Hello friends and enemies. If you haven’t guessed by the title, Arena 3 is happening. For those of you who don’t want to read this entire post (or don’t have the time), here are the important details you need to know:

  • I’m writing and self-publishing a third Arena book. This is not a joke or a tease. It’s real and it’s happening. I know I repeatedly said that it wouldn’t happen, but for various reasons, it is now.
  • Yes, I’m dead serious. I’m writing it RIGHT NOW as you’re reading this. Well, maybe. I might be sleeping. Or eating. But I’m actively working on it.
  • I don’t have a release date yet as I’ve just started this project, but I’m aiming for June-Dec 2021. I’ll have a better estimation as time goes on, and I’ll be sure to update you all.
  • I know that’s at least a year from now, and I know you’ve had to wait for years already. But creating a book takes time. It needs to be written, edited, copy edited, proofread, designed, proofed again, and then released. It’s a process, and I don’t want to disappoint by falling short on quality.
  • This will be the final book in the series.
  • I will post updates on social media as I have them, so be sure to follow me either on Facebook or Twitter (or both).

What took you so long?

Many, many reasons. I won’t bore you with all of them. But here’s the short version. I was focused on landing a new agent and selling a new book series in the traditional market, which meant I didn’t have time to spend writing and self-publishing a third Arena book.

This year, that changed.

In all honesty, the pandemic was a big part of it. Like so many things, it has disrupted bookstores and the traditional market. That and several other reasons have made traditional publishing volatile enough that I’d rather wait a few years and see where the dust settles. So for now, I’m switching to self-publishing and will consider revisiting the traditional market in the future.

That means I’m now a hybrid author and, like Kali, I’m going to do whatever the hell I want.

The first thing I want to do is give back to all of you. Every one of you has supported my career in one way or another, whether it was buying my books, recommending them to friends, leaving reviews, following me on social media, or sending me messages that made me cry. So, the least I can do is finish off the series and give both you and Kali a satisfying ending.

What is Arena 3 About? (Some Non-Spoiler Spoilers)

So, here’s a little bit about the premise of the third book. I’m not going to say anything more than what would appear in the book blurb. However, if you want to know nothing going in, stop reading. And if you haven’t read the end of Gauntlet yet, this will contain spoilers for you. So, stop now.

I’m serious, GO AWAY.

WHY ARE YOU STILL HERE?

Arena 3 takes place about 6 months after the end of Gauntlet. Kali Ling has been banned from the VGL on cheating accusations and is participating in real-life underground fighting tournaments to pay the bills. Her reputation, at this point, is pretty much beyond repair. Rooke has stuck by her side, but the rest of the team has gone on to create new careers for themselves (which Kali adamantly insisted they do).

At the fighting tournaments, Kali is approached by an elusive billionaire with a crazy business proposal: get the team back together and join an independent VR tournament run by a group of wealthy elites. Kali’s wary at first (let’s face it: she hasn’t had the best luck with billionaires), but eventually agrees to join. To Kali’s surprise, the tournament is everything she’d ever hoped for. Without sponsors, there’s no concern about “image” or public appearances. It’s actually about the game – and it’s actually fun. Kali starts to believe she’s finally found her home.

But then, the VGL’s RAGE tournaments start up. During the opening match, the opposing teams refuse to fight, lay down their weapons, and spell out Kali’s name in the sand. The players believe Kali has been falsely accused by the VGL for exposing corruption within eSports, and they’re going on strike in her name. Soon, the movement spreads through the entire VGL.

Now Kali’s stuck between pursuing happiness with her team or leading the revolution she inadvertently started. Whatever she chooses, this time it’s really game over.

That’s pretty much the gist of it. I’ll have more information as time goes on. But because I’m doing this myself, I can involve all of you in the process so much more than before (like helping me choose the color of the cover and more).

There’s not much else to say at this point other than thank you. You’ve stuck by me while I floundered around for years trying to find my path. In a way, you are my Team Defiance. You’ve supported my career, picked me up when I’ve fallen, and kept pushing me forward.

As I promised, I will keep you all updated on this, but it will take some time. Speaking of, I have to get back to writing now. But I’m so looking forward to this journey with all of you, and I can’t wait to share Kali’s final battle.

Rock on, gamers.

About the Author Holly Jennings

Holly Jennings is the award-winning author of the Arena series from Penguin Random House. Holly has also written or edited for the Mary Sue, Writer's Digest and Chegg Education. She holds a Bachelor of Arts with a specialization in psychology. A nerd at heart, you can usually find her playing video games or watching Star Trek reruns.

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