I know it's been a while but I'm back with several pieces of exciting news, so let's get to it!

My poetry collection is out! *screams incoherently*

Where Have We Come From, Where Are We Going? is available on Amazon in paperback for $9.99.

Though a small handful of poems were written earlier, I started this collection in 2018, so it took me fours years to go from my head, onto the page, and to you. It's a very personal and political book as the political is often personal. It's the pouring from my heart all the fears, doubts, tears, and hopes that I have felt over the last six years.

While I hope anyone can find something compelling between its pages, it speaks best to young Christians or non-Christians who grew up in the church and have since become disillusioned by the American church for not looking more like the Jesus they were taught about.

"Where Have We Come From, Where Are We Going? is full of journeys – innocence to adulthood, faith’s march through deconstruction to renewal, and Time’s unstoppable trek as it takes us to hope or destruction. It chronicles the poet’s life during the personally, nationally, and globally tumultuous years of 2015 - 2020 which saw a young girl questioning what she thought she knew, the deepening of a nation’s divisions into cracks that can never be hidden again, and a pandemic that changed the path of everyone’s lives. Touching on the topics of faith, nationalism, linguistics, love, and history, Where Have We Come From zeroes in on America. It analyzes through personal narrative the white-outed parts of its history, its relationship to Christianity, and its society's polarization. No one would disagree that this is a dark, uncertain time in our nation’s history. And Time always keeps going, so the question becomes: where are we headed? "

And that's not all the news I have ;)

The second draft of the Labeth Prequel has been finished!

This book has taken so much longer than I had anticipated. It was just supposed to be a quick project before starting TOATO2. But no, this book DEMANDED more time. I intended for it to be 20,000 words and the 2nd draft is a whopping 49,370! I had to stop calling it the Labeth Novella.

Ya'll, Labeth's story is a wild ride--equal parts horror and beauty, despair and hope. I love this character even more, and I'm looking forward to sharing her story with you all.

But first, we must beta-read, and edit, and proofread, before we can publish. I'm setting my eyes towards a mid-to-late 2023 release.

Until then. . .

I can finally start drafting The One and the Other Volume 2!

Granted, if you've been following my Instagram, you know that I've already started it. I wrote the first two chapters late last year, but NOW I can give it my full, undivided attention as I take a break from the Labeth Prequel.

I am so excited! I've been dreaming about writing this book for literal YEARS. I love all my characters so much--Monoria, Attalayla, Celond, and Jeriph--and I can't wait to journey with them as they grow and face new challenges. LOYALTIES WILL BE TESTED. NEW BONDS MADE. OLD BONDS BROKEN.

Anyway, I gotta go back and write ;). Thanks for reading! Till next time!

4 views0 comments
  • Mary K Gowdy

2021 feels like a fever dream to me. I can't believe that any what occurred in my life happened or that the year is over. Somehow, 2020 feels more real than 2021, and 2021 might have been a harder year for me personally. My mental health suffered greatly this year, and it affected my writing in a big way. This was a much less productive year than I had wanted it to be. It's frustrating when there's so many projects I want to write and I feel like I'm failing when I don't follow through with my goals. But I was just too tired and unmotivated to write.

Here's an overview of my year:

  • In January, I got stuck in this one scene in the Labeth Prequel--a poem to be exact that I could not figure out for the life of me.

  • Then in February was the snow storm, and I live in Texas so I had on-and-off power for several days straight--not good for writing.

  • I wrote and revised some poems in the spring, but in the summer, I got on anxiety medication. For several months, it messed with my sleep and energy levels. I slept the majority of the summer away.

  • September was a great month for writing! I revised so many poems, sometimes 4 in one day. And I finally finished the poem I had been stuck on from the Labeth Prequel in January and then proceeded to finish Chapters 2-5 by the end of the year.

  • On November 18th, I started the first draft of The One and the Other Volume Two, something I've been dreaming about for years.

  • There were some other mental health stuff that happened later in the year but I would rather not go into it.

Though my writing productivity improved in the later half of the year, 2021 was hard to the very end. And I do feel that even though things improved, I didn't utilize my time as best as I could have and that I could've done more. I envy the consistency I had back in college. But I write all of this to remind myself of what a hard year it was and that I gave what I could considering the circumstances. I'm torn between wanting to rise to my full potential and being compassionate and understanding towards myself. I low-key hate these posts because it reminds me of all of the things I had wanted to accomplish in the previous year but didn't. But I push myself to write these because I want a record for myself and I'm trying to be more honest with others about how I am doing. And this is (some of) what happened.

There were good things that happened this year:

  • I went on a road trip to Big Bend, Carlsbad, ABQ, and Santa Fe - it was my first time traveling that far west, and I loved it! I had been wanting to go on a trip like that for so long.

  • Got my first tattoo - another goal I had been waiting for years for the right moment to do it. The words are Proverbs 23:18 - "Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off."

  • Volunteered to help in ESL classes for refugees - helping refugees is a cause I have carried about for several years now. Post-graduation, I was going to go on a mission to help those crossing the border but that didn't happen because of covid. While the news was disappointing, it was nice to be able to stay where I am, and it's been so great to find ways I can help refugees in my hometown.

