Saturday, September 02, 2006

FINALLY!! (or a lesson in outlasting asshats)



FINALLY!! I've been waiting since 2001 to see my first novel, GODDESS BY MISTAKE, published by a "real" publisher with a "real" editor and "real" distribution. It has been a long, frustrating journey since I mistakeningly (pun intended) allowed an inept small press (not all small presses are inept - example: Ellora's Cave is fabulous) to publish GbM. Basically, it's been a lesson in outlasting asshats, as well as a lesson in how Karma can kick ass. Anyway, here's a summary of how GODDESS BY MISTAKE became DIVINE BY MISTAKE, and why it took so many years for the book to be available (almost exactly five).

DIVINE BY MISTAKE, which was released by LUNA this month, used to be GODDESS BY MISTAKE and is set one hundred twenty-five plus years before the events of ELPHAME’S CHOICE and BRIGHID’S QUEST. Okay, stay with me here. It might get confusing...

DIVINE BY MISTAKE was my very first book. It was published in August 2001 under the title GODDESS BY MISTAKE by a small press with a tiny print run and very limited distribution. At that time I was a na├»ve first time author without an agent or any experience (I also wonder if I might have been without sense, too, when I look back on that dreadful first contract!). So my book was released, and I’d already almost finished its sequel, GODDESS BY CHOICE, and had a third book outlined, GODDESS BY DESIGN – and, Wham! Out of nowhere I get a 4 ½ star top pick gold review from Romantic Times Magazine, and GbM finals in The Holt Medallion, Prism, Laurel Wreath, and National Readers’ Choice Award. It eventually wins all of these except the NRCA. This wonderful attention helped me sign on with my incredible agent, Meredith Bernstein, and within four days she had an offer from Berkley for the trilogy. As you can imagine, I was deliriously happy – until I was informed the small press refused to sell the rights to GbM, thereby ‘holding hostage’ the second and third books in the trilogy.

I like to believe out of negatives can be born positives, which is definitely what happened in this case. Because my Partholon series was temporarily dead (and sitting under my bed) I was forced to come up with an idea for a new series of books, which became the Goddess Summoning Books for Berkley.

Meanwhile, I never forgot that I had a fabulous trilogy in limbo. For years my agent diligently attempted to get the rights of GbM back, and I waited...and waited...and waited...and wrote other books while the wretched small press held GbM, GbC, and GbD hostage.

Then I heard about Harlequin’s new fantasy imprint for women, LUNA, and knew my Partholon books would be perfect for it. But, again, the small press wouldn’t release my rights. So I got mad and did some serious brainstorming, which is when I came up with the idea to take my basic plot plan for the third book, GODDESS BY DESIGN, and set it in the future so that I could have the beginnings of a new series which refers back to and is based upon the events of GODDESS BY MISTAKE as history. And that is the idea LUNA bought in a three book package: ELPHAME’S CHOICE, BRIGHID’S QUEST, and CIARA’S DESTINY.

Soon after my sale my agent was finally able to get the small press to agree to sell my rights to GODDESS BY MISTAKE (I won't even go into the details of the small press's greed and the ridiculous amount of money I had to pay to get my rights to this book back, let's just suffice to say that Karma is already eating them alive), and LUNA quickly bought the book and its sequel. It had been four years since GbM was first published. Who said good things come to those who wait? I think fantastic is a better word than simply good!

So why the title change from GbM and GbC to DIVINE BY MISTAKE and DIVINE BY CHOICE? That was a condition of my contract with Berkley. While I’m writing “goddess” books for them the word goddess can’t appear in any of my other titles.

Does that clear things up? I think it’s easy to understand when you read the books. So we’ve had Elphame’s and Brighid’s stories – now we’re going to get Shannon Parker’s story, and the Fomorian War. Then there will be a sequel to DbC, DIVINE BY BLOOD and another book, DIVINE BY DESTINY, wherein I tie all the Partholon books together (DIVINE BY DESTINY was originally titled CIARA’S DESTINY). Hope you’ll come along for the ride!

QUESTIONS? Did I totally confuse you?

31 comments:

*Dani* said...

