the Author

State of the Author, January 2017

Posted in writing.


Where to start. I am not finished the next Cast novel. I’m not finished War. I had a very very very diffi­cult November, which added to future dead­line stress.

I am working on both books.

I only barely remem­bered that it’s January, and I have a new book being published in February (Grave). So I made a post about that. Badly. Every­thing I ever knew about Word­Press has vanished into the back­brain so thor­oughly, finding it was an issue >.<.

I promised that Grave would be avail­able at the same time in both the US and the UK. I had intended that Silence and Touch be avail­able before that. And, well. Fail. When I finish words for the day, I am working on making those avail­able. But I confess that the “finish words” part has been severely in jeop­ardy for most of November, and also the holi­days. So, to everyone’s great surprise (act surprised), the UK ebooks are not done.

Also, for the first time ever, I appar­ently have cata­stroph­i­cally high blood pres­sure, go figure.  My doctor was unamused, and also surprised, given that I was normal a few months ago. So the last week has been doctor, vampire (well, that’s unfair, but blood tests), cardio­gram, etc., etc., etc.

I am one of those people whose blood pres­sure skyrockets when confronted with medical profes­sionals. I am one of those people who, in the middle of labor, stopped all contrac­tions when I arrived at the hospital, both times. I can brute force intel­lec­tual action, but my viscera just doesn’t like what it doesn’t like =/.

Also: the lack of coffee will prob­ably kill everyone around me, if it doesn’t kill me first.


More seri­ously, my worry brain is my creative brain (this lesson brought to you by nine days in the hospital with my then-three-year-old — who is now 18 and fine), so I have been almost entirely off-line. I have been reading the news as it enters my house (Globe and Mail), and focusing where I can on the writing thoughts and not the state of the world thoughts. This has been diffi­cult, because it’s some­what isolating.

But doing that enabled the writer brain to emerge from the fog. I can work at the book­store without pause when every­thing is crum­bling — but I can’t write at all compe­tently. It becomes so much work to attain the right frame of mind (which, with Michelle’s process, is about emotional state and tonal words) that almost anything breaks it. I can logic my way through anything, but the actual writing itself is not produced by logic alone =/.

I am sorry that I have been so unavail­able — but my ratio­nal­iza­tion is that none of you would be here if it weren’t for the books, and if I can’t write the books, there’s prob­ably little point for you to be here now.

(ETAnot, because other­wise the sentence means the exact oppo­site of what I’d intended…)

55 Responses to State of the Author, January 2017

  1. ProfPowner says:

    Many hugs — I under­stand! Keep plug­ging away — we’ll be here when­ever you have words for us!

  2. Patrick Gates says:

    Stay well ❤️

  3. Get healthy — that’s most impor­tant. BTW, knit­ting has been known to reduce high blood pressure.

  4. ELF says:

    I suspect that many of us have come to enjoy getting a glimpse into your compli­cated and complex life, and yes, we are always anxious for the next story, but above all we wish for you to be healthy and happy, so do what­ever you have to do to achieve that. Hugs.

  5. Joey says:

    Get the health part taken care of! PLEASE!!!

  6. Terrie says:

    Love your work but you defi­nitely need to focus on health over work!

  7. @Laura: I tried knit­ting way back. It…did not reduce my blood pres­sure. Stitches kept multi­plying. I tried to knit a scarf — simple, right? I ended up with a triangle. x3.

  8. MaryW says:

    Person­ally, I relieve tension by throwing rubber soled shoes at a wall. No damage caused just a loud thud as the rubber meets the wall.

  9. Daniel Catudal says:

    As a reader I believe that we are most unfair, reading within a day art work on which you painstak­ingly worked on for several months. Knowing you trough your online brief comments helps me enjoy the writer herself. Please do take all the time you need to get well so that I and all your readers may enjoy your work for as long as you may enjoy performing your art for us. Energy well spent is energy spent on well being of mind and body. Love always, I’m sending posi­tive energy towards you and wish you well.

  10. Zia says:

    Thank you for taking the time to post an update, though I sorry to hear things haven’t been going well for you. I wish you a belated Happy New Year, and hope that 2017 is kinder. 

    We’re patient (even when some of us are impa­tient) when it comes to waiting. Would we like the books soon? Always. But having to wait isn’t then end of the world, and it teaches patience. I’d rather your health and state of mind be solid than have you stressed about trying to get some­thing completed. Actu­ally the thought of that stresses me out, and makes me feel like a horrible person because as a fan I’m one of the people possibly adding to the problem.

