Ten years ago, I was just finishing up The Rise of Renegade X. (It was the summer after I graduated college–at 25, not 22 like you might be thinking–and the last Harry Potter book had just come out–I remember devouring it in between writing sessions.) I wrote book 1 in a 28-day whirlwind from concept to finish, and it was by far the best thing I’d ever written. (In fact, for a long time, I worried I’d never write anything as good as that, which thankfully wasn’t true.) A year and a half later, I added another 20k for an editor (which I wrote in a week), but otherwise, it was the same book it is now.
I didn’t write book 2 until six years and six books later, hence the jump in quality. That one took me three months to write, if you don’t count the five chapters I wrote before that but then couldn’t work on for, like, a year due to illness and having, like, no words in my brain. Despite getting temporarily better enough to work on the book, it didn’t last, and I went back to being blank and empty.
(If you’re wondering, I have an autoimmune disease–Hashimoto’s–and adrenal fatigue, which it turns out were caused by crazy severe food allergies. Mostly gluten. And grains. I know what you’re thinking, but gluten is seriously bad news and it sucked out my soul like a Dementor. It turns out autoimmune disease in general is caused by food allergies (mostly gluten, grains, and dairy), so if you have one, please Google the Autoimmune Protocol–it saved my life.)
Somehow I wrote book 3 while being blank and empty. Sometimes my brain would just go blank in the middle of a sentence, and I would have absolutely no idea what words to put next, and I’d have to walk away from it for a couple weeks until I could start thinking of words again. This forced start-and-stop method was really hard, and I don’t think I can express how frustrating it was. Once I finally started healing, I also realized how dampened my emotions were at the time. It’s not exactly that I couldn’t feel feelings… but I kind of couldn’t feel feelings. And yet somehow I wrote a book full of feelings. Just like how I wrote a book full of thoughts and words when my brain was very low on them. I honestly don’t know how I managed to write that book, though I know it was mostly done in little chunks over two years, so I guess that’s how, but still. The more I heal and the better I get, the more I look back and think, WTF? How in the hell did I manage to write any of that, let alone a whole book?
Book 4 took me a year and half, but I wrote most of it in the last six months. Coincidentally when I had some health breakthroughs and started feeling better. (Crazy, right?) It, too, was written in starts and stops and little chunks, though there were less starts and stops and the chunks were bigger, and my brain stopped crapping out in the middle of sentences. I still have trouble writing for long periods of time, and sometimes I hit my limit way earlier than I would like, but overall it’s getting easier. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to write a book in a 28-day whirlwind again (though I wasn’t exactly healthy then, either, it just wasn’t as bad yet, so who knows?). I think these books have gotten too complicated for that, though I’d settle for a three-month writing binge, or maybe even a six-month writing binge, or maybe even a “just being able to write steadily in general” streak.
Anyway, I can’t believe I’ve been writing Renegade X books for ten years. In that time, only a year and a half has gone by for the characters. At this rate, even if I lived to be 100–and kept writing Renegade X books at the same pace the whole time–Damien would never be older than 27. How bizarre is that? Not that that’s how books work, and not that I’m saying that’s how it’s going to go. I’m just saying the time difference between my life and theirs is very different.
…then you already saw THIS:
Both The Rise of Renegade X and The Trials of Renegade X are the Kindle Daily Deals for the Sci-fi and Fantasy category, which is majorly cool. I’d gotten an email from Amazon back in December saying it was a possibility–I had to agree to being included in the promotion if I got chosen–but I didn’t really think it was going to happen. Then yesterday I found out that they were going to be part of the Daily Deal today. Which was pretty amazing.
So many announcements, in fact, that I can make a BULLETED LIST.
- The kickstarter for The Trials of Renegade X was a rousing success! It ended at 125%, which is pretty amazing. Especially since there was a time, for about an hour or so after I first launched it (and, well, all the months leading up to it), where I was pretty sure it was going to finish at zero percent. Or maybe more realistically like one percent. (Okay, okay, five percent.) BUT my doubts were foiled again and everything is coming up awesome.
- If you missed out on the kickstarter, don’t worry! Trials now has a release date and will be out September 26th. You’ll be able to get it in ebook, paperback, or hardcover. (Though if you want a print copy, brace yourself for print-on-demand prices, which are a bit pricier than you might be used to.)
- I have THE COVER, and it’s freaking AWESOME. Raul Allen, the same artist who did the cover for The Rise of Renegade X, did an amazing job. It’s everything I could have hoped for and more, and a perfect follow-up to the first one. I can’t reveal it yet, but soon, precioussss. Soon.
