Scattered! And questions.

Well, hell.

The weekend was a blur–the Princess had her first-ever high school dance, which was the culmination of months of planning and prep work. (Nothing like a reluctant teenage girl who hates shopping but is determined to do it for an event, OMG the back-and-forth…) Unfortunately, I was feverish and nauseous for most of it, because she brought home a stomach bug on Friday, one that she fought off successfully until after the dance, but of course I did not. Oh, and did I mention the two batches of proofs that had be be turned around and overnighted so they could reach New York by today?

I was cranky while proofing, and I think this is the only time in my life I’ll be returning proofs I’ve had to clean A Splatter of Stomach Fluids from. (TMI, I know.) I’ve already apologized to the production department in question. I think an offering of booze to those hardworking elves this Yule would not go amiss this year, too.

A lot of you have been writing about two questions, so I’ll address them here:

* Will you ever write another Strange Angels book? We don’t know who Dru ends up with! I’ve gotten sixteen of these emails in the last two days alone. My answer: no, I am not writing another Strange Angels book, Dru’s story ended where it should. And honestly, why does Dru have to “end up” with anyone? A teenage girl’s life is not about what boy she “ends up” with. It’s about how she survives and grows up, which doesn’t have to include a boy of any kind. So, my dears, no. I will not be writing any more Dru in the foreseeable future.

* What about the next Steelflower? One of my projects for the year was to assess whether I could afford to spend the time to write the next in Kaia’s adventures. Sadly, I cannot. If you want to know the absolute truth, my dears, e-piracy has killed Steelflower. I literally cannot afford to invest the time in another Steelflower book and have it be torrented the day it comes out. I am incredibly sorry, but I have kids to feed, and this is an effect of e-piracy you don’t often hear about. I have done the math every way I can think of, and it just ends up with a loss of working time for me that I can ill afford. I am answering this question directly here partly so you guys can have a definitive answer to this question (I love Kaia too and wish I could write more of her and her crew!) and partly because I am saddened that I even have to say this, because e-piracy is so rampant and the costs of it so huge to content creators–and so many people who engage in e-piracy feel so incredibly entitled about it, and so many other people, even people whose opinions I otherwise respect, think the costs are invisible or not worth mentioning.

*sigh* And now it’s time for me to go back to the Cinderella story and get some work in to make it a reasonable first draft instead of a sloppy, nasty chunk of zero draft that stinks on the morgue table and needs serious stitching and padding before it’s a pretty corpse.

Oh yeah, my mood is great today. *snort* Catch you later, chickadees.

Over and out.

photo by: Horia Varlan
  • Eloise

    I’m not saying by any means you must, but you could perhaps look at a Kickstarter for your next Steelflower book if you wish to use it. Paid up front by the fans that want to read it. You’d have to work out a lot of details, but it certainly can work.

    Unlike Amanda Palmer, if you get over-subscribed it could pay for additional books future books in the series. If you fail to reach the minimum target… well there’s your answer for everyone to see.

    With kickstarter you’re encouraged, obviously, to have intermediate targets for less money. You could look at something like publishing chapters as and when on a blog, a short story/novella to tie it all up and so on.

    There is obviously some time component in sorting this out – but it sounds like you’ve got most of the sums done. You’d presumably have to talk to your publishers about doing it this way because you’ll have a contract about the next book – but they might like it too, a means to explore it for them.

    I’m not really convinced kickstarter is a long-term solution, but it could be a solution that’s workable in the shorter term if you want to write the books in that series rather than something else.

  • Katherine C.

    Nooooooooooooooooo! What if we go out and hunt down all the e-pirates? Can we have it then? Stupid pirates. What if we started a special, “Steelflower” donation drive? Sigh. At least we have your other books.

  • Megan

    As a fan, but also an aspiring writer, how did Steelflower do so horribly while your other books are ebooks as well? Piracy is horrible, I’m not disputing that. But why did Steelflower specifically get hit so hard when your others haven’t? I’m assuming the piracy hit on your others wasn’t as bad, and I’m just curious what the difference was so maybe other authors can use your example.

  • martianmooncrab

    An epox on the epyrates!

    We will take what we can get, new stories are still good stories.

