It's true. I've been terribly negligent when it comes to my blog.
In my own defense, the holidays were incredibly crazy-- and I was incredibly sick. Which sucked, but doesn't really excuse my lack of blog posts. Please accept me apologies, dear readers. You guys are important to me and I would hate for you to think otherwise.
Well, a lot has happened in the last month. Mortal Defiance is now live. (Woot!) And you guys have been wonderfully supportive. I can't thank you all enough for the excitement you expressed while patiently waiting. Or your exuberance after finishing the second installment. Honestly, some of you have posted reviews that caused some rather goofy and dorky dancing around the house. (You are all to be blamed for the fact that my toddler now dances like a drunken monkey. What toddlers see, toddlers do. And I wasn't kidding about my dorky dancing.)
I spent some time this weekend looking back over last year. In a lot of ways, it was a scary and difficult year. And in others, the ways that really count, it was simply one of the happiest years I've had in a long time. In Februrary, I had to quit my job unexpectedly. In many ways, it was past time for me to have moved on, but I had been reluctant to leave my comfort zone. When it became apparent that I had no choice, I took the leap and became a stay at home mommy. It was difficult. We had to tighten out belts (several notches). And I struggled with finding a routine, with not feeling like I was contributing enough. But, it did give me the chance to focus on my dream. And for some reason that I will never be able to fully explain, I knew that I was finally doing the right thing. I felt as if I was moving in the right direction. So, in 2011 I began my journey to being published. I dusted off Mortal Obligation and it became my main focus. (Well, other than taking care of my daughter.) There were a lot of signs pointing me in the direction of my dreams, and some not so subtle kicks in the rump when I thought about straying from the path. And when I didn't, when I stuck to my guns, I had a sense of purpose. One that I had not felt in a long time. If ever.
Don't let me mislead you. Being a mother is very fufilling. I love my daughter to pieces. She is my heart. Literally. I think she's kind of pink and gooey, and can hold a good beat. Okay. Maybe not literally; but she gives me a sense of purpose. But writing? It feels different. It isn't about anyone else. It's about me. And my stories. There is something powerful in that. When I finished the first draft of Mortal Obligation, my husband took me out to celebrate. We went to Olive Garden and ordered our favorite foods. My daughter threw a crayon that landed in a dish full of spaghetti at the next table. (I swear the thing flipped end over end in slow motion as it flew past my face.) I was happy, other than the crayon thing. I had completed something that I had always dreamed of doing.
Then, I published my book. I had no idea what to expect. I would lay awake at night completely freaked out and positive that people were going to throw tomatos through the computer screen at me. I started wearing red shirts just so that it would be easier to hide the stains. Okay. I didn't wear red shirts. But I was certain that people would call me a fake, a hack, a joke. I believed in this story. In Ree, Paden, and Roland. And even when I was suffering from horrible doubts, something inside me still said I had done the right thing. So I sat back and waited. I contacted bloggers. I sent out free copies of MO left and right. I added my book to Goodreads and chewed my finger nails. Then the reviews rolled in. My first review? 3.5 stars. Was I upset? Hell no. I was ecstatic. 3.5 stars from a tough blogger was more than I could have hoped! And she didn't call me a hack! Or a joke. She rated my book like she did all of those other books that I loved.
Something truly wonderful happened. Mortal Obligation did better than I had any reason to hope. People were buying it, telling other people to buy it! And then a thought occured to me. Holy crap, it was a crazy thought. People were waiting on the next book. MY NEXT BOOK! I got to crackin' and managed to publish Mortal Defiance before the end of the year. Yeah, it was a little later than I had intended. Yeah, it was on Christmas Eve. But, so what? I had published two BOOKS! Excuse me, dreams? You've been BLOWN away. Never would I have thought that I would have two books out in the world for people to read. I had accomplished one of my biggest life goals. Take that, Bucket List!
Now, I am working on the third book in my trilogy. It will be out in March. (Can you sense my desire to hop around like a dork again? Because believe me. Just typing that, my feet start twitching.) This time last year, I had a dream to publish a book. Look at me now. I've published two! And a third one is in the works. Am I Amada Hocking? Nope. But you know who I am? Nichole Chase. Author of two (and one short story), almost three published books. I say, that's not too shabby for a years worth of work.
Mortal Defiance (Amazon)
Mortal Defiance (Barnes and Noble)