Ride the Storm

I was just informed that Ride the Storm, the sequel to Reap the Wind, has been postponed.

WTF Karen?

The short version:

It’s a long and complex book and is taking longer to finish than I’d hoped. I was faced with a choice: finish it up quickly and have it be less than I knew it could be, or take another few months and do it right. I chose the latter. Unfortunately, in doing so I lost my slot in the publication schedule, and have very likely just pissed off a lot of people. For what it’s worth, I am really sorry. I have honestly done the best I can, but in this case, my best wasn’t good enough.

The long version:

I don’t talk about the writing process much because I try to keep the blog/Facebook/etc. light and positive. Hearing about an author’s struggles to get you the book you want might diminish that book for some people, and I don’t want to do that. It also isn’t very interesting. So I mostly just deal with it, and try to get you the books as fast as I can. But some people have interpreted that as me not caring enough to keep you informed, which was . . . upsetting. So for those of you who want the whole story, here is what’s been going on.

Reap the Wind was double the size of most books in urban fantasy. Originally, the beast came in at over 200,000 words, which my publisher wouldn’t print. I write mass market paperbacks—the very cheapest type of books published by traditional publishing houses—which means they don’t make the publisher a lot of money. And that makes them reluctant to publish longer books (because they cost more to print, edit and warehouse). They will stretch a point to a degree if they think the book warrants it, but not to that degree. I was told to cut it.

This decision led to the following series of events:

a. The first question, of course, was where to cut it. One of the original ideas was to bisect it. Some people like a thick book, but surprisingly, some don’t, and won’t read something they consider too long. So publishing half of a large book and then following that up a few months later with the other half is something often done to get around the problem. It also generates more revenue, which is usually viewed as a good thing.

b. However, Reap the Wind was not a book that would be easy to cut in two. It was a continuous storyline and halving it was going to lead to a very abrupt ending. Eventually, it was decided that this was one of those books that really needed to be published whole. I was told to cut enough out of it to get it down to 170,000 words or so, to make it possible to publish as one mass market title.

c. The contract for the sequel to RTW was being written while debates over where/how much to cut were going on. I told Penguin that, if they were going to bisect RTW, I needed the second half out as soon as possible after the first, so that people would not be left hanging with half a story. This was agreed to. But when it was decided not to bisect the book, just to cut it down somewhat instead, the deadline wasn’t changed.

d. I knew this would make things very difficult, because instead of a few minor alterations to make a bisected book possible, I was now looking at writing an entire second book, part of which I had, sure, but a large part of which I didn’t. So I was staring at a very tight deadline. I should have just gone ahead and announced a postponement then, but I thought it might just be possible to pull off if I put in some very long days.

e. Unfortunately, I forgot to take into consideration that I didn’t have just this book to work on. I also had to rewrite sections of RTW to get the page length down to something Penguin would publish, and I had to do the edit. RTW was a long book, and the edit took a good deal of time. I was also tired, having just come off a long write and having immediately started another, and wasn’t writing as fast as I would like. In the end, there just wasn’t enough time.

So what’s happening now? Ride the Storm will be done in a couple months. A decision about a revised pub date will be made then. And, as soon as I know anything, I will announce it. The immediate project after RTS is finishing up the fourth Dory book, part of which is already written. That should take up the last month or two of this year, and the first part of 2016. I also owe you guys a couple of freebie novellas, which I haven’t forgotten about, I’ve just been playing catch up and couldn’t get to them. You now know as much about my schedule as I do.

One last thing. I have spent years trying to put out good quality fiction, something original, something fun, something well written, and also do it fast. It is very disheartening when people give a book bad reviews, or just stop reading all together, because it took longer than they’d like. That’s especially true when you are doing absolutely everything you can to get it to them quickly. But people want what they want; I understand that. But, lately, I’ve come to understand something else, too: I can’t give it to you.

