Next Up…

My next novel-in-progress (working title: Hearts Are Jerks) is a big departure for me. It’s Contemporary Young Adult, which means the main characters are in high school and there are no science-fictional or fantastical elements. It’s kind of a non-traditional romance, in that it has LGBT main characters, gender fluidity, and positive, realistic portrayals of polyamory.

It’s the first novel I’m writing that isn’t a tie-in to someone else’s world, and that isn’t already under contract. I’m trying to resist the urge to worry about what I’m going to do with it until it’s finished, but of course…worry is the one thing writers don’t procrastinate on, right?

Because this novel brings up a lot of questions for me.

Do I publish it under the same name I use for my genre work? Do I use a variant, like adding my middle initial or something? Do I use a new name entirely?

Do I try to use this novel to get an agent? Is this the sort of novel a mainstream publisher would even want? If I get an agent for this book, would they want to represent my future works in other genres too? Would I want to seek out someone who would want that, or would I rather have an agent who wouldn’t want that? Who do I hire to edit this for me before I start submitting it around? Who do I ask to critique it for me before I’m ready for an editor?

What’s ironic about this: when I’m wearing my editor hat, these are questions I help other people answer ALL THE TIME. Seriously, all the time. Which is to say, I do know the answers because I know how I advise other people, and how I would advise them if they were me.

I’d use a variant name, I’d seek an agent who represents writers who write books like this, I’d refer this colleague to edit and these two to critique/beta-read and ask these three if they’d be available to give me a blurb. I’d send it here, here, and here for review, and submit it to these three awards.

What’s amusing about this: I know all this stuff. But then I feel like I don’t, all of a sudden. The tables turn when it’s my manuscript in the spotlight. I have become every writer I’ve ever worked with.

What’s fascinating about this: everything I go through as a writer makes me more sensitive as an editor.

Hellmaw Logo

I Finished My Novel!

I debated over titles for this post, but I think this is the biggest thing I have to say. I finished my novel!

If you’re counting, that means I’ve turned in TWO original written-by-me novels this year. I’m still a little stunned, honestly. This isn’t something I would have thought I could do, but I did it and I even held on to my sanity and health. (Mostly.) It meant canceling on all but one convention for 2015 and missing Thanksgiving with my family, but I did it. Hopefully this will make a lot of travel opportunities happen over the next two years. Including visits to my family.

The Hellmaw setting is still under a pretty tight Non Disclosure Agreement, so there isn’t much I can tell you about the book or the setting. However, I’ll tell you what I can:

  • My book title is OF THE ESSENCE.
  • It is a standalone novel. That is, there are no sequels planned at this time. It’s open-ended enough to entertain a sequel in the future, if it does well and readers clamor for more, but I had so many plates in the air already that I only wanted to commit to one book at a time.
  • It has chapters, but not chapter titles. Just chapter numbers.
  • It has characters.
  • It passes the Bechdel test.
  • It does not contain sexual violence.
  • If it were a movie, it would probably be rated R.
  • It will be available in May, 2016.
  • The moment it’s up on Goodreads and Amazon, I will let you know.
  • I’m really, really proud of it, and I hope everyone else enjoys it too. 🙂