficult to actually get any of it done.

If I think back on everything I’ve ever started, I’ve actually done pretty well; three fantasy novels, two young adult stories, three nu-metal albums and two metal symphonies are all under my belt, and I definitely didn’t think I’d have been able to finish any of them when I first started (in fact, my first young adult novel, 22 Scars, dates back to 2005 in its earliest iterations). But there’s still so much more to do.

With that being said, I think that now my second YA book is published, my metal symphony is complete, and I’m not overly concerned about writing more nu-metal, it’s time to return to Erâth. I started working on the fourth book in the series almost two years ago, and so far only have six chapters written. I need to clear my schedule, knuckle down, and get the rest of The Redemption of Erâth finished. And not just the fourth book; the fifth, and the sixth, and the seventh one, too. From here on out, this is what I’m going to try to complete.

After that … well, we’ll see. I don’t have any other raging ideas just at the moment, but I’m sure they’ll come along eventually; they always do.

For now – onward and back into the world of Erâth!