I would like to put out more books per year. It would make people happier with me, and would much improve my standard of living. I drive a fifteen year old car–believe me, I would like to put out more books. But I did an assessment recently, and you know what I came up with? Here, I’ll show you:

In 2009, the first year I wrote full time, I wrote Curse the Dawn (140,000 words). I also wrote some short stories for various anthologies: “The Day of the Dead (14,500 words), “Vegas Odds” (17,000 words), and “The Gauntlet” published in 2010 but written the previous year (18,000 words). Total: 189,500.

In 2010, I wrote Death’s Mistress (140,000 words). I also wrote “Skin Deep” for Inked (40,000 words), and “The Queen’s Witch”, a freebie companion story for “The Gauntlet” (15,000). Total: 195,000.

In 2011 I wrote Hunt the Moon (145,000 words) and published a free novella “A Family Affair” (25,000 words), and a short story “In Vino Veritas” first published in Chicks Kick Butt (8,000 words). Total: 178,000.

In 2012 I wrote Fury’s Kiss (171,000 words). I wrote and published a freebie novella “Shadowland” (25,000 words). I also published a free short story “The House at Cobb End” (8,300 words), and wrote part of the fourth Dory novel, only to realize I couldn’t move ahead with it because it depended on things in Cassie’s world that hadn’t happened yet. Total: 204,000 not counting the Dory material.

In 2013, I wrote and published Tempt the Stars (123,000 words), wrote Masks (140,000 words), for a total of 263,000 words.

In 2014, I edited Masks for publication, dealt with the fallout, which you can read about on the blog if you’re curious, and wrote the equivalent of a book for Reap the Wind, since I had around 110,000 words before the end of the year. I also wrote “Updating Pritkin”, a freebie short story of approximately 7,000 words, over the summer. Total: 117,000 words.

In 2015, I wrote the rest of Reap the Wind, which was the equivalent of another full sized novel, and edited it. I am now in the final stages of Ride the Storm, having well over 100,000 words finished and more in pieces. I expect to finish it up in the next couple of months. Assuming I do, that will put me at somewhere around a quarter million publishable words this year, which is above my average. Total: 180,000 currently; 250,000 estimated.

So, I realized something as I started adding things up. I write an average of 199,500 publishable words a year. If we discount 2014, a low for me because depression affects my writing quite a lot, and I had a rather bad one that year, we get 213,250. So what is that, exactly?

Well, the average urban fantasy novel is 90,000-100,000 words. So 213,000 means two short books per year (or what I consider short, anyway). Or one longer book and a novella. Or a very long book, plus some short stories. Or a longer book and some work done on a second book, resulting in two longish books the next year . . . do you see where this is going?

There’s all kinds of combinations, and you can see most of them in my calculations above, since I’ve done something a little different every year. But the word count doesn’t change. It can’t, because while depression or illness or some other serious problem can bring it down, doing more than an absolute max of a quarter million words a year just isn’t happening.

Well, why the heck not?

Because, as I’ve discovered this year especially, more hours at the computer doesn’t necessarily translate into more publishable words. More words, yes, I can always write. But they won’t always be anything you’d want to read! And I try to give you the best of what I do. So that, when you buy one of my novels, you get something that hopefully delights you, not something I churned out to meet a deadline.

I had a reader tell me once that my books were the best entertainment value she’d ever found, because they cost less than most movie tickets, but they gave her hours of enjoyment and could be read again and again. It was one of the nicest comments I think I’ve ever received. Because that was exactly the reaction I was working for.

So why have I bored you with this rather long explanation? To make a secondary announcement. For years, I have felt like I was trying to play catch up. Working to get all the books out every year that people expected, yet stressing because I never seemed to manage it. What I finally realized this summer, a summer of seven day weeks and twelve hour days, a summer of boarding my dog with a friend because I had to concentrate, a summer of no vacation, not even for a day, because deadline, deadline, have to make that deadline, is that I can’t catch up because I can’t catch up. Literally. I can’t write as fast as people expect me to. It isn’t physically possible.

Maybe it is for someone else, but that 263,000 words up there? Yeah, that’s pretty much my limit, and that’s on a really good year. Maybe someone else can do more, if so, good for them. I wish I was them. But I’m not, I’m me, and I am already doing everything I can and more than is actually useful. What did I learn this summer? That I have to chill the heck out.

