Yesterday, I turned in the first pass page proofs for Chaos Reigning. This is when it really starts to look like a book, because the PDF is formatted like the print book. For example, here are the title page and first page:
Don’t those look like real book pages? Yay! The page proofs are the last time I’ll read the book all the way through, and my last chance to catch any mistakes. I’ve read it so many times at this point that catching mistakes is difficult, but the formatted text makes it easier to see if I’ve overused a word in a paragraph. Which I do. A lot. :)
Page proofs also mean that the text is 99% done. There may be questions from proofreaders that change a tiny bit later on, but it’s mostly set in stone at this point.
And that means I can post the first chapter! 🎉
If you mosey over to the book page, you’ll find all of Chapter One in its (nearly) final glory.
We’re just a smidgen over two months out from release (May 19!!), and I can hardly believe it. I don’t know what happened to January and February, but I would like those months back, please and thank you.
If you haven’t preordered yet, now would be an excellent time. Or ask your library to buy a copy. Or your BFF. Or your dog. (Send me photos of that last one!)
This is the Consortium Rebellion trilogy’s last hurrah, and I would be delighted if it went out with a bang, because that ups the possibility of more Consortium stories in the future. Thank you all for sticking with me for my very first trilogy!! 😍🥰
Yesterday, the copyedits for Chaos Reigning landed in my inbox. That means we are inching ever closer to release, which I can hardly believe. This will be the final book in the Consortium Rebellion trilogy and the the final book (for now) set in the Consortium universe.
I have ideas for future books, but they’ll have to get in line behind all of my other commitments. Speaking of, I haven’t forgotten about TQT, but it’s been eclipsed by contracted work, including the proposal for my new series (yay!!!), as I warned was possible. I promise I’m still doing it, just much later than I had hoped. :/
But enough with the sadness—time to celebrate CR being almost a real book! Here’s a little snippet to tide you over until copyedits are done and I can post the first chapter. And if you haven’t yet, now is an excellent time to preorder because the book comes out in May! ;)
I stared at myself in the bathroom mirror and willed myself to calm down. Alexander—now Alex—had flustered me, and I felt like I needed a cold shower. I shivered as I remembered his knowing grin. Maybe two cold showers.
After I’d dawdled as long as I could without looking like I was hiding, I returned to the bedroom. Alex was sitting on his pallet on the floor, looking at his com. He glanced up, and I tilted my head toward the bathroom. “All yours.”
He nodded his thanks and gathered his bag. Once he was gone, I slid into my enormous, fluffy bed. I looked at his sad little pile of blankets and hardened my heart. No. This was his decision. I’d offered an alternative and he’d chosen this. He could live with his choices.
“Jarvis, lights twenty percent.” The overhead lights flared to life, slightly brighter than a night-light setting. Alex would be able to see, even after coming out of the fully lit bathroom.
I set the windows to gradually lighten in four hours. The sunlight would wake me without the need for a harsh alarm. I checked my com one final time, but I hadn’t gotten anything else from Bianca. I wondered if she was getting updates from Alex or Aoife, or if she assumed no news was good news.
With nothing left to do, I turned off my bedside lamp and closed my eyes. Restless energy pulsed under my skin, but I feigned sleep.
Alex returned with a whisper of sound. He settled on his pallet and turned the overhead lights off. He was perfectly still and quiet, without so much as a discontented sigh. It would have been so much easier to ignore him if he’d acted disgruntled, but his quiet acceptance sent sympathy and guilt swirling through my veins. He had to be uncomfortable, but you’d never know it.
I lasted for maybe ten minutes before I sighed and whispered, “Are you awake?”
“Yes.” His voice rumbled from the dark. “Do you need something?”
“Jarvis, lights five percent.” The room was still deeply shadowed, but I had excellent night vision and could see clearly even in deep darkness. However, this would be easier if I could pretend the shadows hid us from each other. “Bring your pallet. You can sleep on the other side of the bed. On top of the covers.”
There was a long, silent pause. Finally, he asked, “Are you sure? I don’t mind sleeping here.”
I know it’s been radio silence around here, but that’s because I was working on something SUPER SECRET, and today the secret is out!
If you don’t know what you’re looking at, this is the Publisher’s Marketplace (the book industry’s deal news source) screenshot of MY NEW BOOK DEAL!!! 🎉🎉🎉
Tessa Woodward, my absolutely amazing editor at Harper Voyager, has agreed to do three more books with me! I am delighted that I get to continue working with her and the team at Voyager because as far as I’m concerned, they’re the best in the business. :)
This will be a completely new series, set in a new world, but it’s still science fiction romance. What follows is VERY EARLY info, so it’s subject to change.
