Greetings, loyal readers and those of you who are wandering by for the first time. It’s been awhile (no excuses, I’m just lame). I mean honestly, I have the WordPress app on my phone. There’s really no reason I can’t be updating this blog more often.
Despite all appearances, this update isn’t solely to chide myself. I do actually have some progress to report. I’m currently just over 90K words in AfterLife, the fifth Only Human on the Block book.
For those of you keeping track, that may not seem like much progress, given I was about 76K words back in May. While that is technically true, those 14K words are more than I’ve been able to pull off in recent years and have actually moved me beyond some very important scenes I’ve been chewing on for years.
Also during that time, I’ve gone over what I’ve written previously and edited and expanded upon it, hoping that will make for a smoother read and will shorten the time from completion to publication. I also helped my mom, Mickee Madden, edit her new book and I entered a song competition (totally lost that one).
But all of that isn’t why we’re here today. Instead, I want to talk about a realization I came to recently.
Since I first started jotting down ideas on a napkin for the Only Human on the Block series 14 years ago (yes, it’s been that long…sigh), I knew it was going to be five books long, then have a trilogy spin-off series. Though I may have added some characters and plots along the way, I’ve pretty much hit the mark on every book. The Four-Year-Old Guardian was the opener, Bravado/Dramatique was about the play, Together Alone had a lot of the plot revelations, The Blood Contract introduced vampires because, why not?, and AfterLife is about… did you honestly think I was going to give that away so easily?
But the closer I get to the end of those series, the more I’ve found myself in doubt. I’ve never deviated from the way this fifth books ends but I’ve questioned for years if it would be a fulfilling ending. Honestly, it doesn’t stand up on its own without the follow-up trilogy. It may not sound like much of a conundrum, but this issue has plagued me for years, creating an extra hurdle in what should be a finish line.
Then the other day, a thought occurred to me… why make the next few books their own series? It’s true they’re a bit of a departure from what came before, but they largely feature the same characters (the ones who survive, anyway) and definitely continue the storyline. You couldn’t pick up the next book without reading the previous guys unless you wanted to be completely lost.
I tried a lot of mental gymnastics over the years to justify this shift into a spin-off. I considered making it first person, maybe even changing it be present tense (for the record, I will likely never do that). Ultimately, the conclusion I came to was, “Quit making this so difficult, dummy! Just keep the series going!”
So after years of pondering and all this word babble I’ve now subjected you to, that was the ultimate answer I settled on. The next book, tentatively titled The Last Guardian (I had that name before the Sony game, but I’ve just taken my sweet-ass time using it), will be book six instead of book one of the new series. That way, AfterLife can end the way I’ve always planned for it to.
It may seem like a such a small thing but honestly, this decision has freed me up considerably. Of the 14K words I’ve written since May, nearly 10K have been since I made this choice. Ideas are flowing freely. I’m excited about reaching the end of this book instead of dreading it. I promise that you, the readers, will still be getting the ending you would have always received. Only now, there will be more.
As always, thanks for reading!