It’s been five years since I published A Demon in the Desert. Some time after I put it out, I blogged about everything I’d learned from. Five years on, those things still hold true but I’m not taking active lessons from it anymore. It serves as a very mixed gateway into the life of Grimluk and his adventures, with some people loving it and a few thinking it’s garbage. It’s a first book. And I don’t know what else to say on it.
I could talk about how sometimes I think about rewriting it but my desire to let it stand, as its own thing and as a sign of where I started mostly wins out there. It will stand as it is.
I could talk about how my friend, Krista Ball, told me about the five-year issue. It takes five years before you really get anywhere. But my fifth year is also the year of COVID-19 and I still only have three books. By Krista’s fifth year, she had 12 books out (or, as she put it when I asked, “A lot, and probably not enough, but also way too much.”). In self-publishing, quantity DOES matter, at least more than in traditional publishing. It’s also not smart to compare my journey to someone else’s. While Krista’s level of success is where I’m aiming, I’m also not her and I don’t write what she writes. Also at least one of those was a non-fiction and those always sell.
The truth is…this doesn’t feel like a big deal to me anymore. I’ve written and published three books and written a fourth that just needs the money for editing, proofing, and artwork (along with another couple of drafts). Releasing a book is still a big deal. Releasing a book is a big, nerve-wracking event where I push another piece of my very silly soul out into the world for people to consume, come what may. But the march of time? Not really.
The biggest thing about having been doing this for five years now is that…I can’t see myself not doing it anymore. Paying for the publishing sucks and is the hardest part of this, followed by marketing, but I love doing this. I love writing. I love creating. I love entertaining and it still makes me feel real. So even with COVID-19 rolling around, and the US absolutely DUNKING on itself, that hasn’t changed. Sometimes I feel like I’m being frivolous writing Grimluk and not like, some politically-charged, current events commentary sci-fi story. Which is kind of silly considering Grimluk is politically-charged in a different way. Part of a recent review for The Demons Within read:
I also like how Ashe has pretty seamlessly incorporated queerness and gender diversity into these books. In that respect, I do actually think I’d recommend these as good fantasy for middle school age queer/trans teens and early high school age queer/trans teens. Though gender and sexual diversity aren’t the main focus, Ashe incorporates them in a way that makes them feel normal and a part of the world, rather than make those characters anomalies or always in danger of persecution and ridicule. Not many other fantasy series featuring genderqueer orcs or queer elven or dwarven couples as a normal and accepted part of the world!
And that is a huge thing for me with this. So, sure, it’s trash adventure stuff but I’m still putting myself and my friends into it. Even if I was just writing pure adventure trash, oh well, people need that sometimes.
I’m just gonna keep going. In another five years, I’ll reflect on a decade as an author. Hopefully I’ll find 2025 a more welcoming place. A more stable and secure place. Here’s hoping we all do.
Now, given that I wasn’t really sure what to talk about and have rambled, mostly, I’m happy to answer any questions anyone has. I know most of you don’t really read these, but if you do, and something pop up, leave a comment or tweet at me or whatever and I’ll compile them together in a Q&A.