Remember back in December, when I announced that I’d delivered my manuscript for A Pixie’s Promise to Dreaming Robot Press? Well, I have a plot twist, literally.
The fine folks at Dreaming Robot Press got back to me about three weeks later. In the interest of brevity, I’ve created this condensed version of our discussion, which actually took place over the course of several weeks:
DRP: So, we like a lot of things in A Pixie’s Promise, but we think it should be two books.
Me: Uhh, what?
DRP: No, really, the first half is one story, and the second half is a different but related story, and its protagonist should really be Sagara.
Me: Dang. Yeah, okay, I can see that now. Yup, you’re right. (I am totally downplaying the massive case of heebie jeebies I had to overcome before I could get my brain around the idea.)
DRP: Problem is, neither half is long enough to be a book, so can you write two more halves to go with them?
Me: GAH. Um, let me think about that. (Two weeks later…) Yeah, I can do that. Kinda disappointed, though. I was gonna write Max’s book next. (Plot synopsis redacted due to spoilers.)
DRP: ZOMG, we want Max’s book, too!!!
Me: Hrm. Okay. Three book contract, then?
And then the contract negotiations began. I still do not have an agent, and there was no time to find one. I looked into hiring an intellectual property attorney, but they are EXPENSIVE. Finally, I posted to a few mailing lists, and several people suggested the Author’s Guild. It turns out that if you join the Author’s Guild, you get free legal assistance, including contract reviews.
Hooray for the Author’s Guild. Within a day of my request, they gave me a very comprehensive review of the contract with excellent suggestions, most of which DRP found reasonable. Finally, this week, we finalized and signed the contract. And that’s what’s been eating my life and keeping me off social media for the past couple of months.
The three books, all sequels to A Witch’s Kitchen, are:
A Pixie’s Promise – told from Petunia’s point of view
An Elf’s Equations – told from Sagara’s point of view
A Wizard’s Wish – told from Max’s point of view, and not loving the title, so it’s likely to change
Due to the massive changes, which I am diligently working on (or was until I took a break to write up this blog), A Pixie’s Promise will not be released until September. Here’s a rough schedule of all the books and when they will come out. Realize that everything after Pixie is subject to change.
||Manuscript due by
|A Pixie’s Promise
||May 1, 2018
|An Elf’s Equations
||October 31, 2018
|A Wizard’s Wish
||August 1, 2019
So I’ll be producing three novels in two years. Yowza! But that’s good news for all of you. You’ll be getting lots more Millie, Petunia, Max, and Sagara than I’d originally planned. And after that, who knows? Perhaps a book for Thea? We shall see…
Just a quick note: this blog is getting an insane amount of spam. I just filtered through it all, and out of 1005 comments, I found exactly one that looked like it might be legitimate. Yikes! So if you comment on a post and I don’t respond right away, it has likely gotten lost in the spam. I will work on adjusting my filters so that this is less likely. Thanks!
The six long weeks of the Clarion Write-a-thon are at last over. I pledged to write five chapters of A Pixie’s Promise over five weeks (I was away on vacation for the first week of the Write-a-thon). So how’d I do?
Well, I didn’t write five chapters. I wrote EIGHT!!! And then some! WOO HOO! I seem to have finally found a sound writing practice, a good rhythm that balances work and life. Creating a plot outline in advance really helped. It kept me moving and knowing what needed to come next, and yet I didn’t feel bound to follow it to the letter. In fact, I added in several subplots and twists along the way. I think this strikes a good balance, using the outline as a substrate on which the story can grow.
On the other hand, I didn’t make my fundraising goal. I’d planned to raise $125, and I was only able to raise $100. Thank you, thank you, to my sponsors, on behalf of Clarion and myself. Honestly, if I’d gotten no pledges, I think I would have lost the will to continue. Also, I promised to match all the donations I raised, so I also donated $100. Thats $200 in scholarship money for the next Clarion class. I feel pretty good about that.
Now the trick is to keep up the writing, and I think I can do that without killing myself or neglecting the other important things in my life, such as my family. In fact, I suspect that I was so successful because I built in time away from writing. I started off the Write-a-thon with a one-week cruise to Bermuda. I refused to write on weekends, because that’s time I spend with my kids. I took another short vacation, five days in Cape Cod, in which the highlight of my trip was two hours lying on the couch watching Property Brothers on HGTV. Well, and also a fabulous meal at Tumi Ceviche Bar in Hyannis. Once I got back and caught up with all the laundry, I had an incredibly productive three days of writing, and I think it was because I was well rested, mentally and physically.
One other thing: I’ve gotten faster. I used to be happy writing 1000 words/hour. On Thursday, I timed myself, and I’m now writing slightly over 1500 words/hour. This means that I can easily just churn out a chapter in a day while also running the kids to camp and grocery shopping and paying bills and doing laundry and cooking dinner and cleaning the kitchen – I actually cleaned out the refrigerator this week! Really!
So I am on track to complete the first draft of A Pixie’s Promise by the end of the month. Then I have four months to revise and polish the manuscript before I hand it in to my publisher. This is a reasonable goal, one I’m confident I can meet, even with all the small ups and downs of life. And that I can keep doing this indefinitely. Life is good.
Okay, I think I may have underestimated my writing speed just a bit. When I set my goal for the Clarion Write-a-Thon, I thought five chapters in five weeks was being overly ambitious, especially during the summer when the kids are home a lot more and camp schedules change from week to week.
But this week, despite recovering from vacation, Independence Day, and both girls being sick, I’ve somehow managed to bang out three new chapters of A Pixie’s Promise! Apparently, I write faster than I thought, which is very good news.
I’ve had some inklings of this. Back during NaNoWriMo, I produced a similar amount of writing in the first three days before getting horribly sick. Just before vacation, I finished up a completely different manuscript (more on that in the next few months) by writing a chapter every two days or so. But I didn’t know whether these were flukes.
Now I’m convinced. Once I get in the groove, I can write like the wind. I’ve finally figured out my work/life balance, and I’m producing at least 2000 words per day. I have some minor chores to do now, and then I may well sit down and try banging out another chapter around bedtime.
Meanwhile, you can read excerpts of all six chapters on my Clarion Write-a-Thon writer page. Enjoy!
Prospective cover for A Pixie’s Promise
Here it is in all its glory! The preliminary cover for A Pixie’s Promise. This morning, I wrote 1175 words of chapter 4, and I think I’m about halfway through the chapter already! I may be on to chapter 5 by Thursday. We shall see.
Well, for me, anyway. Yes, I know, the Clarion Write-a-Thon actually started a week ago. But last week I was on a cruise to Bermuda, which was lovely and restful and planned way before I decided to do the Write-a-Thon. So I consciously chose NOT to participate for the first week. But now, I’m back and raring to go!
My Plan: Write five chapters of A Pixie’s Promise in five weeks!
My Goal: Raise $125 – that’s $25/chapter – for Clarion scholarships
My Incentive: I will match all donations up to $250!!!
And I’ll have written a large chunk of my next novel while helping support the next crop of outstanding science fiction and fantasy writers. If you’d like to support me in my quest, please sign up to donate.
I’ll keep posting my progress as well as tantalizing tidbits to keep you checking back for more! For now, here’s a video of me reading Chapter 1 of A Pixie’s Promise.