This has been an interesting month for me. I told myself in November that I could spend the rest of the year working on anything I wanted that wasn't Crescendo: Book II of Song of the Fallen. The idea was to spend some time and creative energy moving away from the series that swallowed most of my year (in the best possible way though, I assure you. Well . . . okay, maybe the second-best possible way) and focusing on projects that had fallen to the wayside. It's easy to let things slide when you always have an excuse ("I'm working on the novel!"), so I decided to bank that excuse, and bank the novel, and see where it would take me.
(Worry not, Counterpoint fans; it will still be out this fall.)
The first thing I did was revisit an old story sitting in a drawer (and by "drawer" I mean 2003 Dell laptop missing both the "m" and the comma key), a short little novel about modern-day slavery. I remembered, suddenly, my fondness for that piece when I'd written it, all the things I'd hoped to say with it, and--let's face it--all the dark kinks I'd written it to indulge. I thought, Hey, why not, I've got time now. I pulled it out, polished it up, and sold it in a week to the first house I subbed it to. That story of course is Anchored: Belonging Book One, releasing January 17 with Noble Romance Publishing. (**Insert obligatory plug for awesome, prize-filled Release Party Blog Tour here**)
With this good fortune behind me, I pulled a second old novel from the metaphoric drawer. Not even a romance, this one, but rather a long and twisty (and dark; this is me we're talking about, after all) psychological thriller called White Lies, about a reporter who goes missing for three months in Afghanistan with little memory of what happened or why. I spent a good two weeks polishing White Lies. Another week writing the perfect (I hope!) query and synopses of various lengths (everyone wants something different for some reason), and another week researching and submitting to agents. Results so far? About 15 rejections, but also six requests for partial or full manuscripts. No telling if any of those will lead to representation and, ultimately, a sale, but I'd been putting this off for a good couple years and I'm thrilled just to have the thing shined up and shoved out the door.
Suddenly it's mid-December, and I realize that, despite having had a very productive month and a half or so, I hadn't actually written anything. I mean nothing, nada, unless you count synopses and query letters (which are less like writing and more like holding a cobra as it bites you repeatedly on the eyeball). Six weeks is a long time for a writer to go without words. I missed it. I felt like I'd been lazy. I looked around at all the other amazing authors under the M/M umbrella, putting out four or five stories a year, and thought, That will never be me.
My start date for cracking down on Crescendo was closing in fast. I knew once that happened, I wouldn't be able to focus on anything else until it was done. I wanted to do something, but I only had two weeks, and at this point I was also neck deep in planning the blog tour for Anchored. I had an idea for a shifter story I wanted to write, and bounced it off the amazing Kari Gregg, author of Spoils of War and Lovely Wicked (and coming soon from Loose Id, What Rough Beast). We decided we'd both write one, and try to sell it as an anthology. I spoke with my editor at Guiltless Pleasure Publishing about it, and she said if we found a third, she'd buy it on proposal. Things were starting to get exciting now, but Kari was booked until March, and I knew I couldn't write my own 20K story in 10 days. (**Insert foreshadowing here**) Plus, we still needed a third.
Along comes Aleksandr Voinov, brilliant author of too many stories to list. I'm a huge fan of Aleks, and we'd been chatting on and off for a couple months now. So, hesitantly, nearly certain he'd say no, I invited him to submit to the shifter anthology.
Aleks said yes. I may or may not have squeed a little; I was doing an anthology with Kari Gregg and Aleks Voinov! There was a lot of this going on for the next few days --> :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D
But, the anthology is slated for a winter 2011 release (quite appropriate for three novellas set in the wilds of Alaska), so in the end this was just more planning and no writing, like everything else I'd done the last couple months.
Enter Aleks Voinov again. He'd just read Anchored (he's one of the host blogs for the upcoming blog tour). He wanted to know if I'd ever considered co-writing. (If you click on Aleks's story links, you'll see he's a big fan of co-writing.) Indeed I had. In fact, White Lies was co-written with a dear friend I met in the bowels of the LJ fanfic communities. We started talking ideas.
I told him about this sweet little story I'd been thinking of writing for a Valentine's Day anthology: Paramedic keeps picking up the same patient (we call them "frequent fliers") with minor injuries. Patient is a hottie, natch, and keeps claiming he's running into doors/falling down stairs/etc. Paramedic comes to believe the hottie has an abusive boyfriend, and one day gets maybe a little tipsy and shows up on hottie's doorstep, ready to confront said abusive boyfriend. But whoops! Hottie lives alone and doesn't even have a boyfriend! Still, hottie thinks it's kinda sweet what sexy medic was willing to do for him. Sexy medic slinks away, embarrassed. And then, onoes!, sexy medic picks up hottie again. Hottie finally explains what's been happening (it's a good reason, I promise, but I can't share it for reasons soon to be explained). Sexy medic thinks hottie's kinda crazy and maybe has a deathwish, but awww, he's all alone in the hospital on Valentine's Day, and nobody's come to visit him the whole three days he's been there, and he feels bad. Enter sexy medic with flowers and takeout, and a sweet sensual HEA.
So, Aleks being Aleks and me being me (and us having conversations like "Let's shoot him; that's always fun!" and "My goodness, you didn't waste any time getting to all that raping, did you?"), we somehow turned my sweet little Valentine's Day short story into a dark, gritty cyberpunk corporate espionage tech-thriller/love story. And the short story? Has become a novella. The muse was on fire. We banged out 14,000 words together in two days. I figure we're a little over halfway done, and that we'll be wrapping this bad boy up by New Year's . . . just in time for me to get back to work on Crescendo when I said I would.
So, it turns out you can write an entire novella in a week. Sometimes you just need a little help from your friends.
Welcome to my little corner of the gay erotic romance universe . . . well, half of it, anyway. (You can find the other half at RachelHaimowitz.com.) This is the place to come for sneak previews of new projects, release information, and the occasional M/M book review. I'll also share thoughts on the industry on occasion, and I hope you'll come share yours in return.