I want you to imagine something with me. Big surprise, right?
There is a happy ball of ice and stone on the outskirts of the solar system. He’s orbiting a few million miles beyond Pluto, his back to the sun. Then one day, a small asteroid bumps into him, spinning the ten-mile-across ball around for the first time in his existence.
It isn’t long before the ball of ice and stone sees the sparkling sun. He’s seen stars before, but never so close, or so warmly inviting. Though he’d been content up to this point, he now can’t think of anything but the sun. He wants to be closer to it. To make it his own. Ambition fuels him, and somehow, through some cosmic miracle, his orbit shrinks. With each revolution, he draws closer to the sun.
And the closer he gets, the larger his ambition grows. His speed increases. His journey is without cease. And with each pass closer to the sun, he loses a little bit more of himself. If he looked back, he’d see two long trails of ice and stone, peeling away from him, reducing him. But his eyes remain fixed on the sun, on the goal, and despite every planet, moon and asteroid he passes telling him to slow down, to pace himself, to take a break, he continues building momentum, racing toward his own goal.
Never once does he consider that the pace, or the goal itself, might undo him. The pain of losing himself to the sun’s power builds, but he ignores it, writes it off, and finds scapegoats for it.
And then, passing closer to the sun than ever before, the ice holding his form together cracks.
Despite being so close, so damn close, to the sun, he can’t enjoy it. The pain is all consuming. He’s lost in it. Orbiting a black hole of despair. The sun loses its appeal. And with that all-consuming goal removed, he feels empty. Panic takes hold and the cracks spread, threatening to separate the pieces even further, but then, he’s not alone. He’s being held together by something bigger than himself. And for the first time since he left Pluto behind, he feels hope.
Okay, so, that’s really just a cosmic version of Icarus, but with a few distinct differences. First, it’s a comet. With a face. That’s just more fun than a dude with homemade wings. Second, there’s a happy twist at the end. Third, and this is the big one, I’m the comet.
As most people reading this are aware, I release a lot of books. A literal shit ton of books. In the ten years that I’ve been writing, and been paid for it, I have released more than fifty novels and novellas, and that’s not counting comic books and unsold screenplays. In a single decade I have released more books than many authors do in a lifetime. And in the ten years before I started making a living from writing, I wrote just as much, working long days and nights to hone my craft without pay. To say I’m ambitious is an understatement. Over the years, my peers have called me “the hardest working man in publishing.” And while I’ve made a good effort to not work at night or on weekends (I AM a good father), I’m always working in my head, and I have never, not once in twenty years (until two weeks ago), taken a vacation. Only a high fever can get me to stop working, and even then, I’m using the loose, delirious state of mind to work on story ideas.
The result of all this work has been a steady rise to financial success and all the stress that comes with it. I’m not just writing anymore. I’m overseeing cover designs (or designing them myself), art directing several artists, creating book trailers, updating and designing the website, working deals with agents and publishers, editing and writing with co-authors, paying lots of people, budgeting a business, marketing the books, analyzing sales, creating business plans and fueling it all with my nuclear fission of ambition.
But the rocket ship that is my mind and body, wasn’t designed to fire at full blast forever. So, like our little comet friend, I broke. This blog post is the first real writing I’ve done in six weeks. I replied to a few e-mails, worked out a single deal (which will be announced at a later date) and replied to some Facebook messages in that time, but I’ve mostly been a useless lump.
*Disclaimer #1: If discovering an author you read is a deeply flawed human being disturbs you to the point that you’d quit his books, then maybe stop reading. Despite my recent change in focus, I’d still like you to read my books.
So what happened? I’ve been pushing through exhaustion for some time now. I’ve always had insomnia, but in the past two years it has kicked into high gear. I would go months with a max of five hours sleep a night. Sometimes just two. And during all that time, I never slowed down. In fact, I increased my exercise regimen to five days a week. I believed my ambition-fueled willpower was enough to plow through life like a freaking snow plow through a horde of zombies.
