I stayed up all night last night at my computer, tapping in the final words to the draft of a novel that has been five years in the making--more, if I count the years the story concept simmered in my mind while I finished writing The Gateway Chronicles. I'm sure I've blogged about it elsewhere, but I'm frankly too tired to look it up now, and seeing as how I've written over 10,000 words in the last twenty-four hours (and roughly 35,000 in the past five days), I hope you can forgive me for not digging up the actual genesis of the idea.
Because it has been a long time. Too long. The Breeder Cycle should have been finished years ago, but with the dissolution of my publishing house in the middle of writing the series, I found myself without a publishing home and with two books of a trilogy complete--with disappointed readers hanging on by a cliff-hanger thread at the end of CRIMINAL, desperate to know what happened next, and no way to bring them the book that made any real sense whatsoever. I was teaching full-time with four sons (one of whom was a toddler, another an infant). I had no time, or resources, to write and self-publish a third book that would exist... out there... for sale (with a non-matching cover!) while the other books (books I didn't yet have the rights back for) slowly disappeared from circulation.
It didn't make sense, and I felt stuck.
The only option, as I waited for the rights to revert to me from my publisher for the first two books in The Breeder Cycle was to look ahead to my publishing future--to what I could do with my career. So I wrote another book, one that belonged to me and was not bound to an existing series. I wrote The Girl in the Sea. And I began the process of querying agents, a year-long process that resulted in my represented by Ben Grange with the L. Perkins Agency.
During that year, though, I continued to ponder what I should do about The Breeder Cycle, as I never intended to leave that series unfinished. In the months before I signed with Ben, my husband and I took a road trip to Washington, DC--a key setting in CLONE and someplace I'd never been--so I could take a few notes and get a feel for the location. While driving through the mountains of Virginia, the idea came to me for HUNTER, a prequel novel tied to the trilogy of The Breeder Cycle but standing alone. Something I could, hypothetically, self-publish independent of the rest of the series as an add-on to the universe I'd created. HUNTER arrived to me fully formed, and I started working on it on the drive. I finished it just a few months later.
Once I signed with Ben, of course our focus became working on the new book. The Girl in the Sea needed edits and revisions... about eight months of focused work went into that book before we sent it out on submission. And in that time, I finally got all the rights back to all my previously published works. Eight books--The Gateway Chronicles and the first two books of The Breeder Cycle--had reverted to me. But I was still faced with a question of what to do with them.
It was mid-late 2017 and I had written ten books. Eight of those had been previously published. One was (heading) out on submission, and one was a prequel novel tied to an incomplete trilogy that was a fit of my own fancy. Despite having sold well in indie markets and having won multiple indie awards and all my speaking and outside writing credentials, for all intents and purposes when it came to Big 5 publishing, I was (am) an unknown, and those backlisted books were not going to be of great interest to any larger publisher, now that they had already been out for some time, and (in the case of The Gateway Chronicles) been through a couple iterations.
But I still had readers contacting me about my books, often weekly. Sometimes daily. The longer my books were off the market, the more people wanted to find them. I took that as a good sign, and a sign that I needed to take steps to make my backlist available again, through whatever means I could--even if that meant self-publishing them while also working ahead with Ben on future projects.
In early 2018, Ben and I chatted about what I should be working on next, and that is when I pitched to him my idea for a Middle Grade Science Fantasy series. So from February to April of 2018, I wrote what I will just call O---, the first book of a new series. And after I turned that in, I set to work on re-releasing my back-list in the order I had first released it with my previous publisher--with updates, revisions, and new scenes. That's when the re-releases of The Gateway Chronicles came out from May-September of 2018.
In fall of 2018, Ben and I decided The Girl in the Sea needed a rewrite to make it more appealing for the submission process, so I deeply overhauled the book. It became A Silence in the Deep (still a working title, as these things usually are). After that, and a first round of deep edits on O---, I returned to the re-release project in spring of 2019 and managed to finally get BREEDER and CRIMINAL back out.
And, at last, I was finally able to write CLONE--the manuscript people always ask me about. The one I had started a long time ago and abandoned for all these reasons listed above. I wrote all summer and through the early fall to finish it, pausing here and there just for my other writing obligations. I would love to say it's been easy, finishing this book, since I've known the end for so long, but I knew it was going to be hard. Bringing a series to an end is often like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole: you know it will fit, but you might have to shave off a few corners and wiggle it a little in the process. This was always a complicated story, and I never could have made it work if I didn't plan so meticulously from the very beginning. I do have to say, I am thrilled with how the story has turned out. I've been holding the threads of the resolutions together in my mind for so long, I just hope they are as fulfilling for everyone as they feel, and have always felt, for me.
So... when will the book be out? Well, I've promised a 2019 release for both this story and HUNTER, which has been done and edited for two years now. I am sticking to that, even though the year is slipping away. The manuscript will be off to my fabulous and selfless editor Hayley after I dig in and do some HARD revising this week. Between now and the end of the year, I will work as diligently as I can to make CLONE the best it can be before I release it, at long, long last.
