Whatever Happened To…

Now and then I get questions about sequels to some of my works. So I thought it might be handy to answer a lot of them in one post.

Whatever Happened…

after “The Mystery of the Last Line”?

A lot of readers found this story open-ended. I never intended to write a sequel, though after so many readers seemed to want more explanation, I did toy with the idea. I even started one, but I just couldn’t find the thread, so I abandoned it.

to the K-Pro sequel?

It was going to be called Ms. Fortune, which is a title I still really love. I had it all planned and even showcased it one year for the A—Z postings they do every April. But the first book didn’t do so great (and truthfully, if I had the energy I’d go re-edit it), so I didn’t end up investing any time in writing the second book.

to Peter Stoller?

That’s another one I started a couple sequels to but never finished. You’ll find a lot of that on this list, and that’s because [most] writers go where the readers are. If as an author I never hear from people who want more—and certainly if a book doesn’t sell—then I (like many authors) often won’t pursue that series or character.

If you’re wondering what happened to Peter specifically, though… I don’t know. I’d have to write the books to find out.

to The Great Divide and A More Perfect Union (the Changers sequels)?

Same story: yes, it was originally meant to be a trilogy. But the book sales were middling and the publisher never asked for more. Meanwhile, this was around the time I published Brynnde, which has been my best-selling book. So I redirected my time and energy in that direction.

to Hamlette?

Ah, the sad truth there is that I queried for over a year and had no takers. Some of the feedback left me really doubtful about the book’s viability. So I don’t know what I’ll do with it. I’ve rewritten it a number of times, but I can’t seem to get it right (at least not according to agents; CPs and betas enjoyed it). Sigh.

WIP Snippet

Though I’m focusing on Faebourne at the moment, I wanted to share this piece from The Great Divide (the sequel to Manifesting Destiny), given that it’s Pride Month:

Marcus shrugged, giving the impression of someone trying to find comfort in ill-fitting clothes. “Do you remember when we were thirteen? That’s when it changed.”

“That’s when you changed, you mean.” Cee gasped at her own words. She hadn’t meant to say them aloud.

“I never changed, Cee.” Marcus’s tone was dull, resigned, as though he’d had this argument with himself many times before. “It just never mattered until then. Until you decided it mattered. That day at the play.”

Cee opened her mouth to protest but couldn’t. He wasn’t wrong. She snapped her mouth shut and nodded.

They’d gone to see a play at the local theatre—Nitid Ink it had been called—and afterward gone for ice cream. While they ate, Cee gushed about how cute one of the actors had been, and without hesitation Marcus picked up the thread and enthused along with her. It had taken Cee by surprise, and afterward she could not help but notice which way Marcus’s eyes turned whenever they went out. Usually they were on their work, or trained on a book, but Cee couldn’t fail to miss the way those green eyes followed the male tennis team whenever they walked by, or how they lingered on magazine photos of good-looking young men.

After that, Cee had quit mentioning any guys she found attractive.

It only occurred to her as they stood there in the sun how unfair it had been of her to tacitly require Marcus to hide himself. She should have been there for him if it was something he wanted to discuss. Even if all he wanted to talk about were handsome actors, letting him do that—better yet, doing it with him—would have shown him she accepted him.

But she hadn’t accepted him, had she? Not really. She’d refused to accept that Marcus was gay because she wanted so badly for it to be otherwise. She wanted to pretend it wasn’t true.

“Cee?”

Marcus’s voice broke through her epiphany. Cee blinked and discovered her cheeks were wet with tears. “Sorry,” she said, swiping at her face with her fingertips. “This isn’t—it’s not because you’re…” Her throat tried to close over the word but she made herself say it. “Gay. It’s because I’ve been such a bad friend. That day—I was so startled when you agreed with me about that actor I just pretended it never happened. And that wasn’t fair to you.”

Fiddling

I’m wandering into the weeds today and exploring some characters who are not my own.

Years ago, I began writing a fanfic that has since been lost to time. Basically it was a Tokyo Babylon / X / Cardcaptor Sakura crossover. Touya had a creature inside him similar to Yue—the opposite of Yue, really, as this alter ego was the power of the New Moon, the byproduct of Clow having created Yue. When you think about it, it kind of makes sense. Unlike the sun, the moon is inconstant [visually; obviously it’s always there regardless of our ability to see it]. Touya’s alter ego was named Xiwan (or Xi-Wan? something like that). I don’t remember where I got this name, but I do remember readers sending me fan art of the character. I still have it . . . somewhere . . .