For a few years, it looked like I was right. And then six weeks ago, I wasn’t.
I have had a decent amount of anxiety for as long as I remember. It’s insomnia’s good friend. They hang out together. For me, anxiety is this nervous tension that feels like Andre the Giant has his hands around my throat. I feel this probably 75% of the time, even when everything is great, because for me, even my successes were just a step closer to the all-important sun, which is some kind of undefined level of super success…like Stephen King or Michael Crichton. With a career like mine, I’ve already won the lottery, but I really want to win a much bigger lottery.
About a year ago, that anxiety branched out into panic. Despite being fit (in a cardiovascular sense) I was convinced my first few panic attacks were heart attacks. Several dozen panic attacks later, I still have a hard time believing you can feel that bad and not be on death’s doorstep. Despite this new roadblock, I kept plowing ahead, aiming each day to write two chapters, on top of all the other things I need to do.
And then six weeks ago happened.
I took a rare day off to go swimming at a lake with my family. It was a beautiful day. Perfect for swimming. I’d spent my childhood at this lake and it felt like home. Being a long time swimmer, I decided to swim out to the buoy rope, as I sometimes do, and swim back. No problem. And it wasn’t, at first. I got to within six feet of the rope and noticed my heart was pounding. This shouldn’t have been a surprise, because it was a long swim. Then I looked down. The lake was deeper than I thought. At least twelve feet.
My chest tightened. My heart began to pound. I thought about going the last few feet to the rope, but the buoys were small. I might not be able to stay afloat. I might not be able to rest. The water was deeper six feet further out. I looked back to shore and for the first time, really noticed how far out I was. Best guess, 150 feet, in 12 foot waters, with teenage lifeguards more concerned with their tans than with watching people. I turned back to the rope. It was my only chance of not drowning. But if I have a panic attack, I thought…and then I did.
When you have a panic attack, walking doesn’t seem possible. At the same time, you won’t die if you stop walking, or collapse to the ground. My next thought was something like, “I’m going to freaking drown in front of my children.”
That was when I started swimming. Toward shore. Whole body was quivering. My breaths came in rapid, inefficient bursts. My heart felt like it would tear free of my chest. I lied on my back, kicking with my feet and flailing my arms, fighting to stay afloat. To stay moving. And I didn’t stop until I heard my son speaking to me. I’m going to drown in front of him, I thought, and then I looked at him. He was fifteen feet away, the water up to his chest. Hoping all this meant I was close enough to touch bottom, I put my feet down and my toes found sand. But I was still panicking, and now my chest was submerged. Being with my son was enough to make me grit my teeth and push the rest of the way to shore, where I managed to catch my breath, end the panic attack and fend off one of the worst headaches I have experienced.
That was six weeks ago. And in the time since, I’ve had many more panic attacks. I’ve broken down in sobbing tears, experiencing emotional pain that I thought was reserved for the deaths of loved ones. I’ve been so emotionally shaken that was unable to watch any TV aside from Girl Eats World and the new Pee Wee movie. I was broken. I am broken. I pushed myself toward the sun, not noticing, and not caring that I was being peeled apart by the effort.
So where is the happy twist at the end? In addition to the small army of doctors, a psycho-therapist, and a naturopath, whose combined efforts managed to keep me out of a hospital…
Disclaimer #2: If discovering an author you read is a Christian (if you’ve read all my books, that really shouldn’t be a surprise…though if you’ve only read a select few, it could be a big surprise) makes you not want to read his books, don’t worry. I’m still a normal (sort of) person, who already wrote all those books you love (I hope). Most Christians do not resemble those who most often make the news (or control it), and I’m honestly tired of only connecting with people on a surface level. At the same time, I’m not going to suddenly get political, as I suspect both sides of the aisle would freak out, and even mentioning news networks generates hate mail. I’m trying to reduce stress!