For now, I am sitting back, a little dazed that I finally am done with the draft. Amazed that it took me until 2019 to finish writing this series that I started in 2014 and definitely first dreamed up in 2012 or earlier. Astonished that I wrote three more books and over fifty articles in between CRIMINAL and CLONE. But... happy. Happy with how it's turned out. Excited, and nervous, to share it with the world.
If you keep up with me at all, you know that, at the end of May, I left my 10-year (stable, wonderful, steady paycheck... *cue panic attack*)-teaching career to set off full time on this (not-so-stable, equally wonderful, life's passion) writing career. I meant to write an update blog one week in, and then two weeks in, and then a month in, and... well, you get the idea. But the reality is, I've just been too busy to take a breath, let alone blog about it! Flippancies aside, I'm actually not panicking at all. And perhaps that's just because I'm an unrelenting optimist (I am), or more likely because I've been hard at work on this authoring thing for many years, so making the leap into full time hasn't been that intimidating. It's just a matter of taking all the hard work I've cultivated over the last nine years I've been a writer and devoting 100% of my career energies into it rather than what's left over at the end of the day. So, for those of you who are not on my newsletter, here's a quick update of what the last month and a half (ish) has looked like for me:
-I started writing a new book this summer! HUNTER is a prequel to BREEDER, taking place about 200 years prior to the rest of the Breeder Cycle trilogy and set during the Great Incursion described in the series. Don't worry, I am still writing the final book in the series, CLONE, but I am now writing both books simultaneously.
-Most exciting of all, in June I was signed by Ben Grange of the L. Perkins Agency in New York City, so I now have representation. Ben and I have been hard at work on The Girl in the Sea to get it ready to pitch to bigger publishers, so between writing the two books and revising The Girl in the Sea, I have had a very busy writing month.
-In light of these exciting developments, I am amicably cutting ties with my longtime publisher, The Writer's Coffee Shop*. The change will be effective as of July 31st. What does this mean for purchasing my books? As of the end of this month, all retailers carrying my books will sell out whatever remaining stock they have, and that will be it! (until I sign a new book deal--but there could be a pretty significant delay until that happens.) SO, if you have been considering buying my books and don't want to wait an indefinite amount of time for shiny new editions, go to Amazon or my Books Page now to view purchase options! Don't miss out!
-Ben is also working with me on my backlist (all my currently published books) to try and find them a new publishing home.
-Sometime this summer, I will begin work on writing Season 2 of Cinderella for the Public Domain Universe podcast. I need to finish writing HUNTER first and make sure I'm well enough along in CLONE that I know I can get that book finished as well before I dive into the scripts for the PDU, though. With so many creative projects cooking, I can't let my brain get split into too many different directions! If you haven't listened to Season 1 yet, I would encourage you to check it out here.
-At the beginning of July, I received two more awards from Literary Classics International Book Awards for CRIMINAL: Gold for High School Science Fiction/Dystopian and Gold for College Science Fiction/Dystopian. Literary Classics followed up the awards by inviting me to speak at the Great American Book Festival this Labor Day Weekend in Rapid City, South Dakota. I'll be presenting on the topics of Social Media and Online Branding. So in late August I will be preparing that presentation, and I'm really looking forward to the trip and the event.
I think that about covers what I'm working on right now, and what I anticipate working on in the next couple months. I feel as though I hit the ground running as a full time author, and I'm excited to see where the rest of the year takes me. Please subscribe to my newsletter for monthly updates and check my News Page for links to announcements, events, and press releases. (Information on my awards can also be found on my Home Page.) And if you are an event coordinator or school administrator, please consider me for your speaking or workshop needs! Contact me for more information.
*I am so thankful for my time with TWCS Publishing House. Many young, fledgling authors find themselves--out of desperation and ignorance--with predatory vanity presses. That was never my experience with TWCS. TWCS was a fantastic, professional small press for me to get my start at. Not only did they publish my first eight (eight!) novels, but they helped and encouraged me through the process, they taught me so much about writing and storytelling, and they provided me with a publication family. I have made lifelong friends through working with them, and I would not be where I am today without them. Thank you, TWCS!
The release of CRIMINAL, book 2 of The Breeder Cycle, is almost upon us! To celebrate and help hype the release, my publishing house has lined up a group of bloggers to post reviews and, on a few of the dates, guest posts from yours truly! Please check the schedule below to see who is posting when and what type of posts they will be. I hope you enjoy the tour and check in often, and don't forget that CRIMINAL releases on August 25th, and you can pre-order the E-book now!
Review of BREEDER
Review, Guest Post
Promo / Review
Promo / Review
Promo / Review
Review of Breeder
Guest Post / Interview
Review, Author Interview
Review, Promotional Blast
Archives from my old blog...