Hey, you. I’m here. You’re here. We made it.

It’s been a long year, but we came out the other side.

Hey Heroes –

If you can believe it, it’s been a YEAR since ya’ll last heard from me here, and yanno what? I have no regrets about that.

The thing with being alive for a few decades is that sometimes shit happens, and it piles up and overwhelms you. And why shouldn’t it? The covid years, the fascism, the wars, my dad dying, my spouse’s double bypass, my dog Indy dying, spouse’s covid, the four years spouse was guardian to his grandmother (and financial and emotional toll of that), the attempeted move to Canada (foiled by need to take over guardianship of grandma), and let’s not forget the layoffs in 2018 and late 2021!

In sum:

It’s been a LOT, and sometimes the sheer weight of that can sap your will to live. For awhile there it was all I could do to get out of bed and type some words for work. I was still squeezing out my Patreon story every month, but whew boy – life was a goddamn struggle.

I’ve spent the year focusing on my health and things I can control. I stopped drinking completely four or five months back (even one drink spiked my anxiety to terrible heights) and got a new doctor and several new prescriptions. One of them – for beta blockers – was transformative to my anxiety, bringing my “always on” anxiety from a 6/7 to a 2/3. It was a literal magic pill. I could drive on the freeway again! I could get to sleep without a sleep aid!


The trouble with the encroaching horror of the last few years is that I was the proverbial boiling frog. Anxiety stacked up and stacked up and stacked up. I was reading some lit that the dog trainer we’ve been using for our dog, Pepper, sent to me and saw this heirachy of anxiety triggers and went “Wow, THAT looks familiar.”

It turns out that when your cortisol spikes due to a trauma/trigger event, it can take 72 hours for your body to come back to baseline(!). This is why constant stress is so bad for us (and other animals).

If you can’t read the fine bring on the left, it says:

The Biological Response

One stressor at a time and the dog can usually hold it together. But when multiple stressors happen at the same time, or in close proximity, this pushes the dog over threshold and sets up a scenario where the dog may bite or have an unexpected response. This is called Trigger Stacking.

The Cumulative Effect

Even under threshold when experiencing trigger stacking, the dog may be holding it together but showing increased stressful body language. It’s important to notice all the potential triggers leading up to the dog’s reactivity or behavior. If you only focus on the final trigger, you might be missing others that are also making the dog uncomfortable.

Holding it Together

Even under threshold when experiencing trigger stacking, the dog may be holding it together but showing increased stressful body language. It’s important to notice all the potential triggers leading up to the dog’s reactivity or behavior. If you only focus on the final trigger, you might be missing others that are also making the dog uncomfortable.

Yes, friends, once your triggers pile up enough, you’re just a ball of explosive mess waiting to happen.

What I’ve learned in this second decade of my writing career is the reason most writing careers only last about five years:

Life is hard. Publishing is fickle. The world is stressful af. When you are balanacing a day job and writing jobs and personal stress and professional stress and world stress, it can grind you down. Sometimes you need to just… STOP.

So there were some things I stopped: this newsletter, the podcast, social media, events. I still wrote my short story every month at Patreon (a story will drop shortly!), and I mucked around with my novel for awhile until I gave that up for a few months, too.

I had to give myself permission to stop.

I struggled with the lack of cash flow, that’s true. Going from writing a book a year to… not means you have a long, dry period between checks, and backlist royalities don’t get the yearly boost. It sucks. It’s hard. When there’s an emergency vet visit or the car breaks down or the AC goes out (it just went out! Thank god it’s colder weather now), we don’t have any wiggle room. There’s no buffer. We’ve got just enough to coast month to month until I can dig myself back into my book schedules. It’s not a fun way to live, check to check, hoping nothing terrible happens.

But I had to STOP.

Because if you don’t give yourself time to rest, you are much more likely to be a person who quits writing forever; the triggers pile up, and you explode.

So I stopped. I threw out the book I’ve been struggling with for years and started it over, using the original draft I had as a reference point as I write the story from a different angle, with some fresh characters and a streamlined plot. I am certainly more focused now, and less frozen with anxiety (yay beta blockers!).

I’m still here. Still writing.

And that’s a pretty big win, here in the second decade of my career.

Most people don’t make it this far.

Fall down seven times. Get up eight.


The GET TO WORK HURLEY podcast is back. We talk a bit about burnout, getting back to work after a long break, and why I, at least, keep writing even when the chips are down. Listen to the latest episode at Apple PodcastsSpotifyPodbean, or iHeart.

This podcast is free, but tips are appreciated via paypal or venmo.You can also support the verse via Amazon affiliate link anytime you buy from there: Hurleyverse Amazon Link

Publishing Rodeo Podcast

I recently appeared on the Publishing Rodeo Podcast to tackle the question, “Why don’t we all just quit?” and what makes for a breakout book (and what doesn’t). This is a great podcast shares the good, bad, and ugly of publishing, and it was a great time. Also, you’ll see why I think “Tor Dungeon” should become a legit industry term.


Fresh Fiction

Just because the newsletter was quiet doesn’t mean the Hurleyverse wasn’t busy. Here’s the latest short story from the verse over at Patreon:

In September’s story, a village woman has just one request of her child. But is it in the child’s nature to fulfill it? If you’re a Patreon supporter, you can download it as a PDF, Mobi, or Epub file.

Garden and Pet Photos

Our beloved Saint Bernard, Indy, passed away a few months ago from heart failure. We recently got a new puppy, Sprocket, who is a half Great Pyrenees and half Bernese Mountain Dog mix.

I’ve also gotten the garden ready for the hard frost, which finally hit today.

Now that the garden is tucked in, it’s time for more writing, World of Warcraft, and maybe even some Baldur’s Gate 3, if we can find some money under the couch cushions.

Remember to be excellent to each other; for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.



This newsletter is free, but tips are appreciated via paypal or venmo (dogs and taxes are expensive). You can also support Team Hurley via Amazon affiliate link: Hurleyverse Amazon Link

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Brutal. Devastating. Dangerous. Join an investigation into a cruel and heartless leader … crawl through filth and mud to escape biological warfare … team up with time-traveling soldiers faced with potentially life-altering instructions. Kameron Hurley, award-winning author and expert in the future of war and resistance movements, has created eighteen exhilarating tales giving glimpses into […]

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