EDITED TO ADD: And here it is!
It's been a long journey, and it's high time I told the story of that journey. You've waited approximately forever, so I owe you that much.
January 2010: I start writing Let It Bleed the novel, fourth in my WVMP Radio urban fantasy series, a series I'd planned to be five books, finishing with Lust for Life.
Spring and Summer 2010: I fit Let It Bleed around my schedule for Shift and two anthology stories, since it's not due until October.
October 2010: I finish Let It Bleed and turn it in to my editor. Like all rough drafts, it has major problems, but I think I know how to fix them.
November 2010: I start planning the revisions. I download Scrivener and become a HIGHLY ORGANIZED INDIVIDUAL. What with page proofs for Shift and the proposal for Shine, I haven't actually started writing the new version of Let It Bleed, but it's cool--my editor still hasn't read it yet, and besides, I definitely know how to fix it.
Early December 2010: I get a revision letter from my editor that says, basically, "I know you like to do massive rewrites, so maybe you should just tell me how you plan to fix this, and I'll comment on your ideas." Yeah, the rough draft isn't even worth editing--it was THAT BAD. But it's okay--I know how to fix it! My editor loves my ideas and gives me helpful suggestions, because she is awesome and patient and knows how I work.
Mid-December 2010: I turn in the proposal for Book 5, Lust for Life, which has the perfect ending for the series. Happily ever after for Shane and Ciara! Woo-hoo!
Early January 2011: It turns out, I do not know how to fix Let It Bleed. The rewrite is a giant mess. The book has too many subplots, too many antagonists, and the story is ultimately just a bridge between the Big Event of Bring on the Night and the Even Bigger Event of Lust for Life. The story doesn't hang together, and there's nothing I can do to fix it. I consider running away to New Zealand.
Late January 2011: Let it Bleed the novel is a failure. It just. doesn't. work. Sometimes this happens. If you're a writer and it has never happened to you, just wait.
February 2011: My agent tells me that my publisher has turned down my proposal for Lust for Life, due to the series' sales numbers. There will be no fifth book. There will be no happy ending. Unless I do something drastic, my favorite series ever will end with a hot mess of a novel with a bittersweet conclusion.
I do something drastic.
The first sentence out of my mouth after "Ohhhhhh shooooooot." (only I didn't say, "shoot.") is this:
"Hey! What if I take the plot for Book 5 and make it Book 4, then boil down what was Book 4 into a novella, Book 3.5? Then the characters and the readers still get the wonderful ending they deserve. Plus, this unsalvageable novel becomes an excellent novella!"
Yes, I said to her, I understand that this means essentially writing an entire novel for my publisher FOR FREE. (Imagine telling your boss you'll gladly work for six to eight months for no pay, just for the chance to do your job right.)
Luckily, Pocket was happy to let me make this unorthodox move. They changed the title and publication date for Book 4 from Let it Bleed and Summer 2011 to Lust for Life and Fall 2012.
The Rest of 2011 through May 2012: Between contracted projects (Shine and Lust for Life), I convert Let it Bleed the novel into "Let It Bleed" the novella. I attempt to serialize it on my website, but delays make this very cool idea unworkable. I receive angry emails from WVMP readers who think I've forgotten them.
I continue to work on it when I can, ripping out subplots, characters, needless meanderings--all the crap that didn't work in the novel form. It turns out to be much, much harder than I thought. I get stuck on Chapter Nine for about six months.
The delay is fortuitous, though! Because once I start writing Lust for Life--and more important, rewriting Lust for Life--I have a grand epiphany on how to end "Let It Bleed." Woo-hoo!
June 2012 (Hey, that's now!): I put the finishing touches on "Let It Bleed," my beta readers love it, and finally, after years of pulling my hair out and cursing its very existence...I love it, too.
There you go, the sordid saga of "Let it Bleed." It's been one of the hardest struggles of my career. I almost shed a tear just typing this up. It wasn't easy putting readers off time after time and not being able to explain the delays.
But now at last you know, I did it all so that you and Ciara could have the ending you deserved, and have it in print.
So I hope that when you read "Let It Bleed" (either this week if you're on the Street Team or next week if not), and when Lust for Life releases on November 27, you'll agree they were worth the wait.
I think they are.
Once again, if you'd like to be notified when "Let It Bleed" is available on the website for download (next Tuesday, June 26), sign up using this sweet button: