By Tzetzes (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Everything has been moving at breakneck pace since Depths of Blue
came out in April. It’s my debut novel, and I’ve learned a lot in the five months since it came out. I’ve learned that being a published author is a lot of work. I don’t mean that in a bad way, but I’ve never been more aware of the amount of work that goes on around the work. The act of writing, polishing, more polishing, and looking for a publisher seemed like enough on its own, and yet that turned out to be only the beginning of the process, and its least complicated part.
I was told that every author (and I’m sure individual results may vary to some degree) has the last work, the current work, and the next work under way at any given time. What does that mean for me? It means I’ve had to figure out how to get where the readers are. I’m hooked into social media (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr). I’ve started a blog. I’ve claimed my author name from Amazon.com. I’m on Goodreads. That’s a lot of screen time! I still have a full time job to attend to as well.
The engagement has allowed me to do a couple of things. For one, it’s allowed me to obsessively track what Depths is doing. Is anyone reading it? The answer to that one seems to be yes, which has been an immense relief for me. There’s nothing more terrifying than letting a piece of yourself go off into the world, and it’s been gratifying to find that people have read and connected to it. I hope that more people do, and that they continue to follow Jak and Torrin’s journey through Heights of Green and A Vortex of Crimson.
The other half of engagement has been putting myself out there for readers. This is difficult for me. No one ever believes me when I tell them that I’m actually very shy, but it’s true. The response from those who have read Depths has been fantastic and encouraging in the extreme. Bit by bit, I’m putting myself out there a little more. It’s a process, but it’s one I’m less trepidatious of undertaking. I’m even planning to attend my first con in July. That is a huge step for me as one-on-one interactions make me break out in a cold sweat. I’d happily present to a room of 100 people, but ask me to make small talk to one person, and I’m in sweaty palms territory. I’m hoping the GCLS convention in Washington, DC will be as much fun as it looked in all the pictures, and I hope it will be one more step to getting over my fears.
So that’s the last book. The current book has been getting Heights of Green in shape for its November release. As they were last time, the folks at Bella Books have been fantastic. I have another bang-up cover thanks again to Sandy Knowles. The inimitable Medora MacDougall has shepherded me through another editing process, and once again the finished piece is so much better for her attentions. The Bella staff have been great about keeping me on schedule, and thanks to their hard work Heights looks to be out on time. The proofs are back in their hot little hands, and they look great.
Because of the way I wrote the trilogy, I include A Vortex of Crimson in my “current book” bucket. It’s been submitted and accepted by Bella. After going through the editing process on Heights, I now know there are some passages which need to be rewritten to match changes that happened as a result of the editing process in Heights. I’m very excited to make those changes, I think they’ll make the final book of the series that much more compelling. Once Medora finished her editing magic on that one, I’ll be even prouder to offer it up to all of you.
And finally, the next book. And the one after that. And maybe a few after that. Five Moons Rising is my next book, and one that Bella is interested in! It represents a departure from the space opera setting of On Deception’s Edge. I’m getting down and dirty with supernatural creatures and working out some of my ideas around the genre. It promises to be much grittier and darker than any novel with sparkly vampires could ever hope to be. There will still be badass heroines battling to be with each other, though Malice and Riss are squared off as much against each other as they are their enemies. The writing process for Five Moons has been much different than it was for Deception’s Edge. It’s been much more of a discovery to get through the story, where Deception’s Edge was fixed pretty firmly in my mind before I ever started writing it. It was the product of a few years’ worth of insomnia, after all.
I’ve been noodling on three or four more ideas. I have my next three books lined up, at least potentially. Right now, the big question is in which order do I tackle them, and what other ideas will I come up with in the meantime. The well won’t be running dry anytime soon, and my biggest challenge is not getting distracted from the current work by the shiny new plot.
All in all, five month has taught me that I’m a better juggler than I thought I’d have to be. As with any other career, it isn’t only the act of doing that takes the time, it’s all the moving pieces that go on around in support of the doing. Every task includes prep, doing, cleanup, and maintenance. It’s so easy to forget about three out of four of those steps when in the midst of doing.
I’ve also learned that being out there isn’t as scary as I thought it would be. I’ve found a community, another one. The other writers I’ve found have been open, warm, supportive, and endlessly accepting of my questions. Hopefully, my day will come and I’ll be able to pass what I’ve learned on to the next group.
Finally, there’s no substitute for overcoming fear and moving forward. I learn by doing, and I’ve learned so much from this last part of the process. I know there’s so much more to come, and just maybe, that I’m up to the task.