My Town Monday: What’s Up with the Saturn Society? And ROW80

I’m not one to blog about my books very often, but some of my recent email tells me it’s time for an update. (I figure this fits into My Town because so far, all of the Saturn Society books take place in my home town, Dayton.) Readers want to know, what’s going on with the Saturn Society? Namely, when’s the next book coming?

There are common reader expectations here. Currently, there are two Saturn Society novels. Books typically are either standalone, or come in threes (or more). Duologies are rare. But the fact is, there isn’t a third Saturn Society novel in the pipeline – at least not yet.

You see, traditional publishing was the only viable path to readers until a couple years ago. Writers were typically advised to only write one book in a series, one that could stand alone, for a couple of reasons. One, the book might never sell, so why put a lot of time and effort into a second that would definitely not sell?  Two, even if that first book sold, there was never a guarantee that a second would. Sometimes debut authors would get a two- or three-book deal, but they often didn’t. And if that first book didn’t sell well, the second would not be purchased.

So back to the Saturn Society. Time’s Enemy was the third book I’d written, but it was the one where I was really figuring out my process. Among other things, I learned that I could not write a book without outlining or pre-planning, when I ended up with 600 pages of rambling with no ending in sight (but I had a lot of fun!). However, I still loved the story, and there was enough usable material in there for a book. Or two, I realized, when I tried to write a synopsis.

So I reworked it enough to come up with a real antagonist (also missing from those early drafts) and a logical ending for the first book. Although Time’s Enemy was still too long (150,000 words – yikes!), I dutifully pitched it to agents and editors while I worked on Time’s Fugitive. I knew the odds of selling them were dismal, but I loved the story too much not to finish it. I never bothered to give Time’s Fugitive a complete revision until I decided to publish last year. However, I wrote it with the possibility of an out for my antagonists, on the off-chance that readers would want a third book.

So there’s my long-winded explanation of why there’s no third novel in the Saturn Society series.

Yet.

Because it does appear that readers want one! I have a couple other projects on deck right now that are closer to being ready to write, so those are going to happen first while ideas for a third Saturn Society book percolate. Who knows? There could be more after that – I’ve set up some possibilities for books and series for other characters, too.

In the meantime, I’m offering a little something to hold my readers over. “Time’s Holiday” is a short story that gives a fun glimpse into the background of a couple of minor characters. Hopefully, this will entertain existing readers while pulling in new ones.

In “Time’s Holiday,” seventeen-year-old Taylor Gressman sneaks away on Christmas Eve, hoping to find the angel who saved her life a few weeks earlier. Instead, she takes an unexpected trip back in time, and finds herself in the midst of a murderous street gang. Now it’s up to Taylor to ensure that she and a newfound friend don’t become the gang’s next victims, and in the process, learn that giving is the best gift of all. There is also a brief excerpt here. This is not your typical sweetness-and-light Christmas story. It includes a bit of true crime based on the “Christmas Killings” that happened in Dayton in 1992.

“Time’s Holiday” is currently available for free on Smashwords, and will eventually be available on other major retail sites. It will also be a part of the Home for the Holidays anthology that my RWA chapter will soon release.


On another note, it’s time for ROW80 Round 4! This is “the writing challenge that knows you have a life,” where writers set goals and report back on our progress twice a week. I typically haven’t done the Wednesday updates, but am going to try to get back on that bandwagon this round, since I’ve changed my posting days to Monday and Wednesday, instead of Monday and Thursday. The Sunday updates will continue. Round 4 ends right before Christmas. Last time, my goals were a bit, shall we say, ambitious. So this time, I’m going to step back a bit. Maybe. Here are my overall goals for this round:

  • Format and release OVRWA holiday story anthology
  • Revise Hangar 18. This one was on deck for the last round, but the changes needed after beta reads were more extensive than I thought, so this is going to take longer.
  • Keep up with my exercise, five times a week.
  • Finish the Get It Together exercises (description of that here).

I’d like to get a new book planned and possibly started (maybe even do NaNoWriMo?) but I’m not ready to commit to that just yet. Same with finishing How to Think Sideways, which really goes along better with working on a new book. The great thing about ROW80 is that we recognize that life happens, things change, so our goals can change too.

This week is mainly going to be taken up with #1, so I want to get that formatted and done, although I’m waiting on one more story. So for this week, the goals are:

  • Format Home for the Holidays anthology if all materials are received – otherwise, get as much done as possible.
  • Physical activity 5x this week
  • Finish list of major revisions for Hangar 18
  • Get it Together exercises 11 & 12

If you’re participating in ROW80, what are your plans for this round? And either way, do you like holiday stories?

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

14 Responses to \

  1. What a great idea to make a short story using minor characters! But you’ve got to write a third novel for the Saturn Society:). I won’t be participating in ROW80. I’m just not organized enough!

  2. Thanks, Maria! People like you telling me I need to write it is why I will!

    Thanks, Patricia! And I’m glad you put in your link – that’s how I check back, if I haven’t already been there. 🙂

  3. Looks like a great addition to your Saturn Society series! Congrats on the short story. I’ll be here again for Round 4 of ROW80 to cheer you on. Best wishes, Jennette!

  4. Pretty cool that your fans are clamoring for more. 🙂 The holiday short looks like fun. We have been talking about getting organized with the records as well. You just never know. There are things on both our sides that the other should know about. You’re smart to get started. And I too, have considered NaNoWriMo. But I have a vacation in the middle of November and that make it difficult. Probably not the best time. It would be nice to push through a story though. Good luck with whatever you decide.

  5. I can feel your pain on the traditional publishing process. Lisa and I also originally wrote our book intending to traditionally publish, so we didn’t put much thought (other than vague brainstorming) into the second and third books. We knew we wanted to do a trilogy, but we didn’t want to start on the others until we knew if we could sell the first one and if we could get a contract for the second. Now that we’re considering a different route for our book, we also have to consider how fast we could reasonably write more.

  6. Whenever the third Saturn Society novel comes out, Ill grab it ASAP. I’m really looking forward to following more of Tony and Vi’s adventures. In the meantime, Time’s Holiday sounds awesome. Thanks so much, Jennette. I’m off to get my copy!

  7. Lauralynn, thanks!

    Debra, I find it very hard to write while on vacation, despite all good intentions sometimes. Hope it’s a great one – and thanks for the encouragement!

    Marcy, you know where I’m coming from with Book 3! 🙂 Thanks, and good luck on yours/Lisa’s!

    Thanks, Diane! I am reading Twixt right now and loving it!

    Lynn, thanks so much – it’s this kind of encouragement that spurred me to mull over another one. I hope you enjoy Time’s Holiday!