The Hazzardous Pay Series

So, with the reveal of the official publication date back on Tuesday, I can start talking a little bit more about The Invisible Crown and the series it’s a part of, Hazzardous Pay.

Anyone who followed my self-publishing adventures of the past couple of years knows that Eddie Hazzard’s adventures were originally called The Hazzardous Materials.  I decided to go with something similar for the new novels that will be published with Royal James to maintain that sense of connection (since a lot of the new material is drawn from the old material; more on that in a second), but I didn’t want to re-use HM because that might create confusion, and this is all going to be weird enough as it is.

So, about The Invisible Crown, the book coming out this December.  The challenge I was facing with my self-published material was that the first story of the series – Missing Person – the one that established the whole premise and most of the main characters, was just a 22,000-word novella.  There’s nothing wrong with novellas, per se, but I followed it up with a collection of short stories and then a full-length novel, The Hidden Throne.  Then another short story/novella collection.  And then…well, I wasn’t sure what was next.  Probably a novel or two.  I have them already written, after all.

But I was never satisfied with starting off with a novella.  I wanted to do more with it.  Plus, it was by far the oldest story I’d written (the bones of it are about fifteen years old.  In its published form, it was about four years old), and I’d improved a lot and the characters had changed some and there were some holes in the story I wanted to fill in.

So, last November, I decided to re-write Missing Person for NaNoWriMo.  Turn it into a complete novel.  Why not?  There was a lot of material from the novella I could just copy-and-paste over, and a good chunk that would need just a bit of tweaking, and some dialogue polishing, then add some new subplots I’d been thinking about and set up some bigger mysteries that I could play with down the road in later books.  Easy!

And it was.  I wrote The Invisible Crown pretty quickly, though not by the end of November (it was more like two weeks into December.  In my defense, I’d been finishing up novel #4 at the beginning of November and thus didn’t jump into TIC until a week and a half into the month).

But just self-publishing it…I dunno.  I felt it would be pretty confusing to keep replacing the first book in the series (I did this when I released a compilation of Missing Person and the first short story collection).  I wanted to find a publisher.  I wanted the extra marketing and promotional muscle.  And Royal James is providing that, which is groovy.

Anyway, here’s how it’ll go: I’m in the middle of writing book #5, tentatively-titled An Ill Wind Blows.  Once I’ve got the first draft on that in the can (probably sometime early July), I’ll be revisiting The Hidden Throne, originally the first full-length novel of the Hazzardous Materials self-published stuff.  Once I’ve fixed it up to better match the events of TIC, I’ll send it off to the publisher to start the process on that one with editing, cover design, etc.  It’ll be going through all that by the time TIC is published in December, I’d imagine.

Beyond that, there’ll be a mixture of editing/revising/sending in finished manuscripts (for books 3, 4, and 5) and writing up the first draft to book #6.  I’m also talking to my publisher about what to do with all those short stories I wrote and self-published.  There’s about a dozen of them, total.  Maybe we’ll release them as Kindle singles, or publish them here or on Royal James’s website, or something like that.  I want them back out there in the wild.  The shorts were always my favorites, and there’s a lot of characterization that goes down in there.  I like the space to spread out that a novel affords me, but I also like the quick done-in-one cases of the shorts.  We’ll see.

What it means is that, assuming everything goes as planned, there’ll be a steady stream of stories from me over the next few years.  Stories filled with ninjas, and explosions, and heavy drinking, and snarky one-liners, and more than a few weirdos and tough guys.  Arcadia’s a fun place to play around, and I’m glad I get to do it for y’all.

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