I don’t remember much about the fic except that Seishiroh hits Touya with his car. This was the inciting incident, I think? And it was done on purpose as I recall because Sei needed Xiwan, or needed to eliminate Xiwan for some reason. Might have had to do with the Dragons of Heaven.

I’m not even sure why I’m writing this here and now except that with the return of Cardcaptor Sakura I find myself thinking more and more about the dynamic between Yukito and Touya. I always want more of their story, really. Mulling it over, I think about how Yuki admits to Sakura that he has feelings for Touya but isn’t sure how Touya feels. How must Yuki have felt, then, when Kaho came back to Tomoeda? When I go back and re-read the scenes in which Yuki gently probes Touya about Kaho’s return, it feels different in light of knowing Yuki loves Touya but is uncertain if that love is reciprocated. Yuki wants Touya to be happy, of course, but part of him must be in knots over wondering whether Touya still has feelings for Kaho, what their relationship was like, etc. And Touya is not particularly forthcoming; he doesn’t do much to ease Yuki’s anxiety.

Not that Yuki ever shows it. He puts a smile on for everything and everyone. It’s easy to read or watch CCS and take Yukito at (no pun intended) face value. But I’m a character person, and I like depth. I like to think that Yuki, sitting home alone night after night, wrestles with these thoughts and feelings. Touya is friendly, yes, but in a somewhat unapproachable way. Even for his best friend.

When you toss Yue into this, Jesus . . . Here is a creature who is as aloof as Touya, but we also know he has deep feelings for his creator Clow Reed. Which means he’s capable of love. Kero gets to be himself all the time, whether in small form or large, but Yue must swap his personality out with this non-person . . . It’s so complicated it makes my head spin. Yue has a sense of duty to Sakura, though his heart appears to remain with Clow. He has very little agency in “life” (if that’s what you call it). He knows Yuki’s thoughts and feelings but doesn’t seem to share them; he’s merely required to carry the burden of them. If he’s lonely, he refuses to admit it. You get the sense he’d prefer to disappear entirely now that Clow is gone. But he feels chained by his loyalty to Clow to continue to care for his new master. All that lies before him is a long trudge without the one person who means the most to him. Think about that for a while.

Love triangles may be cliché but damn does this have the potential to be a fun one. In the fanfic I wrote, Touya is in the hospital and Yuki refuses to leave his bedside. At one point Sakura comes in and discovers Yue there instead. She is alarmed, of course—Yue shouldn’t be seen by anyone, and what if a nurse or doctor or even Mr. Kinomoto were to enter? Yue tells her that he could not bear Yuki’s broken heart and needed to put him out of his misery for a while.

When I look at my book Manifesting Destiny, I realize I probably subconsciously adopted some of the dynamics of the Touya/Yuki/Yue situation when I developed the Cee/Marcus/Diodoric triangle. After all, Diodoric is Marcus’ alter ego. Of course, there is a fourth player in my story: Cee’s alter ego Livian. Not that he’s romantically interested in anyone, but Cee still has to navigate life with him as part of her.

Again, I don’t have a particular reason for bringing this up at the moment. Just something I was thinking about. When, really, I should be worrying about my WIP! So off I go to do some “real” work . . .

It’s Official: Meet Narcisse

I’d post a picture, but I’ve yet to find anything that quite fits my mental image. Narcisse is the leader of the Felidae Clan. Ze is Black Asian and gender fluid (hence the pronoun). I keep wanting to write “he,” but that would be impolite, and I think ze might bite my head off—literally.

The Felidae are a large Clan with many subgroups over various territories. Narcisse rules the branch settled in the South. Think Louisiana bayous or Florida Everglades and you’ll have the right idea. This group are pumas (you may say “cougar” or “mountain lion” but they do not).

Narcisse is both father and mother to zis people. Ze will act in whatever way is necessary to keep the Clan safe and content. If that means nurturing and mothering, ze’ll do it. If it means fighting and disciplining, ze’ll do that, too. The one thing all the Felidae know: Don’t cross Narcisse.

