Cat Sharp Two: Electric Boogaloo

Harry+Chapin+-+Sequel+-+LP+RECORD-289832So, I've never hidden the fact that WILD CARD was book one in what I intend to be a five-book arc for Catherine Sharp, Marius, Flynn and the whole slew of characters that come with them. And ever since it came out, I've been inundated with emails, tweets or friends-of-friends accosting me at gatherings asking, "When do I get the next one?" Apparently, you guys all really want to know what comes next for Cat Sharp. Now, I've had books 2 and 3 finished for a while and have been waiting ever so patiently for Entangled (the kind folks who published WILD CARD) to come back with a decision on the next book.  So I've had to dodge your questions or answer with a lame, "When I know, you'll know."

Well, kids... now I know. 

Entangled will not be publishing Book 2 or any other Catherine Sharp-related story.

For whatever reason, the publisher has opted out of pursuing the sequels. However, I'm free to do what I will with those stories. After some discussion with my agent and a few editors at various publishers, it looks like the best option--the one that makes everyone happy--is for me to go it alone and publish Cat's stories on my own.

That's right, kids, I will be self-publishing.

You might be wondering why I'm choosing to take this route, so let me explain.

First off, if my options are to self-publish the series or shelve it... well, shelving it isn't an option at all. I refuse. I want you to see the rest of this story and there are certainly a lot of you asking for more.

Also, there's the control that self-publishing will give me that going with Entangled or other publishers won't. For example, by self-publishing I can offer print copies of the books. I can set the price-point myself. And, with certain self-publishers out there, I can have a wide distribution equal to that which I had with Entangled.

All of those things combine with your desire for more and tell me that this is the answer to this particular problem.

Now, this doesn't answer the question, "When can I read Book 2?"

I still don't know an exact date. It will be this year. The book itself is already done and has been through several rounds of edits. And sure, I could just throw it up online today without much work and for very little cost. But that's not what I want to do. If I'm going to take the opportunity to self-publish this book, I'm going to make this little light of mine shine. And that takes money. Soon I will be launching a Kickstarter to fund the costs of self-publishing UNVEILED, book 2 in Catherine Sharp's saga.  I hope you all will consider backing this project when the time comes, and spread the word so that Cat Sharp can assume her rightful place in the world.

You have no idea what it means to me to know that you enjoy this world and want more. I hope I am able to give you that.

And, because I love you all so much, here's a snippet from the first chapter:

WARNING: WILD CARD SPOILERS! DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN'T FINISHED BOOK 1!

Chapter One

“Citizen Erased”

Along a lonely strip of Interstate 15, far from the crush of people and the tight onslaught of Las Vegas Boulevard, the land rolled in waves of dusty earth. The weak wash of my headlights showed little more than neglected highway and fading lane markers. Riding along in my little car felt more like floating at the bottom of an abyss. Disconnection and absolute darkness pressed on the windows, cloying, threatening to tear in and suffocate me. Out beyond the veil of night, predators and primordial fears lurked, all too eager to devour Red Riding Hood. I should’ve turned around. I should never have left the safety of my little life. However, some consequences you just can’t wriggle your way out of. I drove straight toward the Big Bad Wolf.

His directions hadn’t exactly been precise. Not something I could plug into a GPS. Take I-15 out of the city until you can see the Milky Way and pull over at the intersection of Reality and Asgard. I thought I’d missed him, maybe gotten lost. Soon enough, though, a pair of headlights burst to life on the side of the road.

As I pulled off onto the shoulder, my tires crunched on gravel and packed dirt. I shut off my engine, but I left my own headlights on.

Loki, leaning casually against the grill of a behemoth tow truck, waved lazily with two fingers. The truck’s high beams gave his already pale flesh a cold, bluish tinge like that of a drowned corpse. His gas-flame eyes stole an icy intensity from that eerie glow.

After a decade of dealing with the more sinister faces of the divine, I’d grown used to the gut-twisting nerves that came with meeting my boss. He kept his immortality under wraps at the day job, playing the role of high-stress CEO of a third-party tech support company. His idea of Dress Down Friday would be a pressed suit off the rack rather than a custom tailored Armani. Off the clock, however, he preferred faded jeans and t-shirts. Even that night, with the temperature dropping into the 40s, Loki wore a pair of flip-flops.

Glaring at him, I slammed my car door in annoyance. “Tell me you didn’t call me, drag me out of bed at oh-fuck-thirty on a Friday night and make me drive out to the middle of nothing because you have car trouble.”

The cherry of his cigarette flared and dimmed as he took a drag, his stare hard and serious. Twin plumes of smoke blasted from his nostrils as he tossed the butt to the ground. He took his eyes off of me only long enough to grind the cig into the dirt with the tip of his sandal.

“You’re late, Cat.”

“See previous statement.”

Loki pushed away from the truck and rolled a shoulder. “Come on,” he said, shuffling around to the back of the truck.

As I followed him, I smelled gasoline, grease and metal blending with the perfume of sandalwood and flowers. Lilacs, perhaps? Confused, I asked, “Is that incense?”

“Not quite.”

He said something in a guttural language. I was about to ask him when he’d picked up the Black Speech of Mordor when a glacial light flared from his palm. The floating orb illuminated the grisly sight of a corpse stretched out on the wheel lift of the truck.