Not at all, course I'm an adoring, totally enamored fan! hehe. I can't wait for the other titles and am totally glad that the whole mess is resolved! I also feel like it's a great lesson for us apiring authors who want to get published. Just sucks that it happened to you!

PC Cast said...

Hey there Dani you sweet thang! Did you read Divine by Mistake? I'm interested in your take on the changes I made.

And the biggest lesson for aspiring writers is to get a good agent (even if that seems like a daunting quest) and to stay away from small presses except for the ones recommended to you by other authors/agents/editors. I jumped at the first contract I was offered. I should have researched before signing.

Nicole said...

I'm currently reading Divine by Mistake on my iPaq courtesy of harlequin's new ebook boutique.

I actually hvae a copy of Goddess by Mistake on my shelf. :-)

I was at the bookstore yesterday talking about it and the bookseller there was rather perturbed at the title change and all that, saying her customers hated getting confused with all this stuff. So I told her what I knew about it (most of what you said here). lol I think she was still irritated, but more by re-released titles that change titles than anything. It seems to bother booksellers.

PC Cast said...

Hi Nicole - thanks for clarifying the title change issue with the bookseller. I, too, would rather it hadn't had to be changed, but there was nothing that could be done about it. Plus, there were so few (comparatively speaking) people who read Goddess by Mistake that I just don't that it's that big of a deal in this case. I'm hoping readers agree...

Nonny said...

I'm not confused at all, but... wow. I admire your perseverence. I've known of other writers that dropped a book/series because it was caught in a binding contract with another publisher.

Thank you for sharing, btw. It's definitely a warning to aspiring writers who might sign anything just because it's a publishing contract. Like Dani said, I'm just sorry that you had to go through it. :-\

As for the prior comment about booksellers and retitled re-releases... in all honesty, I think this is an unusual case. It's not like, say, Nora Roberts re-releasing a book under a new title, after all. If it were another big name publisher, then, yeah, maybe it would be more of a deal, but when it's small press ... I doubt it'll matter to most. :)

*Dani* said...

I haven't read it yet PC, it's my good girl reward for finishing my chapter goals this week...and since I just finished them, I'm sooo about to tear into it! I'll definitely let you know what I think about the changes because I'm very, very curious about them.

Good night to all, I'm going to bed!

Kathy said...

I resent that P.C. I read it. And I have been eagerly waiting for 5 years for the sequel. December can't come soon enough.:-)

Angel said...

I think the "Holy Crap someone is interested in my book!" is just so overwhelming that your brain cells get fried. It's very understandable.

Next to title changes don't forget cover art changes. Example Christine Feehan and Johanna Lindsey. Then there are authors such as Diana Palmer who have been around forever and people just don't know what the heck they have or have not read because they have re released every book every 5 years with different cover and OR different title. (I have to hear about this constantly from my mother and grandmother.)

One of the biggest tragedies to the whole contract gone ire is Dara Joy. I just want to cry at the thought of her series never being completed. Maybe someday.

I'm so glad it worked out for you and that we will finally get our bks! I'm sure it will be well worth the wait.

Bonnie Ferguson said...

Your books are wonderful PC and I'm glad that you got the rights to GBM back :)

PC Cast said...

Well, the whole thing was a frustrating mess, and for a long time I thought that I was just going to have to kiss the book (and the sequels) goodbye. But from the wait the Goddess Summoning Books were born, as well as Elphame and Brighid - plus two additional Partholon books to bridge the gap between Elphame, Brighid, DbM and DbC. So because of one small press's greed, instead of a trilogy I've ended up with six books and a strong series. Plus, I know my experience has kept several authors from falling in the same trap I did.

I love how the universe works. Positive grows from negative. A little like a shitty marriage (or in my case, several of them) being the foundation for self-growth and strength.

Angel said...

You are an amazing woman and writer. I don't think I'd have had your road paved any other way.

*Dani* said...

I think she's my hero..*sniff..tear..sniff* :)

Emma Petersen said...

Nope, not confused at all! Just happy you were able to get back what was yours! Congrats!

Malachesque said...