Help Me Name A Character!

All right. I recently ran a poll on my Facebook page, but for those who didn’t see it, here is the summary. I’m trying to decide on the name of the Felidae Clan leader in Changers 2. This character is gender fluid, and I picture xem as Black + Asian. Not that culture really makes a difference in this world, but that’s just my mental image of what the character looks like.

In any case, the name needs to be unisex/gender neutral as well.

After the first round of voting, here are the current standings (in order of votes):

  1. Narcisse
  2. Kit
  3. Duri
  4. Fen
  5. Kevyn

The names possibly lean masculine because I think this character is biologically masculine, or was at least born a biological male. But Narcisse in French is used for both girls and boys.

One person commented (okay, the person was my mother, but still) that “Kit” is maybe too obvious/on the nose. But it did receive many votes, so I think it must be popular.

So here’s your chance to give me some input! Which of these names do you like most? Or if you have other suggestions, I’m open to hearing them. Let me know in the comments!

Revisiting Goals

Okay, so a lot has happened since my last check-in with my yearly goals. For the record they were:

  1. Publish Brynnde
  2. Finish and submit Changers: The Great Divide
  3. Finish Hamlette
  4. Write another Sherlock Holmes story

(Accomplished goals are in green.)

Well. I did publish Brynnde, and though I didn’t write a new Sherlock Holmes story I did (a) compile my three existing stories into one collection, and (b) have an audiobook version produced as well. And I’ve started on a new Sherlock Holmes story, too, but that’s been sidelined for the moment due to other priorities.

In fact, I need to reorganize my goals. I’m bumping Hamlette up to #1 current project because I have a due date of September 30 and a solid chance at representation for this particular book. So now all my focus is bent in that direction. With Brynnde done and off the table, here are my mid-year goals:

  1. Finish and submit Hamlette to the interested agent
  2. Finish and submit Changers: The Great Divide to Evernight
  3. Finish and publish Faebourne
  4. Finish the new Sherlock Holmes story

I don’t honestly expect to finish all three before the end of the calendar year, but whatever doesn’t get done by then will loop to 2018. It’s so nice to have definite focus, though, and clear priorities. And a deadline. I work well with those, but not when they’re self-imposed. I really need others to hold me accountable. Thank goodness for my critique group!

WIP Wednesday

Haven’t done one of these in a while! Here’s a little bit more from Changers 2: The Great Divide

Cee’s gaze traveled up Marcus’s form to the curve of his neck and the dark gloss of his curls in the sunlight. She couldn’t see his face, but the slight turn of his head showed her a clinched jaw.

Don’t swoon, said Livian.

Who’s swooning? I’m not swooning.

He will never love you the way you want him to.

I know. And Cee tried very hard not to think, but Diodoric will. Does. Because there were some things she didn’t want Livian—or herself—to know.

London Bridge Is… (or, Minding the Gap)

This isn’t London Bridge, btw. It’s Tower Bridge. But I think it’s the bridge most people think of when they hear “London Bridge” or even just think of London and its many bridges.

You’ll see I have Kylo Ren and Jim Moriarty there. I’ve often thought I should start a little blog or Tumblr or vlog of their adventures: “Kylo & Jim.” It may yet happen.

I also have Bast on the left and Nike on the right. And a model of Stonehenge my oldest son made when he was five or six years old. (He’s 11 now.)

There’s a card from the artist who did the cover to Manifesting Destiny, and tiny model of Venice’s Piazza San Marco, too.

I do big LEGO projects when I’m stuck in my writing. Or sometimes I do puzzles. Anything, really, to change my focus so my writing brain can just run in the background and sort things out. If I try to do it consciously, it never works. I just overheat and feel more stuck and more frustrated. But if I go do something else that uses a different part of my brain, in a few days I’ll be writing again.

Tower Bridge saw me through tough parts of Manifesting Destiny. Now that I’m working on the sequel, I have another project queued up:

You’ll notice the box isn’t open yet. I’ve been tempted, I’ve been close, and I expect I’ll be building Westminster soon as The Great Divide has me entrenched in a slog at the moment.

These projects are my bridges when I’m stuck, blocked. Isn’t that what bridges are for, after all? To cross places we otherwise could not?

______________

Posted as part of the WEP challenge for June.