The Tough Choices (Part III: Great Expectations)

And this is it.

You’ve heard why new computer books, while bringing in a bit of the greenbacks, is no longer my thing as a writer; and you’ve finally got an idea of what I have been dealing with in a writing partnership that went so south, the relationship is in Antarctica right now. (Considering this next section, there a touch of irony for you.) You also know that Billi and the crew are taking a “big sleep” as well. It’s time for me to move forward.

Granted, when I was told this was the next step, I had no idea this was going to be such a giant leap.

This wild ride starts in May of last year…

The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences

2010 could be best summed up by Charles Dickins’ opening line from A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” While working through the worst of times, May ushered in the best of times with a two-book deal from Harper Voyager. What had started as a podcast-for-pay with Pip Ballantine became my big break, and my top priority.

The series is called The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, and we describe the series as a steampunk take on the BBC’s espionage romp The Avengers. Our first book, Phoenix Rising, will premiere this Spring with its follow-up, under the working title Of Cogs and Corsets, planned for a 2012 release. Since the contract was signed, we have been moving at a blistering pace between quick turnarounds on edits, cover art production, and development of the sequel. Add to all this mayhem unanticipated international sales to Australia, New Zealand, Germany, and (just this month) Russia, it’s no lie: Expectations are high, particularly with the book’s premiere scheduled at The Steampunk World’s Fair in New Jersey.

There is one reoccurring thought running through my mind during this whole period of time: Holy crap, this is really happening.

So after clocking in a full day at Intersections Inc. as their go-to resource for all things Social Media, and then making sure Sonic Boom gets fed and (of course) some quality time, it’s down to the studio to focus my energies (or what’s left of them, at that point) on what is needed for the Ministry series:

  • Writing Of Cogs & Corsets with Pip
  • Administrative and (soon) editorial work on Tales from the Archives
  • Researching and reaching out to potential contacts for an intensive media tour, starting in March
  • Zumba and Dance Central workouts (Yes, I want to look good when May arrives.)

I need to focus on Ministry works because this is where my future is. My next step. As much as fans of Billi and Morevi want a new installment, I will hazard a guess they also want me writing. It may not be where people want me writing, but it’s where I need to be.

It’s also a lot of fun. I’ve been enjoying Wellington, Eliza, and their steampunk England so much that I find myself missing their world, even when editing and proofing chapters. There’s a lot of potential here, as well. I don’t want to miss a step, so this means making Ministry the focus of my writing.

You might not think it is a difficult decision, but it is. Side-stepping questions about Billi and Morevi, hearing fans ask about future podcasts, and receiving praise for these properties are all welcome and heartwarming. I appreciate them all, and they make me want to write in those universes again.

But there it is again: writing. Of course my readers and listeners want me to write. Feedback from my short stories has told me as much. The truth of it was in the sales, when I would see how much I would make off my other properties, including the Twitter and podcasting books. Would I ever really be able to make a living as this? Computer books have a limited shelf life; and to make a living with an independent press, I would have to double (or perhaps, even triple) my output. To hit that goal of full-time writing, I need to produce the books that can get me there.

I believe those books are the ones I’m working on with Harper Voyager. Come this Spring, we will see.

The End…but Rafe and Billi will return…

Letting go of these two properties has been hard, but I still believe — no kidding, I believe with purest conviction — that I will return to these worlds. Perhaps Billi will find a home with another publisher. Wouldn’t that be fun? Rafe, while dashing in his doublet and rapier, would look rather smart in an aviator cap and goggles, a hyper-velocity aetherflux at his side. I’ve closed the door, sure, but it’s not locked. As we have all seen as a community, there are no sure things, no slam dunks, in the entertainment industry. I still recall the words of my friend from across the pond, Martyn, when he tweeted to me “What a difference a year makes.” He’s right. Within a year, I could be forging ahead. Within a year, I could be on a new path. A lot can happen in this year, and I’m not dismissing Billi or Morevi and their futures. I will return to those worlds. Someday.

For now, I’m giving dwarf detectives and upstart pirates a break; and my attention turns to gears, gadgetry, and goggles. In place of Mick’s Diner and the Defiant, I’m delving into a dark depository of mysterious talismans, trinkets, and tall tales that could contain a bit of truth. Bullets and baldricks are swapped out for boilers. In this new world, a plucky pepperpot of the colonies and a meticulous bookworm face intrigue, danger, and secret societies hell-bent on overthrowing the Empire.

Sounds like fun? I hope so. Maybe you’ll want to join me on this little trip.

Chevron 9 locked. See you on the other side…


  1. I’m so excited to have a copy of MoPo: Phoenix Rising on my bookshelf and, even more importantly, in my hands.

    Good luck and know that we’re behind you and waiting with our wallets open for your next work in print.


  2. As much as I love you and Pip separately, parts of me tremble (and no I won’t tell you which parts) when faced with your combined awesome. It’s like those awesome Transformers that combine to become Devastator. Granted, those are Decepticons and they’re evil..

    You know, based on that cover I’m okay with you guys being Decepticons. 😛


  3. As I get to know you little by little I am even more eager to find your past works and eagerly anticipate your future ones.


  4. I can’t wait for the Ministry books to come out in print and I’m all behind you Tee. You’re making the right choices and will be feeding your fans good fiction 🙂


  5. I can’t wait to actually get to read MoPO stories. Much as I may love some of your older characters, I’d never want you to be in a position to NOT be able to explore new worlds and new stories. Heck, you’re one of the folks who reminded me that exercising your creativity in any form is a good thing.

    Adventure Awaits!



  6. So Excited! I signed up to get a copy via NetGalley, hoping I get one. If not, I will surely be buying one.

    Still your biggest fangirl. 😀


  7. I can’t wait to read the new Ministry books! We support you and understand it is not easy to do what you do, Tee. Any writing you bring out is something fun we didn’t have before. Cheers!


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