Fall is in the air. The nights here at 8000’ are dipping below freezing. Two days ago, it snowed. For whatever reason, the fall-winter transition is when I take stock of the last year and ask myself how my life has gone. Did I like the results of my efforts? Or do I need to fine tune things a bit?
Despite the fact that my first short story was published at the front end of 2010 and my first novel in February 2011 (by a small press), my writing career didn’t really take off until the end of 2012. The years since have been a wild ride. Between writing, editing, and marketing, it’s truly felt as if my life isn’t my own anymore. At least when I had a day job, it had parameters. By that, I mean I showed up at 8, went home at 5, and only had to field the occasional emergency call off hours.
One of the big problems with being self-employed, and I remember this fairly well from the years I had a large private practice, is you can work 24/7. I can’t tell you how many times I’d be sitting across from a patient in my office at nine o’clock at night at the tail end of a day that began at six that morning. No one to blame but myself, since I set my own schedule. I tried my damnedest, but I’m not certain the late night patient got as much from me as those scheduled earlier in the day.
I set my own schedule as a writer too, or I try to. I have a friend who limits her social media time to five hours a week. She sets a clock and does SM in five one-hour increments. That sounded like a good idea, but when I tried to adopt it, it was tough to stick to. Writing is another story. Particularly now that I’m getting all my publisher books back and turning them around to release myself. There are lots of them. Twelve with one publisher and six with another to go, plus seven I’ve already re-released. So far, I’ve worked my way through five novellas, and it’s been very satisfying to delve back into my earlier stories and make them shine. But between that and writing new material, I often find myself on the computer until midnight.
Just like there was more to life than psychology, there’s also more to life than writing. My husband is a patient man, but it’s not fair to him if I’m hunched over a keyboard twenty hours a day. My fond hope is if I change a couple of small things, my writing life will feel friendlier, less like a cruel taskmaster.
What about the rest of you writers out there. How do you manage to blend everything in and still have some quality of life for yourself and your families? I’d really like to know.
Ann Gimpel is a national bestselling author. A lifelong aficionado of the unusual, she began writing speculative fiction a few years ago. Since then her short fiction has appeared in a number of webzines and anthologies. Her longer books run the gamut from urban fantasy to paranormal romance. Once upon a time, she nurtured clients, now she nurtures dark, gritty fantasy stories that push hard against reality. When she’s not writing, she’s in the backcountry getting down and dirty with her camera. She’s published over 30 books to date, with several more planned for 2015 and beyond. A husband, grown children, grandchildren and three wolf hybrids round out her family.
When pressed, Jonathan Shea admits magic runs through his blood, but he’s always been ambivalent about it—until a dragon and her mage show up in the Scottish Highlands, and then all bets are off. Jonathan’s charmed and captivated by the dragon—a creature fresh out of myth and legend—but the woman bonded to it is so enticing, he tosses caution aside and catapults into the magical power he’s avoided for so long. Britta and her dragon prepare for a battle to save Earth. Freshly transplanted from a much earlier time, she feels awkward, out of place. The first person she lays eyes on is Jonathan. There’s something about him. She can’t quite pinpoint it, but he has way more magic than he lets on. Magic aside, it runs deeper than that. For the first time ever, she questions the wisdom of remaining a maid. If she doesn’t make up her mind damned fast, though, her choices will fritter away. Beset from every side, she’s never needed her magical ability more. Surrounded by dragon shifters, Celtic gods, Selkies, time travel, and a heaping portion of magic, Jonathan comes into his own fast. Fell creatures target him, Britta, and her dragon. In the midst of chaos, he and Britta find scorching passion and love so heartbreakingly tender, it will change their lives forever.
Dragon Maid (Dragon Lore Book Two) by Ann Gimpel
Dream Shadow Press | 64K words
Release Date: 10/5/15
Genre: Paranormal romance
Dragon’s Dare (Dragon Lore Book Three) by Ann Gimpel
Dream Shadow Press | 85K words
Release Date: 10/19/15 | Genre: Paranormal romance
Bloated on chaos, the Morrigan leaves the Scottish Highlands to gather power. A trip through Hell yields quite the assortment of allies tagging along behind her. Fell creatures straight out of myth and nightmare that haven’t darkened Earth’s boundaries for centuries heed her call.
Heartily sick of the Morrigan’s maneuvering, the dragons are close to shutting their world off from everywhere, Earth included. If they do, every dragon shifter bond will be broken. Horrified, Lachlan and Britta launch a desperate campaign to hang onto their dragons.
Magic may bite back, but if the dragons take their magic ball and go home, Earth will fade, along with all other worlds. That suits the Morrigan fine. War and anarchy are her favorite companions, and she collects misery like children gather beloved toys.
Arianrhod’s fellow Celts found out about her fall from grace and her half-Druid son, Jonathan. With nothing further to hide, she goes back in time hunting Angus, Jonathan’s father. Forty years apart was a steep price to pay. The world needs Angus’s magic. And Jonathan needs all the help he can get. Late to accept the power thrumming through him, he holds a key role in keeping the world from spinning off its axis. Reluctant at first, Jonathan finally gets it.
Anything less and everyone he loves will pay an unthinkable price.