    The majority of us will wait until the next book in each series is released — no matter the time. Your health is defi­nitely more important. 

    I have severe anxiety issues (to be honest, I have a long list of issues) so I tend to find a park and swing while listening to music. It’s not some­thing most adults do, but for me that’s a great way to just do some­thing that requires absolutely no thought.

    Again thank you for taking the time to post an update, and thank you for all of the works you’ve given us over the years.

  11. Laura Lima says:

    I’ve wanted to write to you for a long time and this most recent post from you convinced me that this is the time. First, let me say that I under­stand the stress/anxiety=physical break­down. I have MS and it is the same for me…damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
    What I want to convey to you, if I can, is an under­standing of the true gift you’ve given and will continue to give all of us through your writing. My 24 year old son died this past year. I was and continue to be “barely here”…
    The ONLY time since his passing that I have been able to step away from this horror is in the reading (and re-reading) of your House and Sun sword series. I can submerge myself in your worlds and take myself out of mine for a brief time. I want you to under­stand how great of a gift that is to me.
    When you’re feeling stressed or anxious, remember me and know that not only are you “enough”, you touch people’s lives in a way you cannot imagine.
    Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  12. ome miserum says:

    Sorry to hear about your blood pressure.

  13. Ruth Lee Wexler says:

    Wishing you a quick recovery from your stress… I got a kitten and that helped me to unwind and calm down.. Be well

  14. @Laura: Thank you. Just … thank you.

  15. hsmyers says:

    As I occa­sion­ally sign off with friends on FB, Hug{{{h}}}-s

  16. Raine Kloud says:

    Don’t worry about it, I will read/listen to them when they come out. Your health is impor­tant and comes first. Read first sentience again. I am quite happy waiting, It is so much better than the alter­na­tive ( I spent 10 years as an EMT, I know the alter­na­tives quite well. Take care of yourself.

  17. Laura Lima says:


  18. Merril says:

    just focus on getting unstessed. I know easier said than done. The rising blood pres­sure with doctors thingy has a name“white coat syndrome ”
    Know we are more likely and willing to wait for my next fix than to have your doctor in an unamus d state after all we have to consider his/her state of well being

  19. Kerri Knorr says:

    Hyper­ten­sion is tricksy. My BP was fine at one check up and sky high not 6 months later. I hope the normal medica­tions do as well for you as they have for me.

  20. Katie says:

    Please take care of your­self. Without you, there are no books. And without joy in your life, the books don’t matter.

  21. Vance Marker says:

    Get well!!! All else is secondary! Thank you for the update. Prayers for swift recovery and calmer waters!

  22. Lesa says:

    Good for you in recog­nizing that you need quiet time away from the world. I learned that lesson after 21 years teaching and I’m retiring Jan. 20th. Take care of your­self. I LOVE YOUR BOOKS!!!! I will now have time to read them when they first come out. :)

  23. Debbie H says:

    I think we would all still be here for you even if you couldn’t write, all the plea­sure from the books already written would ensure that. Wishing you all the best and take time to relax and enjoy life. Do some­thing that you always wanted to, but were too busy to do. As a loyal fan, I will patiently wait for what ever trea­sure may come. Thank you for all the effort and joy your books bring.

  24. Ellen says:

    It’s more impor­tant that you are well and in a good frame of mind than churning out books at a regular and frankly quite aston­ishing pace. I’m happy to wait I’ve yet to be disap­pointed by anything of yours I’ve read. Cut your­self a break and we’ll all still be here.

  25. Tchula says:

    Michelle, please take your time and treat your­self well. We readers are loyal and will be here for you, so don’t push your­self to the point of making your­self unwell. I see so many folks in my opto­metric prac­tice that have so much stress, and it really can make one phys­i­cally ill.

    2016 was a rough year for so many; I am really hoping 2017 will be better. Grave is a lovely way to start things off, and the rest will come when it comes. I like to remind myself that I don’t have to be perfect, I just have to be “good enough” and that helps me deal with the crazi­ness that is life some­times. (In fact, if I believed in having a tomb­stone, I think I’d put “good enough” on it, 1) because I think it’s funny, and 2) because it describes my point of view pretty well. ;-P

    Be kind to your­self, and know we are all wishing you good health and peace of mind.

  26. Chris says:

    I have thor­oughly enjoyed your series featuring the world of Jewel. While, like many if not all, I would love seeing a new book come out like right now, I know from my feeble attempts to write — it just doesn’t work that way. So while I patiently await the next novel in the war series, know that prayers have been lifted for you today: prayers for your health, your family, and grat­i­tude for your contri­bu­tion to my escape from reality. God bless!

