The longer I stare at a blank page the less I write. Most, if not all authors, have faced this hurdle. It is often the start of those murky middles. They tend to pop up as the dandelions of our lives, whether that’s within the draft of a book, a school year, or a pandemic. Hurdles are the part of the outline we avoid or that doesn’t exist yet. This buffering is the question that generations have pondered on once they set a goal: How to get there.

I’d like to propose that it’s not the journey that will carry us to the richest final chapter, but endurance. My grandfather used to tell me to be like bamboo. The first time I heard this I thought he meant steady and strong. He let me learn from my mistakes a few times before he told me, “Be like bamboo. The higher you grow, the deeper you bow.” It’s the mindset. Be a lifelong student. Stay consistently open to the new and different. Accept more, not less.

These messages are reflected in genre fiction. They introduce the unique and defy odds. They introduce what we love and reveal what we don’t know. A teacher once told me: “The day you stop learning is the day you start dying.” As writers, our words and actions are subject to the scrutiny of time in memoriam. It is my hope that our esteemed readers see a reflection of themselves or a question they’ve been pondering within the rousing pages of Volume 2.

May you, avid reader, find solid directions, seek knowledge with humility, and keep the future ever-present in your mind.

MARCH 21, 2022