So here’s my announcement: I’m going to stop trying. Not stop trying to do good books, I hope I will always do that. But stop trying to push myself crazy hours and just end up with diminishing returns. Stop trying to please everyone, because it’s not happening anyway–seriously, are you pleased? Didn’t think so. Stop trying to make impossible deadlines, and giving optimistic estimates because I know that’s what people want to hear, and instead just do the best I can.

From now on, I am going to put in my ten hours a day and quit. I am going to have weekends. I am occasionally going to go away for a few days. I have a suspicion–a pretty strong suspicion–that this may actually resort in more usable stuff, not less, because I usually write better and faster when I am not stressed. But either way, that’s my life now. It has to be, because otherwise I am going to burn out and not be good for anything.

I hope you understand. And I hope that, like with my other reader, what I do produce will give you pleasure for many years to come. Thank you for reading.

95 Responses to Ride the Storm

  • skjackson says:

    What I want to say to this is that I wouldn’t care if it took you five years to come out with the next book in this series, I would still wait patiently for you to do what you needed to produce something you were proud to put your name on. I read obsessively and your characters are some of the most compelling and entertaining I have ever had the pleasure of encountering. I don’t know why Joe Public seems to think that books should be churned out to suit their demands – all I can bring to mind is someone standing behind da Vinci whining “Aren’t you done YET?” A writer’s job consists of bringing whole realities to life that never existed before and that takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears. It took even God six days to create the universe and He put His feet up on the seventh one. Guess you’re entitled to have a life outside of feeding your readers’ heads too. You write such amazing stories – please continue to do what works best for you as the craftsman. It is so worth the wait.

  • Kay says:

    I don’t usually comment on these things, but I think it needs to be said. If you’re struggling with depression, if you’re stressing yourself out, if you’re not taking breaks and you’re working all the time then stop. Take all the time you need. You write an astonishing amount of publishable words every year – far more than I think I ever could and they are quite possibly my favourite.
    I can never anticipate what will come next in your series, not like I can with almost every other series I have ever read. Your work is amazing, it is original and I highly anticipate every novel, every short story, I check your website regularly so I don’t miss out anything new.
    I’m sad when publishing dates are pushed back, but if you need them pushed back to make it the best novel possible, than I will trust your judgement.
    If you need those dates pushed back because you’re not giving yourself time for you? Then take it, I won’t judge. And anyone who tries to judge you for it, has never dealt with the kind of depression that emerges from stress.
    You’re an amazing author and I have no doubts your an amazing person. Don’t compromise yourself or your happiness for anyone else. Not ever.

  • lorena says:

    I comment from time to time, and definitely felt the need to chime in. As a former deadline news writer, the stress of writing a certain number of words used to come daily. It wasn’t fun and it certainly wasn’t my best work. I LOVE your books, and you’re one of the few writers whose books I will pre-purchase at full price. They’re worth every penny, and are lovingly re-read over and over. I read several books a month, but yours are nearly the only ones I reread for fun.

    I’ve seen the negative comments you mentioned. Anyone who appreciates your craft understands that there’s a process, both in the writing and on the business side. Those negative commenters are either highly unaware and ignorant of the processes, or will read anything put in front of them, quality or not.

    Please keep writing, Karen, but do it at your own pace. Don’t let the stress, depression and anxiety crush your spirit or creative energy. I’ll keep reading because you write amazing books. And I suspect many of your fans will agree and do the same.

    TL;DR: you do you and let the haters hate, Karen. We got you!

    • admin says:

      I do understand the frustration some people feel when things take a while. If I wasn’t a writer myself, I probably wouldn’t have a clue as to the work that goes into a book. So I try not to get upset when other people don’t get it, either. But it’s really nice when some do! Thank you.

  • Tammy says:

    i just wanted to tell you that I love your books. I read many authors and have found that many of those that put out more books per year don’t necessarily have the quality they once did. It is always disappointing to be reading a book you have been waiting for and feel as if the middle to the end is rushed or that the book seems really familiar, as if they took out the names from their last book, replaced the names and a few details and put it out as a “new” book.
    Your books are always original, the stories are always smart and entertaining and I never get that rushed feeling.
    I wish you tons of success and just wanted to say thank you!

