Two Years In The Ring
My favorite relationship started two years ago. Here's my personal story and a sneak-preview of what's next for us.
Seven hundred and thirty days together, you and me.
Happy anniversary to my favorite relationship ever! Today marks two years as a published author and I’m over the moon about what’s been happening and what’s in store for us next. I wanted to first start this post with a hearty thank you as my reader. This past year has been one of the hardest I’ve had to endure from a creative/mental-stamina standpoint and I wanted to share a little bit about it.
Dealing With Life’s Anticlimax
April 2021 to April 2022 was the best year of my life to date. My author career self-actualized and I proved to myself I was capable of being on this journey that I’m so passionate about. It felt like everything was on an upturn though the beginning of 2022: I got Better Off Guilty into a bookstore, got to showcase at my first live event, got a few interviews, got a high praise review from IBR and the cover of a magazine. All of that behind the scenes work was now visible. The life high was high.
Then things began to slow down near spring of 2022 as life recalibrated. I was ready to keep reaching for success at an upward angle, but I had to go back behind the scenes to finish a new novel. I worked nonstop and wrote two manuscripts back-to-back way too quickly. I knew that they weren’t ready for the market, but I pitched them anyway ready to experience that very-public feeling of success once more.
Long story short: I had to get over myself and take the work back behind the scenes to get it market ready. From April 2022 until April 2023, The Sophomore Letters has been rewritten from scratch twice and An Eye For Yours is undergoing a complete transformation.
To make it harder on myself, I decided to take a “gap year” (as my mom calls it) from living in Texas and try my hand at a few different states/cities while working remote. Some part of me really needed a Dora the Explorer year that ended up being all things: good, bad, and ugly. From Miami to Denver, we did it all. Nevertheless, the year was necessary for my maturing process as a human and I am so grateful I’ve had the opportunity to experience that. I’m moving back to Texas next month “for good” or at the very least, the next five years. But, probably for good - Lol.
This gap year came with a lot of spiraling self-reflection and all of the moving around put pressure on my consistent creativity. Luckily, I managed to buckle down a two-hours-a-day routine on The Sophomore Letters, get an editor, and get it to where it is today: a work I’m excited to be submitting to reps and publishers. (We’ll talk about that in a second)
Because of all of this moving and behind-the-scenes work, it’s been a very quiet year in my career. I’ve been on Substack, keeping in touch with my readers if not for my own sanity and creative stamina, and working tirelessly on my fiction projects. But there have been no magazines, no bookstores, and no flash this year. Coming off such a high and returning back to my desk for a quiet year to simply put in the work has been a real metal game. But, that’s the beauty of the journey isn’t it?
In My Own Head
One thing that I loved about pre-publication Lindsey was that she was truly trying to prove herself to no one but herself. There was no knowledge of the book industry, expectation of what might happen, or understanding of just how hard it is to breakout in this world at all. I’m glad to be past her now with increased confidence and well-developed writing skills. (That I can’t wait to share with you!) But, she did do somethings better than current me, including writing for the sake of loving writing. I’ve spent the past year refocusing on writing for that rather than “the flash of it all” which hasn’t always been easy.
I’ve been in my own head a lot this year battling out how to take that next step, how to elevate my career with The Sophomore Letters and zip it into the neat package that I want it to be for my readers. I’ve gotten savvier in the industry and decided to place higher risk bets on myself. But, I’ve also gained several mental blocks as I realize just how hard this climb I’m on actually is. Research, statistics, ‘the .0001%’, and saturation of this never-ending information about my grueling industry can be disheartening. As I’ve learned more, I’ve sometimes felt defeated. And it’s taken a mountain of effort to return to my focus to just going for it.
Returning to my first reason for writing, the love of writing, has probably been the theme/lesson of my quiet year. There’s also been refinery and networking, but so much of it has been teaching myself why I’m in this arena all over again. Getting out of my own head and doing the slow-burn work - especially when no one’s watching.
Here’s a few things that have helped me hold focus:
My loved ones and family
My readers staying in touch with me via Substack (love y’all)
Atomic Habits by James Clear
The characters in The Sophomore Letters
What’s Next + The Sophomore Letters Preview
The Sophomore Letters is on submission. We’ve got a few awesome options on publication routes and I’m likely making my final choices about my second novel’s new home in June/July of this year. I couldn’t be more excited about the decisions and will be taking to social media and Substack for the ‘big reveal’ about the work soon. It’s an interactive thriller and probably the moody antonym to Better Off Guilty. The Sophomore Letters is playful, multi-generational, and a classic who-dunnit style novel with thriller elements sprinkled in.
I’ve been talking about this novel forever, so I thought you’d finally enjoy a little preview :)
Sneak Preview of The Sophomore Letters:
Yes, another dual perspective!
Contemporary Plot: When Sillian Parks announced another ridiculously-themed Halloween party, her sister Jane was not at all surprised. The twins and a competitive friend group find themselves staying at a McMansion in the weeds of Virginia for the weekend. When strange incidents begin to befall the party, Jane suspects ulterior motives behind some of the guests. Once Sillian mysteriously disappears, the history of the estate comes to light as the former home of a famous jazz group from the late 1930s, The Sophomore Brothers, who went missing after their wives were thought to be murdered in 1942. As Jane progresses through the holiday, she begins to uncover sinister secrets that the puzzling manor has held for generations. Jane must lean into jeopardy as she interviews guests and uncovers the buried history of The Sophomore Manor, fearing her own sister’s present-day link in the buried story.
1942 Plot: Mary and Macie were the survivors of their parent's infamous double homicide case of the 1920s. The twin sisters were practically born into the most violent spotlight. When the celebrities grew up and became film stars, they each “married” one of the equally-renowned Sophomore Brothers as part of a business arrangement. The four faux newly-weds moved into The Sophomore Manor where they would become colleagues to their twins husbands under the same roof. Trust would be important in this merger since the wealthy women were not legally allowed to hold their own bank accounts. When Mary starts to feel the tables turning against the girls, she forms a dangerous escape plan to flea the marriage-gone-wrong. With her own husband plotting against her, Mary takes matters into her own hands in order to save her sister and their fortune. When both couples living in The Sophomore Manor go missing, the case lives on: still famously unsolved to this day. True crime fanatics everywhere are convinced that the darkest secrets are buried somewhere inside the villa’s own walls.
Okay, don’t tell anyone…here’s an intro-page preview.
Betrayal is a titan’s business that’s historically boomed in Virginia. The state doesn’t have a honeypot anymore. Often, you’ll notice the citizens desperate to make their own. When I found my sister’s missing body just outside of the lackluster Richmond, I remembered this fact and momentarily considered switching careers. It was only a brief thought that crossed my mind while dialing for the police. But, the call didn’t reach. The other thing about living in Virginia - there’s never any cell service.
Elle: “The amount of erotically-charged jealousy in this situation is astronomical. You should start with the boys. Their frontal lobes aren’t fully developed yet, along with their self-control.”
Robin: “She was acting so…weird leading up to the party. Sill was hiding something. And I think it was something very, very big. Someone spotted the target on her back and poof! She disappears. And did you hear about the man with the machete?”
Michael: “We’re close knit. I’d like to call us a friend group. Alcohol has to be part blame here. I mean it was a party after all and I know none of us were completely sober. I know that Sill would agree with me right now. If she could.”
Alex: “Nobody even likes coming to these parties. A lot people just smoke and hope the event flies by. Not me of course. But, most. Considering everyone who attended was a quote-unquote ‘regular’ I’d be surprised to find that this was some inside job. It’s obviously not. None of us wanted to do away with Sillian.”
THE SOPHOMORE LETTERS - Copyright: Lindsey Lamar 2023
Okay, okay! Perhaps I’ve said too much. That’s all for today. Happy two years to us, my reader! I’m really lucky to have you here and I hope you know how grateful I am to you everyday. You’re really making my dreams come true.
Also, my grandad passed away a few weeks ago and today would’ve been his 86th birthday. He knew that slow-work was often the most rewarding and never rushed his craft as a skilled woodworker. I learned a lot of those sentiments this year in my own career journey and dedicate this timely-birthday post to him. I know he’s watching over this process with me now and sending down little wisdoms along the way. :)
April 14th is a great day for many reasons. As we head into year three together, I’m grateful to have you here with me. They say third time’s the charm, so I’ve got a smile on my game-face for year three! Sending love.
HAPPY TWO YEARS.