(Hi! If you’re just here for the books and aren’t fussed about me, the TL;DR is: I won’t be publishing for the rest of the year.)

Hi guys,

I’m going to be honest: I want to quit.

Since December 2020, I’ve been struggling with severe mental health issues. I did not leave my bed for most of March and April, I let down a lot of people I care about and damaged many parts of my life. I acted in bizarre ways, either erratically and didn’t sleep for days on end, or in the opposite direction, I was deeply lethargic and didn’t leave my bed for weeks. All this came to a climax in May when I was hospitalised in the ER.

In the following months, I did try to take better care of myself with the help of professionals and my family. I succeeded to an extent; however, I have reached a point where I can no longer ignore what’s going on in my brain and need to give up or risk my life. It is with a heavy heart I am making the decision to put a hold on publishing anymore books (excluding the Twisted Tales anthology story).

The other day I was remembering writing The Bloody Bride and realised: I have not enjoyed writing a book since then. I’m not sure if it’s a symptom of depression or just a sign I’m getting older and outgrowing all the things I loved as a teenager, but I have begun to despise writing mafia. I haven’t been proud of my most recent releases and feel like it’s clear my heart is just not in it anymore. I know I could do so much better, and until I figure out how I feel about this genre, I’m going to put writing + publishing any new books on hold.

I really appreciate all the love and support, and I am devastated to be making this decision, but it is the best one for my wellbeing. You guys deserve to read a well-written book that I am proud of, and I deserve not to spend most of my early twenties wanting to die. I will be away from social media and the very gracious Emily Alice will be running things in my wake. I look forward to returning, older and healthier, and being able to return to a job I love.

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I have succumbed to the darkness of the Writing Cave.

When I was standing over the piles and piles of mess I had made myself, basking in the wintry afternoon light of yet another Monday, wondering Why The Fuck I had taken everything out of my wardrobe, I realised what was going on: the writing cave had eaten me and was slowly taking me apart piece by piece, enjoying me with some salt and tartar sauce.

The writing cave is different for every author. I imagine other authors reclining back on lounges, being fed grapes by their attractive husbands and typing away on their laptops, no writers block or madness in sight. I also imagine some authors in literal caves, sleeping upside down and licking bones clean in the blue light of their laptops as they type away.

My writing cave is a little bit more erratic. No harps, no minstrels, no beautiful men feeding me grapes, BUT also no bats or bones. Instead, madness and procrastination make a bed in the corner of my apartment and settle in for the long winter. So far, I'm only 20k deep into my WIP, and I've already:

  1. bleached my hair.

  2. decided to sort out my entire apartment (now, there is shit e v e r y w h e r e.)

  3. thought it was a good idea to go on a juice cleanse. Yes, I am starving.

I can't wait to see what I'll do next!

All jokes inside, I'm having an insane amount of fun with Isabella and Giovanni. The freedom of no release date has caused me to create a more complex plot and therefore, plan a larger book. Each book I write seems to go up 10k in word count, so I'm excited to see when Izzy and Gio decide their story is over. It's gonna be a THICK book.

Of Violent Characters...

Isabella is a very interesting character to write. I always maintain that I'm nothing like my characters (except for Danika and Aurelia, my funny little idiots) but Isabella has been stitched together by me and seems to have a lot more of my heart in her than Elena and Sophia. She's emotional, quick to anger but also quick to be kind, and seems to fall out the screen every time I write her. She's the kind of character that demands, instead of takes cues. I'm excited to see where she takes me next.

Giovanni has not been so easy. It took w e e k s to find his voice, and even now, I can't pinpoint his exact tone and line of thought. Because of this, there is a lot less Giovanni POV than Isabella POV. Kingpin's Foxglove and Empress of Poisons were very equal with their screen time, with our hero and heroine sharing. The chapter pattern was Elena Elena Konstantin Konstantin, split down the middle. OVL is beginning to look like Giovanni Isabella Isabella Isabella Giovanni lol. Fingers crossed he stops being so quiet and speaks up–but when you meet Gio, you'll probably understand why he's so slow to talk to strangers ;)

Anyway, I'm off to bed, worn out from a day of listening to Isabella + sorting out my apartment, but I'm excited to write tomorrow. Hopefully, I dream of Giovanni...

"I envied those who leaped from feeling to feeling, moving and shifting gracefully with their emotions. I, however, went from extreme to extreme. I threw myself into my emotions, into my window-shattering rage or endless brooding. I wasn't happy, I was euphoric. I wasn't sad, I was miserable." – Isabella Lombardi, Of Violent Lineage, chp 1.

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