- You may or may not have noticed–or seen me talking about it–but the first book is currently unavailable, due to me getting the rights back. But I’m happy to announce that it will be back up in the near future–probably in the next few weeks–and should be out in time for the sequel’s release! I’m in the process of licensing the cover art now, but once that’s done I can relaunch. It will be back up in ebook and hardback and will be making its paperback debut. ;) (Though what I said earlier about POD prices still applies.)
- The movie option for Renegade X got renewed! I have no idea where they are with the project (well, I have some idea, but my knowledge on it is several months outdated, and I’m not sure what I’d be allowed to tell people even if I did know something), only that it’s still in the works. So, as always, getting renewed doesn’t mean there will actually be a movie, but it’s still a possibility!
- And, finally, with both books for sure coming out and having covers and all that, I’m thinking of doing audiobook versions as well through ACX. (ACX is awesome and makes audiobook production an option for authors and helps them find narrators. I went through them for Harper Madigan and was really happy about the whole process and especially with how the book turned out.) I have to admit to being kind of nervous about hearing someone else read for Damien and the other RRX characters I’ve had in my head for so long. (And what if I hear their voice in my head from then on instead of mine???) So if I don’t find the right narrator, it will be a no-go. But there are a lot of talented voice actors, so I am hopeful that the right one is out there.
And so my bulleted list comes to an end! This next month is going to be really exciting as I get ready to launch all this, and then of course everyone finally getting to actually read the sequel is pretty mind blowing, too!
Wow, it’s been a while since I posted (guess I was in the writer cave longer than I thought). I looked at my last post, where I had 19,000 words in the sequel. HA. Now I have 115,000 and it’s DONE! That’s right–this book is going to exist. It’s going to come out this September. And it’s going to be really freaking awesome (but I think you guys knew that part already). And if you’re wondering what 115,000 words actually means, I’ll tell you that the first one was 85,000 words, making this a much bigger book. I would estimate that gives you guys another 100 pages to read.
Of sex and math jokes.
Just kidding. There aren’t any math jokes in this one.
I had so much fun writing this book. And drank so much coffee. And, while I miss the characters again already, it feels good to have it done. I finished the first one nearly six years ago. Six freaking years. And there were times since then when I was absolutely certain there would be a sequel, and times when I was absolutely certain there would not. But you guys kept writing to me, telling me how much you loved Renegade X and asking when there would be another one. And if it hadn’t been for you guys telling me all that, I don’t know if I would have ever written it. But you did, and I did, and now I’ve finished the best book I’ve ever written. And I can’t wait for you guys to get to read it in September!
And since, no matter how much planning I do, books have a way of morphing and getting away from me as I write them (or at least the best ones do), I reworked the book description. The old one wasn’t inaccurate, but it wasn’t so much the story anymore either. So here’s the new blurb:
Can a half villain ever be a full hero?
Damien Locke didn’t choose for his supervillain mom to disown him—just because he sort of defied her and ruined her evil plans to take over Golden City—and he didn’t choose for his superpower to be flying, a superhero ability that involves his least favorite thing: heights. But now that he’s living with his dad’s superhero family and enrolling at Heroesworth Academy, he’s ready to embrace his new life, get his H, and finally belong somewhere. But belonging isn’t as easy as signing up for classes, and Damien finds himself struggling to fit in more than ever.
Just when he’s sure his fate as a hero has been decided, though, he gets a new villain power that he can’t control. And things only get worse when he accidentally screws up one of his sidekick Sarah’s gadgets, altering her personality and turning her into a crazed, anti-supervillain vigilante—leaving him no choice but to team up with her annoying superhero boyfriend if he hopes to have any chance of getting the old Sarah back, before she captures—or kills—another supervillain like him.
So, I don’t think I ever mentioned why I chose to self-publish Harper Madigan: Junior High Private Eye. For those of you who don’t know, it’s a noir detective story. It’s also MG, so self-publishing it isn’t the most obvious path to get it into the hands of readers. A lot of people have misconceptions about self-publishing, or at least that’s what I’ve been noticing lately. (I did not notice much last year. Last year was a dead sort of year, what with my doctor mistakenly putting me on way too low of thyroid meds and turning me into a zombie, which made for very little writing and even less of everything else. But I got a new doctor and better meds and a better dosage. There’s more to the story, but that’s another post for another time.)
Anyway, the hard truth of publishing is that good books do not always get published. The Rise of Renegade X came this close to not finding any love at all and fading into obscurity on my hard drive. In fact, Harper Madigan got more editor love than Renegade X, with three separate editors falling in love with it and wanting to buy. But editors alone don’t decide what gets bought, no matter how much they love it, and their houses said no, they couldn’t sell it. So here’s me with this awesome book that I still want people to get to read, but no publisher.
