Managing Expectations: Stalking Dreams & LHNB & Stalking Novel

stalking-dreams-web-copy First off, wow! I’m so happy with the response to Stalking Dreams! I am thrilled that so many people read the story and enjoyed the offering. I’m happy, especially, with the generosity of readers and the enthusiasm with which they greeted the story. I’m even happier that so many folks are looking forward to the novel set in the same universe and I absolutely can’t wait to get in the trenches to finish it. So, thank you, readers! You made this girl happy!

Now, regarding the novels that will be set in this universe. I wanted to take this opportunity set clear expectations because, as was evident with Stalking Dreams, when readers are expecting one thing and are delivered something else, there is an element of possible dissatisfaction. (Side note: I definitely learned a lot about readers’ expectations for this event, which will be good should I choose to participate next year.)

In the comments for Stalking Dreams, some people mentioned that they believed it to be the first few chapters of the novel that I couldn’t finish in time to submit to the event. In actuality, the first novel is set before Stalking Dreams and will cover the beginning of River & Shane’s relationship, the trauma of being stalked, and learning to trust someone again. It will also explore the mystery of River’s stalker’s identity and there will be an in-novel resolution to many of the initial problems.

The second book in this universe will, indeed, as speculated, cover the events of Reed’s wedding and will resolve the issue of River’s stalker’s identity once and for all. Stalking Dreams fits smack in the middle of these two novels and was intended to stand alone there. There’s no doubt that the presentation of these stories, in terms of order, is problematic, but, as I mentioned elsewhere, given my responsibilities (full-time day job, motherhood, wifeliness, friendships) in addition to my writing, there was simply no way to have the first novel completed by the LHNB deadline.

In addition, several people mentioned wanting to see Kelly Maybedog’s (yay, Kelly! so grateful for you, lady!) written prompt play out exactly as it was written. I cannot promise this. I do intend to employ the prompt to the best of my ability, but hopefully readers will be generous (as they were with Stalking Dreams) and give the muse a little leeway in terms of how the actual beginning of River & Shane’s relationship takes place.

All in all, I’m incredibly in love with this universe, and I’m hopeful that when the time comes, some of you readers will fall in love with it, too. Thank you again for your generosity, your time, and your confidence in me. May this year bring me much writing time. May I write like the wind. May the books pour forth without too much wrangling. And may the force be with me.

Thank you all! You’re the best!

90’s Coming of Age Novel? You’re It, Baby.

So, here’s the thing. I’m not a monogamous writer. I’ve always got between eight and twelve works going at any particular time. Eventually, a time comes when I choose one to focus on and make it happen for real, for better or worse. The others drift along during that time, and I come back to them when I get the current favorite in the can. Sometimes that focus shifts back and forth for awhile, but eventually I do focus on one book until it is finished.

One book has been the book of my heart but also the book “least-likely-to” for quite a long time. Almost ten years in fact. At first, it was because there was simply no place to even begin to imagine submitting it to for publication. It’s a m/m coming of age novel featuring a lot of graphic sex. When I first started writing it, I was told time and again, “This would be a great Young Adult book if you took out most of the sex.” I was told, “This isn’t really publishable because it’s not a typical romance formula and people don’t want that.” I was told, “This is too long, no one wants to read a book this long.” I’ve been told many things over the years about this book by many, many, many people. Some of those people had incredibly helpful comments and the book is so much better for their input. Some other people’s comments mainly just stymied the book’s development because they led me to believe the book would never have a place in the world.

I still sometimes think this book won’t ever have a place in the world.

This brings us to my situation currently. Every year for the last three years I’ve gone to NYC to sit on my friend’s sofa in Brooklyn to work on 90s Coming of Age Novel for a week. Every year for the last three years, I’ve thought, “This is it! The final push! I can do this thing!” And every year the edits needed on the first half of the first draft have been extensive enough to preclude me ever getting to the second half of the first draft. (Yes, I have a completed first draft, but it needs work.) I’m finally incredibly and immensely satisified with the the first half of the book and am ready to focus on the second half.

Cue the Goodreads Love Has No Boundaries Event. I chose a prompt about a young man who has a history of being stalked by a stranger. I’d intended to write a short story for the event, but, holy smokes, it took off like wildfire and before I knew it, I had half a novel written. A novel I knew I’d have no way of finishing before the event deadline. So, I went back and wrote a short story set in the universe of the novel. It doesn’t fit the prompt exactly and that disappointed some people, but I knew I couldn’t get the book done in time. I didn’t want to return the prompt unfulfilled just because I knew there was no way I could get the novel done, so I compromised the best that I could. I’m happy to say that the prompter was satisfied, I believe.

All in all, I was very happy with how that story was received and people expressed a great deal of interest in the novel based on the prompt. That thrills me! The idea that there are a few people out there who are eagerly awaiting River’s full story really gets my heart going and makes me feel a bit verklempt! In the wake of this, I looked at 90s Coming of Age Novel and I said to it, “Baby, maybe you’ve got to wait a little longer. I think I need to write this book instead. It’s got an audience, you see, and we all know that the biggest problem with you is that…you don’t.”

So, I resigned myself to the fact that it still wasn’t 90s Coming of Age Novel’s time. It was apparently Stalker Universe’s time, and I told myself that I was okay with that. It was the smart move. It was the wise choice. It made the most sense. Why keep readers waiting? This was obviously the right decision to make. It still seems like the right decision to make.

But here’s the thing.

I can’t do it. I was driving back to the office after my lunch break and I felt like my heart was going to break. 90s Coming of Age Novel, Peter, Adam, Leslie, Daniel, Minty, Renee, and Barry were all just there looking at me with this betrayal on their face. They’ve been so patient, you see. They’ve let me take a really long time with them. They’ve waited while I had a baby and wrote nothing for three years. They’ve waited while I wrote fanfiction and they’ve waited while I wrote fairy tales and they’ve waited while I wrote half a post-apocalyptic novel, and while I wrote half of six other books, and four short stories, and, damn it, now I wanted them to wait again.


They sat there in my head staring at me, but you promised, and yeah. I can’t do it to them. I can’t go to NYC and work on Stalking Universe when I’ve asked them to wait so many years. I promised them at the beginning of the year that this was their year. I promised them that 2013 was it and they wouldn’t have to wait anymore. No more being patient. No more waiting for just one more thing to come before them.

So, okay, 90s Coming of Age Novel. Okay, baby, this is it. Next week, it’s me, you, and NYC again. Don’t fail me. I’m counting on you to come through for me. If I’m making this choice, you’ve got to play your part, too.

Let’s do this thing.