  27. ElizabethN says:

    The joy, not, of hyper­ten­sion, the silent disease. Hope lifestyle and medica­tion get it under control. The mighty purrs of the cat on my desk and some medi­cine help me with mine. Take care of your­self please, be kind to yourself.

  28. br60103 says:

    It seems to me that we just had a book from you. After all, you’re not Mercedes Lackey who is actu­ally a whole platoon of writers.
    My wife was prescribed a home blood pres­sure monitor; they recog­nized that it goes up in the office.

  29. 2016 seems to be doing its best to leave an indelible impres­sion on 2017. And this Christmas and New Year is bringing a lot of not good news for aquain­tances and close family alike.

    I wish you and yours (and me and mine) a Healthy New Year (it’s still January so I figure I can ^^) and lots of patience, endurance and excel­lent sleep to gather our resources. (Hey, I can always hope!).

    Be well, Michelle. All my love to your hubby, specifically ^^.

  30. Mary Allen says:

    Your books are so worth waiting for. You give all of us hours of plea­sure and escape. I hope you get the blood pres­sure under control and the stress. Both my husband and I have high blood pres­sure and I have a family history of high blood pres­sure and strokes. My husband was hospi­tal­ized a few weeks ago — turns out he was being over medicated for the high blood pres­sure. There was some study done in 2014 that claims 120/ over 70 for older people is too low. My blood pres­sure has been under control for over a decade with medica­tion but honestly if I would lose 20 pounds and exer­cise more I prob­ably could come off the medi­cine. If you can take a walk when you are stressed maybe that would help — holding a pet or hugging a loved one some­times helps too.

  31. gary says:

    Hey: easy does it! One day at a time. Keep up the “OUTSTANDING WORK.” It will be when it will be! UR #1 in my book!!!

  32. Bobbi says:

    Take care of your self please — your health is impor­tant. I love your books. Thank you for sharing your gift.

  33. More hugs from us in Victoria, BC!!

    Be well. Every­thing has its own time, and cannot be forced to fit a clock.

  34. Elizabeth S says:

    Your books are more than worth the wait. Your health and overall mental well-being are far more important.

    One small note, speaking as a cardiac ICU nurse: don’t quit coffee cold turkey. It is actu­ally way more harmful than contin­uing to drink it as it will drive your stress levels up even more. You don’t even need to quit it completely, just cut back.

    Here’s to a better year than last!

  35. Farrell says:

    I recently started the House series, after rereading Hunter’s. I am enjoying it as much as the Cast series(which I didn’t think was posible, I reread the entire Cast series each time a new book is coming out). Thank you. Take care of your­self. That’s by far more important!

  36. Stephen Engel says:

    Be encour­aged, your fans love you. I do. You are special. You are the best writer alive. I truly believe that. You have the best char­ac­ters and that is because of your char­acter. I am praying for you. I ask for your health; phys­ical, mental, spiritual.
    Thanks for your work.

  37. Crystal says:

    The first rule in success­fully completing any project is to take care of your­self. I enjoy your books, used them to get through chemo and recovery from surgery, thank you. Hope all calms down and gets easier for you soon.

  38. Trina A. says:

    I’ve been a long time reader of your series, but this is my first response to your blog posts. Get better. Breathe. Renew. Exhale. Return. We will be here. I love the complexity of your char­ac­ters and story lines. I love the strong female leads. I love their quirks and personal growth. I sit on the edge of my seat devouring words waiting to see what happens next. I love all of your series I’ve read (House, Sunsword, Queen of the Dead). I read so fast I prob­ably need this time to re-read the stories for nuances I’ve missed. Take care of yourself.

  39. @all: you guys are the best :D.

    I think it would help if I did not have to attempt to take blood pres­sure three or four times before getting a reading that is unpre­dictable. I’ve looked at different cuff sizes, but they seem to be either up to 9” or between 12 – 13”, and I haven’t seen one in between (we have the latter, which is consid­ered normal). I’m 10.5. so: frus­trating, and at this point I can’t even tell if any of the numbers I do get after attempt 3 or 4 are accu­rate. Some­times they are 120/80 (and my hand is purple because the cuff tightens until it gets some­thing — or gives up) and some­times they are 191/108. And this is TMI >.<.

  40. Laura Lima says:

    Lol…and now your blood pres­sure will go up over the frus­tra­tion about not being able to get an accu­rate reading. :)
    It’s not TMI, maybe someone here will be able to offer help. You need to find your own “Michelle” to help you escape!

