Book 6 is coming!

This is a quick update from Andy, Anna’s minion. I’ve designed the covers for the Wild Rites saga, and will be jumping in to help out with admin… it’s nice to meet you! Now for the update:

Please rest assured, book 6 is coming! Anna has been up to her eyeballs in rewrites and ignoring the calendar to preserve her own sanity. In the process of outlining book 7, she discovered there was a bunch of stuff that actually needs to happen in book 6. So, she is taking the time to write you the best book she can.

There isn’t a release date yet for book 6 (it’ll be done when it’s done), but to be the first to know when it’s announced, sign up to Anna’s mailing list, or follow her on Facebook.

The first Wild Rites short story (and why are there sex scenes in the books now?)

Yes, the latest release is a Wild Rites short story and not the next full-length book you’ve been waiting so patiently for. Before you curse my name, the next book is still coming. I don’t do release dates in advance, for my own sanity, but it IS coming. (I waited as long as I could to release this story so there wouldn’t be as long a wait between this and the next full book.)

So, why write a short story at all, if I know you’re all going to curse my name for it?

As I mention in the foreword that probably nobody will read, at the end of book 5, there were a few threads left hanging. One of those threads really begged to be tied up, so much that it didn’t feel right just glossing over it in book 6. What I did not mention in the foreword is that I wouldn’t have been able to make progress on book 6 without giving Emma and Red Sun the space they needed to really work things out between them. Red, in particular, has some issues I hadn’t anticipated back when I finished book 5 and thought everything would be roses and happy threesomes, but Red has always been the hardest of the men to get a handle on. He seems so easygoing on the surface, but dude, he’s over three thousand years old. He’s been a respected warrior, he’s been a thief and a social pariah — he’s been cursed. He’s complicated.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, let me lay it down for you: I am one of “those” writers, for whom the characters and the world are totally real. This isn’t a game of make-believe where I pretend they’re real, ok? It’s my process. The game of make-believe, for me, is when I try to pretend it’s not real, like if I have this idea for a direction the story should go or something really cool to happen, and I try to figure out how to get there, but it doesn’t actually make any sense for the characters to do that.

And then nothing works and I am not safe to be around unless you have chocolate. But back to the topic at hand, what I’m saying, is that The Bear’s Surrender is a part of the story that had to be written, but was never destined to fit into either book 5 or book 6, because the conflict is all internal. Although it’s short compared to a novel (I know, I know — TOO short) it’s also too long to spend, within a novel, on just a few characters while there are other, bigger concerns. But these events were important to these characters, and so I had to write it.

Which leads me to the next Big Question: why are there sexy times in the books now?

(Some of you are scratching your heads and wondering, “why wouldn’t there be sex in the books?” Others don’t understand why book 5 featured on-page sex scenes at all. Yet others take vocal objection to whom those sex scenes involved, to which I can only say that when I try to make Emma and the gang do stuff that goes against the story, bad things happen and the writing slows down to nothing and you don’t get any new books. I actually, honestly thought the bacchanalia was going to go another way, ok? But it wasn’t meant to be.)

The books have always had adult content in them. Sex has always been a huge part of the story, right from the beginning. Book 1: Emma finds out she’s destined to get down and dirty with the jaguar king so he can own her magical powers. Sex is part of the prophecy. Magic is transferred and activated through touching, kissing, and biting, as well as more intimate emotional ties. This is a major theme of the series, and it’s touched upon in each and every book – maybe a little less in book 4, because everyone’s so busy trying not to die, but even then, Emma’s feelings and her relationships, and all the ties that bind her, are integral to the story.

Let me bold that for you: Emma’s feelings and her relationships are integral to the story. They always have been. They always will be.

That includes sex. Not ALL THE SEX, but there have been and will continue to be moments when a sex scene is an essential part of the story. Of course, just like in real life, not every intimate moment is life-changing or revelatory, and so the characters get to keep those moments to themselves, off-page. But when the sex scene is important to the characters in some way that goes beyond “whee happy fun times,” then the sex scene will happen on the page. There are and will continue to be sex scenes that represent a turning point in the characters’ emotional lives, or reveal something we didn’t know about them before, or something they didn’t know about themselves. And there are sex scenes so important that they change the course of the series (there was one in the last book, and there’s another one coming in the next book.)

Long story short, there were always going to be sex scenes in the Wild Rites Saga, and the only reason they aren’t in it from book 1 is because it wasn’t the right time, and I didn’t want to write sex scenes just for the sake of it.

So, I can promise there will never be sex scenes that don’t need to be there. I don’t write sex scenes because of commercial demand (I don’t need to, because I’m independently published) or to please certain readers or piss off other readers. I don’t write sex scenes to provide “filler” or titillation. I write what needs to be there on the page, and sometimes, my pretties, that’s a sex scene.

Why I’ve been quiet lately (and yes I’m still writing)

So, I am totally fine, but I recently had minor surgery which involved a hospital stay and a month’s recovery time. I’m fine! But all my energy for the past 6 weeks has been devoted to sticking to my writing schedule while prepping for and recovering from surgery, which is why there’s been radio silence across all my social media thingies. I tend to assume people are more interested in the next book than what I had for lunch, so my focus has been on writing chapters, not Facebook updates…

Then some poor soul messaged me like, have you stopped writing?

No! I mean yes, I’m still writing. Yes, I’m working on the next Wild Rites book. Noooo, I will not say when it will be out, because that goes against my policy of Not Counting Chickens Until They’re Hatched, mainly because if anything were to happen to change my schedule, I would have to disappoint everyone who’d gotten excited about the next book, and I’d hate that. So, the schedule is Top Secret for now.

I will say one thing about release schedules: I write pretty fast when I’m on a project, but I tend to need downtime after each project is finished. More downtime if the project is bigger, like the last book, and I usually have a few projects in various stages at any given time. This is just how I work, and how I need to work, or else the crystal ball I use to find the stories gets foggy. (Yes, the crystal ball is my brain, but the rest is magic.)

So, regardless of how fast I’m capable of writing, it’s likely to be about six months in between Wild Rites releases. I know that saying this will earn me boos and hisses from some readers, and believe me, I get it – if there was an Ilona Andrews or Patricia Briggs book every two months, my life would be complete. I know other authors who can release every two or three months, but I can only be me, and this is how I roll.

Thanks so much to all of you who’ve read the books, past and future. There are more coming. If you ever don’t hear from me, it’s only because I’m busy taking care of my brain, making sure that crystal ball stays clear.

Annnd now I’ve used the word “ball” way too many times in this post, so it’s time to sign off. ‘Til next time! Xox

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