“Hamilton”, and Eliza, may have been my happiest discovery of 2015. The songs have given me a thousand story images and endless lines to quote. In a year that was a disaster on all levels, I’m clinging to all the positives I can find. I’ve never been a fan of musicals, but Lin-Manuel Miranda’s words and music have made me a big fan of this one.
Friends know what went on last year, but this is the first time I’ve written about any of this publicly. I thought long and hard about putting any of this out into the world, especially the professional disasters, but I’m really sick of tiptoeing around the truth. I’m too damn honest for my own good, but that’s nothing new.
As far as personal disasters, I’m still everyone’s bad example. Don’t be me, kids.
2015 brought the third Gabe and Delia book, Against A Brightening Sky, into the world. I’m not the only one who thinks it is the best of the trio, but how good a book is has little to do with how it fares in the world. I still have hopes for this book I love most of all. That might be silly, but there you have it.
A month or so before the pub date for Sky arrived, Tor informed me of some decisions they’d already made. They were delaying publication of the tradepaper of the second book, A Barricade In Hell, for two full years. Not long after that, I got another email telling me “the time had come” to pull all the hardcover stock of books one and two and sell them to a remainder house. While ebooks of Barricade would still be available, there wouldn’t be any new print copies available.
That happened about a month or so after Sky’s release. From the limited information I had, what looked like rising, good sales for all three books stopped. As in, they all stopped selling completely. With the middle book of the trilogy unavailable that was exactly what I expected to happen. My expectations were met with interest.
Since I got serious about writing I’ve said that failure wasn’t an option. For the last two months I’ve spent a hell of a lot of time thinking about what exactly constitutes failure. Given the emails I’ve gotten, and the lines included in reader reviews, asking me to please write more Gabe and Delia books and keep the series going, I have a hard time thinking of these books as a failure.
And sometimes, failure has help. See previous blog posts about invisible women writers.
One thread that has run through a lot of reviews I’ve seen is that Against A Brightening Sky didn’t feel like the end of the series, or tie up the characters in tidy little packages. There’s a reason for that. When I wrote Sky I didn’t know it was the last book. I have two more books and a Dora novella plotted out, but for now all I plan to write are the novella.
Isadora Bobet in a very noir 1940s Los Angeles helping an old friend solve a mysterious disappearance, and a brujo searching for his granddaughter, is too good to ignore. This one treads dangerously close to full blown horror. I think I’m okay with that.
The bottom line is that the Delia series didn’t make as much money as Tor wanted to make. They’re moving on and so am I.
Moving on was the theme of 2015.
For those who don’t know, I booted the roommate out of my life and he moved out last April. More than six years after meeting him, and four years into the relationship and living together, he told me he’d only been biding his time to find a connection in town. As soon as found someone to buy from he went back to drinking and doing drugs 24/7.
His favorite place to buy was our living room. I wasn’t even remotely okay with any of that. His response was to make my life hell and do all he could to keep me from writing.
You know you’re living with a true addict when he starts stashing dope in the freezer and scamming his doctor for Vicodin. Did you know you can crush and snort Vicodin to get high faster? Neither did I. I also didn’t know you could take five or six at a time and not OD.
So that was fun. Moving to Texas was my idiot decision of the decade, but pathological liars are really damn good at what they do, which is lie and convince you they mean every word. The scariest part was researching sociopaths for my books and ticking off all the personality traits of the man sitting in the living room.
But I survived. I moved away from the place we’d shared for five years in the fall. He doesn’t know where I am and I’m determined to keep it that way. He’s blocked from all my social media, my email; everything.
I have friends from work that live nearby now, and actually get to spend time with them. I have no money, but I have peace. I’ll take it.
2016 has nowhere to go but up. New books, new stories–a life that includes more fun and less stress.
It might even include more blogging. We’ll see.