Is this thing still on?

So it goes without saying that I haven't been here a lot lately (understatement of the century – this will only be my seventh post this year, which is just pitiful). While I do have valid reasons (blah blah blah), we all know that I've been completely neglecting my blog, and that's just sad.

And what's even worse is that when I have blogged, it's all been promotional stuff. It's been "Hey, look at my new cover!" (yesterday's post), and "Hey, we're having a contest!" (the post before that), and "Hey, look at this website I agreed to help promote!" (the post before that). (And notice how this paragraph is complete with all the appropriate links to said posts.)

I have become that writer. That writer who once blogged about interesting stuff, but now only blogs when she has something to promote and who only posts updates when there's something cool and book-related to share. And you know what? It's frigging boring and lame, and I know it, and I hate writers who do that. And now I do that. What the hell happened?

Well, I know exactly what happened, so I'll tell you.

The obvious reason is that I got sort of busy. Between traveling (seven trips this year), writing a new book (THE BUTCHER is written and currently at the copy edit stage), a divorce, a surgery, a death, and a beautiful new relationship, it's been kind of a crazy time. Something was bound to fall by the wayside, and that was the blog.

A picture of me taking a picture, on one of my many trips.

Another reason is that for a while – for like a whole year, actually – my personal life was a mess. And since I was so used to talking about personal things here, I opted not to blog, because did you really want to read about how my twenty-year relationship was ending in the most painful way possible? Did you want to know about how the entire vision I had for my life was totally shattered because the guy I married turned out to be someone I didn't recognize, and as a result I had to move and start my life totally over, completely alone? Well, then again, maybe you did – because stuff like that is gossipy and interesting – but I sure as shit didn't want to go into detail about it here.

But the biggest reason was that my voice here on the blog became totally diluted. Not right away, but little by little, over a period of time. Like a lot of writers who are aspiring to be published or who are newly published, I started to become very careful about what I said online. I filtered. I censored. Which is what we're told to do, because we don't want to risk offending anyone. We don't want to turn off potential agents or editors or readers. I stopped using the word "fuck" (which is practically my favorite word – it's just so versatile!) because a reader once told me she would have liked my book better if I hadn't used so much profanity (and yet she didn't mind the sex or violence one bit).

And the more I censored, the more blogging felt like a chore. Twitter doesn't feel like a chore. Facebook doesn't feel like a chore. I'm totally comfortable talking on both of those social media outlets. I'm fine with showing you little snippets of what I want you to see, as is everyone else who Facebooks or tweets. Doesn't your life look totally awesome on Facebook? I know mine does, and that's kind of what Facebook is for, and I'm cool with that, and you probably are, too. Because they're marketing tools. We're all selling something, whether it's books, or how happy/amazing/interesting we want you to think our lives are.

Me last Halloween, dressed as a gypsy (though I think I looked more like a flamenco dancer), about to leave for a party. See how happy/amazing/interesting my life is?

But the blog was supposed to be different. The blog was supposed to be the one place where I could get real, and be authentically me, where I could talk about my life and my journey. Somewhere along the way, that just evaporated. There were too many things I wasn't "allowed" to say, and eventually the blog was just one more social media thing I had to manage, and it felt like work. But there was a time when it didn't used to feel that way, before the filtering, before I was published, before I had a "reputation" to be concerned about.

And I miss that.

So I've decided to get back to being me here. The real me... or, at least, as much as the real me I can be without torpedoing my career (because I do love my job and it would be tragic if I did anything to fuck that up). I'd like to get back to doing what I love to do.

Which is write about stuff. And swear occasionally.


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THE BUTCHER is coming

Edward Shank is retired, widowed, and living a boring life in the old folks' home. The former Chief of Police is a Seattle legend, having gunned down the infamous Beacon Hill Butcher back in 1985, finally putting an end to the grisly serial murders that plagued the Pacific Northwest for over a decade. Now eighty years old with a bad hip, Edward spends his days playing bingo and watching TV, his glory days long behind him.

Matt, Edward's grandson, chose to carve out his own path to success by becoming Seattle's top chef. The owner of a popular restaurant and a half dozen food trucks, Matt is about to become the star of his own TV show. Everything is going his way, until he discovers a locked crate buried in the backyard of his grandfather's old house that contains a family secret so gruesome, his entire life – and everything he's worked for – will be destroyed if it ever gets out. Matt decides it's best to keep the secret... but his girlfriend Sam might make that impossible.

Sam Marquez has always believed that her mother was murdered by the Beacon Hill Butcher back in 1987, and she's spent most of her adult life trying to prove it. The only problem? The Butcher was shot and killed two years before her mother's death.

Or was he?

THE BUTCHER, a standalone thriller, is coming July 15, 2014 from Simon & Schuster/Gallery Books. Pre-order on Amazon here.

(Oh, and if you're wondering, THE BUTCHER is the new title for the book that used to be called MAGNOLIA.)

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