For the first time in my life, I understood the Slough of Despond featured in Pilgrim’s Progress. I’d written about it in The Last Hunter, but only had an imaginary sense of what it felt like. But I was in it. I was choking on despair. I was lost. And despite being a lifelong Christian, I felt alone. I felt abandoned.
Thank God for my wife. She read Ephesians 6:10-18 as I sat, sobbing uncontrollably after two solid weeks of panic attacks. Then she read it again, and again. And over the next few days, as I tried to not go insane, I started reading the verses on my own, over and over, and slowly, I felt something new. I felt protected. I felt armored. And there was a strength in there that wasn’t my own. I was no longer alone. Over the past few weeks, I have learned, perhaps for the first time, to let go of my worry (about my health, and my insane ambitions,) and to trust that someone much wiser than me is in control. It’s a work in progress.
I’m still worried about my high growth hormone numbers that indicate something is going wrong somewhere in my body. But the mind-numbing deer-in-headlights panic is retreating (most of the time…but it likes to surprise me still). The fingers around my neck have loosened their grip. I’m enjoying my life, and success, and for the first time in a long time, I’m feeling hopeful in a way that has nothing to do with a successful career. I’m praying more, and not just about myself. I’m trying to spend more time with my kids, and less time fretting about books, or deals, or future possibilities that might result in my death. Instead, I’m starting to feel God again, who is strongest when I am weak, and who is more concerned about eternity than this brief life. I’m starting to shift my focus there, too. And it feels good. Better than the nuclear furnace that is the sun, that’s for damn sure.
That wasn’t too bad, right? Just a little God stuff.
So, why did I write this? Mostly for myself, to help me process, but also for those who might be going through something similar, or as a cautionary tale for authors whose ambition might match my own.
What does it mean for the future? There are a good number of readers, who despite my insanely stupid pace, are still telling me to write faster. Well, that’s not going to happen. In fact, over the next year, I’ll be reducing the number of books released per year. But even if I cut my number of releases in half, I’ll still be releasing double to triple the amount of many authors. My goal is to release fewer books, but also better books. And hopefully to sell more of less (I am still a business man). As a result, Centurion and Helios will be coming out later than planned, hopefully in winter 2017, but I can’t make promises.
Other than that, you might not even notice the slowdown, because there are SIX novels already done, just waiting to be released. SIX! That’s like three to six years of books for some writers! It also means that some series will be coming to an end. In fact, the next 18 months will bring about the end of most of my series. The Jack Sigler Thrillers, Cerberus Group, Continuum, Nemesis, Hunger and Unity will all see their final books published in 2016 – 2017. And I will then be focusing more on standalone novels, like Apocalypse Machine, which seem to sell better anyway.
For those of you coming to RobinsonFest, this might mean I’ll need to take a break from the festivities from time to time (though I think the distraction will help). I’m easily overwhelmed at the moment, and my panic attacks have weird triggers. I have been in love with oceans, and boats, my whole life, but feel nervous about the whale watch. I don’t expect to have to sit anything out, but I hope you’ll forgive me if I do.
So there you have it. This is the most words I’ve written in a while, and it felt pretty good to get it all out. I’m going to leave this open for comments, but anything discouraging or negative (including complaining about series coming to an end, or even theories about what could be wrong with me–I don’t need to hear horror stories, thank you) will be quickly deleted. I’ve debated whether or not to post this for a week, so be nice! Thanks for reading, for your support and for spreading the word about the books. I love my fans, and hope the slow down news isn’t too unwelcome.
Those of that have been there– we know. Those of us that still live there- we stand next to you and will grab hold of you to keep you up. Wish I could just be there with you.
Reading your post was very therapeutic for me as well.I have panic attacks and anxiety that keep me in the house to be ” safe.” Asthma,wheezing, sleep apnea,bursts of crying ,obesity are all my good buddies too. These things make us no less Christian or less worthy.Don’t set the bar too high for yourself.You have a lot of people pulling for you. We will journey on together.