  • Lili

    A whole mess of factors go into this (regretted) decision. Small press being unable to provide an advance big enough to justify me spending working time on the book, the hit to royalties I’ve seen on DRM-free editions, to name just two.

    And Kickstarter is too much time investment when I have other (paid for and paying) books on my schedule. I just can’t justify it when my kids like eating so much, you know?

  • Gwen

    I was very surprised to read your post today. Not because of the epiracy, that is a damn shame but expected at this point in time. I was surprised because I just finished re-reading the Strange Angels books and I was going to ask if you would ever revisit the series. I don’t need Dru to pick a boy and settle down. In fact I love the way you ended the series. I think it should be part of the reading program in schools just because of the ending. I love the message it sends. I was wanting the series to continue because I found the Maharaj and the Wulfen so interesting. It’s too bad we won’t get to hear anymore stories from this world but I’m grateful for the 5 we did get and the new ones you continue to write,Thank you.

  • Gillian

    I am also of the above opinion. I think that another Dru book would be great, but not because of the boys. I won’t tell a lie, I was rooting for Graves, but I also liked how the books ended.
    However I was all set to read another book and find out about the Maharaj and their world. About how Dru ties in with her dual-passport status to the otherwise very loosely related worlds of the Maharaj and the Djamphir. But apparently no dice. That I found disappointing because the world was so interesting I just wanted more of it.

  • Marirra

    Wow, I didn’t know epiracy was that big of a problem. Of course I read some blogs where authors mention, that it happened to them, but I always thought it was a minor thing. Not the stealing part, don’t get me wrong. Stealing is NOT right. But I always thought, yeah those three people that illegally downloaded the book won’t matter that much, right? Now it seems to me, that I got that part wrong. It must be very many people. And that makes me so sad. And makes me mad, too, because the epirates are responsible for me not getting a book. I totally understand, that your kids come first. I am all for feeding and clothing kids ;). And you just bought a house. That is not a minor thing. That is a very big, very scary thing, emotionally and financially. My mother just bought a flat and that was much more excitement anybody could cope with ^^. And then the monthly payments to the bank… so I get it. But please let me whine a little, too. I love, love, love Kaia and Darik and Kesa and Redfist. I love this book soo much. I read parts of that book every week. It sleeps in my bed with me nearly every other night. It is my comfort book when I am just so tired and need to escape. And even though it is a dark book (seriously, will you ever write something with sunshine and fluffy bunnies? Just some tiny rays? Maybe half a rainbow? Yeah, I thought not 😉 ) it comforts me. I just feel peace when I read a couple of pages. It is such a quiet world, that strikes at you when you don’t suspect it. I love the word plays and the running through the forest. This book makes me think about so many things. So I am very sad, that I won’t get to read the next one for a long while. But I understand and respect your decision. If there is something that I, as a reader can do to support this book, please tell me. I already own 3 copies of that book. Two ebooks and one dead tree. I will, as my students “income” allows it, buy a couple more dead tree copies and give them to my favourite libraries. I would also LOVE a place to be able to donate to.

  • I haven’t read Steelflower, but after reading the comments, I want to get a copy. (Plus I don’t want the pirates to win!) I hope you’ll revisit the options for a sequel again in future — even if it’s just a series of short stories done by Kickstarter or something similar. Or maybe do one short story, release it yourself via Kindle publishing, and see what happens. Given that you want to work with the characters again, it seems sad to give up on them entirely.

  • Smeech

    I love Steeflower! How can we make a sequel happen? Seriously what about a donation box?

    Steeflower is one of my favorite books and I am devastated you aren’t planning to write a sequel. Can you self publish it on Kindle? Can you take donations on your website directly to write the book?

    How come none of your other series have been hit by e-piracy? They seem pretty popular too.

    I mean, I liked The Iron Wyrm Affair but it is nothing compared to the awesomeness and epicness of Steelflower. More Steelflower, pretty please?

  • Marirra

    @cheryl: Read it. It really is an amazing book. Every time I reread it, I discover something new. It not only captures you completly, but also makes you think about so many topics. Also the characters are absolutely fascinating. And the worldbuilding is VERY nice (no surprise there ^^). If I could, I would so adopt this book. And also: cheers for not letting epirates win.

  • Rebecca

    I just wanted to chime in and say thank you for your comments about the Dru series.

