Geez, it’s like Wednesday happens every week or something. I had an idea for a blog post. I think it washed off in the pool or maybe when I was shaking the water out of my ears.
Maybe it was about being buried in a mushroom suit, so I can decompose naturally, quickly and without polluting the environment.
Maybe it was the thought that my husband wanted to know if the mushroom suit dissolved bones and asked if I wanted to be part of an experiment.
Maybe it was the talk about ten apocalyptic forecasts or the coming nuclear apocalypse.
Maybe it was the more I write, the more I want to write and the more story ideas come to me.
Yep, that was the one. I had planned to write a series of 8 novellas around the Great war. These would be romances, giving back to the millions of women who were singled out as a result of the carnage. How bad was it? According to one statistic, normally 10% of women don’t marry for lack of available mates. After WWI, that percentage rose to 30%. It’s mind-boggling to think of how efficiently we learned how to kill each other thanks to the Industrial Revolution. The blood dripping from the abattoir of the US Civil War was a poor indicator of things to come when we really learned how to do things right.
I am a romance writer at heart because I need that Happily Ever After fix to keep sane. Giving those ‘singled-out’ women a HEA of their own balanced some cosmic scale so I can probe deeper into the darkness. I see the pull back in my writing now. I’m not as dark, not as evil even as I write about so many layers of betrayal, about humanity at its worst—when the good intentions of a few lead us into the bowels of hell.
But as much as I’m drawn into the light and emotional turbulence of a well-crafted romance, I am as much a creature of shadow and void as Trent Powers. I can stare into the abyss and see myself but not lose myself, not be torn apart in shreds of light like a star devoured by a black hole.
I have barely stuck a toe in the depths I’m willing to plumb, but do I want to be known as that writer? If evil is a drug, writers are dealers and readers are recreational users. It’s my job to dole out enough evil to keep the reader hooked, to make them salivate for an ending that delivers justice denied to us in reality.
By now many of you may be scratching your head and wondering what the blog post is about. It’s about the future, 2014 specifically. And whether I will continue to write romances once my contract runs out. Will I write those WWI romances or not? Will I remain a buckshot author (spattered across genres) or focus on one?
If I was smart, I’d focus on one—build a following, brand my name and stand on a platform.
But I’m swimming for the shallow end of the blood bath and I’m facing the sun. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, my skin glistens with story dust. It lifts me into the sun and protects me in the void. It is my armor and sword, it is the words that flow from my fingers.
It is the spark that fires a story, burns it into memories.
Some folks will hate my storytelling; others not so much.
It is Frost’s road less traveled.
It’s writing career suicide.
And while I write this, Kennedy’s famous moons speech repeats in my head. “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win,”
I don’t aim for the moon—I aim for worlds much more distant, for time travel and for unspeakable events best endured only on the page.
And I intend to win, so that one day, someone will come across my footprint in a library and say, “Holy Toledo, she wore Crocs with mismatched socks!”