Me again. You are making such wise choices.Even if you put out one book a year that is still AWESOME. I am lifting you up in prayer.
You aren’t alone – you not only have God & His son to guard & guide you, but all of us who not only enjoy your books, but CARE ABOUT YOU as well! My family & I will be praying for your continued healing. May you continue to grow in faith & gain God’s own peace, my friend!
( But his eyes remain fixed on the sun, on the goal, and despite every planet, moon and asteroid he passes telling him to slow down, to pace himself, to take a break, he continues building momentum, racing toward his own goal.
Never once does he consider that the pace, or the goal itself, might undo him. The pain of losing himself to the sun’s power builds, but he ignores it, writes it off, and finds scapegoats for it. ) This is the 2 paragraphs that really got to me…When I read this, I started crying because I knew you were talking about yourself…Please take care of yourself Jeremy…Your health is more important than us waiting for your books…That, at this point, is immaterial…Be safe and continue to be a great father, family man and author…Keep your faith around you and listen with your heart…
I appreciate your openness and honesty. You have always taken the time for me, as a fan, to answer my questions, which I’m sure you have done for everyone. Now, the time has come to take some time for you and your family. I completely understand and will support that 100%.
As someone who had a family member go through the same thing i completely understand. The important thing right now is to spend time with your family. My thoughts are with you and your family.
Bless you and please take care of yourself. Your faithful readers will be here when you get over this mountain.
I want to thank you for sharing with the world what you have been going through. For decades I had panic attacks that for a time had me an agoraphobic who could not leave the house for fear of the panic attacks. I’m glad that you have a great support system to help you deal with your issues. And of course there is our faith (am a Christian as well) that has helped so much. Fortunately I have found a medication that greatly helps. Once again, thank you for your openness and I pray that it will help others.
I’m so glad to hear that you are now making self-care a priority. I am a therapist by training and I have seen so many people in your shoes. I’m glad you are taking the courageous leap to make the change. May I make a humble suggestion? Take a look at Brainspotting, it is an emerging treatment that is proving to be effective for some of the symptoms you are describing. I also hear some symptoms that are consistent with bi-polar disorder. If you haven’t had one, a psychiatric evaluation might payoff some serious dividends for you. Thanks for going public with this, it is long past time we stopped stigmatizing mental health disorders. I’m in the deep end with you too. Have suffered through extreme depressions most of my life. I wish you all the best, and I don’t care which god you pray to, I will always be a fan.
Wow! I am certain I am not the only one of your fans surprised by your candid post, just as I am clearly not alone in sympathizing with your plight. Without a doubt your post is the most inspiring thing you have shared with us, your fans, despite providing us with dozens of characters and stories of overcoming overwhelming odds. Thank you for sharing.
Your rediscovered faith is a wonderful thing. Your religion of choice should not influence anyone’s opinion of you as a person or writer (assuming of course you don’t worship Cthulhu or other demonic deity), as that is between you, your family, and God. However you seek spiritual peace, we hope it continues to come to you.
As far as Robinsonfest goes, I’m half Irish and my wife is all Irish, so sneaking off without telling anybody is par for the course for us. You take whatever breaks you need to, we’ll understand.
Be well, Jeremy.
I am not going to say a lot, but I understand what you are saying and I honor and respect what you have to do to heal yourself. I am a great believer in God and I sometimes find myself getting scared, panicky over different things, but what I have learned is I only have to do one thing…I let him back into my heart. I had not even been aware I had shut him out, but I guess I would get so wrapped up in what I was doing, I did shut him out… God Bless You and your family. All of us in ARGH are here for you…count on it. Much love and blessings coming to you and your family from all of us.