  • Got my first full-time job - and it's working with refugees!

  • Lastly but definitely not least - I had poems published by TWO different literary magazines. Not only ONE, but TWO.

(my reaction when the first poem was published)

"10,000 Hours" was published by the Bridge: Bluffton Literary Journal, and "In Her Hand" was published by Sheila-Na-Gig. Both are online literary magazines so you can read them at the links.

Now, onto talking about the major projects:

In my previous end/beginning--whatever you want to call it--year post, this project was called Poetry Collection or Poetry Book #1, but it FINALLY has a name! Coming up with the title was a huge win this year because if you had asked me in 2020 what I was going to name this manuscript, I would've told you that I had no idea and what titles I had tried to come up with weren't very good. But I love this title so much! When it came to me, I immediately knew it was the one--no need to brainstorm for others.

There are nine poems that need to be revised along with some minor edits in other poems, but then it'll be done. I've talked before about submitting this collection to traditional publishers and using self-publishing as a fall-back. I'm not so sure about that plan anymore. I'm at a crossroads, and I'm trying to figure out the best option. I'll update you once I've decided.

This project definitely suffered from my mental health struggles this year considering I didn't touch it for six months. While writing The One-Sided Coin, there was a long gap due to mental health struggles as well. I had hoped to write this book a lot faster, but I'm really proud of how this book is coming out. There's definitely an improvement between the Labeth Prequel and The One-Sided Coin.

Current Status: over halfway through with draft 2 ("the rewrite draft"). I just got over the hump of the midpoint and am heading towards the end.

Volume Two Draft One is underway! The first chapter and a half have been written, and I am loving every second of it! It has flowed so well so far. Fingers crossed that it continues that way.

I had wanted to create a detailed outline before drafting this time unlike in the past where I've only had a bare bones outline and started writing. I did this new process for the first three episodes before getting stuck on episode 4. After a couple months had passed where I didn't get anywhere, I decided to just start writing it. Recently though, I figured out the plot of Episode 4 and am in the midst of outlining it in its entirety. I had given up on experimenting with this new writing process, but this recent victory has made me think that perhaps I can do it. I am really happy with how the first couple of scenes are coming out so maybe I'm on to something.

Until I finish the second draft of the Labeth Prequel, this is my side project. I only intend to work on this when I'm too tired to edit my other projects but I still want to get some writing done. This will be a new writing experiment as well and I'm interested in seeing how it plays out.

Other Projects

Chervaux (NaNoWriMo 2018 Project)

Still no major updates though some songs have recently given me new ideas for one of the character's arcs. The songs are "Oh Lord" and "The In-Between" by In This Moment. Go check them out!

It's 2022?

I keep wanting to write 2021 on everything. My mind thinks that the year now turned 2021 because it doesn't truly feel like the year happened or that it could be over already.

It's good to have a new job, and there's some other exciting things coming up in my personal life this year. I'm also nearing the completion of two major projects: Where Have We Come From, Where Are We Going? and the Labeth Prequel. I would love to publish one of them (maybe both) this year. Do I worry that life will get in the way like it did in 2021? Yes. I just got to keep doing what I love which is to write. And try to find the balance to strive and rest amidst the struggle.

Till my next post, ✌️

Thanks for reading.

11 views0 comments
  • Mary K Gowdy

For several years, I've been writing my first full-length poetry collection that I've just referred to as Poetry Book #1, or PB1. It's gone through several re-structurings and revisions which you can read about here, but it's coming together. I can see the light!

And, I Finally. Have. A. Title.

You don't understand how much I've worried about not being able to come up with a good title for this collection. How does one sum up the thought-dump that is a poetry collection in a way that not only entices the reader to pick it up but sets up the right expectations for what type of book this will be? Y'know, that's not intimidating at all.

But this title just came to me. On a silver platter while I was at work. I expected to come up with several possible titles, but after creating this one, I knew that it was the one. It so perfectly encapsulates the theme and feel I want the collection to have. I can't imagine it going by any other title [unless of course a publisher picks it up and wants it to be change--then I'll have to rethink everything].

Here it is:

[Not the cover]

A theme that naturally rose from the collection is that of the unstoppable movement of time. The collection is somewhat of an autobiography, detailing an important period of my life as I had to leave my sheltered innocence to become a mature adult aware of various injustices of our society. The collection deals with America's past while also looking towards the future with the question of after these years of political and social turmoil, where are we headed?

The plan is to finish it by the end of this year so I can submit it to traditional publishers starting 2022. If none of them choose to pick it up, I'll be self-publishing next fall/winter.

Can't wait till then? No worries! One of the poems was published in the Fall 2021 edition of the Bridge: Bluffton Literary Journal. It's titled "10,000 Hours" and you can read it here. I'm so honored that the staff of the Bridge published my poem, and I am so excited that I get to share it with you all.

That's all the news for now!

Thanks for reading,

Mary K Gowdy

11 views0 comments