day they celebrate the hundredth day of school which usually falls near Valentines Day. Sometimes they couple the celebrations together. Of course, the younger grades use this day as a learning opportunity...counting to 100, grouping items in 10s, classifying similar objects and such. There are books written for just this thing, and I sincerely believe it helps the students get through this often times tedious time of the year. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas is over, and so is New Years. Valentines Day is done and spring is nowhere in sight. Throwing in some random ways to celebrate winter by acknowledging the fact that they've already been in school for 100 days...is one way.
The reason I know this without having any children enrolled in K - 12 school for five years? Since fall 2007 I have been a college undergrad taking classes to obtain my teaching degree and have visited many elementary and preschool classrooms performing fieldwork. I'm enrolled at St. Kates University in the EWO program...evening/weekend/online. I've taken time off from my classes to write my books as there was no possible way I could do both. Classes in the weekend format only meet 8 times over the course of 10 weeks, therefore, homework is extremely heavy. And not only is the homework daunting, the material is as well. Obtaining a teaching degree is not a simple task as maybe it once was. There are strict state standards to be met. Today, at least at my college, before we can graduate and become a licensed teacher in MN, we need to be certified in the STEM areas. Science, technology, engineering, and math. Even though I plan on either being a preschool teacher or kindergarten, it doesn't matter. Let me just say this: my brain is not wired this way. I am a writer, a right-brain thinker and these courses are challenging.
Last fall I took the engineering course, which was actually a physics class. I managed to get through it, but kicked and screamed the whole way. I'll say this, though. I learned a helluva lot. This semester I am enrolled in a chemistry and a biology course. As I am writing, I can scarcely believe I've allowed myself time away from my heavy course load of reading, tutorials, lab work, homework, and other things I can't come up with a name for. Atomic structures, electron configurations, phytoremediation, evidence for evolution, homologous structures, periodic table of elements, metrics and measurement, creating a virtual presentation covering the BP Oil Spill, which I must say, we, not just our nation but the world, is still feeling the effects from the damage this oil spill caused.
Okay, enough of school, but I thought I'd point out I've been rather busy over the past few years and this is why my books are not coming out as fast as other author's books are. I'm aware of the industry demands this puts upon authors. Readers love books that are in a series, however, they are not as patient as they once were. When the Potter books were published, there was no such thing as an e-reading device. J.K. Rowling did not have a twitter account, or a FB Author page, or even a website. Her readers discovered her books in the bookstore, and, if I understand her story correctly, librarians recommended her books to teachers in the UK. When she began her books, she wasn't under strict deadlines, not until after book IV, The Goblet of Fire, which was the top-selling book of 2000, with 7 million hardcovers sold.
The reason I bring up J.K. is this: did you know she wrote all of her scripts long hand? Can you imagine? I can't. But she did and was able to write seven books, meeting the demanding needs of her readers and publisher.
It might sound like I am complaining about the demanding needs of readers today, but I am not. I am simply stating a fact. We live in a fast-paced world and the practice of spacing an author's book one year apart is being swallowed up by the 'must have it now' audience that drives publishers and producers to pump out books and TV programs as fast as they possibly can. Impatient readers and viewers are being handed whole series of books and TV shows at once. As an Indie author, I respect this new method of delivery, but I can also honestly say I will probably let some readers down because I cannot write a 500 page novel within a six-month time frame, not while I am a student and hold down a job.
Of course, this little diatribe of mine has to ultimately lead to the movie released this weekend that has taken not only our country but the world by storm. The erotica blockbuster, "Fifty Shades of Grey." The books were released in paper book, all three released within one month and went on to sell 90 million copies world wide. This 'rapid release' strategy satisfied impatient and hungry readers, but is it realistic to say every author writing books in a series can pump out books this fast? Of course not.
What about George Martin? He's yet to complete his sixth and seventh book in his 'Song of Ice and Fire' series, yet his fans are wildly anticipating them. So, as in every scenario, there are two sides. The timing of J.K. Rowling's and Martin's books helped make them a phenomenon, as well as the E.L. James books and Collin's 'Hunger Games' books rapid release strategy. Impatience has its rewards, but so does patience.
And for this, I am grateful. My readership is small, but I don't think it will stay that way. Faith in the fact that at some given point in the history of my series' release that my books will find a wider audience continues to spur me on. I've written and published four books in four years. My next book, 'Blue Flames Rising' is set to be complete by the end of 2016. After that, two more will be written before the series is done. I have a plan and so far I've stuck to it. I always knew I'd become a teacher, and, I always knew I'd be a published author. I can be both, but this might hinder the timing of the release of my books. The thing is, though, I am not writing these books to satisfy the impatient needs of an audience. I am delivering a message that has been a long time coming. As I've said time and again, we are living in an age where humanity is waking up from a very, very long sleep. This takes time, as all good things do. And just like a good bottle of wine, good stories need to age a bit.
Crystal's story is complex and just like an onion, layers of the ages and people's lives are being peeled away on every page. I can promise my readers that if they are patient, there will be rewards. I cannot release my books rapidly because I cannot write them that way. My story needs to settle into my mind before I can write it out. I do hours and hours of research, combing through documents, books, websites and articles about the places that Crystal visits. I sometimes travel to these places and/or interview explorers and writers who've traveled there. All of this takes time, and I cannot expect everyone who reads my books to have the patience to wait for the next release, but I will promise you this--I will deliver to you the best book that I possibly can, utilizing this time to the best of my ability. Weaving Crystal's story onto the fabric of our existence is my gift to you and I promise, this next book, Blue Crystal Mountains, which will be released before the month is out, will be my best book yet. But it will be up to you if it was worth waiting for. I can only hope your answer will be 'yes.'