I think everyone, everywhere, can feel changes on the horizon in just about every facet of life. Some good, some bad. When we’re faced with change, we can either duck and hide, or adjust our sails to take advantage of it.
For the last eight years, I have written historical fiction and loved it. I have come to know some fantastic people. Many readers have become friends. I have loved what I’ve done for nearly a decade and while I am not leaving it behind altogether, things are changing and I must change with it.
Things have slowed down on my end. Blog posts are fewer and farther between. Book releases are much less frequent. I was very quiet about this, but I suffered the worst case of writer’s block the entire year of 2016. It was maddening. I paced and worried and ate too much cheesecake trying to figure out why. The beginning of 2017 brought the answer. Everything was changing, and I was fighting it. I was trying to stay static. Trying to keep the status quo and, worst of all, a brand-new version of me was trying to function inside a brand that was created nearly a decade ago—one I couldn’t totally resonate with anymore.
I had two choices before me. Walk away from everything I’ve built or take control and make the changes I need to in order to function authentically within the business I’ve built. I chose the latter.
I can’t write for genre and I can’t write for money. The last year and a half, I have tried to stay static. It has made me sick, unhappy, and questioning why I’m bothering. That’s not why I started writing books and it’s not why I chose to have my own business.
Therefore, you will see many changes coming in the near future. Things are going to look and feel different. It will be a process and done gradually. I’ve held the world at arm’s length and I don’t intend on doing that anymore. I’m even warming up to pictures and videos. I’m tired of hiding the happy and sad, the light and dark. Some of you might like what this is going to evolve into. Some of you may choose to leave. While that saddens me, I believe you must do what feels right to you and I wish you all the best. For those who choose to stay, I hope to make my books, blogs, future plans (hint hint), and all our interactions entertaining, educational (hint hint), and worth your time.
Lisa recently asked me (as did another very important person from whom I take advice), “What do you want to be known for?” I didn’t have an answer. I do a lot of things. I love a lot of things. I thought about it for a moment and then, with a sly grin and a twinkle in my eye, I replied, “I want to be known for being innovative and I don’t want people to ever know what might be coming next.”
That statement made me realize what I need to do. Evolve, change, and grow on my terms. I’m pretty darn happy about it.
That said, here are some answers to questions I’ve been getting from those close to me who are aware of these changes.
M. L. Gardner Q & A
Q: Are you leaving The 1929 Series behind forever?
A: No! I love these characters dearly and I plan to return to them at some point. Right now, they need a break and so do I.
Q: What’s next for your books?
A: I have started a trilogy (I hope it will stretch into a trilogy) set in 1691 (that date might move slightly) and have created a cast of characters whose actions (if they cooperate) will directly cause the Salem witch trials of 1692. It is the most fun Lisa and I have had since Elizabeth’s Heart.
Fun Fact: In that era, free people were addressed as “you” and indentured servants and slaves were addressed as “thee.” According to the history book I’m reading, anyway.
I also plan on completing the Sayan Knights Trilogy. I created bones for a fantastic Victorian Era medical novel based on a nightmare my husband shared with us. I have files prepared for books involving the children of next generation of 1929. In all, there are seventeen books that I have fleshed out and have wanted to work on that are across the board in genre. I have held back because they didn’t “fit” into the reader base I’ve already established.
Q: What is this going to look like?
A: Because everything currently revolves around The 1929 Series, colors are lighter, beachy, and flowy. I’m going to incorporate more of my favorite colors: red, black, and silver. Posts will trend toward more of my personal interests (multiple cat posts will continue) with some meta physical stuff thrown in there. (C’mon, guys, after Elizabeth’s Heart, you had to know that the woo-woo was a thing with me.) Because future releases will be in multiple genres, it will be more neutral and more suited to my personality.
Q: Why do I feel like there’s more to this than meets the eye?
A: Because there is! I am launching a second business soon and I will share the details of that with you in a follow-up email. While my second business is separate from books, it is a part of me and therefore will have a page on the website and services will be available to readers but certainly not limited to readers. I am so very excited about it. It’s something I’ve been studying hard for several years and have wanted to do for six months. I feel it’s a way for me to help people more directly, which has been heavy on my mind lately. While it is a business that earns money, I will have services available for those experiencing financial hardships. That’s all for now. I will be putting out a post giving all the details on June 19.
Q: You write, do old school homecrafts, you’re renovating a house, and now a second business! How?
A: In short, I cannot keep still. I honestly don’t know the meaning of the word relax. Another reason is one I’ve kept private all this time. When I was experiencing writer’s block, I went to the doctor to be seen for depression. After spending 10 minutes with me, she suggested she screen for ADD instead. Come to find out, I do have mild ADD, but I didn’t opt for treatment. (The depression was a result of the writer’s block, not the other way around. So, it eventually resolved on its own.) So, I am always compulsively moving and doing. When my body gives out at the end of the day, my mind is still driven by a motor and I read, write, or study. And, honestly, the house only gets worked on during the weekends.
Fun Fact: My husband’s nickname for me is Frog, because I am always hopping around. And he says my mouth scrunches up when I’m not happy and that also resembles a frog. I’ve been called worse.
Q: Are you worried that changing genre, adding a second business, and changing the face of everything will kill your business?
A: No. Because I’m doing what’s right for me. So even if the old withers away, the new will still be here to fuel and sustain me. And I am at peace with that, come what may.
Exciting changes are on the horizon! I will update when it is time. Thank you all for reading.
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M. L. Gardner is the bestselling author of the 1929 series. Gardner is frugal to a fault, preserving the old ways of living by canning, cooking from scratch, and woodworking. Nostalgic stories from her grandmother’s life during the Great Depression inspired Gardner to write the 1929 series—as well as her own research into the Roarin’ Twenties. She has authored nine books, three novellas, one book of short stories and a cookbook. Gardner is married with three kids and three cats. She resides in western Montana. Find the first book in her epic series here.