Progress on The Spymaster's Secret, the next Chronicles of Tournai book, is moving along well. If you've missed when I talked about it, The Spymaster's Secret is a fantasy romance between Alexander, a young flirtatious, charming royal cousin with hidden depths, and Marcus, an older, more serious widower with a mysterious job. It's an opposites attract, age gap romance about two people learning to trust themselves and each other enough to drop the masks and take a chance on falling in love. I've shared a couple of snippets during Rainbow Snippets, so check those out if you haven't yet! I just reviewed the proofreader's comments and sent the file back to my editor so it can be formatted. I've also seen a draft cover by the wonderful Natasha Snow. Hopefully, I'll have a final one I can share with you soon. It looks like we're still on track for a mid-October release date. More information as soon as I have it.
Part of the reason I haven't written an update in a while is that, honestly, writing hasn't been going so well this year. I'm sure the effect of state of the world and the state of the industry on me are at least part of it. I'm getting words out a lot slower than I usually do, which has been frustrating and upsetting because I want to get these stories written and into your hands. I was hoping to have the next Tournai book (Griffen's story) finished and submitted to NineStar about now. Unfortunately, that isn't going to happen. I'm now aiming for the end of September. Fingers crossed I can get lots of words written and meet my new goal.
I also wanted to say a few words about Dreamspinner Press, though I'm hesitant to do so. I haven't said anything about the situation publicly because honestly, I didn't want to get yelled at by others who have feelings that differ from my own, and I'm really hoping that doesn't happen now. My first four books (the first four books of the Tournai series) were published by DSP, and they remain with DSP for now. I assume most of you know the background of the situation with DSP's nonpayment/late payment of authors and other contractors. My first quarter royalties for this year were over two months late and finally paid without the promised interest. My second quarter royalties have not been paid yet. Obviously, I'm upset by this, as contractually DSP is supposed to hold my royalties for me and pay them to me quarterly (as it is obligated to do for all authors). It's just as obvious that they did not hold onto this money for us as they were supposed to. (If you want a simple explanation about small press publishing and what should happen and what happens sometimes when things go wrong, check out this post by Julia Talbot.) I'm not sure what I'll do going forward. As I said, my books are still with them. I can't afford the expense of self-publishing four books at once right now, and I don't want those books out of print for any length of time as the next book in the series comes out soon, so I've left them where they are. This might change at some point. I just don't know. I said earlier that I'm upset, and I am, but I'm also confused and tired and frustrated and a bunch of other emotions, and all of that has a horrible effect on creativity. These are my feelings, my thought process, and my decisions—everyone is entitled to their own, so please, don't go on the attack in the comments. DSP gave me my first publishing contract; they put lovely covers on my first books and sent them out into the world. They introduced me to books and authors I love as a reader. I hope very much that they can turn their situation around.
On to something more pleasant: I don't have any events currently scheduled in the near future, though that could change, and I know I don't often get to events to do signings far from home. So I was wondering if anyone would be interested in buying signed books directly from me. I'm not sure how I would do it yet—I'm just trying to get a sense of interest—but I would likely take orders for a limited period of time, and then if it goes well, maybe try it again a while later. Maybe an annual thing? Let me know what you think.
That's all from me for now. I'll try to stay more on top of updates in the future.