Last week, you got the behind-the-scenes look at how a lot of work can go into books and how a publisher can change their minds without telling you. We also got a look at how I’ve been making some rookie flub-up’s and probably need to go back and listen to my own podcast on writing and what not to do. This week, Part II of “The Tough Choices” goes into the characters people know me for and the questions people have been asking me since 2005…
The Billibub Baddings Mysteries
“So, are you ever going to podcast Pitcher’s Pendant?”
Two of the best things a writer can ever hear about their work is:
- I read it again, and it gets better every time.
- Where’s the next book?
While my podcasting and Twitter books are the bigger financial successes, it is my print and podcast novels that people ask me about the most. In particular, when is the next one coming? I suppose that would make the novels from Dragon Moon Press artistic successes.
The Case of the Singing Sword, both in print and in podcast, stands out as my most acclaimed work, winning an Honorable Mention from ForeWord Magazine for Best Fiction of 2005 and Best Audio Drama (Long Form) from the 2008 Parsec Awards. As much hard work as the podcast was, I had a blast doing it. The podcast also made an impression on me as I heard many of the voices from Singing Sword while writing Pitcher’s Pendant. In my head, I had the novel cast by its completion and was seriously considering a podcast of it either late 2009 or early 2010.
Life, and my professional relationship with Dragon Moon Press, had other plans; and I was finding myself at odds with both.
So it went in the Spring of 2010 that Dragon Moon and I, after eight years of epic adventure, supernatural sleuthing, and columns on writing and being a writer, parted company. We agreed that for anthologies and Complete Guide to Writing installments, I would contribute when time allowed. It was time I moved forward in my career, something that I promised myself I would do during my live Survival Guide at Balticon in 2009.
This means that in April of this year, the Billibub Baddings Mysteries will no longer be available from Dragon Moon. The rights will revert back to me and, once that happens, I will work with my agent to find them a home. Once I do find a home for my wise-cracking dwarf, I will gladly forge ahead with him, Mick, Alphonse, Gertie, and the rest of the colorful characters residing in my alternative Gangland Chicago. I will probably not podcast Pitcher’s Pendant until I have a home and a bankable future for the series.
This doesn’t mean I’ll be pulling down the podcast. It will still be available on Podiobooks.com, and there it will stay unless someone makes an offer;but for now, Billi’s leaving the axe on the wall and Beatrice locked away in his top desk drawer.
The Morevi Saga
If people haven’t asked me about Billi, they have asked about the fate of Rafe, Askana, and those loyal to House Moldarin and the Defiant.
Where do I begin?
Much like with Billi, MOREVI: Remastered was a joy. I was exhausted when I was done, but quite pleased with the end result. It was an experiment, and some chapters worked better than others In the end I was very happy with the voice talent and the production quality.
But what of the series?
Legacy of Morevi, for those of you who have read it, know it ended on a killer cliffhanger. I was more than ready, on announcing MOREVI: Remastered, to return to the lands of Naruihm and podcast Legacy while working on the third title, Exodus from Morevi. Again, as with the Twitter books, I announced the next book in the series, a podcast anthology, and plans for the Legacy podcast. All of these grand plans hit the sea floor on realizing that the year was not going the way I had planned.
Poor planning, sadly, isn’t the reason why Rafe, Askana, and cast are facing futures unknown. The main reason is Morevi’s original co-author: Lisa Lee.
I have remained tight-lipped about Lisa for years, but here is the story few have heard. When we wrote Morevi together, it was incredible fun. Our story captured the attention of media. We appeared together on The Dragon Page in 2004, marking the only time Lisa and I were both present for an audio interview. We were having a great time. For the most part.
When she announced (after I had asked her not to…) we were working on Morevi’s sequel, we agreed this was our next step as a writing team. It was time to get cracking on a sequel. Lisa would start (as I had written the opening chapter last time), and this would begin new directions for our characters. It was all very exciting…
…until within two months, all communication abruptly stopped.
I never found out why Lisa shut me out, and still have no definitive answer; but I did find myself alone at the writers’ desk with a Prologue and an opening to Chapter One. I also had a deadline and a delivery date set.
So, during Legacy’s development, I had a lot of things to deal with…except for my writing partner.
After repeat email and even legal documents went ignored, I forged on ahead without Lisa. The original Prologue was scrapped. Chapter One’s opening was completely re-written. This new adventure now took twists and turns that were my own. Even with its open ending, Legacy of Morevi was received with praise from the fans of the first book, and was a finalist for ForeWord Magazine’s Best Fantasy of 2005. Not bad for picking up the reins unexpectedly.
Fast forward to 2010…
Six years of silence finally broke when I found Lisa online. I reached out to her, asking for written permission to Morevi’s rights, seeing as she had no interest to continue writing in this universe. After all, it had been six years, right?
Here was Lisa’s reply:
“I am not sure about relinquishing all rights to Morevi – I will have to think about it. This is not so much about any monetary value but more about how I feel about something so personal.”
She also added:
“I appreciate that you’ve put a disproportional amount of work into Morevi compared to what I have contributed. All I can say is that for me, the overwhelming feeling I had when I first leafed through the printed copy was embarrassment. I guess that’s the only way I can go towards explaining why I felt I had to drop it.
But even so, it’s my first and maybe only ever published work. So before I can say here you go take it I want to know what you mean by find another home for it.”
What I find so bizarre about this exchange is how she refuses to say “yes” or “no” about relinquishing the rights to Morevi as it is “so personal” of a work, even after she had turned a blind eye when I wrote Legacy and produced both the 2005 and Remastered podcasts.
And this exchange happened at the end of August. I followed up with her in October. As it went six years ago, Lisa has apparently closed off communication. Again.
What exactly does all this mean? On a personal perspective I have formulated my own opinions; and I’ll admit—it would be real easy for me to dish.
I don’t dish. I rant. There’s a difference.
Without a definitive answer, I am left with an “Okay, what can I do?” So, once I am caught up with my Ministry commitments, I may return to Morevi’s universe and completely—to use the new, hip term in Hollywood—reboot the series.
As I discussed on my Facebook Group, I am considering a steampunk makeover for the swashbuckling series. A new era. A queen on England’s throne. A whole new attitude on some familiar friends. I believe Rafe could make the jump without a problem. It only becomes tricky as to how the reboot would change the plot, the environment, and the dynamics of the original.
I can promise you one thing: the Morevi reboot would be, without question, Elf-free.
This means Legacy would disappear into the aether. I would attempt to salvage as much as I could from it; but in giving my first novel a completely new angle with far less Fae, a lot will change.
All this would happen, though, after I meet my commitments with the Ministry.
(NEXT WEEK: Great Expectations)