Two clients of mine, the amazing husband and wife duo of Tee Morris and Pip Ballantine, have the newest installment in their rip-roaring steampunk fantasy series (a Victorian X-Files), Dawn’s Early Light coming out on Tuesday. This is book three in their popular Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series. And Tee, who is a social media professional, has been blogging up a storm about this whole notion of being a hybrid published author.

They’ve won awards here in the US and internationally. They podcast regularly. Multiple podcasts. They have self-published anthologies of short stories set in the Ministry worlds. They’ve produced their own book trailers…twice. They are trying Audible’s ADX audio book publishing. And they even have a board game based on their fiction coming out soon. Their solid fan base constantly gives them all the feels. They’re rolling along on the steam train of success, right?

Yet, I read an article about fear and failure that Tee wrote over at Chuck Wendig’s Terrible Minds blog, and instead of telling you how fantastic this new book is, I thought I’d excerpt the good bits of that blog and then direct you over to Chuck’s site for a more detailed discussion. Hey, you might learn something. At the very least it might calm the savage beast that crouches in the minds of all writers (agents too for that matter).

A selection from “Fear Factor” by Tee Morris

I never like seeing friends stressed out. Whether it is intensely stressed out or just out of their groove, it just kills me. It is amplified more when I personally feel the bumpy ride of Life’s rougher patches. Lately, those bumps have been feeling far too frequent for me; and it is very easy to lose yourself within the bad news and let it affect your work.

Getting published isn’t the hard part. It’s living up to the hype. Every time you clear one goal, another appears in front of you; and each goal is higher than the next.

There’s a lot riding on Dawn’s Early Light, the third book in the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series, penned by Pip Ballantine and myself. At least, that’s what I’m seeing. The … fate of an award-winning steampunk series, potential titles under development, and even my own direction as an author all feels to be in the balance. Why, you may ask? As I was one told by a friend of mine:

“You got nothing to worry about. You’ve arrived.”I have?

Well shit, I must have missed that memo.

Sure, I have the previous performance of the series’ previous books, Phoenix Rising and The Janus Affair. They still manage to appear in Amazon’s Top 100 in Steampunk. It’s even better when these books pop up in the top 50 after three years. We have been working up a modest anticipation for Agents Books and Braun on Twitter, on Google+, and with a third season of our award-winning Tales from the Archives podcast. We also have a blog and podcast tour underway, appearing on over twenty blogs (including this one) and ten podcasts this month, all of these appearances heading towards the launch of Dawn’s Early Light.

So why the anxiety over this? We got this, right? This ain’t our first rodeo.


Then it hit. And it’s still hitting me…

I’m scared.

I’m scared that Ministry won’t go the way people are telling me it will go. I’m scared the book will hit the shelves and people will hate it. I’m scared that I’ve got all these great ideas, but I’ll suddenly find myself unable to get beyond the pitch. I’m scared the Ministry is going to fall short of everyone’s expectations; and I’m scared, particularly on those days when I struggle to herd the words, of losing that ability to write.

There’s also that fear that I’m doing something wrong, or not doing enough, to make our latest title a success.

That’s what’s happening in my headspace, and it is tearing me apart.

Read the rest of this at Terrible Minds at

And buy Dawn’s Early Light at the bookstore of your choosing as soon as you wake up! Maybe then Tee won’t be so scared!  🙂