Essay–A funny thing happened on the way to “The End”

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“The End.” Those two words are supposed to be the last words a writer puts on their manuscript. They signify the end of a journey, or at least one part of it, and that it’s time to get the book in the hands of publishers or readers.

But sometimes “The End” is the impetus for something completely unexpected. Sometimes “The End” sparks a new journey in your mind. A new story. And then…what do you do?

Those of you listening to The Black or stalking me on social media, know that I’ve been working on the paraquel to that story for several months. It tells the tale of what happens at a lab in Houston when they receive a test barrel from the oil rig Leaguer. It’s been difficult to write, but I think it has turned out well.

I wrote the first draft without addressing a certain issue. Why? Because I felt as though I needed to focus on scientists and the lab before going back and finishing the other part. But something happened as I tried to tie up loose ends. Something wonderful.

I found a new tale. A big tale. Like The Black and its planned paraquel, this new tale takes place in a single location. A cramped location. A place where there is no escape, no where to run, and plenty of opportunities for horror and excitement. Only now it brings real weapons to the table. And some crazy crazy shit.

In order to keep from spoiling things, I’m not going to talk about that particular tale. But I will say this: it IS a new book. I felt that by trying to shoehorn the story into the current book, I was shortchanging my readers as well as myself. I had an opportunity to write yet another book in the universe that allows me to set up more insanity for the final installment.

Long story short (pardon the pun), I have already started the third book in The Black universe. And it’s another paraquel. It happens at the same time both book 1 and book 2 take place. It’s going to take a hell of a lot of research and will be tricky to write, but I want to write it. I want to make it happen. Because it’s a story I need to tell and the characters are already speaking to me.

I had to cut 10k words from The Black paraquel to make this work. Also rewrite some chapters and insert some more easter eggs. And I cackled madly the entire time I was doing it. That, I think, is a good sign.

So what does this mean? TB2 (tentatively titled The Black: Arrival) is no longer going to be a 100k word book. It’ll probably weigh in at about 87k words. The Black, by comparison, was a meager 84.5k word novel. So this is longer, yes. The third book might be even larger. And the fourth book? Holy cow. It’s going to be huge.

After speaking with my publisher, we’ve formed a plan for how we’re going to do this. With any luck, TB3 will be out by first quarter 2016, but as always, schedules change and morph depending on what’s going on. Hell, I might get it out by 4th quarter of 2015. It could happen. I’ve been know to write really fast, so it’s possible.

If TB1 and TB2 are like the movie Alien, TB3 will be more like Aliens. That’s all I’ll say about it.

You might be asking, “how does this affect the publishing cycle?” Well, it really doesn’t. TB2 will be out in May. It’ll start its podcast run in May. As soon as I send TB2 to Severed Press, I’ll get back to working on Daemons of Garaaga and getting it ready for publication. After that? I need to finish a story called Flames. I expect both of those titles to be out before 4th quarter 2015. Once they’re out and done, it’ll be time to jump back into the universe of The Black.

So here’s the plan. The Black: Arrival will debut in May 2015. The podcast presentation will start a week or two after The Black ends. It’ll run for 24-26 weeks. When Daemons is ready, I’ll get that out there too. Flames as well. Basically I’m planning on STUFFING your brains with content. Hopefully you’ll stick around for the new books and like them as much as The Black.

But for now, I need to finish these edits, rewrite another scene or two, and get TB2 to my beta readers. Once it’s back in my little talons, I’ll get it polished up and send it to Severed Press. Then I’ll know roughly when it’ll be out. And when I know, you’ll know.


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