Monday 29 July 2013


I've spent the last two weeks pretty much on the road - Krakow, then Berlin, falling prey to sunburn and then damn near museum/historical site burnout, and honestly not spending a lot of time online, which means my inboxes are swamped and I'm dreading to get back to work and making any attempt to catch up. (That said, it's really nice to take so much time off from being always "on".) Meanwhile, Unhinge has been released, and I'm very pleased with how it's turned out. It's a good little story that's deceptively simple, and the people who love it seem to really love it.

I have a lot of conflicted thoughts right now - it's about career and what I want to write and what genre I'll focus on, and even how I want to write and what my goals are. I've talked to most of the stakeholders (as it were) over the last few weeks. Now I just have to put my head down and work and actually make it happen.

There will be a few developments happening in the next months, which may or may not look strange to some people. Some of those are experimental, others are the result of careful considerations that are coming to fruition after years of planning and "wouldn't it be cool if". Above all and most short term, I've decided to either cancel or self-publish "Pure Gold", the sequel to "Gold Digger". I've crunched the numbers and Pure Gold will likely never earn its invested money back. That's fine, and doesn't involve anything worse than looking at the numbers and expected sales with a jaundiced eye. I've had stories being turned down, and I've usually opted to trunk or kill them entirely, so this isn't even a precedent.

Especially after visiting Krakow, one of the locations in Pure Gold, I have a tender spot for the story and the guys involved, but as I have to hire a freelance editor, a freelance layouter, a freelancer cover artist and a freelance proofer (or two), the question is, do I care enough about the guys to sink a thousand dollars or more into the novella when expected sales over its lifetime are less than five hundred copies? (I believe in paying pros what they are worth, so "cutting corners" isn't really an option. I don't want to fall back onto publishing unedited work that's going to haunt me for a few years until I'm pulling it and destroying it in disgust, or pulling it for any number of flaws). High standards can reach the point where they are financially not viable. At the same time, I don't believe there are enough people who care enough to launch a Kickstarter campaign for it.

Options, options.

I may still write it, but it's become very low priority at this point. It'll be a novella of 30-40k, but it's still a month of work for almost no expected return, while I could be working on ten other books that have a chance to sell and which I'll also enjoy working on. I hate that my attempt to quit my day job means I have to focus on books and series that might make me sustainable money, but in this case, I have the numbers from Gold Digger to prove that Pure Gold might just as well be titled Love Labours Lost. That's not an accusation to anybody, least of all readers, it's just facts. People want other books from me and not that one, which is fine. I have a few irons in the fire I'm excited about - I'm not writing anything I don't love. So for everybody who was waiting for Pure Gold - I'm really really sorry that it won't happen or take a long time. I think I have some nifty ideas, but maybe I can re-use them for a different book.

That said, all the places I've seen and experienced have filled me up quite nicely with new impressions and thoughts (most of which is more an emotion than anything I can put into words). If you want photos, check out LA Witt's Facebook account -she posted lots of photos. In that time, I haven't written a sentence (apart from one very productive writing session with Lori), so I'm full of inspiration and words and can't wait to get back at my desk and write a few stories.

I'm dreading having to go back to my day office job, because it's been 2.5 weeks and I have a lot of catching up to do, and essentially have to do all the work that has just piled up there and that nobody has touched. I'm also dreading the two inboxes full of emails, and I have edits for Scorpion 2. While I've delivered that manuscript on time, I've blown the deadline on Scorpion 2 on the edits, which means it'll come out next year rather than this year (sorry for that!). The good news is, it gives me a little more time on writing Scorpion 3 and both of those will come out closely together.

So, while I use up the dammed-up writing energy and catch up with my day job over the next weeks, I'll be scarce, most definitely on Goodreads, but also on Facebook and Twitter. If I'm silent, that means I switch into hyper-focus and get a book written. I have Scorpion 2 to edit, Scorpion 3 to write, a WWII novel to write, a literary novel to finish and research/fact-checking to do, so I'm not exactly idle, just scarce. I'll see you on the flipside, hopefully with a couple novels in my hands. Let's hope they are any good.

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