Your honesty and openness is amazing. I understand your concerns, as I have had some of that this year. I was running on stress and little sleep, then my mom passed away. That sent me into the wall and landed me in my doctors office. With his help, I am doing better and learning to let some things go. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers, as I am also trying to rediscover my faith. Take all of the time you need, and we will still be here when you return.
Jeremy, I agree that this is the right call. Health and family are always the top priority. I recently had to make a similar choice after overworking myself on several projects. You’ll be in my thoughts and I look forward to reading your future work.
I just want to say that I had a feeling you would crash and burn. You do way too much and it has to affect you. But I’m so glad you have come to understand that you do need to slow down and stop worrying about every little thing. As for a lot of series coming to end, that’s okay. I love your stand-alones! Series of books do need to come to an end, otherwise they get stale. And from reading this, I’m happy that you’ve figured it all out……..mostly. I say, take all the time you need to do whats right for you. Your readers will be here because we love your work and we care what happens to you. So sit back and start enjoying life!
Jeremy, I will be praying for you and your family. God bless your wonderful wife, He gave you a good one.
touching, moving and no wonder that even when you share about what you’re living, it’s masterful writing. Just follow the best pace for you. You know… Michael Crichton has been my reference for so long, but I have to say that your writing is more gripping. Never thought I’d EVER say this, but it’s simply the truth. I’ve notice your Christian background, especially in Dydimus Contingency: “what a masterpiece”! Only a brilliant Christian mind could come up with something awesome like that.
If you release 3, or even 1 book in one year, you make that year happy for a lot of fans like me. Family, spiritual life and health come first. Their all intertwined. Hope you find strength in our words to keep being the gift you are for storytelling. You are a motivation for a lot of us who aspire being writers.
An example of that is this vacation when I self-publish my first short non-fiction book under pen name Michael Panao, which made me very happy (even if it doesn’t sell that much :):)…), but I also experienced something for the first time.
Last week I was submitted to surgery due to an appendicitis. When I woke up, I had trouble breathing because of the air they put inside us during surgery to perform the operation. My first word’s were “I’m alive!” because, honestly, you never know. And to keep breathing I needed to be conscious, so spontaneously I whispered a prayer I knew in Italian. There is more power in prayer than we can ever imagine. And I’m a scientist, university Professor that writes about science and faith. It’s an experience, a life experience.
Sorry for the long comment and be assured of my thinking, reading and praying about you.
All the best… Miguel
No worries! I had trouble keeping up with your writing anyway. I will keep reading whatever and whenever you publish. Thanks for your honesty and wishing you all the best.
PRAYERS your way. I do enjoy your books – very much. THANK YOU!!!!
I’m sorry to hear that you are going through this tough time. Your fans will stand by you no matter how many books you put out a year. That’s what fans are for we support you through thick and thin.
Your honestly is refreshing and I’m sure it’s also therapeutic! So many suffer from panic and anxiety that DON’T acknowledge it and by doing so burn out faster! Your loyal fans will still be around and supporting you! Yes your pace was great from a faster reader 🙂 but if it’s taking you down in the process jsut not worth it. Take your time, heal and find joy and continue in your faith… GOD will guide you as he has so far.. And I’ll be praying for you!
Jeremy, I was stunned by your admission but not overly surprised. The number of books you have cranked out, even with coauthors, is astounding. Like Wim Biemans, I have not been able to keep up with all your different series. So…..take a breather and let me catch up to you. Hope you will be able to relax and enjoy RF. Look forward to meeting you.
As a reader, and a fan, all I can say is to do what you need to, both for your family and for you. I have struggled with depression and anxiety attacks myself. My eldest daughter, 28, suffers from them too, along with panic attacks. And she’s doing a year of pre-med to apply to med school for next year. You’d think she’d go to library school. But this is what she wants, just as writing is your path.
Dick Francis published one novel every year, on a rigid schedule. Did I lose interest? No. I waited with delight when the next came out. And the same will happen with faithful readers, and taking time to make them the best you can will help sell the ones you do write. As for your turn to God? I am agnostic, but believe that everyone sees the world differently, from the way they were raised, to the way their lives play out. So vaya con dios.
