It’s been a while. I know that. I wish I had something profound to say about my return, but I don’t. My departure from the writing world wasn’t due to some great, mysterious adventure that I can regale you with now. The truth is: I had to step away. Not because I wanted to. Not because I needed a break. Not because of anything related to writing. It was a personal hiatus. You see . . . just when things were going super awesome for me in the indie world, my personal life fell apart. I didn’t disappear on purpose, and I want you to know and understand why I did, where I’ve been, why I have been silent until now, and that I’ve been busting my butt to get back.
Here’s the story, in a nutshell.
It actually all started in 2014, shortly after my twin boys were born and I was writing the third book in The Ignited Series. My husband, son, and I had just moved into a nice, new, big house with an even bigger mortgage in preparation of growing from a family of 3 to a family of 5. We were doing well. My books were selling like crazy, and I quit my job as a physician assistant to write full time and take care of my kids. Hello, dream job!
It didn’t take long to notice the change in my then-husband. He had a history of drug use long before I came along, but it had not been a problem the entire time we were together. It was merely a blip from his past—that I wasn’t even a part of. Or so I thought. Something happened. To this day, I don’t know exactly what. Perhaps it was a pyramid of things, stacked on top of one another, that led to the storm that came next, or it was destined to happened.
No one knew at the time, but from late 2014 until late 2016, I lived a tumultuous life with an admitted alcoholic/drug addict. (And since early 2013 with a man who lied and hid it well while brushing off the red flags that I saw.) I hid his secrets for him. I permitted him to isolate me from family and friends so that no one knew the ugly things that happened inside our home. I later discovered that he was the definition of a narcissist. Everything was my fault. He lied, wasted our hard earned money on booze and drugs, and it was my fault when I caught him. This was the daily routine, and the events that occurred during that time grew more and more severe as his addiction worsened. I became the emotionally and verbally abused wife I never thought I would be. It got bad, but I still managed to pump out those books. It was still my escape, and no one knew that I silently suffered on the inside.
In 2016, I decided to leave him. I didn’t know where I would go, but I couldn’t stay in that environment any longer. I couldn’t expose my children to the toxicity any longer. He found out my plans, and finally decided it was time to change. (I had been promised change dozens of times by this point, so I wasn’t hopeful.) But this time, he entered rehab. In Texas. For 9 months. As relieved as I was that he was gone and no longer a daily threat to me and the kids, the damage to my mental health had already been done. As far as my marriage went, his action to fix it was too little too late. The torment he put me through had damaged me on a deep level that was not easily or quickly repairable. It wasn’t until he was gone that I realized the extent of it. I experienced anxiety, daily panic attacks, and came to discover through therapy that I suffered from PTSD. (I am told that this is actual common among spouses of addicts/alcoholics.)
I struggled to write. I went months without even looking at my computer, let alone consider advertising or even caring to stay visible in the rapidly growing industry. I don’t know how I even managed to finish what I did publish. I guess you could say I “forced” it since it was my only source of income, and I needed to support my kids. But that took a toll on me, too. What was once fun and freeing was no longer either. As my mental health worsened, I found that I could no longer “force” it. I took some time to focus on the kids and my own healing. It is a time I won’t ever regret, because it was absolutely necessary, but my author career suffered as a result. By retreating into the shadows, I became invisible in the indie world.
I could not keep the house intended to be our forever home, but was fortunate enough to have somewhere to go with the kids while I attempted to get my feet back under me. I couldn’t even think about my career as I fought through this dark time in my life. The mental and emotional healing has been a long and hard process, and I’ll spare you the ugly details, but I’m there now. For the most part. I still have bad days (or weeks), but overall, I feel good. Sure, it’s stressful, and I’m not the same person I was before—I never will be. The kids live with me, and the everyday things that go into caring for them fall squarely on my shoulders. As a single mom of three, I struggle on a day-to-day basis, and I don’t have much time to write, but mentally, I’m ready to do it again.
The twins started pre-k this fall, which has freed up time for me to write! Finally, a little weight has lifted off of my shoulders. I am still working on putting the blur of bad memories behind me, and am still getting adjusted to this new life I have, but I am ready to restart the career that was going so well before the storm hit.
This is not my excuse. This is my come back. I hope to see you all there!