Happy Birthday to "The Harvesting," The story of Layla, Lily, and the not-so-funny thing that happened on the way to Hamletville

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

In the US, we know there is only one proper way to celebrate something:


Don't believe me? Go to an American wedding. There will be "Celebration" or the marriage is not official!



On the birthday of "The Harvesting," I want to talk a little about Layla and Lily. Lily in the protagonist of my new series "Chasing the Star Garden" which will be released in December 2013.

Here is how the whole thing happened. I wrote "The Harvesting" then sent the book out on "the rounds" to all the NYC literary agents. And then, I waited. I outlined "The Shadow Aspect," the second novel in the "The Harvesting Series," and wrote the first 20 pages or so of that novel. Then, I waited.



I was feeling a bit mentally weary of all the bloody zombie images in my head. I wanted to write something new while I waited to hear if "The Harvesting" would help me land a literary agent or not, so I turned to a new project. I write fast so I figured I could still keep up with my target publication dates.



A wild opium addict from 1823 named Lily Stargazer showed up at my mental doorstep and wanted me to write about airships, and having sex with Lord Byron, and love, and abuse, and attachment, and heartbreak, and friendship, and a whole lot of other things. In other words, I wrote a steampunk novel which I titled "Chasing the Star Garden."

The responses from the NY literary agents started to come in for "The Harvesting" and they had one clear message: if your story has vampires in it, you're out of luck, even if your book is well written. Edward Cullen broke fun.



I decided, based on my "vast" knowledge of indie publishing (vast meaning I read about two articles on how it worked for Amanda Hocking), to indie publish the novel. I dove right in without any idea what the hell I was doing. Publication efforts were underway and in September of last year, "The Harvesting" hit the virtual shelf.



In the meantime, I finished "Chasing the Star Garden" and had begun writing Book II of Lily Stargazer's series.

Then the "not-so funny" things happened:

"The Harvesting" was so improperly launched (online, I should clarify . . .  locally, an incredibly talented person helped the book earn a lot of publicity-an effort for which I am very grateful) that it hit the Amazon shelves with a deafening thud. What's a book tour? What's a book blogger? Where are people getting all these fancy reviews? Why isn't the book flying off the shelves? Why wasn't I Amanda Hocking yet?

Well, duh. I was always a kid who needed to burn my hand to understand what "hot" meant, so I started to figure things out. I am the first to admit I went into the book business completely blind, but I learned my lesson.

Hello? Layla?

Once I started figuring out how to market my book, still making some mistakes, I went back and began working on "The Shadow Aspect," which is about 20,000 words complete. But here was the problem: I had totally disconnected from Layla's voice. I don't know if it was because I had Lily in my head, if it was because I was so bummed out that the book didn't do as well as I hoped, or if I just responded too sensitively to some of the criticism of "The Harvesting," but I just couldn't get the right voice going into writing "The Shadow Aspect."


Then I started getting nervous. If I jumped out of Lily's voice back into Layla, would I be able to get Lily's voice back? ACK! I would then have two series launched but not complete and a schizophrenic voice in my head! I had to make a choice.

Despite my best hope to have "The Shadow Aspect" out much earlier, I had to stick with Lily to ensure I didn't loose her honest, fragile, and totally unique voice. I am now writing Book III of the Lily Stargazer books. I have a total of 5 projects planned in this series, and I hope to wrap up what I plan to do for this particular "thread" of that series by summer 2014 (note I say thread, I have evil genius plans), then I am going back for Layla. Her voice is still here, I just need to be totally focused on only one female protagonist at a time, otherwise I have too many voices in my head. Okay, now I have started to sound like a weird writer . . .



Someone asked me the other day if I had abandoned the book project. That made me sad. I adore Layla, and the idea of abandoning her made me feel like a bad mom. I am late on my promised deadline for "The Shadow Aspect," but I think the book will be better for it. I can't offer a projected date for the next novel because I don't want to disappoint anyone, but I hope my readers can understand what happened. I was afraid of making the same mistake twice. When "The Shadow Aspect" is published, I have some really amazing plans. Please just hang in there with me as I get things figured out.

In the meantime, I think you will really enjoy Lily and "Chasing the Star Garden." Think of Lily as Layla's messed up kid sister. She is lovable is a really unique way.

I want to thank all of the amazing bloggers, writers, and FANS I have met and made over the last year. This industry is filled with kind, forgiving, and amazingly nice people. Despite my writer woes, the people I have met have made this an overall really positive experience. In fact, interacting with YOU is what keeps me going! I am so grateful for your support.

Thanks to everyone out there who has embraced "The Harvesting" series, and stay tuned for more details.

Now, let's celebrate a good book like we should! With a giveaway!
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4 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday to The Harvesting! For what it's worth I think your example of taking publication matters into your own hands has been a real inspiration to Brian in thinking about his own work. Can't wait to see more of your work in print! Naomi

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  2. Thank you so much for your tremendous support, Naomi! To you and to Brian. I am so grateful to you! Tell Bri that Clockpunk Press is launching, and we're ready when he is, lol :)

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