Let's address an aspect of this right now, the big question: How do I feel about this?
Actually awesome. Don't cry for me, LiveJournal. :)
Now that that's there, I'll unpack it a little more.
When I sold Shayara to Drollerie, I actually hadn't been working on it in a while; I love the world of Shayara, but writing it as a series of novels isn't a thing I'd seriously contemplated. Still, upstart_crow like "My Empire for Ashes" and I told her I had more, and the book deal just happened, and yes, I was blissed out! but also? Had to write a whole series.
I got MEfA revised and expanded and realized it wasn't the best intro to the world after all, so I focused on Book One. And as I was writing it, I kept having a bunch of realizations...
1. A lot of this was set in my mind at age 16, y0. I think about things differently. I view the story differently.
2. I don't have to be beholden to the techniques I used to use. I think I got a bit addicted to the way I was including art and other stuff on the Shayara website, and I worked out ways to include cool multimedia stuff and alternative methods of worldbuilding in the ebooks.
So I was studying and expanding and changing the ways I was telling the story, which is all awesome, if not so much whilst on deadline, but also...
3. I wanted to be writing Cicatrix.
I wanted that so hard. So many conversations with myself about that. Yes, there is this novel you want to be writing, 'song, but you have to write these novels first. Be responsible. Contract stuff first, and then the story that keeps muscling its way in front of Shayara, demanding a voice, pounding at the gates...
Oh, and Places You Haunt is back there too. Seeing Layne's obituary triggered a Vegas-writerbrain landslide, and now I know everything about that story, and I can write it in a way that I never would have been able to before this summer.
When I tell people that I don't have a six-book series coming out soon anymore, people are horrified and sympathetic, and they ask how I feel, and every time I reassure them: I'm relieved, actually.
So that's why I have been all sekrit squirrel about what I'm writing. Because it's not Shayara, right now. And I didn't want to cause a Thing by posting before the official announcement existed.
So what I'm working on right now is Places You Haunt, with which I am doing some metatextual stuff that I am loving, and I hope you'll love it too. The ways in which that story have grown are more than a little spoilery, so you'll just have to wait and see. :) But it's still about the heroes we make, the stories we tell each other - the application of narrative to our lives, to make sense of the incomprehensible. And it's about chosen family. Cicatrix seems to be stepping aside a little for PYH, but who knows, it may end up reasserting itself.
One of the things I have learned here is that I work best when I'm letting that happen; just tell the story that wants to be told.
And what about Shayara? upstart_crow is interested in taking it over to the new small press she's editing for. Shayara isn't steampunk, but upstart_crow assures me that it'll fit in her lineup just fine. I said that I'd like to write the things pounding at my writerbrain first so they'll stop cockblocking Shayara. :) After that's done, when Shayara asserts itself and says "Okay, my turn!", I'll write it and then see if it works for upstart_crow; if not, we'll see where it works. I'm still very attached to the idea of releasing it on the web so I can do multimedia and embed other side stories and make bits of it playable; if we can figure out how to make that work also with books, even better! But things keep happening that will allow me to make Shayara so much more awesome than it would've been strictly as linear text written to a deadline.
So I am excited - I get to write what comes naturally, with no pressure (Drollerie never applied pressure, but I was applying pressure to myself). And I am so excited to get to show you, bit by bit, what I've been up to.