I have great news for Sanctuary fans, good news for Girl in the Box fans, and some disappointment for the five of you who were anticipating the Southern Watch series. Let's start with the great and work backwards, shall we?
Crusader has performed well above my expectations for sales. It's not exactly lighting the world on fire, but it's out of the red enough that I can say I'm pretty pleased with it. In addition, its release has spurred sales of Volumes 2 & 3, as well as the short stories. Is it performing as well as Girl in the Box? No, no and hell no. But it's doing well enough that I feel confident that there is some serious room to grow yet for this series, which is something I'm very excited about. What does this mean for Sanctuary fans? It means that I'm going to try and get Volume Five and Six out in 2014 rather than just Vol. 5. Also, the second Terian novel is in the schedule for 2014 as well, sandwiched between those two books.
So that's three (pretty damned big) Sanctuary books on the docket for 2014. Will I be able to get them all out? For Volume Five I think absolutely, same with the Terian novel, but Volume Six? Ehhh, it's iffy. It'll be the last book I write next year, and I definitely reserve the right to bump it to 2015 if need be. Those books are going to be Crusader-sized, so it takes a lot of time and mental energy to write them. I'm damned sure going to try, but if I fail just understand it wasn't for lack of effort.
Switching gears, the good news for Girl in the Box fans is that work on Volume Eight is proceeding nicely. I'm about 45,000 words in (out of an estimated 125,000 on the high end). How does that compare to previous volumes? Well, Broken was 45,000 words and the shortest of all the series. Enemies was 92,000 (and some reviewer STILL said it wasn't long enough. Go figure.) and all the others fall somewhere in between. Anyway, it'll be the longest book yet and it's coming along nicely. I'm still aiming for end of year release to give myself plenty of time, but as avid watchers know it'll probably show up early.
Lastly, the bad news for those few of you looking forward to Southern Watch. I'm postponing the series entirely until 2015. There are a few reasons for this, one of which is that I've got some major personal life changes to adjust to in the early part of next year (nothing bad, I assure you, but forgive me if I remain vague for now) and removing Southern Watch from the schedule for another year gives me SO much more freedom to work on things (like Sanctuary Vol. 6). It takes two books out of the schedule for this year that I was trying to cram in and three from next year, giving me time to work on Girl in the Box 9 and Sanctuary 5 yet in this calendar year to prep for release next year. I still have the first book of Southern Watch written (and the second started), but I'm going to hold it because I don't want to put it out there and let it sit without knowing when I'll ever get around to finishing the next one and the next after that. The conclusion I came to is that since I may have limited time in the early part of next year, I should support the fan bases I currently have rather than trying to develop an entirely new one right now. If things were different and I had all the time in the world to write, it might be a different story. But the fact is that I have young kids that need my attention more than ever right now, especially with a pregnant wife that is sleeping up to 23 hours a day at present (oops, I think I let slip what the change was).
If things settle quickly after the baby is born and I don't end up so exhausted I can't concentrate, then I'm sure I'll re-evaluate my schedule in the next half of 2014 and see what else I can accomplish. For now, here's what my schedule looks like for the rest of this year and next (curiously free of release dates, I know):
1. Legacy: The Girl in the Box, Book 8
2. Thy Father's Shadow: Knight of the Shadows, Book 1 (A Sanctuary Novel)
3. Sanctuary Tales, Volume One
1. Destiny: The Girl in the Box, Book 9 (this title is TENTATIVE and may change)
2. Master: The Sanctuary Series, Volume Five
3. Power: The Girl in the Box, Book 10
4. The Son's Own Darkness: Knight of the Shadows, Book 2 (A Sanctuary Novel)
5. Limitless: Out of the Box, Book 1
6. Warlord: The Sanctuary Series, Volume Six
So there you have it. Another flexible publication schedule. If you compare it to this one that I did in the late part of last year, it looks fairly close (except for the fact that Southern Watch is missing and Crusader took a lot longer than planned). I may have to do a comparison post at the very end of the year once everything is said and done to show what I actually got finished versus what I had planned.
Anyway, hopefully this will please the majority of you and disappoint only a very few of you (which I would consider a win, really) and give us lots to look forward to in 2014. Because it's going to be here before you know it.