I'm not dead yet, but this isn't living...
The strange and frustrating tale of how I became a published author.
In 2013, after almost a year of querying and rejections, my very first novel was picked up by Necro Publications' dark sci-fi imprint, Bedlam Press.
It was a surreal moment. I had spent the better part of ten years working on this book. I scribbled in notebooks before shifts at my crappy retail job. I picked away at it between papers and exams through university. Eventually - after some prodding from my husband - I even quit my job and took a year off to write full-time.
I was desperate to finish it, to be able to say I had written a book. At least then I could say I had tried to live my dream.
I never anticipated that the hardest part of the journey was yet to come.
My first professional developmental edit was a devastating thing. I cut more than 50K words from my original story. I cried. I felt like a failure.
As I deleted entire passages and rewrote entire chapters, all I could think about were the wasted hours and days represented by the unusable words.
But it paid off.
After almost a full year of rejections, and the seemingly impossible task of rewriting my book, someone wanted my book.
In 2014, just after the birth of my firstborns (twins), I brought a book-baby into the world.
As is the way of flesh-and-blood children, though, they quickly took over and my dreams of being an author were squashed just as surely as if my novel had remained at the bottom of the slush pile.
Between the lack of sleep and the constant demands of life as a new parent, my writing was almost completely sidelined.
I sold some books. Made some money. The Timekeepers' War was well-received by readers, and I was able to generate a little buzz about my series. But after so many years of waiting for this moment, it all felt a little anticlimactic.
And without the time or energy to write the second book in my planned trilogy, my debut novel fizzled and faded into obscurity.
I could have quit.
Sometimes I wanted to.
But the itch of this story still picked away at my brain when I wasn't thinking about anything else.
I spent my children's infant years with my head half-submerged in this world I had created.
I didn't have time to write another novel, but I still had time to write. I practiced short stories, experimenting with flash fiction and novellas. I read books on the craft of story-telling. I kept blogging in fits and starts. I joined writing communities online.
I started planning my next book.
My dream wasn't dead yet. It wasn't fully alive, either. It was an ember I had to keep blowing on to keep the light burning.
For years, that's all I managed to do. I managed to keep it burning, just a little bit.
A funny thing happened...
While I was practicing my craft in stolen moments of time, my kids (three of them now) continued to grow. As they gained some independence, my stolen moments seemed to grow with them.
The year before my twins started kindergarten I decided to put all of my bits and pieces together and attempt to draft the sequel to The Timekeepers' War during NaNoWriMo.
My mother-in-law was visiting that month, and I made it my goal to write at least 1667 words every day that she was here, just to see if I could do it.
I could. And I did.
At the end of November, I had a rough but complete first draft of the novel that had been teasing me for years.
It took me another two years to rewrite and revise it to the point that it was ready to submit to my publisher. When it was ready, they were ready. It was scheduled for release in March 2021.
Life had other plans, however.
My publisher unexpectedly passed away in February 2021, only a few weeks before my book was supposed to come out. As I live in a different country and only communicated with them via email, it took me months afterward to find out what happened. At the time all I knew was... the launch didn't happen.
With a global pandemic on the rise and many businesses scrambling to make ends meet, the death of the owner and editor-in-chief marked the end of the line for Necro Publications and its subsidiary imprints.
The rights to my books were tied up with the estate, and it took months to get them back in my name.
Meanwhile, I was in the midst of launching a brand new, fully self-published cyber-noir sci-fi series, Bubbles in Space.
With my kids in school full-time, I was able to put what I had learned about writing to the test. I wrote, edited, and published five novels and three novellas in 2021 - half a million words in one year - which is something I had never dreamed would be possible.
When I received the rights to The Timekeepers' War novels, I knew what I had to do.
I've made a lot of mistakes.
Publishing is tough. Self-publishing is even tougher.
No one ever tells you that the hardest part of being an indie author is never the writing. If they do tell you that, you ignore them because it's impossible to understand until you actually try.
I got a lot of things wrong when I wrote my first blurb, and helped design my first cover. I made a lot of mistakes with my first book. I never really succeeded in finding the right audience for that series.
But now I have a second chance and I'm going to try to get it right this time.
I've decided to completely rebrand the series. New titles, new covers, new blurbs. Same story, of course, though part of me really wants to go back and spruce up my prose I don't think that would really be noticed by anyone but me.
And I have other books to write.
With everything I've learned in the last eight years, I hope I will be able to give this series the launch it deserves. All three books will be coming out this year, and I am so excited to finally be able to share the completed trilogy with the world!
It's weird. It's dark. It deals with a lot of the anxiety and the sense of being unmoored that I was going through when I wrote it. But of everything I've ever written before and since, this series is me.
So here it is. I give you Undercity: Rebellion - Timekeepers' War Book One.
It launches tomorrow, April 11, 2022, but you can pre-order it today!
I’m not dead yet, but this isn’t living…
They call me the Ghost. I wander the surface of this nameless city, unseen, searching for the sister I lost many years ago. It is a forsaken place, its battle-scarred surface left to burn under a relentless sun. I should have given up. But when I uncover a disturbing connection between Lyca’s disappearance and the ancient wars that destroyed our city, I refuse to let it go. The city is restless. Long-forgotten wounds are beginning to itch. People whisper about rebellion, rising up to take back what was stolen from us. I only want what was stolen from me. I would do anything to find my sister, even if it means starting a war. But some secrets were meant to stay hidden, and what I have uncovered will change the city and its people forever.
I’m not dead yet, but I will be soon…
About the Series:
In a world scorched by natural disaster, and a city destroyed by centuries of war, hope is a word most people have forgotten. Mutant soldiers enforce the rule of the few, monsters lurk in the tunnels below ground, and an enigmatic group called the Timekeepers play a deadly game with the lives of the survivors... When one woman stands up to fight, she finds an army behind her. And when she falls, she'll take an empire down. For fans of Leigh Bardugo's Six of Crows, Scott Lynch's Lies of Locke Lamora, and Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake. This dystopian science-fantasy series will keep you guessing with secrets, simmering tension, and high-stakes action.