I know I’ve been a bit quieter on social media lately. I’ve kind of hit a bit of a wall. While my writing is still doing awesome, I think I was trying to wear too many hats: my full-time career, my author stuff, reading books by indie authors, creating features, and writing blog posts. While I sold more books last month than I did in awhile (thanks in part to my new TikTok page), the work-to-return ratio has been quite low.
Don’t get me wrong, I will continue building up this indie writer community with every fiber in my body. My TBR still consists of MANY indie books, and I will continue to take review requests. But, I really wanted to feature authors regularly and get this blog series going…but it has kind of fallen by the way-side.
It’s hard when you have to run most of your author stuff by yourself. While I have amazing support from my fiance, I have a wonderful editor, and I have some great friends…99% of the work is all me. I am sure most of you understand this.
I am just going through a rut right now. I’m sure I’ll be fine, but it’s been difficult for me lately when I put SO MUCH of myself into my author stuff, and the return is maybe a few sales or a review or two.
Will I stop supporting everyone in this community? Absolutely not. But if you’ve notice how I’ve had to take a step back, or that I’m being quieter…these are the reasons why.
I will still be posting regularly here, just my overall engagement will be a bit lower until I can find the right place…mentally. I’m posting a ton on TikTok because it’s fresh and new, so if you want to see or here from me MORE regularly, you can follow me there at esbarrison_author.
For now, stay on the look out for details on my upcoming short-story, Tuppence, as well as more book reviews. I’ll have a few more complete by the end of the month!
The first chapter is available to the public on Patreon. Check out the first part below.
Father died soon before my nineteenth birthday on a day when the misty hands of Death’s Grip flooded the stilted legs beneath my home. The legends go that if someone dies on day when Death’s Grip is at its strongest, then they won’t suffer. Father went in his sleep, a smile on his face, embracing his new death as an old friend. I knew at that moment, after we put his body to rest in the Old Cypress Tree, that I could no longer stay in Stilette, the home I’d known my whole life. I never thought I would leave, but there was nothing for me there.
I decided to pack up my things once Death’s Grip ended, which is nothing more but a thick fog that cakes the swamp for days upon days, and hopped on a caravan passing through towards Rosada.
I loved Stilette. Growing up, I played in the swamp, telling stories to my dolls made of moss and grass, while throwing mud balls at the neighborhood children. My mother worked on building the infamous stilts that kept the city afloat, while my father taught local children how to read, write, and weave tales from their imagination.
Stories go that Rosada is different though. Whenever travelers came through from the nation in the north, they bore no tales upon their lips, often keeping their heads down as a local theatre troop produced a play telling the tales of the local swamp monsters. As I grew older, I learned more about Rosada though: it sits beneath the unyielding reign of the Order of the Effluvium. They believe that the mist, like Death’s Grip, controls all life. Some say that the Order believes our mist is so thick here because we keep on telling stories and keep practicing waves of magic.
I never understood why my sister left for a nation bound by such hatred.
But there I was, hopping on a caravan to travel there. I didn’t have any other choice. My mother had died years ago in an unfortunate construction accident. My father had been my confidante, my best friend; without him, I was alone in Stilette. Times had changed. There were no more construction jobs and all my childhood friends had moved on for the same reason as my sister: there was no future in Stilette. The city was stagnant, a place people came to exist, not to grow.
My father planted in me a desire to grow. He wanted more for both Elodie and me than a life surrounded by swamp gas. Every day, growing up, he told us: “Elodie, Nanette, there’s a bird on our windowsill. See it?” Sometimes, there wouldn’t be a bird, but we would agree, nonetheless. “I want you to fly away like that beautiful bird someday and see the world and bless it with your kindness and beauty.”
He had always been the romantic type. Elodie, being the oldest one, flew away the moment she turned eighteen. Me, two years her junior, stayed with my father. Not that I wanted to leave. He started declining after my mother’s unprecedented death, whispering that he saw her in Death’s Grip, watching and waiting, whispering stories like no other.
So even after I turned eighteen, I stayed.
In his dying days, he confused me with my mother at times, while at others he begged I take flight like Elodie.
After he died, I wrote to Elodie saying I would join her in Rosada. She had been trying to get me to come live with her for ages. As punctual as ever, she had already acquired the proper papers, and within three weeks I received all the necessary documentation. She had initially left Rosada to become an advocate of law, but she never finished her degree, getting whisked away by the glamours of the big city. But, she still had a mind for it, and while she acted to get me set up in haste, I procrastinated leaving. I took my sweet time getting my father’s affairs in order, and rather than hoping on one of those expensive steam locomotives as Elodie insisted, I joined a caravan traveling on horseback and wagons through the swamp towards Rosada.