How I’ve managed to finish ANYTHING this year is a mystery to me, but here we are, a quarterly state of the union with actual THINGS!
Before I get to the book stuff, a note I mentioned last time I was looking at what stressful things I could start cutting out. I’ve archived the Alchemy Red Facebook group, which doesn’t mean it’s deleted or that it won’t come back later, but even as my readership expands, it doesn’t get used any more (and perhaps even less) than it used to. That is entirely my own fault because I don’t start conversations or remember to post much (I hate Facebook), but it’s just become One More Thing That Gives Me Anxiety, so it’s archived for now. If suddenly readership explodes or Facebook stops being a nightmare for me to navigate and deal with, I’ll un-archive it. I’m sorry, it’s just where I’m at right now.
I’ve left my Facebook page up for now, even though I never use it. There are a fraction of readers who still use it for updates, so I’ll keep posting there periodically. I’ve also left up my newsletter although it remains a lot of work for very few returns at this point (and stress! more below).
There was a short story out this summer for Patrons of Snark who get the West POV stories, called Asset’s Protocol.
It’s set partially during Emperor’s Tomb (and explains what West did to find Livi), which will come back to bite him and you’ll learn some of it later in Yampellec’s Idol. The other part of it is set well before Solomon’s Seal, though, with some things I suspected but didn’t know for sure. He has insisted to me that he’s going to preemptively tell Livi the truth about that little detail before she figures it out secondhand, but I’ll believe it when I see it.
Two things up for preorder!
What will likely be DECEMBER, though I have an emergency buffer of Feb 2021, is my first domestic thriller The Silent Places.
It’s been nearly a year since Imogen Sharp’s husband Nick went missing—and a year of everyone in the Yukon village of Red Fox Lake whispering that she killed him.
With interest in the case rising again as the anniversary of his disappearance approaches, a journalist comes to town and sparks new rumours. Did Nick take his own life without leaving a note? Did he leave of his own volition? Or did his would-be widow have something to do with it as everyone believes?
When the story reaches national news and Imogen’s photo is plastered everywhere, something darker than local rumours comes to her door. Because five years ago Imogen Sharp didn’t exist, and now even the most remote place in Canada can no longer be her refuge.
I am SUPER super excited. Like you have no idea. It bloomed fully formed in my head earlier this year complete with the ending, and since I’m so close to it–and it’s so different from what I usually write–I was very worried. But early feedback has been extremely positive so I’m a little more confident now that I stuck the landing (and expecting a cover quote from someone very special; I’ll update the cover when that comes in).
It’s a brutal book, to be sure, but it’s unflinching and unapologetic and (I hope) a catharsis.
You can preorder it now and I’ll be updating the release date in the coming weeks to the firmer one when I’ve got the next revision pass done.
Also, look, this one is up too!
This fucking book.
The more I love something, the more insecure I get, apparently.
It’s already bringing out all my worst fears–mainly that it’s not going to sell at all and readers will have forgotten about the series. I put out my newsletter all excited–folks have been hitting the site for a year and asking me about updates, so I was like here! Here’s the preorder! Know that the date will move up by a few months!–and…like I kid you not, the same people who’ve been checking for updates for months literally unsubscribed from my newsletter with the preorder announcement as “no longer interested”.
(“How do you know this, Skyla?” you ask? Because IP addresses and email addresses and folks selecting why they’re unsubscribing–believe me, everything is built for writers to track and analyze, unfortunately.)
Not bringing this up for sympathy (and by god, please, yes, go and unsubscribe if you’re no longer interested!), just if I’m extra pessimistic, this is why:
I am terrified of letting people down.
When I worry about the financial viability of the series, that’s not about me (although I like being able to eat)–it’s because I don’t want to have to cancel it and let people down. When I freak out about piracy, yes, a massive part of that is about consent violation, but the end result is that it makes it harder to work on things thereby delaying releases and I don’t want to let people down. I feel like I’ve already let people down.