I picked up GbM at the Scottish Games in Tulsa long long ago... I'm happy to finally get my hands on the next part!

Kathy said...

Like I said, I've read Goddess By Mistake. I have Divine By Mistake coming from Amazon. It should arrive either today or tomorrow and I am so looking forward to seeing what updates and changes you made. Goddess By mistake is my all-time favorite book.:-)

Lis said...

Hi PC, I'm new to your writing. Justam halfway through it, its awesome!
Looking forward to the sequel and picking up the other books :)

PC Cast said...

Thanks guys - it was certainly worth the wait!

Wow! The Scottish Games in Tulsa - that was YEARS ago!

Kathy - let me know what you think of the updates.

Lis - I love new recruits!

Jess said...

I still have my signed copy GBM, and I'm picking up the new one this weekend. I'm so glad you got the rights back and I can't wait to read the rest of the series.

Heather Harper said...

Wow. That was a mouthful.

And I'm not confused. Congratulations on getting your story with the right publisher.

Jenna Leigh said...

YAAAAAAAAY!! I'm so glad! I wondered where Shannon and the others went! Thanks so much for clearing it up!

angela said...

just received my copy in the mail.. i'm excited to start on it!

Wolf said...

I *just* finished this book today.
Very well written, I look forward to the next.

Griselda said...

I loved the book...but felt like it ended too soon...I am wondering if I am missing pages...mine has 672
I am sending for your other books soon. Thanks for a wonderful time...I am already missing those places.

PC Cast said...

Divine by Mistake has 698 pages, so your book is missing pages. I'd take it back to the bookstore and exchange it.

But, yes, there is a sequel, Divine by Choice, out in December.

Griselda said...

Ohh wow...interesting...or shall we say, it was Divine Mistake made by the printer...laughs*

It is good to talk to you.
Bright Blessings.

Lindsey said...

Am I jumping the gun here in asking how this book is set 125+ years before Elphame's and Brihgid's stories? I was digging around for info on how this fit into them timewise and now I'm just confused.

PC Cast said...

Well, Lindsey, I'm not sure why you're confused. Yes, Divine by Mistake and Divine by Choice are set 125+ years before the events that take place in Elphame's Choice and Brighid's Quest. DbM and DbC tell the story of how an Oklahoma woman gets pulled into the mythological world of Partholon, and the plots follow the events of the Fomorian War and what happens directly afterward. Maybe you're confused because you're assuming Elphame and Brighid are set in this time - they're not. It's a mythic world and it doesn't follow our time rules. Actually, the 5th book, Divine by Blood, sends a character ahead from our time and she ends up in Partholon during Brighid's time, to tie all the books together. Basically, if you read them I don't think you'll be confused at all.

Lindsey said...

Thanks for the prompt reply. I will need to go back and reread the books. One problem with reading so much is that I tend to get them mixed together. I'm looking forward to the next installment :)

Zahel said...

Hi, i belive that this comment is so late..like for years..but I i have been reading the house of night series and i love then..cant wait for Burned to come out..and I finally started reathing Elpham's Choice and Brighid's Quest..i really hope you continue it from Brighid's Quest, i think i read somewhere that it was going to continue with Ciara..im a little confused..but i hope it countinuos on from BQ

Love your writting!

Charlotte U. P said...

Dear, sweet, wonderful PC Cast,

I asked you some days ago in another post (a newer post) about a next book in the Partholon series. And I belive I found my answer in this post. I absolutely love your books, all of them, but Partholon got me hard. It is a lovely world. So now that I know you have thought of another book, the question is if you have started on it, or is it on hold?

Looking forward to an answer, Charlotte.

PC Cast said...

Hi Charlotte! Wow, what an old post! You're an excellent detective. So, the update is that I wrote the five Partholon books, and then the House of Night series took off and has consumed most of my time. I do have Ciara's Destiny outlined, and I'm looking forward to being able to write it. The problem with the Partholon books is that they're big books - each 150,000+ words, and writing a book that big takes a bunch of time. Yes, I plan to write the book - as soon as I can block out the time! And I do love Partholon and to return to that magickal world! Thank you for asking.

PC