Be well, take time, enjoy the gift you were given. I’ll still be reading.
I always find your candor refreshing. Now I also find it inspirational. It takes courage, and faith to walk the path to peace in your soul.
I will be echo everyone else and tell you that no matter the number or series, I am a fan. Always.
May God grant you peace,
Jeremy, thank you for sharing yourself so openly with us. I felt certain that you were a Christian after reading your books, and I am blessed to know that you are indeed a brother in Christ. Your post will undoubtedly help many others who find themselves in a similar situation. I have been in church since birth, have been a Christian since 12 years of age, and have used many versions of the Bible for study. Recently, I have discovered the New Living Translation, and this has provided a fresh look at scripture that I have grown up with. If you have not used it, I would encourage you to check it out. Even Psalm 23, a well-known passage, is fresh and new. Sorry, I don’t mean to preach, but I know you will find peace in His word. Know that you and your family are in the prayers of my wife and I (my wife is Susanna, a true blessing from God, much like your wife must be). Your eyes are on the right Source to bring you through any dark place. “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.”
Psalms 23:4 NLT
I love you so hard, I could burst from it. I’m with you.
I have just discovered you as an author. Have read two of your books. The Didymous Conspiracy recommended by James Rollins and Beneath recommended by my husband. Very good stories. My prayers are with you on your panic attacks, etc. I don’t have them, but I have a sister who does. Bless you, Sandra
Ah my old friend, you probably don’t remember me, but we go way back on Facebook. I’m the guy that refuses to give up my dream of you and Maberry creating my dream of a Sigler and Ledger crossover.
I used to write relentlessly. There was a story behind every odd shaped tree I saw, and I couldn’t wait to get home and write it. Author Ellen Hopkins told me I was going to be the next big thing. An agent friend of hers said I was the next Rick Riordan. But a lifetime of injuries sustained over a lifetime of martial arts and born with two deformed hips that troubled me my whole life until an experimental surgery made everything worse. I broke my neck twice. Two heart attacks. Three bouts of bladder cancer (7 months cancer free, praise God! ). I hit a point that the pain made it impossible to make any words come out.
I found God again after almost twenty years of basically angry agnosticism. I found in Him the peace get over the anger that blinded me daily. Instead of blaming God for my pain, I started thanking Him for keeping me alive when I could have died so many times.
I just became a grandfather for the first time, and before I knew it, I’d written a lullaby for my granddaughter. My hands shake so it’s hard to write by hand, but I had to sell my computer to buy crucial medications. Even though it was physically difficult to get those words out, without my normal means of writing, my heart was bursting with joy that I was making words come out, and creating them for this little baby girl that God gave to me years after I thought I should be dead.
I know I will write again. I know God kept me alive when doctors were befuddled. I know my dream of being a successful writer will happen, because it’s His will.
You have been given such a rare gift that makes other writers want to both befriend you, and at the same time beat the crap out of you because you make incredible works while making it look easy. I’ve always known you were a Christian, but seeing you dig in like this, and focus on the important things (God and your family), makes me so happy. I’ll never tell you to slow down, because I can’t get enough of the stories you tell, but I think this is only going to make you more successful than you ever dreamed. I don’t have the natural talent you have, but I know I will write again thanks to God. I look forward to the incredible things that will be coming from you, and I’ll be praying for your health so the world keeps receiving the blessings you offer us through His grace.
And to your anxiety, I say PEACE, BE STILL!
As someone who has had those kind of panic attacks, I hope it gets better. It took therapy and medication to get me over mine. Don’t be afraid to find a good therapist and/or psychiatrist to help you. Treat your mind like you treat your body, and get help when you need it. I know that it can be all the difference in the world.