The amount of pressure on all writers (but I think particularly self-pub ones) to churn out books rapidly is staggering, there are constant reminders everywhere that readers will move on and forget about your series–if you’re wondering why I don’t network and I act oblivious to all traditional marketing advice, that’s why. It’s just too much extra stress and pressure. I have a lot of anxiety with the state of Livi’s series in general and I already know all I can do is put out the best book I’m capable of and let things lie where they fall out of my control but…fuuuuck.
Betrayal and sacrifice follow Livi Talbot on her darkest adventure yet.
Still reeling from the ultimate betrayal that has set her entire world off-kilter, the hits keep coming when Livi’s estranged mother—who abandoned the Talbot family twenty years ago—shows up without warning. She’s looking for a pre-Incan stone idol in the ruins of an abandoned Spanish mission that has escaped looters for centuries, and she wants Livi to find it.
Livi wants to be anywhere but home, and a trip with her family to Peru is just what she needs to clear her head—even if it involves reconnecting with her mom. But a heartbroken adventurer is a distracted one, making Livi the perfect target for supernatural guardians in the jungle…and more danger from those closest to her that she might not see until it’s too late.
If you’ve been eagerly waiting on this one and preorder, my god I love you, and don’t ever let my pessimism make you think I’m not grateful. I am nervous and excited for this one because I put about half my cards on the table and flip things in a new direction–I want so badly for regular readers to get this one and see where we’re headed next.
This book is coming SPECIFICALLY FOR YOU and my god I hope I don’t let you down. <3
I’m also doing a fun thing this month!
I was trying to write a short Halloween story for patrons and, well, you know how that goes for me. So now it’s a novella about Elis set five years before Blood Ties (which, you may recall, is about the time she got the tattoo of Ashur’s mark…). The first chunk will go up later this week, and more next month (and probably the rest in December).
Teenage witch—and budding serial killer—Elis O’Connor has been suspended from her elite private high school after rumours arise that she nearly killed a fellow student.
She figures this serves her right for failing to kill him and decides not to make that mistake with her next target: a sexist bully who has driven another classmate to suicide with revenge porn. Subsequent digging into the past reveals a years-long pattern of abuse she knows she has to stop–at any cost. Killing has never been a problem for Elis and there is no one else to hold the wealthy young cis men of Ridgeview Academy accountable for their actions, but getting to her next victim before he harms someone at the upcoming Halloween dance proves a challenge with her being banned from school property.
Overcoming suspension and grounding is the least of her troubles, however. Someone at Ridgeview has figured out her game and a trap has been set—and her only way out might mean accepting help from the very last creature she wants on her side.
ALL patrons will get access to this one, and you can join for a buck a month! (You can ALSO pay a year in advance if you prefer when you sign up and save 10%!)
What I’m Working On
Season of the Bitch kind of came out of nowhere, but I’m having a lot of fun with it right now–it’s a break after the intensity of working on revisions for The Silent Places. Elis has some scenes with her older brother Dev that have been a lot of fun to write, Nate is back being very frustrated with his teen daughter (I know so many of you adored Love Interest!Nate but I am 100% here for Exhausted Dad!Nate), and I am thrilled at the prospect of bringing in Ashur for a bit (this is his song, particularly when it comes up to the 4min mark, I see him ripping a hole in reality and I get chills). This is also back when Dev was dating Callie, who is a significant character in Witch Hunt so I’m hoping to bring her in here.
I’ll be working on Witch Hunt for next year’s big Patreon serial, and my second domestic thriller–Little Sadie–is percolating though I don’t think I’ll get to it until next year. I won’t be switching away from paranormal/UF by any means, but thrillers were my first love well before I’d even read fantasy (that and horror) and what I’d always assumed I’d be writing before life took me in another direction. I enjoy the standalone aspect as well and it’s been a wonderful break for my brain.
A reminder of my current Livi book policy: I won’t announce the next one until it’s ready for preorder going forward. Just because there isn’t a landing page on the site or I’m not talking about it doesn’t mean I’m not working on it, but I need to keep it to myself for anxiety reasons (patrons do get updates as part of their monthly support, however).
I’ll see you back here in the next few months when The Silent Places goes live and otherwise the next state of the union will be in January!