It is not the announcement that readers deserve, but the one they need.
Today I’m announcing big news for Jonathan Tibbs readers! Unfortunately, that news is not a set publication date for the sequel, but a development that will directly affect said date.
Thank You READERS!
Everyone who bought a copy of The Never Hero, who got excited about it, told their friends to read it, wrote a review, sent an email, tweeted or blogged about it. It is because of you, and the support of my family, that I’ve resigned from my day job. I gave notice January 8th, and on January 23rd I will be a full time writer. I wish there were better words to express my gratitude for your readership and support. The best I can do is tell you why it matters so much to me.
In 2013, I was thirty-two and circling a break down. I hadn’t been fired. I hadn’t lost a loved one. My family was happy and healthy. I had no obvious reason to be miserable.
Under the surface a part of me wanted to lose everything, wished I would show up to work the next day and find out I had been let go. I was at that point in life where you toy with hitting that ‘big red button.’ You start asking yourself, “What could I do to set it all in motion?” What is the action that will irreparably put me on a course for my own personal rock bottom?
A piece of me was desperately searching for the freedom that comes from failing at all of my responsibilities, from having nothing to lose.
I was never going to be happy at a 40-50 hour a week job. It wasn’t my employer, nor the employer who followed, both were great companies and treated me well. It was incompatibility with the lifestyle. This was not a new revelation, but one I struggled with, unconsciously at first and very consciously later, since entering the work force.
I day dreamed about going out in blaze of ridiculous glory… Jerry Mcquire style…
Unfortunately, tempting as that big red button is, we all know that I wasn’t willing to take my family down with me. I often wonder if I knew that this might be the case…
A long time ago in a lonely bachelor’s pad far far away…
That perhaps I went looking for family, a place where I was needed, so I wouldn’t feel I had the option of hitting that button when the urge got strong enough.
Show up to work… try to care… repeat. Years going by in a blur. Every day just wanting the one simple @$#@%@# luxury of being able to go to sleep when I was tired, and wake up when I @$#@%@ wasn’t.
What is worse, of course, is that it felt so damn immature.
It is a strange box that one, knowing you aren’t acting your age, but not being able to find the words you need to say to yourself in order to become the ‘responsible adult’ you are suppose to be by now.
“Accept reality,” he said to himself in a chant. “This is how the world works.”
Now, I know this is hardly unique. I get it! I may as well be expressing the grief of everyone who has ever had to work their whole life. Or at least everyone who watched Office Space. Perhaps there was one difference, for me, that made it feel like a prison. I can’t fake enthusiasm.
If you asked my wife: How well does T. Ellery Hodges lie?
She would say:
“He never bothers. Not because of some moral code, mind you, but because he finds it exhausting and he is terrible at it. Seriously, if he tried to lie to me, I’d know immediately. Whatever he said would sound fishy and he would take a nap right afterward.”
My career, whatever it was at the time, kept needing me to care. Not pretend to care, mind you, but I was suppose to actually want to be there. I couldn’t fake it though, just say the words with enthusiasm: “I want to be here and I care!”
In short, my livelihood could not depend on my ability to pretend I cared about corporate success. I was going to eventually lose that battle and I had no illusions about it. The stress of which was always present, and I feared I was getting ready to engage in some self destructive behavior if only to force something to change.
As this took its toll on me, it started to do the same to my family. I hated that my son saw me come home every day and knew that I didn’t want to wake up in the morning. Was afraid that he would pick up on my declining ability to find joy in anything, that this state of being was some intrinsic part of how the world worked and all he had to look forward to as an adult. You might think this all sounds like depression.
It isn’t…. it’s fear.
So, I had to do something, anything…
WHATEVER IT TOOK
…to escape. I had dreamed of writing my whole life, had the story of Jonathan Tibbs in my head for years. What I didn’t have was courage, follow through, or time. So I told courage to go play find and go #$%$#@ itself, and I found the follow through. Then I gave up the thing I had the least of… all my free time.
I worked all day, came home and wrote until I was exhausted. I gave up my weekends and sacrificed my health (seriously, had to stop exercising… gained thirty lbs). It took me a year and a half, but I finished The Never Hero. Now, almost another year and a half of working a day job and writing in my off hours has gone by while I tried to complete the sequel. My family has been lucky to see me for more than an hour a day for a long time now.
This may all sound like I’m publicly congratulating myself, but that isn’t it. I’m saying that if you folks hadn’t read the book, well, it would have been for nothing. I would still be trapped in that prison, only it would be worse, because I wouldn’t have an escape plan. Now, thanks to you, and the sacrifices of my family, I am pushing the big red button…
Hmmm, that red button metaphor has gotten pretty blurry at this point… basically I mean I can quit my job without screwing my family over and our house going into foreclosure.
As with most things, escaping a prison isn’t so simple as crossing your fingers and jumping the fence. My family and I had to save enough that we wouldn’t become homeless… at least long enough for me to get this series done.
Cough Cough… after that I am dependent on you good people again… but if you’ll keep reading, I’ll keep writing… No pressure!
Thanks to everyone who took a chance on an indie book and an author they had never heard of. I hope this post makes you understand how much I appreciate you. Because I can finally say it:
“I want to be here and I care!”
Of course, you may have only endured reading all of that because you wanted an update about the sequel. So the news is this: I now have 50 hours of my week freed up to work on nothing else. Still I think you guys deserve something at least slightly cooler than a, “Its about to get real ya’ll!”
I’ve had my cover artist cook up some awesome 1920 x 1030 Hi-Res Wallpapers based on the book covers. You’ll notice of course, that one of those is a cover reveal.
Now, I know this is kinda like turning your computer screen into a piece of promotional art for the The Chronicles of Jonathan Tibbs…
Um, wait… I’m suppose to contradict that statement now? …remember what my wife said about my lying skills?
Personally though, I’m using them to keep from getting distracted when I sit down to write full time on the 23rd… basically it goes something like this:
T’s Brain: Hey T. Ellery, want to watch some Netflix?
T. Ellery: Hey brain, that is an awesome idea! Let me just pull it up on the computer and… oh right. Nice try brain!