There’s this debate/ongoing question that keeps cropping up over on Twitter, about when one should buy and read a new book. There are lots of readers who don’t want to read a series until it’s done (fear of it never being finished is a big reason why, there), and often people say they’ll wait for a whole series to come out before buying and reading them.

The problem with that approach is publishing is a business, and if a reader waits to buy the first (second, third, etc) book in a series until the series is all published, there’s an increasingly good chance that the series will never *be* finished. Not because the author dies (which is really the perennial fear), but because the publisher will cut their losses and stop publishing that series because nobody is buying it.

My solution–and this is genuinely *my* solution, it’s what I actually do–is to buy the books as they come out and not read them until the series is done. They just get added to the To Be Read pile, but come on, who are we kidding: the TBR pile is already outrageous and adding a few more books to it doesn’t hurt anything.

I don’t wait to read series until they’re done because I’m afraid the author will die, mind you. I do it because I personally find it exceptionally hard to read new books in my genre (fantasy, generally speaking) while I’m writing, and it often takes me so very long to work my way through a series (or it takes the author so very long) that I really barely remember what happened in the last book when a new one comes out, and I don’t usually have the time/focus to re-read. So I circumvent that by buying the books as they come out and reading them all in a go when the series is done.

This is why I’m almost always reading books that were published 5 or 7 years ago instead of something that just came out. There are exceptions. I *mostly* keep up on Michelle Sagara’s Cast books, and I’ve been known to immediately read whatever Ursula Vernon has written most recently, because I know Ursula’s books will fall directly into the “comfort reads” space in my brain, but mostly I read stuff YEARS after publication.

Furthermore, there are writers whose work just makes me fall into a pit of despair, and I generally buy their books and then try to avoid reading them until I realize I’m in a solid Not Writing Phase (which, frustratingly, I am right now because of post-moving…life stuff, basically). This is why I haven’t read Guy Gavriel Kay’s RIVER OF STARS, and also why I realized this morning that I’d better hurry up and read it before I absolutely have to get on the ball writing again, so I can both wallow in it and get past the three or four days of moaning about my comparative utter incompetence as a writer before I start new words of my own. :)

I have to go play a game of chess with an 8 year old now, so I guess that’s all I’ve got to say. :)

I got some of the best news of my writing career last week and I’m still OVER THE MOON about it.

Lo These Many Years Ago, I wrote a trilogy for Harlequin’s quick-to-fail Bombshell line, which were meant to be action-adventure romances, James Bond type stories where the heroine was the Bond character.

The line flopped badly for a lot of reasons, and the books I wrote never made any money, but I had a WONDERFUL time writing them and always wanted to do more. In fact, despite the books not doing well, despite it having been the better part of 12 years since they were published, despite everything, I’ve had readers ask regularly over the years if I ever *would* do more.

Well, there was a problem with doing more. It’s stupid and complicated but basically it goes like this:

I didn’t have the rights to publish the books myself. Those rights resided with Harlequin, because right-to-publish is basically what they’re buying when they give you advance money. And there’s always a clause in the contract that says under what circumstances those rights can revert to the writer, and what the publisher has to do in order to retain the rights. In these contracts, I wasn’t even supposed to ask for rights reversions for 5 years after publication, and the publisher had the right to reprint them within 18 months of me asking, if they so chose.

And those contracts were signed before the E-Book Revolution. So there was *no* language in them defining out-of-print in a world where e-books could be produced for almost nothing*…which meant that when the 5 year window *I* had to wait was up, they turned around and released e-books of the trilogy…which then sold basically No Copies At All, because they were under a different name, there was no demand for them, etc etc etc.

That happened two more times over the next EIGHT YEARS.

Now, there was no actual reason for the publisher to keep the rights. They were making no money off the books. They wouldn’t even re-release them under the CE Murphy name, where they almost certainly WOULD have made money. But every time I asked, they found another market to release them in as e-books, and thus re-started their 5 year window.

SO! The problem with writing more books in the series was that I could either:
1. write more books and NOT MENTION the first three, hoping that the lack of sales would someday allow me to get the rights back, or
2. write more books, talk up the first ones, try to get them selling, and therefore be certain I would *never* get the rights back, or
3. spend years gnashing my teeth and trying to get the rights back without talking about them very much, much less writing more.

