HC thumbBack when Aron and I first started writing, we were incredibly hard-pressed to find readers. We’re not NYT best-sellers by any stretch of the imagination these days, but we manage to sell books every day without making sad puppy eyes at friends and family. But back in the sad eyes days, one of our first readers and supporters was Dan. He was a friend of a friend, someone we met during our WoW days. We only met him in person once – during which he bought a massive black and red pimp hat that will haunt my dreams for the rest of my life. But when we released our first book, Dan was one of the first people to buy and review it. He bought every single book we released after that. When some yahoo snarled at Whisperworld for having lesbian main character, Dan promptly countered with his own review calling out the bigot. As soon as he heard Aron and I didn’t own a Kindle, he sent us his and it was love at first read. Dan was an often cranky and acerbic man, but he was a good guy who always the time and desire to help a pair of struggling authors.

In December, Dan wasn’t feeling well. He had a cough that just kept getting worse and went to the doctor, grumping that it was probably going to be pneumonia and he really didn’t have time for that shit.

It wasn’t pneumonia.

It was leukemia.

Yeah, cancer. Fucking cancer. And it was bad. Dan and his oncologists fought valiantly for a week or so, and then it was over. On January 5, Dan died.

I have regrets. Last year – or maybe it was back in 2015, I don’t quite remember – I posted on my various outlets that there was going to be a substantial delay in the Hangman’s Cross because the beta reader response was pretty negative. The book was just too dark and the characters too difficult to read, so I needed to do a lot of edits and rewrites. When I posted this on Facebook, Dan poked his head into the thread to say that he looooved dark books and would be interested to read the current version. I told him I’d consider it, then moved on to work on the Lily Quinn series. My vague plan was to give Hangman’s Cross another read when I finished Lily Quinn, clean up some errors and then send it to Dan before I went to work on the new version.

I never got that chance. Lily Quinn took too long and I’ve still got several other smaller projects to work on before I dive back into Hangman’s Cross. And because of that, I never got to give that book to a friend who is now gone.

I’m not angry with myself for this or anything. I still think the book needs fixing and I don’t think my plan was a bad one. It just… didn’t happen and I’ll always regret that.

We miss you, Dan. You and your pimp hat. You were one of our first and best supporters. You were always funny, foul-mouthed and sneakily, surprisingly generous. The world needs a million more like you.

The plan for 2017

2016 was a long, tough year. We released ten books. TEN! The Lily Quinn publishing schedule was punishing, but extremely rewarding. In 12 months, we doubled our total titles! We’re never doing that again, but I’m glad we managed it. I began the series with five books/months of lead time, and still barely managed to finish the final book on time. YEAH! We did it!

I spent November and December of 2016 recovering from the LQ schedule and taking care of a few smaller projects. Now it’s the second week of 2017 and time to outline what we hope to accomplish this year.

Lily Quinn

The series is done, but that doesn’t mean we’re done with the universe – AKA the Quinniverse. One of the little projects I finished was the outline for an extra one-off story about Stefano. Our favorite werewolf hunter has his own happy ending to chase down, after all. Aron finished the preliminary manuscript in November and one of my first jobs in 2017 will be to do the rewrites on that book. Not sure when it will be published, though.

Another Storytelling guide

We’re writing another RPG guide! After Aron finished the first Storytelling guide, we had requests for more details, especially on the crisis system. So he wrote the companion guide. We’re still getting requests for more and more information, so Aron’s working on a third book. We’ve taken a short game idea from concept, through the various levels of outline and development. Now, Aron’s writing out the full session outline and notes.

Once that’s done, the plan is to run the game he’s outlined, then write up how it did or didn’t follow the notes and what he did to accommodate for the issues that arose in game. If all goes according to plan – HA! – Aron should be able to run the game later this year and finish the book by about Christmas.

This third Storytelling guide is going to be loooong. Probably. We don’t know exactly how long until we run the game and see how the after-action report goes. That part might be short or double the length of the manuscript. We have no idea!

