Let’s pretend for a minute that I was a painter instead of an author, and that this painting of swirls and leaves was my first book.
This is the painting I went into the world with. This is the painting I found an art dealer with. This is the painting I debuted with. This is the painting everyone knew me for.
I love this painting. The picture is bad (sorry, there’s no natural light in Washington right now). But… I love this painting. I love the colors. I love the way it pops on my wall. I love the blues, and the purples, and the vibrant sunset in the background.
And I want to paint more sunsets.
My literary agent loves this painting too. She loves the touches of bright colors, the intricacy of the leaves, the mix and melange of colors in the swirls.
She wants more swirls.
The TIME AND SHADOWS series is like this painting. It’s a mix of thriller and science fiction. It’s considered quirky because there’s a Hispanic female protagonist who tries not to use a gun, time travel, dogs, and mentions of religion and cloning. It isn’t hard SF and it isn’t Crime Thriller either. It’s a blend of two of my favorite things.
When it came time to write the next book, I struggled to pin down what I wanted. I finally settled on science fiction, and in particular spaceships. I love spaceships. I love cheesy action movies. I love heist movies. I love books like THE STAINLESS STEEL RAT and OFF ROCK, and I wanted to write a fun adventure with spaceships, heists, and wild characters doing zany things. I wanted something fun. I wanted the sunsets.
My agent really loves thrillers. She loved Sam’s intellect, her willingness to stick to things, her curiosity. She wanted more thrillers.
And so, at the end of 2016, my agent and I decided we weren’t moving in the same direction any more.
This is normal. Literary agents have their own career arcs, their own goals, and their own likes and dislikes that change over the years. Authors change over the years. We move between genres, change tones, change focus, quit writing and start again. It is never wrong to grow, change, and set new goals. In fact, it’s really healthy.
So my agent and I parted ways, still friends, and still wishing the best for each other. I still cheer on my former agency siblings. They still cheer me on.
I spent 2017 writing something new, exploring deep space with my band of quixotic rogues, and at the end of 2017 I sent off a query for the first time in four years.
Where does this story end?
I don’t know yet.
The book is out with agents. Some have queries waiting for them. Some have pages to read.
THE DAY BEFORE spent 18 months on query. The first query went out in 2013, a request for pages from a pitch contest. I sent the last query (an R&R to my future agent) in 2014. Signed with my agent in 2014. Sold three books in 2014. Sometimes publishing can move really, really fast. Sometimes it moves very, very slow.
While this book is out I’m working on another one, because that’s how you have a publishing career. You don’t pin all your hopes and dreams on one book. You write a book. You write another book. You keep writing books. Some of them sell, some of them get abandoned. Some of them sell and fade to obscurity. Some of them come out of nowhere to hit the lists. Some of them earn out their advance – and the time you put into them – some don’t. The point is, you don’t know until you write the book and throw it out into the world.
So make like Nora Roberts and keep writing. 🙂