I always wondered how you could get so many books written so quickly. I have enjoyed every one. I am glad to hear you are getting a grip on your anxiety attacks and leaning on God to do so. Be safe, be well, and God blessed.
God speed over coming your issues Jeremy. From a big fan.
I am sorry to hear what you are going through. Please know that I support you. Do what you have to do to take care of you. There is only one Jeremy. The master story weaver. You will be in my prayers.
Jeremy, hope you feel better and I know things will be ok. As my family says, Health Comes First. Anyway, the only books I would be looking forward to for sequals is SecondWorld and Refuge. Anyway, take your time on publishing books. As a side note, I haven’t read Feast or Apocalypse Machine. Anyway, keep the books coming, but don’t rush either. That gives you more times to think of what your next novel will be.
Jeremy, i love your books. My sister told me about you and i read kronos and i was hooked. Im sorry you are going through this, but i believe you will come through this stronger and better. There is nothing wrong with slowing down and taking care of yourself. I will be praying for you and your family. And yes, i will still be reading your books, i havent read them all yet, so you slowing down might let me get caught up to you lol take care God be with you
Thank you for being so honest about the way you feel and have been feeling. So many people will understand absolutely what you say. I love your books and am one of the people who is always looking forward to the next one. However, your health must dictate the pace of your working life and we fans will just have to wait patiently. Take care of yourself and trust that God never sends us more than we can deal with if we try out hardest.
As a long time fan, I have been on fantastic adventures and fought beside great men & women through your writing. I don’t mind waiting for a great read and while I will be sad to see some of my favorite series end I will still buy anything you put out (seriously, I think I would read your to-do list lol) knowing that it will be a fantastic book. Take care of yourself first so that you’ll be able to be here for those that love you and your work!
When he gets his chill on again hopefully I’ll see a sequel to UNITY,
Your work has done more for me and my imagination than you will ever know. I aprecciate your work and support your decision. As a fifteen year old with school studies that consume alot of my time, juggling one of your novels seems to reduce stress. I love sci fi alot. Haha.
So I wish happiness for you and your wife and kids.
Dear, dear Jeremy, I’m weeping because I had no idea and because I don’t see my brother’s family as much as I would like to. I am so glad that you have received comfort and strength from God’s loving word, because you are so incredibly dear to Him.
Oh what a life this is, on this earth, huh? But God’s promises are true and you and I are His children and we can call Him Dad.
You just keep breathing and reading His life-giving Word.
You are amazing, cause He made you that way.
I love you even though we really hardly know each other.
I love your incredibly gifted, strong, creative children .
And your wife…my big brother’s daughter, so wise and loving and lovely.
I’m thanking God that you have them and they have you.
And we’ll all keep on in His strength and joy…”Aunt”Gloria
I am a first time reader of your books…I just finished Torment which scared me but also put my own faith to the test. Am I ready?
After reading it I had to look you up. As I read about your journey, I felt tears in my eyes. I may not know working so hard to the point of exhaustion but I do know panic and despair. But more importantly I do know HOPE (even when it just feels like lower case hope). I will definitely read more of your books (actually audio books because I listen while on my 2 hour drive to work)
Basically, all I really wanted to say was “Thank You!”
Short answer, you cannot continue to write books at the high quality level that you have set for yourself if you are not taking care of you. Your health and well-being should always come first. Thank you for feeling that you owe us, your readers an explanation. The other side of me feels so sad that it is somehow necessary for you to do this. I wish you the best and pray for a speedy recovery, not because I want a book to be released (although I will not lie, I love your books and very much look forward to the release of anything new you publish) but rather so that you are well and are able to feel healthy and happy. Best wishes.
I really hope you get better soon. Take it easy and enjoy your family, in the end, that’s what matters. I’ll be waiting anxiously for Centurion. Take care of yourself.
Thank you for acknowledging our source of true strenghth…God Almighty. And although we look forward with great expectation to your upcoming releases, we can wait. Faith, family and your health need to come first. Thanks for the ride so far…it’s been exciting!
