If you’re put off by the followed tl:dr block of text, I’ll say at the beginning that I’m finishing it anyway and putting it on my blog and/or website for people to read for free.
I feel awful about this news. I’ve been asked some questions about future stories, and I didn’t know how to get around that. Believe me, I thought long and hard about the interview with Bookaholics Romance Book Club, how to answer those questions, given that I wasn’t prepared to give my announcement at that time. I decided to go with what I considered the truth. I was writing a bunch of stories, and I was writing a book. They would be available for people to read. They just weren’t going to be published.
There will be no changing of minds this time, and the hope that there would be was not the reason I’ve waited to tell everyone of this decision. I like to think I’m a logical person, and to hope for a second reversal simply wasn’t logical. While I was shocked and disappointed to be told ACE wouldn’t be publishing any more books – I thought the books were doing better than they obviously were – what I had with ACE were two-book contracts, and I was well aware of the possibility that ACE would choose not to renew.
The most selfish reason for the delay is SpoCon. I had known about it for quite a long time. I had never had a book signing and I had never been a panellist at a convention. I may never do those things again. I wanted to go and participate and enjoy without having to talk about the fact that the other books weren’t going to be published.
Another reason that I waited to tell everyone was that I was hoping to have some information about the team book. ACE doesn’t want it, (Am I supposed to admit that? Have I just ticked off my agent?) and my agent is currently shopping it around. It’s probably unreasonable to expect an answer of any kind so soon, but it really bugs me that I don’t have one to give you, whether someone wants to publish it or everyone hates it. Kind of like it bugs me when people take ice cubes out of the tray out of order. Or how it really bugs me when there aren’t enough decent apples/pears/whatever fruit in the grocery bin to pick out six. Because I can’t buy five. I won’t even touch them if there are only five. And don’t try to make me buy seven. That’s just wrong.
That seems like a tangent but I’m actually trying to make a point.
Here’s the thing. Would I love to be a bestselling author? You bet. Would I love to be able to live off my writing? Definitely. But the advantage to not relying on my writing for a living is that I can write a book while knowing that no one will want to publish it.
I started writing Lee’s story in 1997. Yes, fourteen years. Those who think I write slowly now should have seen me back in the days before deadlines. I have been planning the grand finale from the beginning. I’ve left hints in all the other books about what’s going to happen. There is no way I would leave the story unfinished. It would make me all twitchy, like trying to buy five apples.
I’ve never left a writing project unfinished. My horrible first book had a horrible sequel. I wrote a ridiculous trilogy with an elven main character and was clattering away at the third even while getting rejected for the first. I’ve always had a grand arc for this series. It took longer than I’d expected to get there, but now that I’ve gotten this close, I can’t just leave it hanging with all the threads dangling out. That’s just messy.
After I learned that the rest of the series wasn’t going to be published, my ideas about what to do with it began to change. I’ve been speaking for years about writing a book from the point of view of another character, but as I got closer to that part of the story, I became convinced that a) the publisher wouldn’t go for it and b) it wouldn’t really work. However, now I can do whatever I want, and what I want to do is take that same portion of the story and write it in a collection of short stories, from the points of view of a whole bunch of characters.
And that is going to be damned fun.
And then I’ll wrap it up in one final, slightly larger book.
The primary purpose for the delay is that I wanted to provide a sort of proof that I would be finishing the story for those who would be interested in reading it. You don’t know me. You don’t know that I finish what I start. I wanted to be able to show you that I have already put serious work into this, and that I have written the first chapter.
I’m hoping to have the whole final book on this blog for anyone to read on September 1, 2012. That’s the goal. Along the way, I will be posting short stories. The way I’m planning it, readers won’t have to have read the short stories to understand the final book, but my wish is that the short stories will provide some extra insight into why characters are behaving the way they are.
Maybe no one will be interested in a book that isn’t professionally published. I wouldn’t blame anyone for that. And I’m certainly apprehensive about people learning just how much professional editing has improved my writing. But this is what I have to do.
Above is a photo of my work to date. (Meant to be below, but my skill with computers was as reliable as usual.) At the top are the notes I’ve taken while rereading the first six books. On the left is the list of short stories as it stands now. The list will get longer. On the right is the outline. On the bottom is the first chapter.
It’s going to be a fun year.