I Said I Wouldn’t…Then I Did #writingaseries

I’m kind of embarrassed to be writing this post. You may recall last fall when I was struggling to meet the deadline for book 3 of my Point Pleasant series, I swore up and down I would NEVER write a series again. No way, huh-uh, not gonna happen.

But you know where I’m headed, right?

The process unfolded like this:

I finished A Desolate Hour (Book 3 of Point Pleasant) and realized that for the first time in two years I didn’t have a deadline hanging over my head. That was liberating, but also kind of scary. I could just…write. No communication with my editor or publisher, just me in a void with my muse.

I dug out an old (really old) trunk novel that I felt had possibility and started tinkering with it. I rewrote the beginning, trashed it, rewrote it again, trashed it again, and started fresh.

spiral notepad and books on deskAbout that time my editor (Editor B) contacted me to say her boss (Editor A) wanted to see a new book proposal from me. Um, Editor A?!?!?  He ranks up there in the house, so I was notably blown away that he was requesting something from me! As expected, I danced around on clouds for an afternoon.

Editor A wanted a series—uh-oh—but agreed to take a look at my stand-alone novel. I polished up the first three chapters along with a synopsis, and shipped it off to Editor B who agreed to review it before sending it to her boss.

I don’t know if was from spending too much time hunched over a keyboard, but my lower back suddenly became a quagmire of pain. Back pain is something I’ve had for a while, and for the most part I know how to manage so that it’s not severe. Not this time. The pain was debilitating. So nasty it involved a trip to the doctor for medication.

About that time Editor B emailed to say she thought the (trunk) novel needed a stronger opening, and suggested a few ideas for improvement. Another rewrite? I was starting to think the trunk novel wasn’t the gem I hoped it to be. All the euphoria I felt when Kensington asked for a proposal evaporated.

woman at laptop covering her face

On the plus side, my back pain also disappeared, but the medication left me wired (I quickly ditched it). For a single night, unable to sleep, I plotted an entire novel from start to finish in my head. When morning rolled around, I slunk into my den and poured out four pages of notes, which I promptly emailed to Editor B.

She liked the sound of the book—a mystery incorporating two time periods, one in the present, the other in the late 1800s. She suggested I draft a synopsis from my notes and submit it with the first three chapters so that she could share it with her boss. I added the task to my to-do list.

Before I had a chance to start the book (unknown to me) Editor A emailed my editor to ask if she’d received a proposal from me. All she had were my rough notes, but she sent them to Editor A—only telling me after Editor A came back saying he loved them. He agreed to give me a contract based on my notes. No standard submission process, no two to three month waiting period. Can we say, gobsmacked?!?!

If there is any downside, it’s that Kensington wanted another series. After some back and forth exchanges, we finally arrived at a time frame I can work with and still maintain my sanity. I’m happy to announce book number one of the Hode’s Hill series—The Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill—will release next summer. I just finished all the preliminary paperwork (cover art, production forms, etc.) A mystery suspense novel, Blue Lady will also contain a few supernatural twists, some historical references and a bit of urban legend. Would you expect anything less? 🙂

Book cover for A Desolate Hour by Mae Clair shows a small town overlooking a river at night, full moon overhead, cover in wash of green red and black with white letteringSo here I am, writing a series again. I guess it goes to show you should never say never.

And while I work on Blue Lady, I’m looking forward to the final novel in my Mothman series. If you haven’t grabbed it already, A Desolate Hour is available for pre-order and will release on July 18th.

Looks like I’m in this game for the long haul!



66 thoughts on “I Said I Wouldn’t…Then I Did #writingaseries

  1. Wowowowow! I’m so over-awed by so much of this post! That you’ve finished your 3 part series (boom) that you’ve got editors hanging on your every words (boom) and that you pluck out a story from your head and sell it based on notes! You, my dear, are amazing.
    *creeps quietly back to corner to bash keyboard mindlessly*

    Liked by 3 people

    • 1:30 in the morning? Oh my. That’s when I was composing Blue Lady in my head. Hope you got some rest afterward.

      And many thanks on both PP3 and the new series. I’ll be bouncing ideas off a certain critique partner, LOL.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your new series sounds exciting! I am happy to hear about the Blue Lady story and look forward to it.

    I have learned when I say never again…it is guarantee there will be an again:) My shoulder tensed up in support for your lower back. Lower back pain is miserable!

    I love dipping into old ideas, but then never end up as they start.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for those wonderful comments and I hereby place a pox on all shoulder and back pain. 🙂 Writers don’t have time for such annoying distractions, LOL.