So what’s a girl to do? Put on her DIY hat and PUBLISH IT HERSELF, that’s what. And you know what? Putting it all together myself was a lot of fun and I was able to do it quickly and easily and pretty much stress-free. It was also a great way to get started in the world of self-publishing before putting out The Trials of Renegade X. I am very pro hybrid-career at this point, and while I hope to continue to find traditional publishers for some books, it’s not something I can control. I can, however, control how many books I self-publish.
And speaking of Harper Madigan, I have some good news to share about it! But not yet. Soon, precioussss. Soon. And I have good news to share about Renegade X, but if I wait a little while, it may turn into really freaking awesome news, so, again, we must all wait.
Cross-posted from the Tenners LJ:
Okay, so for the past couple weeks I’ve been talking about Sekrit Good News I couldn’t share, but now the wait is over. I tweeted the basics, but here’s the detailed version of the story.
A couple weeks ago, before the holiday break, my phone rang.
It was Hollywood calling, natch. I almost didn’t answer it, because it was noon and I maybe, uh, keep weird hours and wasn’t really awake. If it had been anything but a 212 number, I wouldn’t have answered.
It was my agent. She told me she had good news for me. I was thinking it couldn’t be anything big. Then she said so-and-so had called and I immediately interrupted because I didn’t recognize the name and was like, “WHOZAT??” She said the film agent. THE FILM AGENT had called her with good news for me, so then I was all, “Ohhh… Go on.”
Apparently this had been going on for a while already, but she very wisely didn’t want to bring me into it until it was real. She told me Disney was going to make me an offer to option the film rights by the end of the day. I told her if I dropped the phone, it was because my hands were shaking. O__o
Then she told me they had writers attached, and she told me who they were, and that part I believe is still secret, but let me tell you I SQUEEEEEED. (Actually, here might have been where I told her if I dropped the phone, it was because my hands were shaking. It was true, but to my credit I did not drop the phone.) I will tell you I was recently rewatching a TV show they’re involved in and thinking to myself how much I’d been influenced by the earlier seasons and how much I loved the show and how awesome it was. How BIZARRE is it that possibly at the same time I was thinking those things, they were liking my book? The universe was on crazy sauce, I tell you.
The deal is with Disney Original Movies, the same people who made High School Musical and Camp Rock. So right now if they make it, they’re intending for it to be a made for TV movie ON FREAKING DISNEY CHANNEL. (Have I mentioned that my parents only watch Disney Channel? I mean, like, before this deal happened. I don’t think my dad has slept in weeks, he is so excited.)
Now I can’t stop thinking how cool it would be if the movie made from my novel launched the career of the next Zac Efron or something.
At first the reality of all this hit me like a ton of bricks and I was super STRESSED out. Like, totally freaked. You’d think only really awful bad news would have that affect, but IT TURNS OUT that crazy good news, almost-too-cool-to-be-real-but-is-real-anyway can do that to you, too. Now you know. I’ve had a couple weeks to calm down (and get back to work on the new WIP–writers know what I mean when I say it’s annoying to not get anything done on the WIP, even if you can’t work because you have something good going on (or at least I hope other people feel that way, so I don’t sound like a Scrooge)), so now I’ve calmed down and it just feels very surreal, more like it’s happening in a story than like it’s happening TO ME.
But OMG. The news will be appearing in Publisher’s Lunch, and I will of course keep everyone updated as I get new secrets and the go aheads to spill them.
Check this sucker out:
|From Drop Box|
That’s my book! It smells like trees–well, newly dead trees, which is a fresh smell for a book–and it has 352 pages. The beginning of each chapter has a black and white silhouette of the city skyline from the cover, and the scene breaks are done with Xs, like this:
except in Renegade X font.
My favorite part is reading it. I LOVE this book and I love getting to see my words on the page and just see everything I wrote on the computer, back when I was unpublished and it was just words in my head and I was just putting them down one after the other until there was a book. It seems so unreal sometimes, that all the big important life changing things in life can start with simple things that nobody else tells you to do, but that you just do because it’s what you want to be doing. I don’t know if that’s making sense, but this concept always fascinates me. The idea that big important things just happen at home or get started there, possibly by someone in their pajamas.
My camera died after only one picture, and both batteries are dead and both chargers are nowhere to be found–argh!–so my descriptions will have to do for now. But trust me, it’s awesome. I have one stressful errand type thing left to run today, and then I get to come home and read this baby!