Confession: I've Been Hiding in the Jungle

writers life jungle

Life happens. Even though I haven’t shared much of my writing over the past few years with my readers, it doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing. After Devil’s Gold was published, my world skidded to a stop, tilted and fell apart. Grief is a hard task master. Writing through my grief simply wasn’t an option. I’ve always been a glass half full kinda girl which meant baring my soul in words wasn’t a salve or instant healer. The creativity disappeared, and I mourned that along with mourning a life lost to me.

nature cliff

I did what I needed to do and pulled my big girl panties up and escaped. I survived. I inhaled and exhaled and found a way to handle the pain. The day my world fell apart was one week after I’d begun a job with the best law firm in the world. As a new employee, I hid behind my professionalism only letting a few people know about my loss. I threw everything I had at helping our clients...at being the best that I could be. I wrote on a daily basis - briefs, motions, petitions. It was enough to calm the creativity and offer purpose to days filled with tears and unbearable sadness. As the days, months, then years ticked by, time soothed the sadness and life resumed. I was still writing, at work...at home. On napkins. The stories didn’t stop, I simply allowed my priority to be my job. Helping people on a daily basis was rewarding and something I desperately needed.

morning coffee

One morning, I woke up and realized five years passed by. And I was torn. Torn between my desire and my reality. How did I make my desire a reality? How did I balance this world that I thrived in and my overwhelming need to create? It seemed easy the first time around. Before death. Before my children went to college. Before my husband lost his job for two years. Before everything. It took awhile...okay, it took a year. But I found a way.

devil's gold and dragon dancer

Here I am, writing like an author. Or I will be, as soon as I finish binge watching The Newsroom. The writing in this show is brilliant. It’s inspiring. It’s just what I need to help me readjust to authordom. Whether authors want to write or not, we still sit down every day and put words on the page, or research, or edit or do whatever needs to be done to finish the book. It’s a job. And a damn good one at that. I’m blessed to have the ability to call this my career. Or it will be once I’m done with The Newsroom.

waterfall jungle

I’ve been hiding in the jungle for years. In other words, I’ve been writing Angel Falls (sequel to Devil’s Gold) which is primarily based around the Auyan-Tepui in Venezuela. I’ve been writing Angel Falls here and there but not authoring it. Now I’m authoring it, and it’s a wonderful feeling, especially for Jake and Cassidy who I left hanging off the edge of a cliff. Literally. I left them flattened behind a waterfall, facing death. They were wet, cold, and exhausted and truly pissed at me.

front porch

Almost done. Truly. However, as the political climate has changed dramatically over the past few years, I’ve had to dive back into research and tweak a few plot lines. Easy, right? Nope, not really. It means finding the path and then working it through my brain long enough that I’ve managed to answer all the loopholes and build a credible conflict and solution. This often takes me weeks. Hence: binge watching The Newsroom. I’m not a structured writer. I’m what other writers call a “pantster” - which means I write by the seat of my pants. I have a general idea of the story, enough where it’s well researched and my facts are solid, but when I sit down at the keyboard -- I only have a vague idea of how I’m going to reach the next plot twist. I jot down notes in the evening as I’m having a glass of wine about what direction I’m taking the next morning. Important notes like “cat eyeballs” “hear copters” and “scat.” This let’s me know the next morning that helicopters are in the scene, Jake and Cassidy will be tracking ghost cats and their eyeballs. No clue what I’m doing with the eyeballs -- but it’s apparently important. I’m sure I’ll remember as soon as I finish Season 3 of the The Newsroom.

Devil's Gold - Zebra Chronicles

What are Jake and Cassidy doing in Venezuela? Well, other than annoying one another, they’re tracking a new species of Panther. Of course, that isn’t all they’re doing. Cassidy is on a Black-Ops mission to determine the correlation between Venezuela, Iran and Russia all the while trying to find a way to save the destruction of the Amazon and the deadly and dangerous gold mines threatening to disintegrate the entire Southeastern portion of Venezuela. Because that’s what Cassidy does. Jake is there to blow shit up. Because that’s what Jake does.

I anticipate having the final first draft completed within the next two weeks and then it’s off to my indentured servants critique partners. Once they’re done, I’ll edit and submit to my formal editor. Then I edit again. And my editor does her final read-through. And I edit one more time and then it’s done. I am hoping to release Angel Falls mid-October.

Angel Falls Release Date

And there you have it. I’m very excited to be back authoring again. My love of writing comes right after God, my family and The Newsroom. (just kidding) It’s ranked before The Newsroom. Being an author is a thrilling ride, and I’m sitting deep in the saddle ready to take this horse across the finish line.

I’m thankful for you, my readers. You’re why I write. For those of you who have emailed me over the years asking for Angel Falls - email me again. As a reward for your patience, it will be my honor to gift you the next book.

Cheers,

JK