Thoughts on life after Hidden

Can you tell this is on my mind a bit lately? If you are a regular reader of the blog or if you follow my page on Facebook, you’ve likely seen me talk about “life after Hidden.” Maybe I should just start referring to my creative life in terms of B.H. and A.H.

The period B.H. (before Hidden) was about me finding a way to make a (admittedly meager) living writing. I wrote about gardening and green living and parenting. I had two books about gardening published, and was published in what is still my favorite magazine, Mother Earth News, not once, but three times. I wrote for TreeHugger, which was, to me, like finally getting that stamp of “green-cred” approval.

I started writing Hidden. And this story lived in my mind, and went through multiple drafts over the course of the past five years. And I took the (to me, absolutely fucking terrifying at the time) step to get it out there via publishing it as a web serial here.

And then it came out in ebook form. Through it all, I was goofing around. I was finally giving form to this story that just wouldn’t leave me alone. Molly and company lived in my mind for a long time before anyone ever read them on my blog or in an ebook.

I am surprised, to this day, that the books have found the audience they have. I don’t think it really hit me until after Home came out that, holy shit, people are actually following this story. Way more people than I ever would have imagined. I didn’t think anyone would care about my oddball band of heroes and antiheroes. And I am immensely grateful for every single person who has taken a chance on an unknown author like me. It is more than I ever could have dreamed. It’s a modest success compared to some of my indie author brothers and sisters, but it is mine and I am thrilled beyond belief with it.

Which brings me to life A.H. (after Hidden). We’re almost there, because the final book comes out next month, followed by one final novella (since readers want this story told, and, more so, because I am dying to tell it.)

And I find myself both excited to share the rest of the stories I’ve been living with, and a bit terrified. Excited, because writing runs through my blood just as strongly as my Polish/German/Irish ancestry and I have fun doing it and I learn more about myself and the art of telling stories with each and every word I write.

Terrifying, because what if this was it? What if, as that bitchy voice in the back of my mind so often tries to tell me, I am nothing more than a one-hit wonder? What if I release the next stories, the next series, out into the world, and they sit there, fading into nothingness?

When I shared this fear, a good friend told me that you can only be a one-hit wonder if you stop working and putting books out.

This friend always gives me things to think about. Including, back when I started, the advice that this whole book-writing thing is a marathon, not a sprint.

A life, not a moment.

And I realize that when I started all of this, it was to prove to myself that I could. That I could get past my fear of putting my fiction out there. That I could finish writing books instead of letting partially-finished manuscripts pile up on my hard drive, never to be seen by anyone but me.

And I have done that. But you know what the funny part is? It’s something I think I’m going to have to prove to myself over and over and over again until it feels real. And I think, maybe, I’m grateful for that. I’ve always thrived on being the underdog, on feeling like I need to prove myself. And I’m here again.

I guess I’ll never settle on my laurels, so that’s a good thing.

I have several series and books in the works. Next year, you will see the first books in the series about the vampires from HIDDEN. You’ll be introduced to the Copper Falls series, which I teased here on the blog. and there will be superhero romance, because I am a geek and those are the kinds of stories I get a kick out of writing. There may also be a contemporary romance along the way. We’ll see.

What do I really hope to achieve in posting something like this? It’s not to be patted on the head and told that everything will be fine. 🙂 Partially, it’s to untangle my thoughts, which I obviously do best in writing. But it’s also because I know I have several readers and followers who are starting out, or maybe thinking about seriously giving their writing a chance. And I want them to know that I’m pretty sure the insecurity never dies. And really, it probably never should. I also want them (and me, when that bitchy voice gets too loud) to know that they should keep going, because there’s nothing on Earth like making characters who only lived in your head live in other people’s minds and hearts as well. It’s magic. And it is worth every single second of doubt.

That’s that, then. Back to work.


4 thoughts on “Thoughts on life after Hidden

  1. Sue Padgett says:

    First off, thank you for sharing your thoughts and perspective with your readers (me!!!). I came very late to the Hidden party and it’s probably only due to networking within social media that I was lucky to find you. If you ask me, the voice of encouragement sounds an awful lot like words Elizabeth Hunter might use as she has generously shared with readers the process of writing and self-publishing that she lives with. I think you writers are the most talented, dedicated and brave people that I “know”. Keep writing, I promise that I will keep reading! You are firmly planted in my list of must-read authors now. Right up there with Elizabeth, Grace Draven, Deborah Harkness and Ilona Andrews :-).

    • Colleen says:

      Thank you, Sue! That is an amazing compliment, and I will do my best to live up to it! You may be right about the friend, btw. 🙂

  2. alleymonster says:

    Your writing is an escape for myself and pure enjoyment#. I find myself lost in your magical words and always looking forward to your next installments. Please don’t ever stop writing or sharing with us your gift. Because what you have is a very true gift indeed! Love your stories…

    Also a native michigander in the metro area.

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