It became pretty clear this week that I can’t take an actual vacation without literally leaving town (and I’m tossing ideas around for next year, including going somewhere without internet access). Still, I persevered, getting in some word count on the gothic romance I’ve been playing with and Livi #3, Zheng’s Tomb. That book is now at 85K words–the books in this series usually sit at around 105K in their final versions, but I’ve skipped a couple of scenes while others are very bare-bones. I anticipate the zero draft coming in at 90K – 95K, and adding more flesh later will bump it over 100K.
One of the biggest difficulties with these books is the sheer amount of research necessary; I tend to do a lot of preliminary reading about the locales and mythology to start with, surround myself with notes, and then fine tune as I go with more research as specifics crop up.
Of course, then I accidentally ended up with the kitten from hell, who pulls my notes off the corkboards and dry-erase boards over my couch. Her fetish for paper results in everything being shredded, and her fascination with sharp pointy objects means I am constantly stepping on thumbtacks. Several times white writing, I turned to reach for a note or a map only to remember all the boards are empty.
As a result, significant time has been tacked onto my drafting and I am this close to drowning her in the bay.
So the book is very, very rough, and I have not eliminated the possibility that the entire foundation might be flawed. I anticipate finishing it this week around freelance work because the end is in sight, the book is under my skin, and I’m not going to be able to walk away until it’s good and done.
Given the heavy revision necessary, the beta read, the next revision, copyedits, and god knows maybe another revision after that, I don’t anticipate it being out until next spring or summer at least.
I’m sorry for that. I know waits between releases suck. These books have a lot of hours put into them, they’re unfortunately not something I can whip off quickly and still have them up to par. The good news is that #4 is done and just in need of an updated draft, so it could theoretically release shortly thereafter. I’m dying to write #5, which takes place mostly in Peru.
There will be more Livi at Christmas in the form of a longish (9K words) short story, and I’ll probably release Ashford’s Ghost as a single release when I’ve got a substantial part of Zheng’s Tomb I can include as an excerpt. AG dovetails straight into ZT quite literally, there’s about a week story-wise between them, so if you haven’t checked the novella out, it’ll help tide you over.
It’s not even midnight, still early, and I have gas left in the tank–I want to keep writing, to just dive in and go go go go until I reach the end, but I haven’t the slightest clue what they’re about to encounter next in the tomb. Beyond, that is, twin rivers of mercury, and currently trying to figure out how likely they are to breathe in the vapors and die horribly of heavy metal poisoning. So I’ll let it cook and simmer in my brain, and go back tomorrow night to tackle another chapter or two. All the ingredients are there, it’s just a matter of seeing how it’s come together when I take the lid off.