I've been sitting on this for days. Partly because I wanted to get a few things in order before making an "official" announcement, but more because I can hardly believe it.
Citadel: Children of Light is DONE!
It's long overdue, and it's at the heart of so many sleepless nights for me that I can't even start to tell you. But as of this past weekend all writing and all edits are finished!
Bonus news, I have the new cover galley! In case you didn't notice it when you came in.
So what lies ahead?
At the moment, the book is in layout. I'm expecting to see the ebook versions in the next couple of days, and the print layout over the next week. On the whole, I'm looking at a release day of May 30/June 1!
So that's very exciting news, and I'm falling all over myself over it, but there's still that nagging question: What's next?
Once I'd put the last period on the last sentence of the last page of C:CoL, I found myself with a vacuum to fill, writing wise. I've become accustomed to sitting down and churning out 3K words per day, and by golly, that's going to continue! So, without pausing for breath, I immediately started writing the first book in a new series!
I can hear jaws dropping. It's the series thing, right?
Ok, here's the deal — I learned a lot from Citadel. By the time I dragged Book 2 out of my brain, kicking and screaming, the lesson I thought I'd learned was "Never again." Committing to writing three books before the first book had even sold one copy was, at the time, "my dumbest mistake."
Except it wasn't.
When I decided to finally start treating my writing as a business, instead of just a "side hobby that could make money someday," I had to change a lot about the way I thought about and approached the work. I had to think about what I was trying to accomplish, and I had to think about what you, the reader, would want. As a reader myself, I had a nice little case study to refer to. And I came to one conclusion: Readers want more books.
We readers love getting into a universe. We love getting into the heads of characters we like (or sometimes despise). We really want the story to keep going and going, so we can live in it forever.
So, committing to a series (even if just a trilogy) right off forced me to do something I might not have done otherwise. It made me think in terms of the universe of my work. Beyond just one, static book, I was forced to create a dynamic and growing world, where I could explore new ideas in a framework I created.
Before I was finished writing C:CoL, I made a decision: This is no longer a trilogy. It's a series.
Don't get too excited — I'm not announcing a new Citadel book! At least, not yet.
My thought was, "I've created a universe here. There are implications to what's happened. I have a sort of physics in place, and I've hinted at hundreds of colony worlds and millions of possible stories. This doesn't have to end with three books."
So it won't. I ended the synopsis for Book 3 with a line that I think sums it up:
"As one story ends, a universe of possibilities begins. Citadel and her crew become the pivot point of events that will echo throughout the universe, and history, for centuries to come."
That doesn't sound much like "finished," does it?
Will I write more "Citadel" books? Maybe. I may just explore that universe through novellas. I'm even considering making it an "open" universe, and letting other writers create there. That was the original plan, actually, back when this was going to be a television series developed for the web. There are endless possibilities, but only one certainty — Citadel is far from over.
In the meantime, the new series! (You thought I forgot, right?)
Over the weekend I started penning a series based on a character I created by total accident. His name is Sawyer Jackson — and his "origin" is a funny story that I'll share in a later post (I swear).
Actually, the book wasn't supposed to be about Sawyer Jackson at all. It was supposed to be about another character that I have had in my brain for a decade. I've tried writing something for this character time and again, but it's never felt quite "right." There's a lot of background to set up, and a lot of history to imply. Doing that would detract from the character in a way that, I feel, would be harmful.
Sawyer Jackson, on the other hand, is a blank slate. I know who he is, and what he can do. And it's fantastic! But his history is wide open, and there's plenty of room to describe exactly the universe I'm trying to build.
For now, the book is titled "Sawyer Jackson: Book 1." I have the same commitment — 3,000 words per day until it's done. And I have the same passion for Sawyer as I have for Thomas, Mitch, Somar, and the others. So I'm pretty excited about this project!
And, because I'm a big nerd, there are Easter Eggs aplenty in the work already, and I've barely gotten out of the first chapter.
I can confirm, right now, that while this is not the same universe as Citadel, the two are connected. In fact, knowing that I was going to write this series, I planted a few seeds in C:CoL that should be fun to uncover. I can't wait! I hope you can't either.
The short of it all
Citadel: Children of Light is due to release at the end of May. The ebook version will be available first, followed quickly by the print edition.
I'm currently looking for beta readers who are willing to review the book on Amazon, Goodreads, personal blogs, and anywhere else you can think of! If you're interested, contact me. I'm giving away a limited number of free copies for reviewing, and one of them could be yours!