The Dark Days Series
I know this is going to be a little confusing since yesterday I said that I was finished with Mira and Danaus, but it seems that I have just a little bit more to share.
Prequel #1: Novella
The Dead, the Damned, and the Forgotten
If you've already picked up the Unbound anthology that was released a few years back, then you've already read this novella. The story takes place in Savannah about a month before the start of the events in NIGHTWALKER (Book 1). It focuses on Mira's domain and her investigation into a murder that takes place, putting the spotlight on the nightwalkers in the city. It's the first time you meet Knox and see Mira's dynamic with many of the people that you will see in later books in the series. It was my first go at a novella and I am pleased with how it turned out. I think the ending is a little bit of a surprise and if you read carefully, I give a little hat tip to Kim Harrison, who was also featured in the Unbound anthology.
The novella will be released as an individual e-book on January 31, 2012 and will be on sale for $0.99. It is available for pre-order now if you are interested in getting your hands on this prequel to the series.
Prequel #2: Novella
When I wrote this novella last year, I wasn't quite sure how it was going to be released. The story was actually in reaction to a lot of requests I got from some readers during a book signing I did in my hometown. One frequent question was about Mira's relationship with Valerio when they were intimate many years before Mira met Danaus. To tell the truth, I was a little curious myself as to what happened between them and I started the novella just to satisfy my own interest.
The story takes places a couple centuries before the events in NIGHTWALKER (Book 1), well before Mira goes off on her own to Savannah and claims that as her domain. Mira and Valerio are running errands and generally acting as enforcement for the Coven. The nightwalker Elders send Mira and Valerio to investigate and stop a creature that is killing off nightwalkers in Spain. The story gives a good look into Mira's relationship with Valerio, a closer look at Valerio, as well as her relationship with some other characters that you've met in the series. I was even excited to include a glimpse of one unexpected character that you meet in NIGHTWALKER. (hehe... I'm such a tease!)
It was a lot of fun to write, but a little difficult. The setting is the 19th century versus the 21st century that I am accustomed to working in. Also, this is Mira more than two hundred years ago. She's a little different than what you've gotten used to reading.
If you've read the series, this will offer some nice insight into the characters. If you've not read the series, I don't think you'll be lost since it is a series prequel. However, it might be a little confusing if you jump from this prequel to the first book as you will be moving forward two hundred years.
Anyway... I don't have a release date on it yet but I will keep you updated here and on Facebook and Twitter when my publisher releases a date for publication.
Also, don't forget that the series is now concluded with the release of BURN THE NIGHT last June. If you haven't picked up all six books to get Mira's complete story, run to your nearest bookstore or online vendor to pick them up!
The New Series
Now you didn't think that just because I finished up the Dark Days Series that I was finished writing? Hell No! You could chop off all my fingers (please don't) and I would still write stories. It would just be a little slower.
Last year, I pitched a few ideas to my editor for a new series and she was kind enough to buy one of them. To my elation, HarperCollins has contracted me to write two new novels and two new novellas for a new series that will be kicked off in 2012! (No, it's not too late to do a happy dance.)
And earlier this week, we finally agreed on a series title:
The Asylum Tales
I love it! Asylum has a wonderful double meaning that resonates in your brain when you hear it. You think of either A.) a place to store crazy people or B.) a place of safety and refuge from danger. With this series, I think it means a little of both.
We have a title for the first book, but I'm holding off on revealing as it still needs final approval from the Sales/Marketing department. But keep checking back as I'm sure that it will be approved soon.
But your big question is: what in the world is this new series about?
I'm glad you asked. What I've been telling people is that the new series is about warlocks and tattoo artists. (And you've just given me the same confused, puzzled, slightly frightened look I've been getting for months.) Let me explain.
The series is firmly settled in the urban fantasy genre, set in what I like to call an open world (ie, everyone knows about all the other races and has for a really long time, allowing everyone to live side-by-side in a relative, occasionally strained, harmony.) Some of the races that you meet in this series include, but are not limited to: humans, elves, trolls, dwarves, pixies, werewolves, vampires, ogres, minotaurs, incubus, faeries, goblins, and many many more that are fighting to get their time on the page.
At the center of this mess is Gage Powell, a tattoo artist who owns a parlor in a sketchy little neighborhood in Low Town called Asylum. In a world that is naturally filled with magic, it only makes sense that many of the non-magic folk (like humans) could use an edge. In this world, tattoo artists aren't just tattoo artists. They are also licensed potion stirrers. For the right price, they can help you get an edge. Need courage, love, or luck? A tattoo artist can stir a potion to be placed in the ink of a tattoo that can help you achieve those things.
Unfortunately, Gage has a secret that keeps coming back to haunt him despite his attempts to keep his head down and his nose somewhat clean. Lucky for him, he had a pair of employees that help him out. The first is Bronx -- a patient troll who manages to keep a level head and his sense of humor when things get bad. The second is Trixie -- a elf who is pretending to be a human because she's got her own problems, but she still manages to make time to give Gage a hand when he needs it.
