On Saturday, I had dinner with the mayor of Eureka. Her name is not Henry; she doesn’t drive a tow truck; and it was Eureka, CA, not Eureka, OR. But it did amuse me nonetheless. And also made me reflect on how odd it is that a television show changed my life in such dramatic ways.
For those of you who don’t know this story, in 2010, I fell in love with the television show Eureka. During the break between the two halves of Season 4, my craving for information led me to discover fanfiction. Literally — I’d never even heard of fanfiction before, to the best of my recollection, and I’d certainly never written any. In fact, I’d given up writing fiction entirely at least a dozen years earlier (when I decided freelance writing was a stupidly difficult way to earn a living and went back to editing.) But Eureka inspired me and I wrote a bunch of Eureka stories that were really fun — complicated science, humor, romance — skipping all the tedious parts of writing, ie description.
Then the new episodes started playing and I hated where they took the characters. By then, I was possessive of them, even though they weren’t mine. So I started writing original fiction, where no one else could make my characters do stupid things. At the very end of 2011, I posted my first full-length original story to Amazon, so the people who’d been reading along online could have it in ebook format if they wanted. I made a cover for it in Powerpoint, using a photo from a free site, and told my friends and family that they could buy it if they wanted to give me a gingerbread latte, or download it for free on its KU free days if they just wanted to read it. That was A Gift of Ghosts. I was in grad school and my goal was to write for fun — a million words that I was willing to share — while I got my degree and started work as a therapist. By now I should be about ready to start my own practice, having finished my degree, worked the necessary hours for my license, and built up a bit of a client base. Ha. Instead I dropped out of school, and I’m wandering around the country, still undecided about my ability to support myself as a writer, although still enjoying writing.
Speaking of which, I’ve been waiting two months for Amazon to notice that Ghosts is available for free on the other sites and price match it back to free. I’ve even gone so far as to try to report the lower price myself, but to no avail. It’s pretty weird, because they noticed that it wasn’t free about five days after I put it into KU — I guess they’re prompter about not losing money? Short version of this story: I tried out Kindle Unlimited for three months, the shortest term that you can sign up for, and it killed my sales. I earned some money from page reads, but not enough to make up for the fact that I no longer sold any books anywhere. Two months ago, with a great sigh of relief, I let the KU term expire and put the books back up everywhere, but I’m still not selling as many as I did before this experiment, because Amazon hasn’t price-matched Ghosts to be free. Anyway, if you have a minute and feel so inclined, there’s a: “Would you like to tell us about a lower price?” link on the Ghosts page underneath the publisher info and it might help me out if you reported Ghosts being available for free elsewhere. (Elsewhere being Barnes & Noble or Kobo or iBooks or Google Play.) And I say “might” because Amazon can be weird and I don’t honestly know if this is what they need to make the change. But thank you in advance for trying if you do!
Back to my life news — Sunday was supposed to be thunderstorms and rain in Arcata. Instead, it was gloriously sunny for most of the day. We took the dogs to the beach for one last romp that was wonderful — Zelda was having a very good day, and not only did she run and roam and play, she paid attention to where I was and responded when I called her. We also did useful things — laundry and packing up and cleaning. S spent lots of time in her garden and I spent lots of time in the van, but it was nice to have one last glorious day.
Today, it’s time to move on. I tried to remind myself this morning that a departure is not an ending, it’s just a change, but I’m still sad to be leaving. On the other hand, once I get on the road, I will remember that I’m headed to another place I like, Seattle, to see more people I like. And a few I love! Conveniently for my enthusiasm level, if I make it there by Wednesday morning (new goal: get there by Wednesday), I will get to spend a few hours with R and his delightful girlfriend as they pass through.
And meanwhile, S and I already have plans for our next adventure together — New Mexico, sometime in 2020. In my head, maybe even my heart, I know that life is not about what happens next, it’s about what’s happening now, but it’s still comforting to remind myself that I have plenty to look forward to.