Writing, Contracts, and the New Year

2017 has been a whirlwind year for me in the writing world. The blog updates have been a pendulum swing from posting every day to posting nothing for weeks. I’ve done a few appearances here and there – mostly radio interviews and small book-related events. I had such a great time at the 2017 Phoenix Comicon, where I got to hang out with fellow authors, many of them writing books, comics, and games that I play or read. While hanging out with the wonderful people at Bard’s Tower, I met someone who is making a game based on The War of the Worlds, and he was using, among others, mine and John’s War of the Worlds: Retaliation. I participated in some charity events, and helped raise money for getting books into kid’s hands. I even had an interesting encounter with Dick Van Dyke. I met my long-time writer hero, Harry Turtledove via Twitter, and we chat from time to time. Harry has even agreed to blurb War of the Worlds: Firestorm when it comes out in 2018. Severed Press picked up the distribution rights to Retaliation, and Firestorm back in March. I was nominated for Best Historical Fiction Novel at the eFestival of Words, and even got a vote for a Hugo award consideration. I didn’t win at eFestival, and if I’d gotten a Hugo nomination, you’d’ve known about it because the post here would’ve had exclamation points and all caps and stuff. I even got around to finally finishing my undergraduate degree in Human Behavior, and my certificate in Community Development and Sustainability. So, already, 2017 has been a great year for me.

I wrote Score of Silence about two-and-a-half years ago. The sequel, Lady by the Window, I finished up the first draft eighteen months ago. Score of Silence has had so many people in the writing community help in one way or another; I’ll have a three-page acknowledgements section. The failed Kindle Scout campaign was a bummer (but not really, since the acceptance rate is less than 5%), but I’ve never been shy to self-publish if I couldn’t license the rights to a manuscript. Many publishers passed on John and my War of the Worlds sequel before Severed Press picked it up. I’ve had a few rejections for Score of Silence, but I wanted to be persistent – especially since I couldn’t let down all the awesome people who helped make it happen. Well, I started talking to Amber Cove back in October, and am pleased to say that we’ve reached an accord for a two-book contract. Obviously, Score of Silence and Lady by the Window are those two books. With the contracts signed, and the advance cashed, I can let you all know about it. There’s going to me a minor rewrite of Score of Silence, and then after a proper edit and proofread, the book will be published – probably in the first quarter of 2018. Lady by the Window is still super rough, and it’ll need rewrites and revisions, and a date with a developmental editor. A release in early 2019 is totally doable. I have ideas for at least two more Tupper Jones novels, but that’s a bit down the road.

John and I are still plugging away at War of the Worlds: Firestorm. We both haven’t written anything in November. Me, because November is full of birthdays and other family stuff; and for John, because he was working on getting his latest non-fiction sports book out the door. We may have the first draft hammered out by the end of the year, but with Christmas and other holiday events, it’ll probably be the end of January before we type, “THE END.” After a revision or two (my chapters are weak compared to John’s), we’ll send it in to Severed Press. About three or four months after that, we could see it hit the shelves summer 2018. John and I have ideas for a third book, but with each of having individual commitments, and very busy schedules, I don’t think we’ll work on a project like that unless a publisher offers a substantial advance. You never know. Maybe after the first book is turned into a movie, there might be enough interest for a third book.

I was going to start shopping Moonrise, the sequel to Sixteen Sunsets, next year, trying for a fall 2018 release. Cindy Vaskova, who helped me smooth out Sixteen Sunsets, and even wrote a character that “stole the show,” is planning on returning to work with me like she did on Moonrise. You already know the third book will be called Starfall. Her input and writing talents were a boon to writing Moonrise, and I look forward to working with her again. She’s already percolating with ideas for Starfall. I expect to commission Joel Cotejar to do the cover art for Starfall, just as he has for the first two books. I received an email from a publisher that might be interested in acquiring the distribution rights to Moonrise. It also had a failed Kindle Scout campaign, but superheroes are such a saturated market right now. The Moonrise talks are still the preliminary stages. I wouldn’t even call it negotiations yet – more like, “We’re interested in it, let’s have a look.” If, and that’s a big “if,” they move forward, it could be a contract for all three books. Publishers like to acquire the rights to all books in a series. That’s why Angry Robot wouldn’t even look at Moonrise, since I self published Sixteen Sunsets. Don’t forget, Angry Robot has extended their open door period.

My young adult psychological thriller, Mental State, is “on deck” so to speak. Adan Ramie, who writes in the horror and LGBT genres, has been helping me whip Mental State into shape. It still needs some work, and there are other talented individuals involved with it. Most of you know that I’ve tried writing a young adult novel several times now. I still have the unfinished manuscripts for the mermaid story and the fantasy story, but they are just too raw to even consider any kind of timetable. Mental State, however, is nearing completion of a version I’d like to start shopping around. I’m still having problems with the ending, but after Adan had her way with it, all that’s really left is to flesh out a few chapters. I could start shopping it in 2018, and a 2019 release isn’t out of the question.

The collaborative steampunk fairytale sequel I’m writing with D. Paul Angel has stalled a bit. We clarified the direction a few months ago, and that required some rewrites. We’re both committed to the sequel, and I think that it’ll be better than the first novella, but we both have extensive commitments. Between writing life, and working life, both our plates are full. We still want to finish the trilogy, but other projects for both of us are taking priority. The cool thing is that Paul had a gallery showing of his photography, and I really hope that that takes off for him. I’d love it if he had no time to work with me since he’s jetting off to another gallery showing. The non-English editions of Brass Automaton are coming along nicely.

The sequel to Days Until Home is mostly dead. Unfortunately, it was a commercial flop. Which is a huge disappointment, since it was so much fun to write. The audiobook was cancelled, and so was the idea of writing novellas that would bridge the first book and the sequel. I may still write my novella, since I already have written a few things for it. Maybe I’ll continue the project solo. I’m not sure. I’ll need to talk to Greg Dragon and David Kristoph further to see if they’re cool with that. Greg has mentioned that he’d like to work with me on a historical fiction novel in the future. I suggested we collaborate on another Champion Standing novel, and he wasn’t completely against the idea, but an all-new story could be written as well. Maybe even some sort of shared world written by multiple authors. I tried that once already with the The Beginnings Project. I’d be interested in what Greg and I could come up with. There’s nothing firm – it’s not even a soft commitment – but I’d welcome working with Greg and/or David again in whatever projects are down the road.

Anyway, that’s what’s going on right now, and my plans for 2018. I hope you have a wonderful holiday, and wish you the best in the coming year!

About Mark Gardner

Mark Gardner lives in northern Arizona with his wife, three children and a pair of spoiled dogs. Mark holds a degrees in Computer Systems and Applications and Applied Human Behavior. View all posts by Mark Gardner

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