I chose option #3 and my friends and family will attest to the SHEER FRUSTRATION I have vented over the past decade about the whole situation.

Eventually there were digital amendments added to the contracts, which gave me some of the language I needed to argue my case, and I put in Yet Another Reversion Request.


Mes amis, there was actual screaming involved. Like, fist-pumping foot-kicking incoherent bellows of joy. I kicked my feet so hard MY SOCK LITERALLY CAME OFF. I may have cried. I’m nearly crying right now, writing this blog post, in fact. I am SO HAPPY to have these books back and I am SO EXCITED to FINALLY GET TO DO WHAT I’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO DO WITH THEM!!!!!!!!!!

I’m working on revising the original trilogy. Not LOTS of work, but some: updating the dated stuff (to my huge amusement, my heroine was carrying data around on a mini-CD, which was like the Height Of Awesome when I wrote the books *laughs and laughs and laughs*), trying to future-proof it a little, fixing some continuity errors, etc.

Once the revisions are done I’m going to run a Kickstarter for new cover art and book layouts. Kickstarter backers will get the revised books right away, and they’ll be re-released to the general public probably around the middle of next year.

Then over the next several years, I’m going to write the sequels on the side and run little Kickstarters for editing, cover art, layouts, etc. Backers will get the books more or less as they’re written (I’ll be doing the Kickstarters AFTER the books are written @.@) and eventually, when the entire series is finished, I’m going to do a year-long book-a-month release to put the whole story out almost in one big chunk.


*E-books cannot be produced for almost nothing up front. All of the heavy costs–paying the author, editing, cover art, book design, copy edits–still have to be done, and that costs money. However, in this case, because books had already gone through all of that, producing e-books was cheap and quick.

I have, from time to time, made noises about how much I wanted the Agent Carter kit from Besame Cosmetics, all with a “maybe someday I can buy it” wist.

Well, some of my friends conspired and got it for me as a birthday gift! In fact, I got the package from the Lead Conspirator, my friend Mary Anne, and I thought “???” and turned it to see ‘cosmetics’ written on the customs form, and, as Young Indiana will attest, said, “Oh, she didn’t,” right out loud.

But she HAD! Along with two other friends! WHAT GREAT FRIENDS I HAVE!!!

I wasted no time opening the package and applying the first of the lipsticks, “Sweet Dreams”, which I was absolutely delighted with.

Later, after everybody said BUT WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER ONES I went to try them, too, and holy carp.

Me, looking at the color of the 2nd lipstick (“Forget Me Not”): oh, this will definitely by my least favorite of three colors.

Me, putting it on: holy shit if this is my LEAST favorite this is gonna be an AMAZING trio!!!

AND THEN GOOD GRIEF, #3, “Always Be True”, is like the perfect true red for me. OMG OMG OMG! I’ve been looking (in a half-hearted way) for a really *good* *true* red lipstick for myself, and HOLY CRAP THIS IS IT!

It may be that the Official Original Peggy Color is my LEAST favorite, and I loved it too! So I took a picture with it in the same light as these two…

No, I’m wrong, there is no least favorite here, these are just three AMAZING shades of red, holy wow, OMG! I have never tried on 3 lipsticks in a row IN MY LIFE, people, much less been reluctant to take one off so I can try another! Holy beans!

And it turns out I’m wrong, ‘Sweet Dreams’ is not the Original Official Peggy Color, that’s Red Velvet, so I need one more Peggy lipstick (and the Infinity Stones eye shadows, but WOW I may become a person who actually wears lipstick casually instead of, like, never, because these are SO GOOD!

I am SO THRILLED! What a wonderful gift! Thank you SO MUCH!!!!!!

Years ago, when Ted was at his last job, which was a 40 minute drive from home and which had an acre-wide open floor plan for its call centre, one of his coworkers, whom we’ll call Mike, LOVED my toffee. Loved it with a love beyond reason. (It’s as good as my fudge.)

One evening Mike frantically waved Ted down as Ted was heading out the door, already late bc he was always late, bc he couldn’t leave until his last agent was off their last phone call.

