Arena 3: A Message to My Readers

*This post was originally published on July 14, 2017.

So, I’ve been off the grid for a few weeks and I feel like I should explain what’s going on with me, my writing, and the Arena series.

Okay, painful part first.

I hate to have to tell you this, but my publisher has decided to discontinue the Arena series. Additionally, a new series I was developing was also rejected and I’m now without a publisher. I know it might be disappointing for some of you to hear, but please don’t blame the publisher for their decision.

I’m forever thankful to Penguin/Ace for giving me the chance in the first place. My editor was fantastic and I’ll miss working with her. The decision to discontinue the series has mostly to do with logistics. There just simply isn’t enough buzz around the books and they have to move on to new things.

I found out about two months ago, but I wasn’t sure how to break it to all of you. I considered explaining things on the stream, but I worried I’d get too emotional or overwhelmed. If you make it all the way through this post, you’ll see there’s a lot to tell you and I didn’t think doing it live was the best way.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot I can do about the publisher’s decision. Had I thought this would be the end, I would have given Gauntlet a stronger, more final ending. I don’t feel right about leaving the series as is and I do have a concept for a potential third Arena novel. Under the guidance of my agent, I’m exploring what options I have at this point. Regrettably, I can’t really go further into that right now.

While completing the Arena series is still something I’m looking into, it’s best for my writing career if I stick it on the back-burner for now. I have to focus my time into developing new books. I need to keep writing and moving forward, and signing with a different publisher on a new series is my best option.

So, that’s what I’ve been doing over these past several weeks. Or at least, what I’ve been trying to do. After discussions with my agent, other authors, and friends, I started to work on creating a few different books in hopes that one of them would snag a new publisher.

This is when things went really, really downhill for me. I tried working on new books, but my passion for writing was gone. I had no enthusiasm to write anything at all. I very nearly quit.

I’m talking, hardcore quit.

Don’t get me wrong. I “quit” writing all the time just to come back to it later the same day, or the next. But this was different. I wasn’t coming back to it later in the day. Or the next.

Or the next.

Whenever I forced myself to work on a book, I miserably etched out a few hundred words to just walk away again for several more days.

That’s when I realized something was very wrong.

And I knew I had to figure out what.

To do that, I needed time. Time away from everything. I went dark on social media and deleted all the apps off my phone (except my email). I put the stream on hiatus. I didn’t try to write at all, other than what I had to do for my freelance work.

After a few weeks, I came to a conclusion. Maybe it’s not the right one. I’m still not sure. But I feel like I’m finally moving forward.

I realized that, while disappointed by my publisher’s decision, part of me was also relieved—because I never had to write another book again. There was no contract stating I had to complete a manuscript by XX date.

You see, at some point writing was therapeutic for me. It wasn’t always fun, but it was never unbearable. Writing was an outlet for my creativity, emotions, and passions. But I had slowly started losing sight of that once I decided I wanted to become a Traditional Published Author™.

As much as I love Kali and the gang (and really, really love video games), I wrote Arena because I thought it would sell to publishers. And it did. I wrote it to accomplish a goal, and while there’s nothing wrong with that, I wasn’t doing it enough for myself. All I wanted was to see my name on a book at Barnes & Noble.

I didn’t care if I was happy.

That led to another realization: If I was ever going to write another book again, then that had to change. In fact, it already has.

I’m writing a new book. For me.

Well, it’s kind of new. It’s one I’ve had in my head for years and have been slowly jotting down whenever I had a break from other novels. Think about that for a second. It was the book I was excited to write whenever I didn’t have to be working on anything else. Maybe it’s pretty obvious to you, but it took getting dumped by my publisher and nearly throwing a six year dream down the toilet for me to realize this is what I should have been writing all along.

It’s completely different than Arena, or anything else I’ve written (that’s probably not entirely shocking, if you’ve been paying attention). Don’t worry. It’s still something that can be categorized under the Science Fiction & Fantasy section at your local bookstore – I am still a nerd, after all.

Who knows if it will sell or not. The point is: I LOVE IT and that’s what I need right now.

Please don’t take this the wrong way. I still enjoyed my experience with Arena. Getting published was still a dream and it opened the door to some amazing experiences. Authors like Ilona Andrews and Chloe Neil read the book and loved it (I still have trouble believing that.) I went to ComicCons in various cities where people ran up to me and shouted: “Favorite classic video game. Go.”

Most of all, I got to meet all of you.

Whether it’s been through social media, the stream, or in person, having all of you in my life has made me happier. You make me smile. And you make me work harder, because I want to write awesome books for each and every one of you.

But to make that happen, I have to be a little selfish right now.

I hope you understand.

I’ll probably keep the stream on hiatus for now, but I will slowly return to social media. It will be limited, though.

I’m still struggling. I probably will be for a while. That’s not a bad thing, however. Difficulties define character, and behind my Hufflepuff exterior is a hard-working, determined, five-foot-one monster tank who’s forever creating new goals or reaching for new dreams.

I finally have one now.

I won’t talk too much about the new book at this point, but I’ll definitely keep you up to date as things progress. The concept? Think L.A. Confidential meets high fantasy. It’s third person, multiple POVs with several characters and lots of world-building. My favorite part: it’s so densely noir that the fog and neon lights practically waft off the page.

I do owe a special thank you to my agent who has been extra supportive during this time, and as always, full of the right advice for my writing and my career. Also, to everyone who has enjoyed my books, I appreciate your patience with me, and all your support so far. You are the reason I keep going.

Now, if you’ll excuse me – I have to get back to writing.

*Originally posted on my old blog on July 14, 2017.

2 responses

    • Thanks for asking, Chase!

      Right now, the answer is “maybe.” It depends on a lot of things and so much can change. For example, if I write a new series and it becomes popular, it might revitalize Arena sales, allowing me to write a third book. However, if a new series became super popular, I might not have time.

      Also, if Arena got picked up by a production company for movie or television, this could also help lead to a third book.

      None of this is happening yet, and may never happen. Unfortunately, there are just too many factors right now to know if I’d return to it or not. I’d really like to return (don’t want to leave you guys hanging with that Gauntlet finale!) — but it all depends on what happens over the next few years, most of which is out of my hands.

      Like

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