…Jonathan Shea cradled Britta in his arms. She was asleep, the rhythm and cadence of her breathing revealed her exhaustion. He still couldn’t believe he’d found a mate, and a woman linked to a dragon at that. Britta KilKerran was actually the Countess of Cumbria, or she had been a few hundred years back. He wasn’t certain such a title still existed.It didn’t matter. He’d offer up his life to protect the woman slumbering against his chest. He loved her dragon too, but Tarika scarcely needed his protection. When he thought of the scarlet-scaled dragon, one of the First Born, the place on his neck where she’d marked him with a mating bite tingled. It was her contribution to his bond with Britta.She stirred in his arms. He stroked strands of long, red-gold hair away from her face and spun a small spell to keep her asleep. They’d just come from a major battle to free Tarika and Kheladin, another dragon, from the Morrigan’s clutches. Both of them needed rest, but his heart and mind were too full to let go quite yet.After years of never believing the rumor about his mother being a Celtic deity, he’d finally met her. He brought it on himself by calling for her when they desperately needed help, but he never believed she’d actually show up. Regardless, he couldn’t deny her existence anymore—no matter how much he might want to. Arianrhod had abandoned him when he was so young he had no memories of her, and when he cut to the bone of things, he resented the crap out of her neglect.Jonathan shut his eyes for a moment and summoned an image of his father. Tall and rangy with shaggy, rich brown hair and amber eyes, Angus had been a dreamer. He did his best for Jonathan, but often as not, he’d been caught up in some trance state or another. Though Angus hadn’t said so, Jonathan understood his father was relieved when he grew old enough to be on his own. Once Jonathan left Ireland, Angus vanished. Their modest cabin near Inishowen remained, but Jonathan knew better than to waste time hunting for a man who didn’t wish to be found.Had Arianrhod seen Angus all these years he’d been missing? Jonathan could ask her, but she might just stare him down with those inscrutable eyes—one gold, the other silver—and not bother to answer.He tightened his hold on Britta, and she nestled closer. She was more comfortable about Arianrhod being his mother than he was, but then she was far more comfortable with magic in general. He blew out a breath, recognizing his life would never be the same.Not that he wanted it to be, but he would’ve preferred finding the love of his life without having to deal with a long-lost parent. Particularly one who stirred up a welter of prickly feelings. Now if Angus were to show back up, it would be a different story…Britta wriggled against him, and her golden eyes flickered open. She regarded him sleepily through thick red lashes. “Ye canna rest, my love?”Jonathan shrugged and offered a sheepish smile. “Lots to think about.”She cupped the side of his face in one hand. “Do ye wish to talk about anything?”He shrugged again, feeling uncomfortable. What was there to say, really? He was a little old to be struggling with parent issues. Besides he’d long since come to terms with his father’s magic being too pervasive for him to spend much time around normal humans. Jonathan dealt with some level of that as well, but his job as a software engineer who designed games let him keep to himself.Britta brushed her hand across his lips. “Whenever ye wish, I’ll be here. Tarika too. She’s verra old and much wiser than either of us. If ye canna get the information elsewhere, mayhap we can figure out what sort of hold the Celtic gods had on your da.”“Thank you. I’ll keep it in mind.” Jonathan reached around her and snagged a bottle of Irish whiskey off the nightstand. “Would you like some? I can get us glasses.”“Och, and I can drink from the bottle. No need to get fancy.”She smiled, and it transformed her into something so striking he couldn’t look away. A high forehead gave way to sculpted cheekbones and a defined chin. One of his old T-shirts covered her from chest to knees, but the outline of her breasts was clearly visible through the well-aged beige fabric.His cock stirred, and he rolled his eyes. “We made love twice after we got here. I don’t understand why I can’t get enough of you.”“Are ye complaining?” She quirked an arched red brow.He shook his head and drew both of them to a half sitting position against the carved oak headboard. He uncorked the bottle and handed it to her. She drank deep before handing it back.Britta narrowed her eyes and watched him drink. “We’re far from home free,” she blurted without preamble.“Which problem are you referring to?” He placed the bottle on a side table not bothering to cork it. He wasn’t done yet, and likely neither was Britta.She moved away and sat cross-legged facing him, her lovely face creased with concern. “We may have permanently removed Connor and Rhukon and their dragons from the action, but there have to be other corrupt dragon shifters. We must seek them out and destroy them too.”Jonathan shook his head. “It won’t matter unless we get to the heart of things.”“Aye, ye’re correct. We must find a way to corral the Morrigan, or she’ll just entice more mages and dragons with promises of limitless power.” Britta caught her lower lip between her teeth. “Tarika plans to warn the dragons. She believes the dark mages want to drain their dragon bondmates’ power.”Jonathan straightened and recaptured the whiskey bottle, taking another swallow. “I thought mages became dragon shifters because they loved dragons and wished to share their lives with them.”“Aye and that would be true—for most of us. Power lures dark mages, though. Far more power than can be had through the normal dragon shifter bond.”“How do you know?”“I saw it in Connor and Rhukon’s minds afore we thrashed them.”“You didn’t say anything.” He handed her the bottle. Maybe they should eat something, if they were going to drink much more.“I would have. Eventually. Tarika and I needed to determine just what it meant. And if ’tis really true, or just conjecture on our part.”He kissed her forehead before swinging his legs over the side of the bed. “I’m going to cut up a bit of cheese for us and get some crackers.” He pulled on a pair of black sweat pants, securing the waist string to keep them from falling down, and got to his feet.“Excellent.” She grinned. “Plotting revenge is hungry business, but ye dinna have to cover that amazing cock.”He bit back a laugh, enjoying the compliment, and made his way to the kitchen. His apartment was small enough to keep talking. “Did you discuss this with Lachlan?” he asked as he chopped cheese off a block and opened a box of biscuits.“Nay, but Tarika and Kheladin figured out what was going on while they were held prisoner.”Jonathan returned to the bedroom and plopped the snacks on the bed next to Britta. “How does this bondmate thing work? Would Lachlan be privy to the dark mage problem, if it’s in his dragon’s mind?”…