I published my first book back in March of 2014. Between then and June 2016, I managed to write and publish six novels in total (and a few short stories here and there). I felt like I was on a roll, like I had this writing thing down pat. I was making a living with my words (which is extremely hard to do, but that's a topic for another day) and living a life where I paved my own way by doing something I truly loved. Overwhelmingly, I felt like I was on the verge of really hitting it big. Not Stephen King or Diana Gabaldon big, but a little closer to a hell of a lot more people remembering my name and a hell of a lot more readers consuming my work. Maybe a little delusional, but hey it helped to keep me going. Each letter from a reader telling me how much they loved my books, each review shouting praise for the worlds and characters I had created, each interaction on my social media pages, and all the love shown at book signings also played a huge part in pushing me forward. The sky was the limit as far as I was concerned.
So what happened? Why no new releases in over a year-and-a-half? Why did I mostly disappear?
Well, to be blunt, life happened, I had a huge bout of self-doubt, and the words left me. The characters were there showing me bits of their stories, but when it came to putting their trials and tribulations and quests for love to paper, I couldn't do it. I'd open a file and nothing would happen. The characters would go silent and I would stumble along for a paragraph or two (if I was lucky) before giving up. The more I couldn't write, the more I didn't want to try. I'd go weeks at a time without so much as a thought toward writing. Depression, which is something I've dealt with off and on for as long as I can remember, set in, making me doubt myself that much more, and I honestly thought maybe I was done. Like I'd written all that I was meant to write. But every once in a while, I'd get a flash of inspiration, a fleeting moment of desire to create.
It took a long time to realize what I was dealing with. The dreaded writer's block, magnified by depression and anxiety. And let me tell you, writer's block is a real bitch. My motto was always to just keep writing, no matter what. I didn't truly understand what it was to sit down, eager to write, and nothing happening. Now I do. I so get it, and I wish I didn't.
But those moments of clarity where I could see a scene so clearly that it was like watching a movie made me realize that I wasn't done. I hadn't written all that I was meant to write. I hadn't brought all the characters living in my head to life. I hadn't told all of their stories. Something finally broke loose for me in the last month or so, and for the first time in a really long time, I feel like I'm doing what I'm meant to be doing. The words have started flowing again and the characters have started talking non-stop. I can't tell you what a relief it is to feel that energy released.
I know I have probably disappointed some of you along the way with my lack of new books, but I hope that you're still here with me and that you'll enjoy what I have to offer in the future just as much as you have my previous works.
With that being said, I'm going to be changing up the way I publish going forward. I'm no longer going to mix my paranormal romance and my contemporary romance under one name. From here on out, my paranormal romances will be published under the name Stephanie Summers and my contemporary romance, which will now focus primarily on rockstar romance, will be published under the pen name Scarlett Alexander. As much as I enjoyed writing Blowback/Forsaken Love, it just didn't seem to hit the mark with what my readers expected from me. Perhaps if I decide to venture into that territory again, I'll start a new pen name, but in the meantime, I'll be sticking to what I love writing and what I hope you all still love reading.
If you'd like to give my Scarlett Alexander Facebook page a like, twitter a follow, or just check out my website, you can do so here, here, and here. Because this is not a secret pen name, I will always announce on my main Stephanie Summers pages that I have a new release under that name, so no worries if you don't click the follow button.
Anyway, if you managed to read all that and are still with me, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for still believing in me. And to everyone who reached out with kind words about my books over the last several years, you'll never know how much that truly meant to me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. If it weren't for all of you, I might have laid my pen down for good. If you ever feel like contacting your favorite authors but think maybe you're bothering them, please don't feel that way. You never know how much of an impact your words can have on someone, and your message might be just the thing they need to keep going. Trust me, I know firsthand.
I'll be sharing more about what I'm working on in the coming days and weeks, and I'll be creating a new reader group on Facebook where we can chat about life and all things books, so be on the lookout and let me know what you think. Until then...