Hangman’s Cross

FINALLY! After over a year of being ignored, I’ll be opening up the dusty-ass digital box that contains the Hangman’s Cross manuscript and begin digging around inside to make some repairs. It’s a long manuscript and I have no idea how much time it will take to update and fix it, then get new beta reader feedback. Hangman’s Cross may not come out this year, but I’m crossing my fingers for an early winter release. As always, we’ll keep you updated.

Spear of Fire

Have we talked about this yet? I don’t remember anymore. Here’s the short version: Aron and I are going to write another Reforged book! This one will take place after the events of Hammer of Time, largely in the kingdom of Arcadia. It will be the story of Baliend, all grown up, and Maeve and Logan’s son, Kael.

I doubt we’ll manage to manuscript the book this year, but I hope to at least develop the Spear of Fire outline during 2017. Wish me luck – this list is starting to look a bit daunting.

Delay on The Hangman’s Cross

HC thumbUnfortunately, I need to announce a substantial delay to our next Lindquist & Christensen title, The Hangman’s Cross. We’ve had several beta readers back out of reading, mostly citing the book as too dark.

At first, we just nodded and said fine. It wasn’t for everyone. But then time went by. Aron and I worked more on Lily Quinn and kept reading other books. And we both found ourselves exhausted by the sheer, overwhelming number of gritty, dark, “realistic” books. We didn’t have fun reading them. They were depressing and frustrating. We didn’t feel safe in the world of the story. That can be fun sometimes, but it feels like the fiction market is just flooded with grimdark.

Was The Hangman’s Cross the same thing? Yeah, I had to admit, it was. I don’t think I could read it if I bought it from the bookstore.

Oh, shit.

I stand by the story. I love it a lot, but I don’t think I could read the book. And when the author admits that, it’s bad news for the manuscript.

We’re not abandoning the book. Like I said, we love the story. But when we’re done with Lily Quinn, we’ll be going back to The Hangman’s Cross (and The Burning Noose) to revisit the storytelling with a big red pen. We want to wash off a few layers of grit and make the story a little more fun. The Hangman’s Cross might not be light when it’s done, but it’ll be a hell of a lot lighter than it is now.

We’re not sure how long the revisions will take, but we want to publish the best book we can. If that takes another year, it’s well worth the trade. We’ll post more information and an updated release schedule as soon as we have a handle on it.

Progress and concerns

Oops, sorry guys. I haven’t been updating much… or at all, really. Things have been busy and, honestly, depressing. Some shit has been going on. Not to me, but to people I care about. There’s nothing I can do about any of it and that’s exactly what’s driving me crazy. But I have to realize that my maddened desire to help is more for me than for them at this point… They’re all getting through this shit on their because they’re wonderful, strong people.

That’s another tangent entirely, though. When I really opened up this post to talk about is writing. Specifically, letting you all know where we are.

First, Lily Quinn. Book two, All’s Fae in Love and War is just finishing up beta reads and will soon be heading over to John for editing. Book three just went out to beta readers. We had three consecutive rounds of rewrites on chapter 5, so I’m nervous about how it came out. I’m praying hard to the gods of writers and sugar addicts!

The Hangman’s CrossHC thumb has… been having some issues, to be blunt. Most of the beta readers haven’t finished it. Those who have say they like it, but I’m worried. It may be too dark. It’s gritty and rough, which isn’t exactly what most of our audience expects. The Reforged Trilogy are still our best-selling books and, despite a little PTSD on the parts of Maeve and Logan, the whole series isn’t exactly heavy reading material.

The Hangman’s Cross is an important book to me. We’re going to finish this series and publish it, even if no one reads it. But I’d be lying if I said that was exactly the goal we hoped for. Most authors want people to read and enjoy their work.

Well, we’ll just have to see how it goes! Writing is the fun part. Everything that comes after is just a bonus.