Warning…punctuation is not a strong suit of mine. But I am quite a good story teller says my lit teacher who gave me a “B” in college for changing a childrens story” Little Red Riding Hood ” Into a 5 thousand word run on sentence changing her into a drug pushing street walker..:) Now to the meat of my reply. I have just started reading your books in 2015 and i have been binge reading everything I can find that you have put out like its on netflix. That being said I hope all is going well for you and you continue to strive for a better you. I find that wrapping myself up in family is the best medicine in the world for me. Heres hoping you find the balance that you are looking for in life.
Work to live don’t live to work
Good for you for focusing on the important things.
J.R., while this may be a day late and a dollar short as I write this (Jan’17), know that there are people who know you only through your novels who wish you health and happiness. Notice I didn’t say “success”. Don’t get me wrong: success is nice, but, as you so eloquently alluded in your very personal post, success doesn’t necessarily equal happiness/peace of mind. Enjoy your Family, make that your first 5 priorities on your Top 10 List of Priorities, and everything else will kinda just fall into place. At least, that works for me… Anyways, you have my Best Wishes as you continue your personal journey, avoiding the odd asteroid and inconveniently placed planets, around the Sun.
it doesn’t surprise me you’re a Christian. we come in every form, and every possible thing you can think of will lead or pull us there. He’s pulling us. you’re going to be okay. He may be making changes in you or using your writing superpowers to his ends. yea! I’ve always been a fan, but wouldn’t have had as much time to read if after marrying and having children (2 wonderful girls), I hadn’t been brought down by a mysterious lllness that has over the years left me bedridden, friendless, married in name only, and on a ventilator at home. a plain texas girl, it took a long time to transform myself to the reasonably handsome and falsely-confident girl I was, when it was taken away. I’m now a prednisone-swollen, anxiety-attack having, praying nonstop, trying hard mother, who’s still trying to work it all out. I’m connected to an 18 inch hose to a machine, that attached to another machine. one of my biggest guilty pleasures is reading one a new book by you. I literally get goosebumps when a new one comes out. I have my favorites, though. you’re writing for many reasons, but let that be one. I’m selfish. and I would’ve never liked your books if I didn’t detect some of Him in them. take it easy in yourself, okay? and hug your blessing of a wife and children. be thankful for all the little things.
I had no idea you were going through this. I’m a long time reader (your book “Ancestor” might have been my 2nd or 3rd digital purchase). Take care of yourself. I’m glad to see you’re trying to cope. I remember my homeroom(I’m a middle school English teacher) bugging me about what I was reading. I read them the synopsis of “Raising the Past” which was the first of your books that I had ever bought and not even started yet. When they looked at me with their jaws on the floor,I thought to myself :”This guy’s probably a hell of a writer.” He is. Take care, Dennis Rooney
I went through this same thing many years ago. People who haven’t had panic attacks, just don’t understand how debilitating they can be. What I went through drew me closer God, and taught me how to bring my true self to him, not the one I thought He wanted to see. I know this is late to comment on, but thanks for using your experiences to comfort others. Oh, and I love your books!!!
I’ve read so many of your books, and it didn’t occur to me until I was reading Torment that you might be a fellow believer. I’m SO glad I decided to google it! Reading this blog post makes me wonder, however, how you’re doing now? As a soon-to-be counselor in the mental health field, I’ve seen so many people who suffer from anxiety go through very difficult times. I hope you’ve been able to feel God’s presence in the midst of the chaos, and I will stop and pray for you as soon as I finish writing this.
I now have an entirely new perspective with which I view your wonderful, action-packed books, and I just love that! Thank you for posting this, and I pray God strengthens your marriage and your relationships with your kiddos. God bless.
I’m actually doing pretty good right now. Thanks for asking! It’s been a long handful of painful years, but things are turning around.