Big news about the Special Delivery series: Old Blue is taking a drive
If you go to Amazon, B&N, and the usuals right now and try to buy Special Delivery, you’ll only have the option of picking up a handful of paperbacks, and before long those will be gone too. The book is, as of today, out of print.
PLEASE REMAIN CALM.
Special Delivery and Double Blind are on the move–today the contracts are in the works between my agent and Samhain, and that’s where the series is going. This includes, as some of you have been hoping, book three, Better Than Love. There might yet be more, but for right now, let’s take it one book at a time.
To be clear, though, there WILL be a third book, and it is for real coming, and its production is 100% my top priority right now. I’ll be delivering it to my editor by June, straight-up.
Let me anticipate some of your questions.
When will the books be re-released at Samhain?
I forget which months exactly, but basically this time next year. As I understand it, the releases will be 1-2-3 in a row, one month apart for each.
Why is it going to take so long?
Because I really, really care about these books, and I want to do it right. This production schedule will help Samhain give the books wider exposure, do solid, solid editing, get new covers, the whole works. Also, to clear three months of release, we had to look a bit ahead.
OMG DOES THIS MEAN YOU’RE CHANGING MY FAVORITE BOOK EVER???!!!!!
NO. Absolutely NO. The edits, I swear on Sam Keller’s cute peach-shaped butt, will not eat your favorite scenes or even one-liners. I’ve already cleaned up a lot of “and thens” and some stupid spacings and other things that always get left over. Sasha will push me to clean up any other bits and pieces, and we’ll clean up things that you’ll never realize were change and yet will make the whole thing smoother and sharper. If you notice what we did, we didn’t do our jobs. I promise, we will be good at our jobs. This goes for Double Blind too.
What about the audio book? Is it going to go?
Yeah, sorry. My agent is looking into that, but for now, yes, it’s not hanging around.
Why are you moving your books?
That was probably your first question, but it has the longest answer, so I put it later in the queue.
The why is very complicated, but the short answer is because it’s the right thing to do. There is no dramatic behind-the-scenes story here–moving the series is what was best for it, and this was a decision reached after discussing things with my agent, Dreamspinner, and Samhain.
Editors, publishing houses, agents–these are all relationships, and as in all relationships, it’s important that everyone is happy and feels good. Everyone needs to want the same thing and share the same vision. It’s not okay for one party to need something different and have to not get it because another party can’t give it, and when that happens, it’s time to go. It says nothing about any of the individual parties’ worth, and polite, professional partings are a sign of strong individuals who are good at their jobs. Consider this one of those moments.
So you really are going to write Better Than Love now? You’ve been saying that for three years, you know.
Yeah, I know. Thankfully, George R. R. Martin has set the bar really high for how long you can let a series go. Though while we’re on the subject of long breaks…
One of the biggest reasons there hasn’t been a book–in addition to needing to be at the right place–is that I have had a bit of a hellish three years. Health, professional stuff, personal stuff–it’s been a ride. I have, actually, worked on this story the whole time, sometimes actively, sometimes just in the back of my head. Being in the right place, having a solid plan, and having cleared my desk for the project is going to help a lot.
The thing to remember is that Special Delivery, Double Blind, and Better Than Love are what I call “big books.” Big in that they’re not just lengthy but full of meat. I do, truly, work like the devil to make them sing, and I am, frankly, relentless in my standards for them. Special Delivery took over two years to write, and I have probably about 200k (not exaggerating) of dead manuscript beneath what you currently read. Double Blind is a bit of a fluke–It took 25 days to write and has the least editing ever in any book I’ve ever done, but I wrote it under extraordinary circumstances and spent three months prepping the research. I also wrote it in the dark. When that book got birthed, none of you knew who I was. That you do now? That you’re watching? Yes, it changes everything, and it makes it very hard at times. It makes it slower, because I have to keep shutting off my head.
The current reality of publishing, especially in indie, is that we must produce with incredible speed, speeds that ten years ago would be considered inhuman. In 2004 I went to a national writing conference where authors (NYT bestsellers) were angry that their publishers were beginning to require a book a year from them. Please enjoy that fact a moment when you consider how many books in m/m most authors crank out right now. I produce on average three a year, and I’m one of the slower producers. I’m not when you consider that a “short” book for me is usually 60k. Not only is a 100k book (my preferred length) longer, it’s more difficult. It’s not simply more words. It’s more complex plot, more to hold in one’s head, more pacing to make sure doesn’t flag. I do not make more money for that length, either. In fact, were I to crank out 20-40k on a regular basis, I’d make a lot more money.
At moments this reality–too fast a production, too unstable a landscape–has been very hard for me to come to terms with. I suffer too from too many ideas and too many fingers in too many sub-genres, and while I’ve corrected that a bit, it came at a financial and branding cost. When you add how visible and connected authors have to be to fans to stay relevant–social media, conferences, etc–I sometimes wonder how I have managed to do this at all. I think, weirdly enough, my unstable health has helped, because it becomes a sort of laser focus, making me constantly assess.
But yes, there will be Better Than Love by spring next year. It will be as big, if not bigger, than SD & DB. It will be worthy of your fandom and pleasure. It will be worth the money you’ll pay for it and the reviews you’ll leave on social media sites. I will give it, and you, the gift of my full authorial attention.
This is how, honestly, I’d prefer to proceed from here on out. I’m open to some fun small projects, but my meat, my core, is this sort of thing. I honestly enjoy taking a big, crazy idea and taming it. I love taking subjects we shouldn’t write about (trucker fantasies, casino heists) and making them beautiful. I love inserting painstakingly detailed research and real things into works so that they feel so real they take your breath away. I love hiding little plot devices and structure you won’t notice, ever, but will make works stronger and smarter and better. I love crafting art out of same-sex romance, better yet when I can put a bit of dirty sex in it to boot. I love taking what is a rather extensive and expensive education on writing and story and how to do this job and writing not a staid piece of LITERATURE but a raunchy, riotous ride.
That, however, takes time. And energy, and focus. It’s why I moved the books, so I have the best opportunity to reach for those things. It’s why I have an agent to sell my books and advise me where to go. It’s why I have started saying a lot more NO to everything that is not writing and supporting the writing. Because the writing is what I want to do, always, forever. Without it, the rest of life is so tasteless I cannot bear it.
So this is the big Thursday news. Books are moving, new book is coming. Heidi is getting her game on, and we’re ready to go.
There actually is other news, which sort of steps on what was a nice closer there, but whatever.
- Let It Snow, the first book in what will be the Minnesota Snow (I think that’s what I called it) Christmas series, will be available this year in November from Samhain. I think the 26th. My plan is one of those every year.
- Hero is also out of print. I’m looking at probably self-pubbing it this summer just so it’s available, but more on that later.
- Love Lessons, a new adult, almost-sweet romance is in the hands of my agent. She has Plans. I will let you know about them when they are firm.
- Tucker Springs is on my radar, but right now I so very have to finish BTL and it’s the only thing I’m allowing myself to process. Though I’ll confess, I have a few characters talking to me from that town.
- Damon Suede and I have many crazy cowriting schemes together, but first he has to finish his book, and I have to get ankle-deep in BTL before any of that gets serious.
I think that’s about all I have for news. So there you go. Ask whatever other questions you have, and I’ll do my best to answer them. Just don’t expect much detail on BTL yet, because the story is hot and doesn’t want attention. I can’t even tell Damon or Saritza about it right now, it’s in that kind of state. I’ll just say there are some high awesomes, and I’m excited. As for a Randy POV? Maybe. Only if it works and adds to the story, but so far, he seems to be determined to make himself essential.
Can’t say that surprises me at all.