    • admin says:

      There’s a lot of pressure to get things out quickly. I understand where the publisher is coming from; some people have a short attention span, and if you’re name isn’t out there frequently, they forget. But I’ve always felt that having your name on a book that isn’t ready is not a solution.

  • JillianRuth says:

    I hope that you know that you are amazing. I hope that you can keep that in mind while you deal with the pressure and the frustration of impatient fans/publishers. You have an amazing talent, but it’s still way more important to me that you are taking care of yourself, than putting out new material. I adore your work, but you’ve already given me so much! I’m an aspiring novelist that pays some of my bills through journalism and content work. My depression can be crippling, even when I’m writing articles that don’t require inspiration or contact with the muses. I feel so blessed that you share your own struggle, because it helps me remember that even my favorite authors, people with unfathomable talent like you, deal with obstacles. Thank you so much for what you do, and thank you so much for taking care of yourself, and realizing that you have the right to take a breath and give yourself permission to be happy, instead of harried. I will always support any decision that you make in your best interest, loyally purchase everything you write, and recommend your work to everyone I have to opportunity to talk books with! Aside from writing reviews reflecting how much I enjoy your characters and the universe that you’ve so skillfully built for them, is there any other way your devout fans can help make your life easier? I’d feel so lucky to contribute to your well-being in any way!:)

    • admin says:

      You just did, 🙂

      And yeah, depression sucks. It also lies. Don’t listen to it. You sound like a wonderful person, and I appreciate all you’ve done to help promote the books.

  • christiane says:

    I also don’t normally make comments on blog posts, however you are one of my very favorite authors, so I wish to say something.
    The ignorant people criticizing you are not the kind of people you need in life, even if they are just fans (or anti-fans I guess). You said it yourself that you are more productive & produce better quality when you are less stressed, and what your devoted fans want is the best that you can do!
    I personally have depression and anxiety and struggle to deal most days with the regular people in my life. I can only imagine what anonymous “feedback” would do to my sanity! I admire that you care so much and have tried all you can, but I admire more that you are doing what you need to do for yourself!
    Stay strong and your loyal fans will wait (it’s always worth it!)

  • Jennifer says:


    I just want to say that I love your books and reread them all the time in anticipation of waiting for the next one. I will definitely always wait! Of course writing books takes time but you do not keep me waiting half as long as other authors! Please ignore all the hateful messages and look after yourself as you will know what’s best for the books and the series! This series is so worth waiting for and if people complain then they are just going to have to deal with the wait as that’s what is needed for the books and for yourself and a little “me time” is always needed to refresh!

    Thank you for writing this amazing series!

    Jennifer 🙂

  • FixitMomof3 says:

    I agree with everyone else Karen. You have to think about yourself. If you continue to push yourself and become depressed. Then you are hurting yourself. We don’t want you to do that to yourself. I am an obsessive reader and I read very large books such as the Wheel of Time books by Robert Jordan. You are an amazing writer, but your health comes first. Don’t listen to the haters, they are just impatient individuals that will never be satisfied with anything. Thank you so much for all your hard work so far, but please take care of yourself.

    • admin says:

      People like you and the others who have commented amaze me. I expected to be hiding under a bed all day, but you’ve been really generous and kind. Thank you.

  • jellies1984 says:

    I love your intelligent creative mind. The effort you put forth really shows in your writings. You are actually my favorite fictional author and I am not sugar-coating it. I am aware of the challenge of creating such well thought out, in depth stories and I know that I cannot do the job you do. If I had a solid gold medal, I would award you with it. With that being said, I would wait as long as it takes for another of your stories to come out. You and anybody else deserves to be happy and enjoy your life; to live as stress-free as possible. Besides, a happy author makes even better stories. 😀 Take care of yourself.

