Frankly, I am happier now than I have been in my entire life. I'm happily married, I have a pretty neat home, I have good friends, I have a supportive family, my first book from Tor is coming out July 5, 2011, and I'm FINALLY a full-time writer (and working hard to make it stick). I truly love my life right now and I feel I am finally where I have always wanted to be.
Of course, there are some scary spots to flying without a net as a full-time writer. No more regular paychecks is the big one. I'm learning to budget like never before and track all my expenses. Yet, I have never been in this position in my life before. I don't have a "day job," but there is money in the bank and more on its way. It's such a weird, but good feeling.
In the last few weeks I have felt this new reality really sinking in. At Texas Frightmare I ran into multiple fans that instantly recognized me and asked me about my books. I didn't have a booth this year (I was distributing promotional materials and friend's tables and networking)and they were disappointed they couldn't buy some of my newer work, but it was an amazing feeling to actually have readers who like me enough to look for me. Seriously, how awesome is that?
Plus, the Writers' League of Texas has invited me to be a panelist at their monthly workshop at BookPeople on May 19th and also asked me to be a panelist at their big conference in June. Frankly, I was floored to be approached out of the blue. It was even more Twilight Zonish when they said they have known about me for some time. I read the email over twice because it just wasn't registering in my mind that they wanted me to be on a panel. ME! I'm still in shock.
Then to add to the weirdness, I stumbled across two different online conversations where readers were discussing my books (and me). I was just astounded. It felt so odd to have complete strangers discussing my zombie novels and my book deal with Tor.
Yet, it was a reminder that I am on the launch pad for the next big leap forward in my life.
For so long I have fantasized about being published by Tor, having fans, speaking on panels and being a real honest to goodness author. Frankly, when I was just doing the self publishing bit, that felt really good, but this feels a bit more epic.
Somehow, weirdly, strangely, this feels more REAL.
Back when I originally self published, I was very happy with what I was doing and how things were progressing. Maybe a piece of me was even relieved that I was a small fish in a small pond that was doing a-ok for herself and not dealing with the big scariness of the NYC publishing world. I still remember the stark terror I experienced when Joe Mckinney (of Dead City fame) told me it was time for me to get an agent and get ready for the big time.
"I can't do that," I thought.
Yet, here I am. My book and my author page are now part of the Tor website. My books are listed in their Spring and Fall catalogs. I have already participated in the Tor chat on Twitter and the publicist at Tor has started booking interviews for me.
I'm in the big leagues now, babyeee....
Yet, that truth is still dawning on me every day.
About two days ago I was doing the laundry when it hit me like a two-ton truck.
My life long dream has come true.
It is here and now.