      Old ideas are like a treasure chest. I’ve reused a few of mine with success, but I think the novel I had intended to write has to go back to the foundation stage. At least it will be there waiting for me if I decide to tackle it after Hode’s Hill!


    • Thanks, Joan excited about Blue Lady. I’ve got some surprises tucked in there that I hope readers will enjoy.

      And I’m a wee bit nervous about A Desolate Hour. I hate to say goodbye to Point Pleasant, but hope my readers will like how everything wraps at the finish!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think I know how you feel. I stress over deadlines, and I’m the one who sets them. I deal with deadlines at work, and writing is supposed to be a kind of escape for me. Still, it is pretty exciting to know they trust you that much.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I was blown away by that trust. A 3-book deal off the notes for a single book. It’s scary too, but I have a hard time saying “no” to a challenge 🙂

      Deadlines are a double-edged sword. They keep us motivated but also pile on the stress. Fingers crossed we both have more of the former and less of the latter.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am the same way with challenges. I’m sure you will do a great job too. I just had a conversation with my boss about taking a decompression vacation. Not one where I have to make flights or have tickets for events. One where I can smell the pines and maybe catch a fish.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I have mixed emotions. On one hand, I’m sitting here in awe that you plotted a whole novel in the wee hours of the morning. On the other – I’m crazy excited about the new series, but I’m also sorry for your back pain – that’s something my dad has dealt with for years. Hope you get some relief. And huge congrats!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Teri! The back pain is all better now. I know it will flare up again down the road (it’s an ongoing thing with age) but for the most part I’m able to deal with it. If it happens again, I suppose I could plot another book in my head, LOL. I’m not a plotter, but with 8 hours of tossing and turning plus meds that kept my mind active there was little else to do.

      I’m sorry that your dad deals with back pain too. It seems so many people suffer from the same.

      Stupid aging!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Way to go, Mae!! I’m so excited for you. And the good thing about a series is, you don’t have to develop all new characters for each book. Maybe one or two, but your main characters usually follow you right through, so they become more and more real as you get to know them. This is going to be way cool! And I’ll be preordering A Desolate Hour shortly! Gotta find out how it all ends. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Marcia! I appreciate the pre-order on ADH and you’re absolutely right about returning characters. And the setting. It’s great not to have to recreate everything from scratch as the books continue!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yep, you get to build on what you’ve already done, and dig a bit deeper into each character’s psyche. Readers know about the overall setting, so you can polish it up with little details that haven’t been shared before. While part of me would like to write some standalone books, I really enjoy how easy it is to step back into an already created world and visit with characters who are familiar. I also like that folks who are enjoying the series are eagerly awaiting the next book. Built in readers. Yay! Good luck with it all. I know you can do it! (And I did pre-order yesterday, so roll on July!) 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Whoop! Whoop! *happy Snoopy dance* OMG, Mae! If I lived closer, this would be a take-you-out-for-a-congratulatory-meal/drink/wild three hours. Because, of course, you’ve got to start working on a new series (hee-hee!) I’m soooo thrilled for you!

    Um, okay, I’ve got to get back to my synopsis edits. 😀 One last fist-bump 🤜 🤛 with fireworks 🎇 🎇

    Liked by 2 people

    • Heeehee. Consider that meal/drink and wild time in cyber space. I can feel the celebration excitement all the way across the country. Thank you!!

      I’m sending you well-wishes on the synopsis edit. Fingers crossed I’m going to be doing the happy Snoopy dance in your honor very soon! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m so proud of you, dear Mae!!!! Like in To0m and Jerry my eyes are rolling and it’s a sign I can hardly wait, if life allows me, to read this new one! Speedy writing!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is SUCH a great post, Mae. You just depicted the life of a writer in a single post. 🙂 Congratulations on the new contract and also on your new status at Kensington! They know a talented writer when they find one. Can’t wait for this new series as I’m sure it will be awesome. Hugs, and I”m doing the happy dance with you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jan, your comment had me smiling from ear to ear. Thank you so much for sharing in my joy. You are such a treasure. and I thank you so much for your support. I am so glad we “met” through RRBC!


  9. Holy moly and woo hoo! What a great turn of events! Editor A sounds like someone who goes with her gut– good deal! I’m so glad you worked out a timeframe that will allow you to maintain your sanity. Good going, Mae.The story sounds intriguing.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: Writing Links 5/29/17 – Where Genres Collide

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