Serials and Recovery

Finished the top-to-bottom revise of Hell’s Acre late Saturday evening, so I’m in recovery again. (How many is that this year? I’ve lost count.) It wasn’t until the second third of Rook’s Rose (the second season) that I started feeling good about the duology, which is…instructive. Swimming against the tide of pandemic and other stuff–this serial officially began way back in June 2021, can you believe it–means I just had to trust that the work and the characters were doing what they needed to, since I was entirely occupied with the problem of Not Drowning.

Trusting the work has never led me wrong before, and it didn’t this time either. I’ve figured out where the persistent, nagging feeling of “there’s a hole in this book” came from, too.

I wanted to do something sort of video game-y. Right in the middle of Rook’s Rose I realized that Avery is the most traditional “player character” in the books. He’s the dude with the shadowy past, the dude with the Hellion training, and he even gets a wrist-crossbow, literally “leveling up” near the end of the “game”. But he’s not the protagonist. The story belongs to the character who changes the most, and that’s Gemma–who would be an NPC love interest in a regular ol’ video game. Plus, at the end neither of them gets the…

…whoops, almost gave away a spoiler there. But anyway, that was the persistent sense of “somethin’ ain’t right in this book” I kept feeling. I hadn’t realized just what the Muse was interested in doing. Now, naturally, I’m slapping myself on the forehead and going, “Of course, of bloody course.” She’s just as interested in subverting tropes and expectations as I am. (That’s a lie. She’s way more invested in it than I could ever hope to be.)

So, I’m relieved to say I will be putting these books out for wider publication. A lot will depend on what my agent says; they may snag some publisher interest. But if not, it’s into the self-pub pipeline they go. It’s good to have that decision made; Christ knows it’s been waffling around in my head for about a year.

All of this means I go straight into writing the next serial–which subscribers, both of the patron and newsletter variety, have already heard about. The official announcement will happen sometime in June, right here on the blog and on social media as well. So my working time for the foreseeable future will be spent between Shiny New Serial and Gamble, the third in the Ghost Squad series. The latter’s gonna be a lot of fun, since it’s the medic of the team (Tax) and a wedding planner, in Vegas for the demolition man’s wedding. I’ve been aching to write something contemporary since I’ve been head-down in epic and alt-historical fantasy for a while now; the last contemporary thing I did was Sons of Ymre #2–which is in line edits, I think, and should be out sometime later this year too.

I’ve even got the unedited ebook of Rook’s Rose cut for subscribers, though it won’t drop until somewhere around June 1. It’s been a long strange ride with this serial, and while I’ve loved it I’m also glad it’s over–there’s a weird sense of almost-mourning, too, because writing it was so bound up in the crisis-feeling of getting through one more day. Some ropes hurt one’s hands even as they save one’s life, and while one doesn’t want to complain one can still wince a bit. Having to make the subscription drop each week, come hell high water or whatever-the-fuck in the news cycle, was good practice.

So it’s a recovery Monday. I have some administrivia to do, perhaps a Soundtrack Monday post to write–because I do love doing those–and a little bit of gardening planned while it’s a reasonable temperature outside. That’s on top of Boxnoggin’s walkies and running my own weary corpse, albeit both will probably occur at a far slower pace than usual. I’ve almost absorbed the last of the coffee, so it’s probably time to bid you a civil adieu and get started.

See you around.