Big Feelings about Release Day?

Rising Wolf comes out in a week, the last book in the Calling the Moon trilogy. I think I’ve shared the origin story of this trilogy on my blog before, but here goes again for new readers.

When my youngest son was four months old, he bit my shoulder so hard that I still bear the scar. I thought, “Well, at least he’s not a Werewolf.” Then I thought, “Wait, what if he WERE a Werewolf? How would he have become a Werewolf? What would it be like to parent a baby Werewolf?” I spiraled into thoughts about urban fantasy and motherhood, and re-working Weres to be more feminist and incorporating moon-based magic.

Julie Hall and Carson were born in those moments.

(By the way, in case you were wondering, my son wasn’t being some kind of baby asshole. He had horrible reflux and was screaming/crying in pain and just clamped down on my shoulder as the nearest thing. Some of you may recognize a moment in Waxing Moon where Carson gives a similar bite in homage to my son. ALSO, let me VERY CLEARLY state for the record that the character of Carson is NOT based on my son and the character of Julie is NOT based on me. There are tons of emotional echoes throughout my works and characters–I relate to all my characters–but Julie’s not even the character in Calling the Moon that I relate most personally.)

My son–the biter–is now 13, which means that I’ve been living with Julie and Carson in one form or another for the past 13 years. Not always actively. I thought for a while. I wrote Dark Moon Wolf for a while. I put it away. I edited and revised. I put it away for years before pulling it back out, deciding to find a small publisher on my own, and beginning Waxing Moon. I’ve had long periods where the series lay fallow in the fields.

But nonetheless, I’ve lived with it for the last 13 years, almost exactly 13 years. Dark Moon Wolf was released on 2/17/2017, Waxing Moon on 8/18/2017, and now Rising Wolf will be released in a week, on 9/23/2019.

So…

How does it feel, Sarah?

Honestly? I’m not sure. It feels like so many things mixed together, that I’m not sure if it feels like anything at all. I’m proud of myself! But I also feel like a total imposter and somehow like I’m still not a “real writer.” (WTF does that mean. Look for a blog post in the next couple of days about imposter syndrome…) I’m glad to have given some closure to Julie and her team–there IS closure in this book and I love the way it ends.

Wait. So is it really the ending? No more books for Julie and her friends?

It’s really the end. I have no more books planned for these characters. I mean, I suppose I should never say NEVER, because I actually have some vague stories floating around that center around Carson as a teenager, with him as the protagonist, but… Yeah, I don’t think I’ll ever write them. I’m moving on to other things. I’m ready to close this chapter of my writing life.

What have you learned from writing this series?

WOW, GREAT QUESTION, SELF! I’ve learned a lot. I’m a better writer than I was a decade ago. The projects I’m working on now–the short stories I’ve been writing, my current novel project Marked–they are benefiting from my experience and I think they will be stronger, actually, than these earlier novels. Not that I don’t love these novels, because I always will.

I’ve learned that publishing a novel (or three) doesn’t change your life. I’ve learned that I kind of suck at marketing books. Like, I need help, people. If you’re reading this and you’ve read my book(s), consider dropping me a review on Amazon. 😉 I’ve learned I better not quit my day job, although maybe if I had more time, I’d also be better at marketing?!

I’ve learned that rejection doesn’t stop just because you publish. I have several short stories that have made it to the penultimate round at professional SFF markets, only to get cut right then. Le grande sigh.

I’ve learned that lots of people who love you won’t read your books (or even buy them and pretend to read them) AND THAT’S OKAY. I know they still love me. I get it. Some people don’t like to read. Some people just don’t understand how important it might be to a small-time author for people to actually buy their books. I know they still support me. A lot of people think that any author–even an author with a small press–is making thousands and thousands of dollars, so it must not really matter if anyone buys their book.

I’ve learned that I love to write and I’m not going to stop. Even if I can’t quit my day job. Even if I’m not great at marketing and I don’t know how to become a Twitter sensation (do I even want to be a Twitter sensation?!).

Okay, but what about the technical stuff you’ve learned?

Ha! Okay. I didn’t realize how hard it is to write blurbs and tag lines. Also, I thought that authors would have lots of input on their cover art. Maybe that’s true if you’re a huge-name author? Or with some presses? At my level and with my press, the press makes all the decisions about the cover art–that surprised me.

I don’t think you really told us how you feel.

Hmm. Maybe not. I can’t decide if I feel happy or sad? Both, maybe.

Wow. What an unsatisfying way to end this blog post.

But how’s this? I PROMISE that Rising Wolf is a much more satisfying end to the trilogy than “Both, maybe” is to this blog post.

Rising Wolf releases in a week. I hope you read it! You can pre-order now!!

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