At Long Last… Checkmate Concludes

PTR_Dawn_FIAs of 1:40 pm US Central Standard Time, I have typed the words that had eluded me on the “Checkmate” series since Christmas. Those magic words?

The End.

It’s over. After drafting the first silly novella in December 2011 with no idea where the hell it would go or even if it was worth publishing… Here I am at June 2013 at long last crossing the finish line.

Initially, the “Checkmate” series was intended to be six installments. But the reality hit that Dreamspinner might not take all of them. Cue unbridled panic and lots to scrambling to find what I could cut or tie up.

At the time of the news, I was halfway through completing the third installment. My reality got rocked so hard, I had set it aside back in March.

I moved on to other projects as the second book moved through the submissions cue, and currently the edits. I started “Switchblade Symphony” which is so different from anything I had written so far, I wonder if people are going to question it’s my book. I’m pumped to get back to it. I’m also picking up “Americana Fairytale” again. My 2011 Camp NaNoWriMo novel that I thought was so exciting and different up until “Once Upon a Time” and “Grimm” premiered that Fall, and the worse insult to injury “Snow White and the Hunstman” was announced a couple of weeks after I finished it at San Diego Comic Con. My good friend Cate Ashwood teased me for my near psychic trend prediction prowess.

Once “Cashing the Reality Check” (the official title of the sequel to “Pawn Takes Rook”) was go for launch, the idea of dusting off the draft to the third “Checkmate” book tumbled around in my head. I will say in a very non-spoilery way, that while under the assumption that “Cashing the Reality Check” was going to be it for the “Checkmate” series, I had ended it in such a way that was satisfying, but if you knew were to look there were strings of things left unanswered. My favorite TV series of all time is “Lost,” after all. And I’m a total douchebag that with every question answered, ten more crop up, and the mystery keeps spiraling ever onward.

On a lark, I emailed my Editor-In-Chief, explained where I was at with the third “Checkmate” book, confirmed it would be the last one, and had no idea if she’d be interested. Let’s just say the reaction was a tentative greenlight to go for it. And go for it I went. Let’s be clear at this moment, I have no contract, not even the promise of one. I just have the completed draft as of this afternoon that I have to ship to my betas, revise, stumble my way through a summary, and fumble my way through a synopsis, then ship it off to the submission wilds and cross my fingers.

My only problem? I had bits I planned for six books. I had to tie them all up and how. I kept the jumble of plot threads in my head, and had to pretty much ditch my written outline. The final 16k just about of “Checkmate #3” was pretty much in the same direction I needed to go but totally written by the seat of my pants and I wove in bits and pieces that needed to be good and settled. The ending changed completely about five times in my head in the last month. The big giant happy bow at the end didn’t occur to me until three days ago.

That’s not a spoiler. It’s a freaking romance book. Of course it has to end on a high note.

There’s just going to be a lot of kicking, screaming, and sobbing to get there. I never said I played fair! And I’m not kidding that my long time friends joke I should legally change my name to “Watchmen” author Alan Moore for the excruciating torture I put my characters though. (Sidenote: Moore does look a bit like Charles Manson? Am I right or am I right?)

As for today, I’m in a bit of a brain-dead daze. I’m still getting my strength back up from an emergency procedure I had on Thursday, which I blogged about here at Bitter Little Pearl. (WARNING: Frank and Honest Discussion about Colon Health) In a burst of energy, I belched out 4k last night, and 4k this morning. Not knowing what to do with myself, my parents and I went to dinner. The dinner was in fact somewhat mediocre considering its an eatery known for tasty well-made things. I ordered dessert anyway and that made up for my crappy meal. And likely over-filled my caloric intake for the day.

Now, it’s back to the salt mines. There’s schoolwork to catch up on, interviews for here to write, a gym to go to, the second round of edits for “Cashing the Reality Check” to wait for (and cross my fingers and toes that my soul won’t be completely mangled.)

And now… Rook and Garth, my beautiful boys, set their sights on the second star to the right…

…And straight on till morning.

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