Friday, February 20, 2015

Setting the Fire

by M. L. Buchman

I have to admit, I love release day for a new work. I remember in 1997 holding my first novel in my shaking hands. I can tell you exactly how my wife and I were standing when we held my first indie release in 2010 and my first Night Stalkers novel in 2012.

Thirty novels and over a dozen short stories later, the feeling hasn't flagged in the slightest. I've tried to describe this moment to non-writer's many times. The best I've ever come up with was the day I bought my first house. It was old (1911), run-down (it had been a rental for 20+ years), and I was totally enamored of it.

(The fact that it took me 7 years to fix the beastie up to look like this a whole different story that starts with an amazing view from the 2nd story...back before I added the second story.)

The feeling though, at that moment when the door swung open, before I crossed the threshold, was a moment of such joy and anticipation and hope and fear that I never expected to feel it again, until I open the first case of my books from the printer.

When I looked into the box and held my first copy, there was joy at seeing the amazing thing I had just accomplished!

There was anticipation that others would enjoy reading it even half as much as I enjoyed writing it!

There was hope that it would have a future (thirty novels later that's a definite yes).

And there was stark terror that I had done something totally nuts. (Which, in buying that house I had.) In writing, the terror goes deeper. I was holding a finished book that constituted my very best effort as of the moment I wrote it. With each new book, there is always (and I do mean always) the fear that I'm at that instant holding the best work I will ever do.

I think this is the moment where so many one-book authors fail. They have completed a huge effort to create that first book. And the fear of the blank page of book #2 or holding book #1 and knowing how much blood, sweat, and joy was captured there is so daunting to imagine.

This week I have released two works: a short story and a novel. And the joy-anticipation-hope-fear-terror cycle is in full swing. So, while dancing with celebration and trying not to shake with that other emotion, Here they are, ready for the world.

A Night Stalkers short story (click for more info) 

A Firehawks / Larch Creek romance (click for more info)

And the best cure for that fear? For that terror that's wants to stop us cold in our tracks? Start the next book...NOW! Set the fire to warm your toes, and launch in. That too is an amazing feeling, when you realize that you are brave and powerful enough to take the plunge once again.


  1. Congrats on the release! I agree with your cure for the fear. I'm usually busy writing the next one, so it's easy not to focus too much on the new one.

  2. We just bought an old home, and I feel the same excitement. Hope it doesn't take seven years for the redo. Yours looks fabulous. Best wishes on the new book.

  3. We just bought an old home, and I feel the same excitement. Hope it doesn't take seven years for the redo. Yours looks fabulous. Best wishes on the new book.

  4. Hi Shana, Yep! I go so far down that road that if I finish a book and have time left to write that day, I just straight across. Another trick I do is I write proposals to myself. Another trick that I've been doing lately is that I'll have an idea, but no time to work on it right then. So I allow myself 3 hours to write a 1-page outline and the first 5 pages. Then, when I'm ready to finally write it, the book has already been started and I can jump right in.

  5. Hi Sally, Thanks. And the reason it took 7 years was all my own fault. I was working 80-100 hrs/week in corporate and did almost all the renovation work myself (I subbed out the concrete and the roof, but that was pretty much it as I went from 1 story to 2, push out a wall by 10' to add a serious chef's kitchen, which meant all new plumbing and wiring, which then needed a dining room to match, and...Holy GACK! I get exhausted just thinking about it! :)

  6. Congrats on the new releases, looking forward to reading more of your deliciously exciting stories! It always amazes me that you guys can still be nervous about the great stories you share with us, but I am glad that you still feel the sense of exhilaration that comes with a job well-done, just like you do with your accomplishments on your house!

  7. Thanks E.L. F., I admit the nerves are smaller, mainly because I can now recognize the pattern ("Oh, that's my fear of blank page pattern" or "That's..."). And I do admit to an unseemly joy of my own stories. I have to be careful when I'm looking up something like a character trait in a prior work. I'll suddenly find myself forty pages past where I found my factoid. :)