It’s March 4, which means we’re exactly 3 months away from the launch of Shadow & Flame. Sadly, it’s bitter cold and snowy here in Ohio, which makes it seems like June 4 is forever away, but in reality it’s practically here. To skew things even further, I only just turned in the final pre-print edit on the book (aka first pass pages) last week. Still, it’s a major milestone, and I thought I’d share some fun stats about the book below.
Shadow & Flame Stats
- Page count: 480
- Chapter count: 35 + prologue
- Points of view: 2
- Section (aka “parts”): 2 – first one titled The Prisoner and the Wilder Queen
- Number of apparent deaths of significant characters (aka characters introduced in book 1 and given names): 10, approximately
- Number of kisses: 3, approximately
There will be more teasers coming in the following weeks, but just in case you’re wondering, this is very much the end of the story started in Onyx & Ivory. I have left a door open for a possible spinoff for one of the characters, but I’ve no idea if I’ll ever actually write that book. In all honestly it depends entirely on how well this duology performs and how much readers embrace it.
- March 5 (online), ARC giveaway. I’ve got a few old arcs from previous books that I’ll be giving away online starting tomorrow. The details will be on the blog with links across all my media accounts
- March 9: YA Unbound Northern Kentucky Lit
- April 27: Ohioana Book Festival
Today, I want to talk a little about my fitness journey and how it relates to my writing. If you’ve been following me for any length of time, then you might know that I’ve gone through a pretty big transformation over the last year, which all started with my Meniere’s diagnosis last April. There’s a lot to talk about here, as far as what changes I made, what routines I follow, what habits I replaced, but in keeping with the theme of the newsletter, I’ll share some stats. If you’re interested in details about my routines and whatnot, let me know. I can always share those in a future letter.
First, here is a before photo. This was taken May 13, 2018, and my weight was approximately 175 lbs. I’m only 5’1’’ (generously) so that’s significantly high.
And here’s some after photos. The first is from November and the second is from this past Saturday (yes I got to meet Emily Andzilus from the Titan Games and she was totally amazing is such an inspiration!) I’m down to 136 lbs–almost to my goal weight (or more specifically my goal body fat percentage) but still a bit to go.
I’m super happy with the physical differences, of course, but in truth, I’m more grateful for the internal ones. These days I have boundless energy, few aches and pains, and a foundation of joy and contentment that makes it easier to get through the bad days, like when my Meniere’s symptoms flare up. Even better is that my new happy, healthy self is proving infectious. Things are better at home, my kids happier and my husband, too. The family unit is so important, especially in the way we fuel and feed off one another. I’m learning that the best way to make change of any kind is to start with yourself and let the rest follow.
Another great benefit is that my writing life is once again joyful and fun, and although writing is never easy, it’s definitely a lot easier with a healthy body and mind. I often describe my ability to create as a well, one that holds a finite amount of water per day. When the water or creative energy runs out, I have to wait for the next day for the well to refill.
It’s an accurate metaphor, but what I’m learning is that my mental, physical, and spiritual health are the support structures for the well itself. They make up the walls, in other words. When I was sick and unhealthy, it was like having cracks and fractures throughout the walls, allowing the creative waters to run out so much faster or to sometimes not replenish at all. But by getting back to a healthy state, I’ve repaired those cracks, allowing the well to fill and stay filled longer.
It makes the sacrifice of time and effort that goes into my daily devotions, exercising, and healthy eating worth it. By spending time taking care of the support structure, I end up with more creative energy each day and am able to continuously write and produce those stories. My point here is that even when I feel the pressure of a deadline or the need to produce or else, taking care of my health must be a non-negotiable. It’s the only way to a successful and longstanding creative life. Happy writing!