Here are some answers to some burning questions you might have:
1. I don't like tattoos and I'm not interested in the tattooing world. Will I still like this series?
Yes! Do you like action, craziness, and stranger creatures? That is more of what this series is about. It's about the cool people that inhabit this world, not tattoos. The tattoos are sort of just a common thread that tie the people and some of the events together. It is not the core of the story.
2. Is this a romance?
Err... not really. There is a romantic subplot for Gage, but it is not the main thrust of the story. It is an urban fantasy story, not a paranormal romance. However, the romantic subplot moves faster in the new series than it did in the Dark Days series.
3. Do I have to read the stories in order?
No! Unlike the Dark Days series, where you needed to read the books in order so you could understand everything that was happening, I am writing this series as more of an episodic adventure. There are plotlines that run from the first book to the second, but the stories are told in such a way that you don't have to read them in sequential order to understand them.
4. Are there vampires?
Sort of. After writing the Dark Days series, which I loved, I needed a break from vampires. Sort of. Vampires exist in this world so that means that they can definitely make an appearance, but as of this moment they do not have a starring role. Also, these vampires are different from the vampires in the Dark Days series.
5. Will you ever write vampires again?
Definitely. I love vampires. They have always been my favorite. But with the Dark Days series, I managed to say everything I wanted to say about vampires, so I thought it was time to move on. When I have something new to say about them, I will circle back.
6. Are The Asylum Tales going to be as dark as the Dark Days series?
No. By the nature of Mira's world and the fact that they were constantly on the edge of everything falling completely apart, the stories seemed to naturally become dark. It also worked that way because of Mira's personality. Gage is different. Yes, he can be dark like Mira, but most of the time he's not. The world isn't going to end if Gage fails, but a lot of people that he cares about could get seriously hurt if not killed. The world is strange, weird, funny, and frequently unexpected. There is danger around every corner, but Gage and his friends know how to handle a lot of it because they live there day in and day out. The Asylum Tales will still have death, violence, and lots of dangers, but I'm hoping that you're going to spend a little time laughing as well.
7. What do you have finished of The Asylum Tales?
The first book has been accepted by my editor and has been moved on to the copy editing stage. That means the story is set and now I'm tweaking wording and such. The two novellas have been written and are awaiting approval from my editor. If approved, they move on to the copy editing stage. If not approved, I go in and do some revisions. I am currently writing the rough draft of the second book, which is due to my editor in mid-February.
8. When will the new series be released?
I don't know.
This is where things get complicated, because things have shifted from the original plans. The original plan was to release the first book as a mass market paperback (like the Dark Days series) in late June. You may have even seen the pre-order go up on Amazon or Barnes and Noble, listing the book as ANGEL WINGS.
Well, shortly after that listing went up, my publisher reaccessed the market, as well as my sales record and a few other things. As a result, HarperCollins is now releasing the first book as a trade paperback. This is a slightly bigger book than the mass paperback. It tends to be slightly more expensive, but I'm not sure on any exacts as everything is currently shifting in the market, including price. Due to the change in format, the release date of the first book has been moved from June to October 2012. This will give my publisher more time to plan for the release of the trade paperback.
I know, that's a long time between books! But never fear. We still have a few things to tide you over to make the waiting more manageable.
Before the release of the first book, the two novellas for The Asylum Tales will be released as e-books. Prior to revisions, they are both hovering close to 100 pages each, so they are a nice read. The two stories are prequels to the series and detail the events that surround Gage meeting Bronx and Trixie. Both stories were a lot of fun to write, but I think Bronx's story is my favorite at the moment. (That silly troll!) Last I heard, they were going to release both stories in a single e-book, but that might change since that was the plan before the release date was pushed to October. I'll keep you updated.
What do we know:
1. The Dead, the Damned, and the Forgotten e-book novella will be released on 1/31/2012
2. There is one more Dark Days prequel novella e-book to be release in 2012. (Date TBD)
3. There are two novella stories for The Asylum Tales series to be release in e-book format in 2012. (Date TBD)
4. The first book in The Asylum Tales series will be released as a trade paperback in October 2012.
What we don't know:
1. Official release dates for three of the four novellas to be released in 2012.
2. The OFFICIAL titles for any of The Asylum Tales stories.
3. Covers. (I haven't seen anything yet. They are still working on them)
4. The winning Powerball numbers for the lottery.
So, my job is to finish the second book and update you on three of the four items that we don't know as I get information from my publisher. (I'm not telling you the lottery numbers if I manage to mystically see them.)
I think those stories should keep you busy throughout 2012, giving me time to line some stuff up for next year. (Wow! Scary thought. I'm already writing for 2013.)
If you've got any other questions, please feel free to leave them here or on my discussion board. I will answer them as best as I can. Thanks!