  41. Tchula says:

    Michelle, have you consid­ered a wrist cuff? You may find it easier to get more consis­tent measure­ments at home. My dad uses one and I have one in the office that I use on patients from time to time. Posi­tioning is key for accu­rate results: sit upright with legs not crossed, use the cuff on the left wrist only, and bend the elbow and place the cuff firmly over your heart with the arm elevated. It does eat through AA batteries though. The wrist cuffs are not partic­u­larly expen­sive, maybe $35 at Walmart or CVS. It’s nice, because people don’t have to half undress to check their bp also. ;-P

  42. As an avid reader I have read books where it was obvious the writer forced the process to met a dead­line. Person­ally I would rather wait and read the best book you can write. Plus Michelle you are a person not just an author and I would be surprised if real life didn’t get in the way once in awhile. One last thing. You are my all time favorite author and your books have been one of the few things in my life that never fail to reduce my stress. As much as I love some­thing new, I would never want that at the expense of your health. I can always re-read what I have to tide me over. Take care of your­self and thank you for caring so much.


  43. Mjw says:

    Long time reader and big fan. Honestly you don’t owe us a thing. Your books are like wonderful jewels I return to again and again. Please take care of yourself.

  44. Aria says:

    Please take care of your­self! Everyone can wait just fine, as proven by George R.R. Martin ))

  45. @Tchula: I’ll look at wrist cuffs. I’d take getting a reading reli­ably (instead of trying 3 or 4 times) over a more reli­able reading. Honestly, by the time I do get a reading, I am ready to rampage through the house destroying all the medical tech in the process, which appar­ently is not good for the blood pressure…

    @all: thank you again. I *am* writing; it’s just taking longer for the same number of words. I’m trying very hard not to let this frus­trate me.

  46. I revisit your “House War” books regu­larly because of their insight into human nature and deep humanity. And your delightful noise-some cats! Your books have profoundly touched me and enriched my life. Please place your health first. I can wait for the next installment.

  47. Heather says:

    We love your books, so we will be here when life gives you a chance to breathe and live, and then can let your creative voice shine.

  48. ralphw2548 says:

    I want to second every­thing Tchula said. I am an Infu­sion Nurse Specialist. Many times, I am required to take a patient’s BP every 15 minutes over an hour. The wrist cuffs work well and are reli­able, as long as you follow Tchu­la’s direc­tions. Take your BP meds as directed, even if you feel good! And, you take your read­ings around the same time, every time. And, don’t stress out over the numbers. Those read­ings are only a snap­shot. If you had taken the reading 20 minutes earlier or later, you would prob­ably get different read­ings. All your MD wants is consis­tency ( keep a written log ).
    Person­ally, I will wait for as long as I must for WAR. Your health is more impor­tant. “Don’t make me come up there and get you” ( my moth­er’s favorite threat to keep me in line :) ).

  49. Health comes first, period.

  50. Honour McMillan says:

    So trying to reduce stress while trying to live up to your own stan­dards? What would you tell your daughter? :)
    You provide us with more plea­sure and finer words than I have the ability to convey.
    If you write 200 words today, well then that was obvi­ously how many should have been written.
    If you write none today then no words were needed.
    Reset your stan­dards to that which you can accom­plish. It is what it is.
    People might bug George RR Martin or Patrick Roth­fuss — but you’ll notice neither of them are expected to apologize.
    Be at peace — Elantra will come to us when it’s ready.


  51. Daniel Catudal says:

    I second that tread entirely Honour, thks for your input.

  52. Monica Westmoland says:

    Take care of your­self. You are one of the few authors whose books I can re-read and enjoy them as if it were the first time I read them, only it is better than the first time because I always notice details that I missed before. So take your time.…..we’ll be here for you.

  53. DeDe says:

    Michelle, your stories are worth the wait to all of us. But you are more impor­tant. Take the time you need. Figure out the medical stuff. It can take a while to settle in with the meds if you go that route. 

    BTW — while ‘getting ready to rampage’ may not be good for your blood pres­sure — some actual cuff carnage might be satisfying. :-)

  54. Tanya Shively says:

    Thank you for your stories. They are a wondrous treat for all of us. Hope you have taken some time to de-stress and take care of yourself.

  55. Joyce Ronquillo says:

    I hope the state of the author has improved. I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that I want a new Elantra book but not at the expense of your health or peace of mind. Please ignore the world because your books help your readers ignore the world.

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