The first book, tentatively titled HUNTED, will follow Octavia Zarola, a tough bounty-hunter hiding a soft heart, and her sworn enemy, Torran Fletcher. It’ll be a true enemies-to-lovers, with a few other surprises thrown in. I’ve written a little bit of it to get a feel for the world/characters, and it’s going to be so fun! I love Tavi’s crew, who’ll feature in the second and third books.
I’m usually not a plotter (at all), but when you’re making a proposal for a new series, the publisher wants more than “uhhh… it’s a space romance,” so I know more than usual about these characters already.
Do you want a tiny, tiny peek? Shhh, don’t tell anyone. ;)
Rough draft, unedited, subject to completely change! This is their first meeting. I’ve removed a few spoilery things (I have to keep some secrets), but they’re in a space station landing bay and Octavia is leaning against her ship’s cargo ramp, watching as Torran’s group goes around and talks to various other ship captains.
The group leader raised an eyebrow. He was all hard angles and harsh beauty. Sharp cheekbones, strong jaw, straight nose.
Behind him waited three soldiers, all in full armor—including the battle helmets that covered their faces. I couldn’t tell if they expected trouble to find them or if they were prepared to be the trouble.
“Are you the captain of this ship?” the leader asked in lightly-accented Common.
I straightened away from the ramp. I wasn’t particularly tall, and I had to look up to meet his eyes, which added an annoyed bite to my tone. “Yes.”
“I am Torran Fletcher. I want to hire you.”
Now I understood why all of his previous conversations were so short. This one would be, too. “No.”
“I’m a bounty hunter. I hunt criminals and murderers; I don’t work for them.” And I especially didn’t work for one of the top Valovian generals who’d led the war against the Federated Human Planets. No wonder he’d looked familiar. He’d been one of our priority targets, but as far as we knew, he’d never been anywhere near the front lines. Disgust pulled at my lips. Coward.
His piercing gaze seared me. “I know you. Lieutenant Octavia Zarola, hero of Rodeni,” he mocked before his expression hardened. “Slaughterer of thousands. You are worth a lot in Valovian space.”
My palms itched with the desire to grip a weapon. The enemy stood at my door and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it unless I wanted to cause an intergalactic incident. Which I did, very much. But the thought of my crew stayed my hand. I couldn’t go and get myself killed for a vengeance that was three years too late, not when people still depended on me.
Ooohhh… drama. LOL. I hope you enjoyed the tiny snippet. :) Happy Valentine’s Day!
Despite having a mountain of Things to Do™, I took this weekend off. I haven’t had a completely lazy weekend since… hmm. I don’t remember, but it’s been months.
Mr M was off yesterday, so we had a three-day weekend. We did a little bit of house stuff, but mostly we slept in and played Borderlands 3. We bought the game back in September, but we never got a chance to play because we were too busy. It’s fun! If you liked the previous games in the series, you’ll like this one, too.
But while I took the weekend off, my brain didn’t. All weekend I felt low-level guilt for taking a break and having fun rather than doing something productive. I think this is a creator’s dilemma. There is pressure, both internal and external, to do more, faster.
For a while, that pressure can be harnessed to produce content. But live it too long, and it’s a one-way ticket to burnout city. I’m not there, but there is a certain dread every time I open up Scrivener. I know I’m behind and that gets in the way of writing, which puts me further behind. It’s a vicious cycle.
And I know I’m supposed to be writing a proposal for a new series, which should’ve been done months ago and isn’t. Argh.
So while I’m technically not under deadline anymore, my brain thinks I am, and I can’t relax. But the only way out is through* (for me, something else may be better for you!), so I’m going to turn on some music and make some words for our Rogue Queen. Wish me luck!
And lest you think it’s all doom and gloom in house Mihalik, I have two pieces of good news to end with. :) One, we got an offer on our old house the day we listed it. Yay! And two, my editor just sent me an all-caps squee about the changes I made to Chaos Reigning. She likes it! Huzzah!
*Or become a hermit. But since I like our new house, I’m going to go with through. :)
I sent off the edited manuscript to my editor this morning. For those of you who like big books, it grew by about 6k in edits, making it just slightly longer than AB.
Assuming my editor likes all of the changes, it will move to copyediting and then page proofs and then release! It comes out May 19, but you can get a sneak peek and preorder links over on the book page.
Now I have to turn around and start working on the next Rogue Queen novella. I’m still hoping to start posting at the end of the month, but that depends on what happens with CR, because contracted stuff takes priority.