Home > My Fiction > Darkest before the dawn

Darkest before the dawn

First, I want to thank my fans for their generous donations and book purchases last month, which ensured I was able to pay my rent. Of course, the offer to Tuckerize anyone who donates or buys books worth $20 or more (i.e. name-drop them as a bit character in my next book) is still open, and smaller donations/purchases will get thanks in the acknowledgments. By the way, there are a few people who didn’t specify whether or how they want to be Tuckerized: Jeff van B., Ricarda D., Gavin S., and Darryl S. (Casey L., I did get your message last week.)

As for this month… Well, that’s tricky. I got my new contract on March 8, but the advance check is taking longer than usual to arrive. My editor reassured me on Monday that the check had been processed and cleared and was on its way… but it’s three days later, the mail just came, and it’s still not here. Knowing it’s on the way just makes it that much more frustrating every time I open that mailbox and it isn’t there. After all, taxes are due on Monday, so I can only pray the check arrives tomorrow or Saturday. (As for my sale of “Conventional Powers” to Analog, I only signed the contract 2 weeks ago, and in the past it’s generally taken about twice that long to see the check. I’m hoping this will be an exception to the usual pattern lately of things taking much longer than expected.)

I’ve resisted writing this post, wanting to wait until I could report good news. After all, it doesn’t feel right to make another needy post about my money woes (and implicitly or explicitly invite donations) when I might be better off 24 hours from now. But I think I need to just talk about it just for therapeutic reasons — to stop bottling up my feelings and share them with someone. I’m really, really stressed out and anxious right now. Even with assurances that I’m about to be pulled back from the brink, having to keep teetering on it day after day is frightening and emotionally exhausting. I’m in the middle of lunch right now but I’m finding it hard to work up an appetite (which is unusual for me, since I’m usually more prone to stress-eating). I’ve been doing my best to relax — deep breathing, listening to music, reading, going on walks in the good weather we’re fortunately having this week — as well as trying to focus on my writing to keep me occupied, but managing my emotions has never been easy for me. And I’m afraid I don’t have much of a social life locally, in part because I have so little money to spend on going out — though, admittedly, in part because I’ve inherited the tendency of Bennett men to be highly introverted. The last social event I attended was the memorial service for WGUC-FM’s Frank Johnson a couple of weeks ago. Which was a good opportunity to spend time with some local friends I usually just interact with through Facebook, but still a sad situation. (More so since I learned that WGUC is about to move out of the building it’s been based in since I was 12. I haven’t been there very often in the past few decades, but it still feels like a cozy, familiar place and it’ll be a shame to lose it. Although I won’t miss the ancient, malfunction-prone entry gate in the city-owned parking garage underneath it.)

I’ll be so relieved when the check comes and I can indulge in a little recreation. The mail these days usually comes before noon, so I keep hoping that maybe I’ll find the check in the mailbox and be able to go right out to the bank and then get to the theater in time to see Captain Marvel. I keep fearing, what if the check is so delayed that I miss the movie in theaters? I can’t see Avengers: Endgame without seeing CM first! And if the timing doesn’t work out for the movie, then at least I could go to the grocery store and splurge a bit, as opposed to the austerity measures I’ve been following in recent weeks. (I’ve had a lot of ramen noodles lately. You can make a pretty good soup out of a ramen packet by adding diced chicken and mixed vegetables, although you have to add extra water too.)

Of course, there’s always the possibility that the check will be in the mail tomorrow. But I’ve been thinking that 6 days a week for the past 2 or 3 weeks, only to be disappointed once again. So it’s hard to have faith in that. I keep trying to remind myself that this is going to be a good year for me career-wise, with new books and stories coming out and more prospective sales and opportunities on the horizon. But the wait for things to get better has taken so very long, and it’s coming right up to the wire now. I really hope this is the last time I have to make a post like this.

Thanks for listening, folks. It helps knowing you’re out there.

  1. Mike Poteet
    April 11, 2019 at 12:42 pm

    I am sorry to hear times are tight. Money anxiety is no fun. 😦 Hang in there, and may the Great Bird come to roost (and lay a big financial egg) soon!

  2. Julie G
    April 11, 2019 at 3:11 pm

    You might be able to use the USPS service of Informed Delivery to get an email each morning of what is in today’s mail. At least you would know a little sooner (maybe!). Hoping your check will arrive soon.

  3. Francesca Vassallo
    April 11, 2019 at 4:25 pm

    Stay strong Chris, payments from publishers always take a long time, I never understood why, because they should direct deposit any payment, instead of still using checks……From my experience, whenever a publisher tells me about an expected time frame, I always double their time frame in my mind… The title of your post today would be a great book title….:) maybe this is the silver lining from this situation….

    • April 11, 2019 at 4:30 pm

      I tried direct deposit from this publisher once years ago, but there was a fee for it, so I went back to checks. My small-press publishers do pay me electronically, though.

  4. April 11, 2019 at 7:56 pm

    I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you.

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