  • Sarah says:

    Ok, so I actually signed up for an account, just so I could comment. 🙂 Don’t stress!!! I love your books, and I do not like seeing one of my favorite authors unhappy when your books bring me such joy! I’m happy that you did post though because you definitely need some supportive words of encouragement! Being a writer is like being an artist. You put your heart and soul into your books and you should know that it is recognized and respected by your readers. Writing feeds something within yourself and you do such an amazing job. The last thing any of us readers would want is to see you not enjoying and loving your passion for writing. So kick back a little my friend! Even with my job, I get burnt out and need to take time for myself. You should be no different! Much love! And don’t judge my comma spliced sentences! 🙂

  • mrsbk says:

    I am addicted to your writing so please do not lower your standards for anyone. It is hard for me to try new authors as it seems as if I am being unfaithful to the ones I have been with for so many years, silly to some people I know. I came across your books last year when an author I have been reading for the last thirty years put out a trilogy that was so bad I could make no excuses for it by the time I finished the third one. I was heartbroken and was blessed to have a friend recommend your books. I would rather wait, impatiently for a year or more to read a great book than get four books a year that could have been great but instead are barely readable. Take care of you first always and your writing will take care of itself. Your true fans will wait, impatiently with love and prayers that all is well with your. A fan hopefully of your books for the next 30 years.

  • admin says:

    I hope you’ll always find that they are worth the price. 🙂

  • gwenhwyvar says:

    Writing should be a joy. You should love what you do. Please do whatever it takes to make sure that it remains a joy.

    I love your work, enjoy the hell out of it, and am happy to wait for as long as it takes you to produce it. Please take time for yourself. Ignore the folks who are impatient. It’s flattering that they want to see your work sooner, but if they think you’re taking too long to work then they clearly have no insight into the creative process.

    And, for the record, I truly enjoy long posts sharing details of how things are going for you, so any time you feel like sharing them they are appreciated. (That said, you have enough on your plate as it is, so if you don’t feel like taking the time for them often that’s understandable.)

    Best wishes,


  • dr susan says:

    All I read was blah, blah, blah, fourth Dory book, blah, blah, blah. You take as much time as you need!! I can’t believe people are being that evil; working those hours will kill you or at least kill any creative urge you have. We all must find some time for ourselves. You owe us nothing if we can’t treat you kindly. I will wait as long as I need to. I’m crying because my favorite UF girl gets a fourth book!! Thank you so much for the joy Dory has brought me!!

  • corgi123 says:

    I couldn’t write a paragraph if I knew my life depended on it, how you do what you do is a constant wonder to me. I am 64 I learned patience a long time ago and you are well worth the wait. Please keep doing what you are doing at the rate that makes you the most comfortable, hey you are my life extension because I have to live long enough to read your next book, so take all the time that you need.

  • AngBK66 says:

    Don’t Stress!!!!!!! You are a wonderful author and your story’s are worth the wait. I enjoy reading them over and over. Take the time you need to rest and recoupe that’s extremely important in the creative process. I agree with you setting defined hour with breaks will help. Everyone needs time to recharge the batteries!!! Take it and I know we will all enjoy Ride the Storm when it comes out. Thank you so much for being honest with us. That makes me look forward to it all the more.

    • admin says:

      Thank you for not taking offense at my rambling. I almost didn’t post, because I didn’t want to upset anyone. But I thought you deserved an explanation.

  • carmelacr says:

    I’ll be honest, I’m a junkie. I can’t wait untill your next book. I wish they would come out every six months. But I understand that’s not realistic, I appreciate you working so hard to give us a quality product and we want nothing less. Take the time time you need. Maybe you can make us happy with a little sneak peek here and there? Remember to take care of yourself first!!

  • kellyybelly says:

    From browsing the comments I can clearly tell that this post has prompted fans who do not usually comment to speak up. I also do not normally comment on these posts, however I have been a longtime fan. The Cassie Palmer series has been by far my favorite series since I first read “Touch the Dark.” The quality of the writing and the amazing story, however, are not the only things I enjoy. You are a dedicated author who does anything and everything to ensure your fans are informed and happy. I just wanted you to know that I am so thankful for everything you have done. Please take your time and enjoy your life. It is a privilege, not a right, to enjoy your marvelous writing.

