In February 2020, I released the first book in the City of War series, City of Light & Steam. It was an amalgam, and such a mashup, when I wrote it, I was terrified of how it would do. The book was actually written in late 2018, but I needed time in my release schedule, so I'd held onto it.
Apocalyptic? ✓ The world was destroyed by a virus
Dystopian? ✓ The world was rebuilding/trying to function after the illness swept through it and failing miserably with it incredibly dangerous to step outside after dark.
Steampunk? ✓ Takes place in Victorian London with steam and electricity as the main sources of power long before they belonged in existence.
Vampires? ✓ The term for those affected by the illness that destroyed white blood cells causing them to need blood infusions to survive
Romance? ✓ Yup, the two guild leaders do, in fact, fall in love.
To my surprise, readers were in love with it, many messaging me days after release. I'd already had the second and third book covers, so I immediately sat down to outline. As often happens when I'm fresh out out of a world, the outline came quickly and I was ready to roll!
The pandemic began and life as a full time social media agency girl, mom, and author came to a halt as I could really only be a mom at that time to my 3 year old. My days were spent figuring out playtime, how to keep him from missing his friends, and how to stay safe because I originally didn't think COVID was a big deal - I was in New Orleans at the time, and the city taught me better.
Shortly after at the end of April, my mystery illness began. For 4 months I was in and out of so many surgeries, imaging sessions, and doctor's appointments I couldn't write, there was no time. Not an iota.
What happened next? A military move which means driving across the country, cleaning the new place, getting the new place ready, and starting life again. All during a Pandemic - which at the time, New Jersey was a dangerous place to be. From September 2020-September 2021 I worked more than 50 hours a week at the day job AND hand my son home with my full time. If you have been a long time reader of mine you know that between city of war and the end of 2021 I released 3 book in total - 2 Christmas Fairy Tales and Land of Flames.
In fall of 2021, my son started kindergarten and I quit my horrible day job in favor of a much calmer business opportunity - still in social media, but not for a giant agency that didn't give a shit about it's employees work hours. The words began to flow and I very quickly had written a Christmas story, a Monster Romance (accidentally because I didn't know it was going to be a thing), 2 In Service shorts, and began The Race.
The juices were back! I was vibing. But, the more I thought about City of War the harder it became for me to write. I love Ben and Raven so incredibly much. I love their world and how far they take things.
But, I can't focus on a world destroyed by an airborne illness that failed not because of the illness, but because of how the people within the countries around the world couldn't play nice in the sandbox. It's too very real right now and while some people can write that way, I want an escape from the drama America is going through every damn day.
Readers, I apologize. I know this has been a favorite series already, and I'm here to tell you that they will be out - likely late 2024. While things are still rough, they are getting better and with every escape I read and write, it's getting easier to believe I can distance myself from the crap around me.
I want to know, how do you feel about reading a story with so many accidental parallels to COVID?
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