So I’m in the mountains again, first time in a long while — but I used to come up here quite a bit. There’s something about the hypoxia of altitude that’s soothes the soul and makes it easier to write, which is good because I just wrote the first sentence of book 19.

I both love and hate measuring out time in book-lengths — I like that I’ve come this far, that I haven’t ever given up (or if I have, not for long!) but I also feel old having so many books under my belt.

I can still remember sitting on the patio at a friend’s family’s vacation place, typing away furiously in the middle of the summer while friends hung out inside watching a game. I had to sit here for a second and think very hard, and count using both hands — that was my seventh book about an accountant saving a nanite infected Earth with the help of a very enthusiastic wrestling fan club. (It worked in the book, I swear it.)  I loved that book — I loved all of them, frankly, except for book 8. That one, oh man, I pretty much said, ‘You know what? The end. All of you. The end!” and banished everyone off the page.  I may or may not have quit writing there for a bit, until the idea for book 9 came along…and yeah. I’ve never not wrestled with a book, but it’s always been worth it in the end.

I finished Nightshifted in Tahoe. It was with a different group of friends, different house, and I sat out on a deck as the sun went down, losing feeling in my fingers, racing the sinking light, oblivious to what I’m sure was the beauty of sunset over the lake, and the warm friendship waiting for me inside the house.

And that’s sort of it, isn’t it. Because writing is something you do alone, and no one else, no matter how well meaning (or self-evident they think they are) can do it for you. You either enjoy it or you don’t and press on anyways, and it pays rewards  only you can feel that are completely intangible to anyone else.

The last time I was in Tahoe was one of the best weekends of my life — the weather was gorgeous, the company divine, but if I’m honest…it’s mostly because I turned my back on all of that to hang out, again, in my own mind.