Today I wrote the last word on on the last page of the last book of the Revanche Cycle. Queen of the Night is complete at 95,017 words, and...
And that's it. It's done. The series is over. I just finished saying goodbye to people who have lived in my head for years, whose stories played out over four novels and a lot of long, sleepless nights. I always knew what the last line of the series would be, even before I started writing book one; that didn't prepare me for the gut-punch of typing it, or for hitting the enter key twice and adding: THE END.
I won't tell you what happens in book four, save that it's decisively the end of the saga. Some characters make it out alive. Some don't. Some find redemption. Some don't. And as for the title, well...not everything is as it seems.
I can only describe what I'm feeling right now as a special kind of mourning. Saying goodbye to all of these people who are, in my heart, so very real to me. It's not like the Faust or Harmony books when I know, at the end, that soon I'll be ready to bring the gang back together for another adventure. This adventure is over.
At the same time, it doesn't have that same coffin-lid finality as real mourning. For one thing, I'm not done with the work. Now it goes in a drawer so I can take a few days and refresh my brain, finding some distance from the words. Next, I'll go at it with a couple of rounds of heavy self-edits, fixing and tweaking it from top to bottom. Then it goes to Kira, my editor, who does the real work of making my stories worthy of you. Then back to me, another round of last-minute reviews, and finally -- sometime in early July, it looks like -- I'll be able to bring it to you.
And you'll meet those same people I just said goodbye to, and you'll walk with them just like I did, and they'll live all over again.
Nothing's ever over, in stories. Someone, somewhere, is taking their very first look at a book you remember from your chidhood. For someone, the adventure is just beginning.
And I may have a sneaky plan or two for later down the line, something I can't talk about now, but you know me: there's always something brewing behind the scenes. A few sharp-eyed readers have caught what might have been a subtle connection between The Killing Floor Blues and Terms of Surrender. When Red Knight Falling, the second Harmony Black novel, comes out in April you might just catch another one if you look close. What does it all mean? Oh, you'll see. Eventually.
(Chekhov's Gun? I prefer using Chekhov's Artillery. It has range.)
The Revanche Cycle is complete. Tonight I'll sit down, mix myself a Dark and Stormy, and raise my glass in salute to the victorious and the fallen. The story may be done but the characters are still in my heart, alive and kicking. As they always will be.