I'm a big girl and everyday I make big girl choices. Like what flavor of Greek yogurt to eat for breakfast. Unless I forget and then it's more like brunch yogurt and slightly warm because I never put it in the work refrigerator. I eat it anyway because I read that women who eat Greek yogurt lose more weight than women who don't. Think about it.
Tuesday night I made a big girl choice. I'm supposed to be deep in the throes of Camp NaNo right now, busting my fingers to the bone on book 5 of the L&L series. The bad news is, there's not going to be a fifth book in the series. No, Virginia, there's no Santa Claus. No late April Fool's jokes either.
It wasn't a spur of the moment decision. It's actually weighed on my mind pretty heavily since I finished SS. I did start writing the beginning of the 5th book before I finished SS, but deep in my heart, I think I realized something wasn't quite right.
Your TFF today is brought to you by the reasons why I'm leaving book 5 behind.
1) Say it with me: There was never supposed to be a series. But when I couldn't shut Van Buren up, I realized there had to be a reason why all that stuff happened to these poor characters. It wasn't just random events. I blame Basil for that. He's the glue holding the series together, all that knowledge packed away in his brain. I could've easily stopped at three, tied the whole thing up in a neat package, except for one character who intruded during The Turncoat's Temptress. Emer, the heroine of The Siren's Sentinel. If you've read it, then you know things about Emer's past that spur on this next novel. After reading the end of SS, it seems like a perfectly good place to stop, damage healed.
2) I have other things planned. I'll be frank. If I'd known what a giant PIA writing a series would be, I wouldn't have done it as a debut author. Let me say this to first-time authors. Go with single titles. Make your life easy for the first year or two. That said, let me point out that I do have a series, but my debut novel with Lyrical is a stand-alone title. However, I'm not waving bye-bye to indie publishing. I have another series started and I plan to self-publish it as well. This series will be three books, no grappling for five and ending at four instead. Hand-to-God. I also have the beginning of another historical romance at the prodding of my inner historical romance author. There's not much reason to drag on with the L&L series when (refer to #1) I can end it here and now.
3) If you follow the series, you know that Van Buren had a minor role in The Treasure Hunter's Lady before starring in The Sky Pirate's Wife. Basil had a role in The Sky Pirate's Wife before starring in The Turncoat's Temptress, and Emer has a role in The Turncoat's Temptress, but is the heroine of The Siren's Sentinel. Neither of the characters in book 5 had a role in SS. I struggled to figure out how to make them fit. At first I was okay with that, because Basil has connections to everything as you may or may not know from reading TcT. But I like my recurring characters. Those two just didn't work out for minor roles in SS.
4) Under the heading of more character business, when I decided there would be a third book, the hero was supposed to be Ransom Shaw. It's complicated, the way Basil barged in and commandeered book 3, but I always intended Ransom to have a place. It worked out very well that Emer was the recurring character from TcT, so they became a couple. With the fulfillment of SS, all the characters I originally planned in 2011 have books.
5) I had a lot of difficulty writing SS. You can read all about it in the November/December/January posts. I chalked it up to knowing that the series was heading for its end and I was dragging my feet when I thought about reaching that point. The subconscious is a fascinating thing and it knows the truth even when the conscious doesn't want to admit it. The other night while I was sitting in my chair, my faithful sidekick PeeWee Roo Chin--doggy editor extraordinaire--at my side, reading the ending of SS, I said to myself This ending is it. It's truly 'The End'. Problems solved. Why are you writing another book set after this one?
Out of all the characters, Emer is the one who was treated the worst by the bad guy and under Romance Novel Statue 123456789.10, article A, sub-paragraph 2, she has the right to a Happily-Ever-After. What the bad guy did has no bearing on anyone's life (okay, except the offspring of the characters) after SS's ending.
Another way to look at it is, no one can prevent/destroy all the evil in the world. That's way too much of a burden for any of my characters. They're good, but they're not that good and that's sort of the direction this imposter book was trying to go. I know, I should be able to control that #$%&, but it was out of my hands.
Just have a good weekend and fear not. There's more coming from this wicked mind. Something bolder, newer, and exciter-ing.