No, I’m not leaving MGC. But I am saying goodbye, at least for awhile, to a set of characters that have been with me for a decade. When I sat down to write the book, I knew it would be difficult. I love these characters but the story has run its course. The series is already a couple of books longer than I figured it would be. Still, I hadn’t expected it to be this hard or that it would impact me the way it has.
But it goes beyond saying goodbye to the characters and typing “The End” at the bottom of the manuscript. I realized yesterday that my subconscious has dug its heels in and is doing everything it can to keep me from letting go. Not only did it take the book to places I hadn’t planned on, but it has kept me from following my own rules when it comes to promotion.
As in, I’ve done next to none.
That’s the question I asked myself yesterday and it took a while for me to figure it out. If I don’t promote it, it goes out in a stealth release and I haven’t really had to say goodbye.
Except that is really saying a hard goodbye because it is sabotaging the book I’ve worked so hard on. It is doing a disservice to the characters and isn’t fair to my readers. That means I have to figure something out to not only make sure the book goes out on time but that folks find out about it.
So I’m going to do something I don’t normally do. I’m going to do a soft release and then a hard one. Or, more accurately, the e-book version will publish on time. Two weeks or so later, with much more fanfare, I will release the print book. That gives me time to do some decent promo for it and to send the characters off in the way they deserve.
Of course, the characters are already telling me they aren’t going to go quietly into the night. In fact, I’m being sent the mental image of Bill Pullman in Independence Day delivering his speech to rally the troops against the alien invaders.
And, since I have Myrtle the Evil Muse, I have a feeling we’ll see these characters in the future. But it will be with another story arc, one that is going to take time to figure out and set up. In the meantime, here’s a tease from Nocturnal Revelations, the book I’ve been referring to.
. . . And his world came crashing to a halt.
Mac should have been standing there, gun in hand or laughing at him for being spooked by one of the neighborhood kids shooting off firecrackers.
Except she wasn’t.
And it hadn’t been kids shooting off fireworks. It was worse, far worse.
Fighting the urge to run haphazardly down the stairs, Jackson moved slowly, sniffing the air as he did. His jaguar roared again as he scented blood. Too much blood. Mac’s blood. Below that cloying aroma, it scented something else, someone they didn’t know.
Someone the jaguar would remember.
As he edged around the corner, Jackson cursed softly. The front door stood open. Through it, he saw a man running down the sidewalk toward the street. At the end of the walk, a white van waited. Roaring much as his jaguar had been, Jackson ran downstairs. He leapt over Mac’s still form. Part of him wanted to stop and see to her. Another part, that part driven by his jaguar, wanted to catch the man and make him pay for hurting their mate.
In the distance, dogs barked a challenge. Neighbors appeared from their houses, looking around to see where the shots came from. He knew that even as he raced after the shooter. The man disappeared behind the van. A moment later, the engine revved. Tires squealed, smoke rising from the pavement as the van sped off. Jackson stopped at the curb, slamming a fist against his thigh. Then he turned and his world narrowed to the sight of Mac lying in the entryway, blood pooling around her.
God, so much blood.
Too much blood.
He leapt up the steps to the front porch. As he did, he snarled as he imagined what she’d say if she saw him. She’d want him to be careful. He couldn’t mess up the crime scene. The techs might be able to learn something from it. To hell with all that. None of it mattered if it meant not helping her.
He wasn’t about to lose her.
He couldn’t lose her.
Nocturnal Revelations will be available for download April 9th.
I shall have to arrange a come to Jesus meeting with Myrtle.
I know for a fact that you have a great many stories just clamoring to spew forth upon the printed page, so she needs to quit dithering and focus on nagging you about the next one.
Congratulations, and condolences!
Asking Amanda’s forgiveness for a comment unrelated to her post:
I’ve finished the second draft of my first novel and am aiming for publication soon, but I would like to have it copyedited and have no idea how to go about that. Is there anyone here who can tell me where I can go look and how I find a good one? (Or perhaps would like to suggest his/her/zir own services?)
I’m good at grammar-and-flow copyediting, and I enjoy it to boot. Drop me a line at aggrokitty at the geemails if you’re interested.
Thanks. I’ve emailed you.
It took me several months of false starts and wasted time before I was willing to accept that the last novel in “The Book Of Lost Doors” series was the last novel.
I had so internalized the push to keep series going on and on that I tried to keep it going after I had finished up the story that it needed to tell. Looking back, I can see that on some level I did realize I was wrapping up the story, I tied up a lot of loose ends (not all of them) and brought most (again, not all) of the main subplots to a close.
I do miss the characters and the world, and I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for James & Catskinner, Cobb Russwin, Exquisite, Nancy Dew, and, of course, Agony Delapour. But their story is done. It’s time to move on.
I always find things in my own work that I don’t remember putting in (or didn’t notice the significance of them when I did) and I realize now that the very last line of my fourth novel, Gingerbread Wolves, was my saying farewell to the world. I quoted Edna St. Vincent Millay (I do that a lot), a line that I happen to think is the saddest single line in English letters:
“Life must go on, I forget just why.”
I think the series is a damned fine piece of work, and I think the overall story is a good one. But I’ve got new stories to tell.
It’s hard to leave characters, and hard to walk away from a universe that’s developed over the length of several books. I don’t have a problem with my stand alone novels. But once the Muse convinces you to write a second story, or maybe a prequel . . . It’s hard.