Ted, concerned that something was wrong, trekked back across hell’s acre to find out what Mike needed. He got to Mike, and Mike said, “So how close to home would you be by now if I hadn’t waved you down?”

Ted, annoyed, left, arrived home 40 minutes later than usual, & told me this.

I was enraged. I never made toffee again for Ted’s work bc I wanted to be goddamn sure Mike–for whom I had previously made special all-toffee boxes FOR HIM ALONE–never got any more goddamn toffee.

Ted came home from THIS job couple days ago & said, “I saw Mike!”

Me: Did you punch him in the nose for me?

Ted: 😲😲😲??!?!?!?

Me: We are talking about Mike who called you back across the floor & lost us 40 minutes of our precious 1.5 hours of whole-family time daily?

Ted: 😮😮😮😬😬😬😓😓😓
Ted: . o O ( how did i forget SHE NEVER FORGETS AND SHE NEVER FORGIVES )

I don’t know if there’s a moral to this story except I’m still pissed off about being reminded about Mike and wanted to share my fury.

That and, IDK, never piss off a Gemini.

Thing One: Ruth Negga is performing the title role in Hamlet in Dublin this fall AND I HAVE TICKETS FOR OPENING NIGHT.

I am trying to convince myself I shouldn’t also buy tickets for closing night, to see how the performance has matured. I really want to. But they’re more expensive. :(

Indy said, “Tickets for HAMLET? Is that like HAMILTON!?!?!?!?!” and was very disappointed to hear that no, it was not, and also that it wasn’t appropriate for 8 year olds. :)

Thing Two: I got the return address stickers for the much-delayed Redeemer Kickstarter, and they’re cute and I love them and I’m very pleased with them.

Thing Three: Indy and I have a game we play on the way to the zoo. There’s an enormous round-crowned tree just a little ways before the entrance, and when he was very small, I told him a dragon lived in it, so we always greet the dragon and have a chat with him on our way in to the zoo.

Last weekend we went to the zoo with the cousins, and Indy (who often pauses a game when we approach other people) thought maybe we shouldn’t say hi to the dragon this time, but I thought we should, and we explained the game to his cousins, who greeted the dragon despite their advanced ages of 13 and 15, and off we went to the zoo.

To my utter, like, eye-stingingly-bright, delight, on the way out, the older cousin said, without prompting, “Goodbye, Dragon,” quite solemnly and as though it was exactly what one always did at the zoo.

They’re good kids.

Thing Four: Deirdre and her younger son and I went to see Black Panther, which Deirdre had not yet seen. We didn’t know if her son would get there in time, nor if we could leave a ticket at the box office for him to collect, so I said, “Well, I’ve seen it three times, so I’ll wait for him so you don’t miss the beginning of the movie.”

“OH GOOD,” she said, “I couldn’t figure out how to ask without it being rude!!” Then we burst out laughing. :)

“WELL I GUESS I’LL STAND HERE AND WAIT FOR SEIRID,” she said, leadingly and not at all artificially.

“OH NO DEIRDRE, I’VE SEEN IT THREE TIMES, I’LL STAND HERE AND WAIT FOR HIM,” I said in the same tones, and then we fell on each other laughing. (Deirdre and I have a great time together. :))

Anyway, he showed up on time, having booked it from school, I CAUGHT A DITTO WHILE WAITING FOR HIM, and we all got into the theatre before the movie started.

During the first challenge scene she seized both our hands and curled up in horror in the chair, terrified of what would happen. During the second, she said, “WHY DO THEY HAVE TO DO THIS ON THE EDGE OF THE WATERFALL!”

She told me I’m not allowed to say she cried, though. :)

Thing Five: Before I’d gotten up this morning, Indy (who is not yet enrolled in a Dublin school, and so is doing school work at home) came up to inform me he’d done his school work already except he needed help with one part of the science experiment.

I came down to help, and he had in fact done his history and geography work already, was nearly finished with his science, and had only his spelling, language and math to go.

I know perfectly well that he did it because he wanted to be able to play his video game, but god damn if he didn’t earn it, AFAIC. :)