Where the hell have I been?

I know, this year has sucked donkey nuts for blogging. I’m a terrible blogger and a late-ass writer and nobody can find me to buy my shit, yadda yadda yadda.

The truth is, 2014 has sucked ass and I’m ready for it to be over.

As a lot of folks who have followed this blog for a while know, in 2012 I left a job of almost 18 years to write full time. Which worked out fairly well for about a year, then I went back to work.

Which also worked out fairly well for about a year, until it didn’t. Then I left that job at the end of January and started a new one right after Connooga, so the second week in March. And I thought it was going quite well and was just about ready to go into my boss’s office and talk about an end-of-my-first 90 days review and maybe salary bump.

When he fired my ass without any warning. So right before ConCarolinas I was fired, and I spent the next eight week trying to figure out how I was going to live. Because all my savings had been eaten up in that whole “write for a living” year. But I scrabbled through, sold off a bunch of unnecessary shit, dumped a large portion of my Magic card collection, collected on some back pay that had been floating out there, and got another job that started at the end of July.

So that was good. So far the new job is working out well. I enjoy the work, I enjoy the people, and we are beginning to see some results from my labors.

Then I went to DragonCon, knowing that while I was working the con, my mother was dying. I went to see her the day I left for Atlanta. I spent some time in her room, said my goodbyes, talked to the hospice nurse, and spent all weekend in Atlanta waiting for the phone call that she was gone and it was time to come home. She waited until Monday morning, and a part of me will always believe that she knew how important this con was to my career, and she held on for me. I was in the shower Monday morning when she died, and I felt it. I stood there, water running down over my face, and I felt something in my world shift. I got dressed and started packing, and by the time I got my suitcase half loaded, my sister was on the phone.

I expected it to be easier. My mother had dementia, or Alzheimer’s. or whatever. I don’t know the difference, but I know it’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen. I thought I had reconciled myself to her death, because in a way it felt like she was already gone. The part of her that was really my mother hadn’t been there since before last Christmas. Up until then she would have moments of lucidity, flashes of herself. But I didn’t see those at all after Christmas. And I didn’t react very well. I don’t deal well with things I can’t do anything about – helplessness is not a feeling I process well at all. And I knew there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about my mother’s decline, so I stopped going to visit. I couldn’t stand to see her like that, so I stopped seeing her.

So I expected to handle her passing with calm and grace. After all, I had intellectually processed everything and resigned myself to the fact that my mother had really been gone for years. She never really understood that I had written a novel, much less published six of them. The last publication of mine that she really understood was Red Dirt Boy, a collection of poetry I self-published in 2010. I gave her copies of all my novels, but she never read them. I don’t think she read any of the poetry either, but that never bothered me – I swear a lot in my poetry and she wouldn’t have approved. So I had rationalized all that to myself, and I would be able to handle her eventual physical death without any real impact.

I was wrong.

I have been wrong about a lot of things in my life, but I may have never been so classically, spectacularly wrong about anything before. Even right now, writing this, I don’t understand why it hurts so much. I don’t know if there was some part of me that expected her to make an amazing momentary recovery and we could have some Hallmark movie moment right there at the end where she told me she was proud of me and then slipped away peacefully. I don’t know if it’s guilt because I was working at a con while my siblings sat at her bedside. I don’t know what it is, but I miss my mom. And it hurts more than anything has hurt since I got dumped transcontinentally by the girl I thought I was going to marry.

That one worked out really well in the end, because I married Suzy, but it was pretty fucking gut-wrenching at the time.

So all that oversharing is to explain to you, my fans, why you don’t have In the Still of the Knight, which is Boof 5 of the Black Knight Chronicles, yet. It’s also why you don’t have The Big Bad: An Anthology of Evil vol. 2. It’s also why my editors for a couple of anthologies don’t have Bubba stories and why you haven’t seen very many this year, either.

Because 2014 has been pretty well fucked and it’s made it really hard to write. I’m getting better every day. The new job is stable so far, I’m slowly getting over losing my mom, and I’m back in the saddle writing. I had a meeting with Emily this past weekend to go over layout for BB2, and that should drop in the near future. So both books should be out by the end of the year, with Black Knight 6 hopefully making a summer release next year, because Book 5 flows pretty tightly into 6, so I need to just keep writing and making it all happen.

So I’m sorry that I haven’t been more productive. I appreciate you letting me know that you’re still out there. I appreciate you letting me know that you still want the books, and I promise that I’ll get them to you. I know there has been a little oversharing in this post, and that some of you, and some of my family don’t really approve of such a thing. Too bad. This is what you get with me – I live out loud. It’s the only way I know how to be.

So yeah, 2014 has sucked. I’ll be glad to see it go. But I’m still here. I’m glad you’re still here, too.

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