    “A teenage girl’s life is not about what boy she “ends up” with. It’s about how she survives and grows up”

    Hit me right in the solar plexus, that did. I’m far along from the teenage crowd, but the ease at which people fall into the habit of defining themselves by the person they are “with” remains depressingly easy. Unhealthy relationships are abundant in media, and I can’t express adequately how comforting it is to have someone stand up for self-worth. So thanks for that.

  • Claudia

    hi,
    I can fully understand your reasoning for not writing another book which won’t bring in money but if there is any chance to get another Steelflower please let us know. I read most of your books but Steelflower is definitely something special and I read the story at least 5 times already.
    Kaia and Darik are really great and I would love to have another story with them.

    Maybe the self-publishing version with Kindle is working …

  • Lili

    Guys, Kickstarter and Kindle and all those things? They require time (which is money) and money to be utilized correctly. I have examined every option, and as long as piracy continues to be the problem it is for me, I cannot afford to write another Steelflower. The books/series released through major publishers at least have the faint protection of some DRM as well as a legal department to issue takedown notices, they also have paper sales and (this is important) have enough resources to give me advances I can live on (and feed my kids on) while I work.

    This is what epiracy does, and I see no reason not to be honest about it. It makes more Steelflower books something I literally cannot afford to do for you. If that changes in the future, well, I’ll be all over that. But in the meantime I have children to feed and a mortgage to pay, and that requires I make some hard decisions, just like anyone else with any other job.

  • Gwen

    I’m kicking myself because I decided to read Steelflower after all the talk about it knowing it would not be continued. I fell in love with the characters and the world they lived in. It’s tragic that this is what epiracy has done to the literary world. I wonder if some authors will completely shun the ebook market in favor of paberbacks so they won’t have to deal with this growing problem? I’m sorry this happened to you Ms.Saintcrow and I wish you luck in all your future works for you and me.

  • Nikki

    I agree with Gwen, although I was hoping Dru would end up with Christophe. I really wanted to find out how she fit with the Maharaj. It’s too bad there wont be another book, Strange Angels kicked ass, I loved the series.

  • Billy

    I would be willing to prepay for the sequel to Steelflower. I would even be willing to buy it in paperback form. I was really looking forward to the next installment, and it sadden me that it probably won’t happen.

  • Lillie

    Okay, so, not to be overdramatic and aweful, but when I read this I cried a little. Then I yelled at my friends. Then I checked everywhere to see if you had changed your mind or discovered some magical epiracy prevention spell. All to no avail. See, throughout the entire steelflower book, I was thinking of the little hints in it about what was to come. I got myself so excited for this next book. Dreams of sugarplums and derik danced in my head. Nerd much? But basically, I’m just ranting and bitching about how much I want you to write another book and begging you, grovelling even, to find some miraculous way to write the sequel. For God’s sake I’d even take a novella. I just can’t stand not knowing what happens. I mean, you left so many things up in the air. I know it isn’t your fault (clearly) but I just can’t stand it anymore. And I’m not doing it justice with my little imagined scenarios. Is it an option to make it in print, not an ebook? Please, with your magnificent I-can-write-a-book-about-elves(sorry Kaia)-that-isn’t-a-rip-of-lord-of-the-rings power, find a way.

    Now I pull in the we’ve been hit by hurricane sandy and have nothing to do and there are trees everywhere and wires on the road and my grandparents’ house got flooded and I’m going insane in this house with them and their horribly loud dog.

    If that doesn’t work, come on. We have almost the same name! I’d shorten it to Lili for you if you found a way. Truly I would.

    And yes, I would preorder it or prepay for it or try my hardest with my limited funds to get this sequel. Please.

  • Lillie

    Whoops. Make that dreams of sugarplums and Darik. My phone might prefer my friend derik, but I would feed him to the wolves for more Darik.

  • Maggie

    I thought that the ending of Reckoning was great and I think this is a good end for Dru. I mean I would love more books in the series especially if they had more Maharaj influences but the ending seemed natural, and it brought everything together nicely but still left room for a possible sequel. The only thing that bugs me is that we still don’t know Dru’s real name! That was really the only thing I didn’t like about the book and if that is ever answered I will be a very happy camper.