For the past year and a half, I've dealt with some interesting health issues (the feeling of dehydration and some kind of stomach issues being the primary symptoms, which led to an alarming lack of energy) which left my GP 'baffled'. She eventually sent me to a 'specialist', who ordered blood work (just like my GP did). All of this done via phone (well, not the blood work, but the consultations), seeing as we're in the midst of a pandemic and can't actually see people like medical doctors (even in the ER, I saw a Nurse Practitioner rather than a doctor--she said basically the same as my GP and the specialist, though). Everyone came back with a similar statement: 'there's nothing wrong with you; you're fine, according to the blood work.' Of course, the specialist took 6 months to tell me that, giving the unhelpful suggestion that I should drink less water, and that should fix me right up.
My body knew better, even if it didn't offer any solutions. Obviously, I had something wrong going on. Western medicine simply couldn't figure out what.
Fed up with long waits, unhelpful bafflement, and the insistence that 'blood work shows there's nothing wrong', I went to a naturopath, with whom a friend had great success (though with far different problems). After filling out forms outlining a comprehensive history of symptoms, habits, medical history, and any traumatic events in my past (none of which other docs asked for), I met with the naturopath in person (suitably distanced and masked), and she ordered a stool sample (which you'd think appropriate, given stomach troubles). Results of that in hand (nasty bacteria in the gut will cause havoc, among other things), combined with an understanding of my medical history, she devised a treatment plan which I have now followed for just over a month. Already, I've seen results, including, eventually, renewed energy.
I mention all the above because it affected my ability--even my desire--to do most anything, including writing. But I did manage to finish the first draft of my most recent novel, god-touched, in February.
This time around, I thought I'd try something different in the writing process, and hired an actual editor. I sent off my manuscript in March to Noah Chinn of Mossfoot Editing. (A friend-of-a-friend, I actually met Noah at a wedding 25 years ago, though I'm sure neither of us remembers the other.) After about a month of slogging through my book (and various emails back and forth with suggestions and general writing tips), Noah presented me with possible revisions and a more polished version of my manuscript. For those few who saw the first draft, you'll no doubt notice some of these improvements. I then spent the next month and a half reworking god-touched into something better.
Then I started to put it together for publication, which included formatting and finding some interesting cover designs. In the past, I've used Adobe Spark to design cover art for my books. I distributed some of these designs to various folks (including Noah), looking for suggestions and thoughts.
In this process, a cousin of mine (distantly removed) reached out. Having done graphic design in a previous incarnation, Janet Christie (fantastic artist; look her up) wondered whether she might tackle making something better for me. Taking some of the elements from what I had fumbled together and mixing them with plot details I provided, Janet came up with something far superior to anything I could do. The result: the gorgeous cover for god-touched.
Edited (and formatted) manuscript with it's fantastic cover in hand, I was ready for the final stage: publication. I published the paperback and hardcover editions (hardcover being a new format offered in beta form from amazon) on May 20, 2021, and the e-Print versions on May 24, 2021. This makes my sixth fantasy novel to find completion and publication.
So what's next? I thought I might try putting together a short story; possibly even a collection of short stories. That might sound easier than a whole novel. I assure you, for me, it's not. I've had trouble with shorter stuff in the past, always wanting to add just a little bit more, or thinking a story needed just a little something extra (like full-length novelization), so this will present a good challenge for me. A challenge I hope I now have the energy to tackle, thanks to resolving some of my health issues. At any rate, working with short stories should provide an interesting change. Here's hoping it results in something fun :)