Dealing with series

Some days, I hate series. Not in a bad way, but in the manner that I have to work my ass off to cover them. Jessica Keller came out as I wrote it, which took several years. Lazarus (almost done) required me to bounce back and forth several times to complete, all in a short period, so I could drop them sequentially. The Dominion books, like Lazarus, covered a long arc of novel. I get burned out by the end.

All well and good. Right now, I got back comments from the Fabulous Publisher Babe™ about the third Hunter Bureau novel. I solved one big mystery, uncovered an even bigger conspiracy, and set #4 up to go there. She wants me to drop them back to back. Kinda messes up the winter publishing schedule to pull something out, but I had space. Really twists my writing schedule around from what I had wanted to do.

As we’re talking about that last night, I realize that the ending of the third First Centurion Kosnett book probably also demands a fourth, so they can come out boom-boom. One (Encounter at Vilahana) and Two (Consensus at Aditi) will drop in the fall October/November. I just finished #3 this morning, and went all in with an open-ended finale that makes me write #4 and drop them.

Fans used to be more forgiving, but Trad Pub has burned them too often. And I shouldn’t ever cliff-hangar unless I drop the next one right behind it.

However, that exacts a toll on me. I always need to take a break between novels, and explore some other place. From Space Opera to maybe Adventure, or Post-Apoc, or Dieselpunk. A lot of the short fiction I’d written this year was to let me shift out of one into another. I have an Arcane Detective Historic written. It needs some cleanup, and I have to slot that time. Maybe a week. But it isn’t on any schedule but my own need to clear out that backlog of “other” stuff that isn’t Epic Space Opera.

That’s why the Gunderson Case Files just came out. Hardboiled PI set in an alternate 1955 in Los Angeles where gods, aliens, dames, and trouble might walk through his door.

Or the erotica I write as Cole Braddock. Completely different from everything else to the point that it needed its own penname. (Erotica is generally the one case where multiple names are beneficial these days, as opposed to the old days where TradPub insisted because of reasons.)

I even have some straight up Urban Fantasy that needs to be published, just to get it out there and out of the trunk. Gotta edit that.

Weirdly, I have had to slow down my writing a little this year. I had been pushing, but the goal this year is twelve months of around 117,000 words (Pulp Speed Three, according to the old system or 1.4M words/year). I had been above that, but have other things to do this year that don’t count as well, such as an RPG we’re writing, or the musical lyrics for Elton.

Fortunately, other than pissing and moaning, I can pivot around and write the next novel in a series because I need to write it, as opposed to chasing the muse. The stories are all there, and I love what I write.

(I had a conversation with a group of nitwits that were convinced that they were supposed to hate everything they ever wrote. If you do that, you stop enjoying it. When that happens, your fans stop enjoying reading it, and stop buying. As self-fulfilling prophecies go, that is a great way to end your career and never understand what happened.)

Love what you write. Internalize that you are having fun. I do. I just bitch occasionally because I don’t get to wildly hare off after some new idea. (I do, but they have to be short stories I can write in a day or two, rather than weeks spent on a novel right now. My Patreon folks have seen a lot of that. You should join to see it as well.)

So mostly, this is just me whining today. And I admit it. Finished the third Phil Kosnett book. Ambassador Kosnett has had a chance to read an early e-arc of #1 before President Biden replaces him and Phil retires. I expect seven books eventually, and my goal is to have my own set signed by Phil, once he retires.

Turned around a couple of hours later after driving into town to hit the Japanese grocery and started the fourth Hunter Bureau novel as well. Had something else I WANTED to pursue, but it has to slide backwards a bit first. Gimme 2-3 weeks to finish Hunter #4 and maybe I’ll start Kosnett #4 around July 1.

Then there is all sorts of interesting fun planned for 2022. Hope you all enjoy it.