  • dr susan says:

    I have an email folder titled “awesomeness.” On Oct. 3, 2012, I had finished reading Fury’s Kiss and emailed you to tell you how much I love Dory. I never expected an answer, but you made my week…my month! I still tell people about that very late night email conversation. Thank you for writing the stories that make us happy.

    • admin says:

      If it was late night, I was probably writing and appreciated the chance to take a break! Glad you are enjoying Dory. She is always a lot of fun to write.

  • ElizabethLee says:

    I had to register so I could say, “DUDE. Who the hell are these people complaining about your business?!” Seriously. You’re not a machine placed on this earth solely for our pleasure (which sounds kind of bad when I put it like that, but you know what I mean). Unfortunately, the annoying minority are always the loudest even while the majority of your readers are happy as dog rolling in something stinky any time you write anything (blog posts included). You do what you need to do to take care of yourself and books come second. Anyone who whines can shove it.

  • wolfx555 says:

    Hey! I absolutely love what you do. I’ve been a fan since 6th grade- I’ve literally grown up reading and re-reading your novels. Your writing style has inspired my own writing, and your books are one of the only things that I still have from my childhood. The strength you write for your characters has inspired me in my own life, and as silly as it seems, your books are one of the main things that have helped me get through tough, shitty times where I needed to be as strong as Cassie. What I’m trying to say is, your writing and books has held me up and helped me, given me strength… it’s time for you (and the readers 😉 ) to do the same for you. You’ve inspired and helped countless strangers- like me!- and it’s time to focus on something close to home: you. Take whatever time you need and focus on yourself. We got your back.

    (I know this is poorly worded, but basically I love your writing and I hope you are okay and send you the good vibes and strength your writing has given me<3)

  • marie says:

    I just wanted to say a few things in response to your post. Firstly, thank you for the update 🙂 I follow another author who averages about 4 years between books right now so I’m no stranger to waiting. These days I kind of snort at those who complain that because so-and-so, writing in a specific genre among other things, can put out 2 books a calendar year that that means every author should be able to do so. But I think that kind of thought process comes out of a place of ignorance from readers. I suspect at one point the author I mentioned above was becoming inundated with update requests while they were apparently trying to sort out some life issues, because one day they posted a very long and very detailed explanation of the writing process, sort of similar to what you’ve done here, from their point of view for their genre. It was definitely eye opening as a reader. And it definitely shed some light that sometimes the author is held just as hostage by the publishing process as the reader. So even though I don’t think readers need to know all the behind-the-scene details of your work, or even have the right to know, I think sharing a little bit of that process can help the more…loyal fans simmer down some if/when they’re getting too uppity. Or if you’re contemplating throwing your manuscript out the window and need to express your displeasure 😉 Chapters sometimes need to be reworked, editors don’t always agree with the story’s direction, authors can get sick or take vacations or have family emergencies, there isn’t an open publication date for 9 months after the book’s been edited and all but bound because they don’t want your book competing against some other author’s book or the title is too similar to another book’s title, etc, etc, etc. It’s not a Debbie Downer kind of thing, it’s just realistic of the industry 🙁

    And for the rest? I don’t know you personally, or at all, but I’m someone who thinks it’s important for people to do whatever needs to be done to take care of themselves first and foremost. And if it takes 4 years to publish a book, or 5, then so be it. We’ll still be here. Dory’s my fav (sorry, Cassie!) and I’ll be looking for her next installment whenever it’s time to be released. Though I can’t promise there won’t be days where I don’t drum my fingers 😉

    • admin says:

      Dory is up next. And believe me, I am just as happy as you to be returning to her. Dory books are a much easier write, and alternating books makes my life easier, too. But some things had to happen first. That’s one of the things that can happen when you intertwine series, but in the end, I think the advantages outweigh the problems. Thank you for reading–and for waiting.

  • Amyjo says:

    You are on of my very favorite authors. I have been reading your books since you were first published. I actually had to re-buy all my first books because I read them so much they fell apart.
    Every one deserves rest and a break. Some authors I have read that mass produce books all tend to reuse material from book to book and it makes us as readers appreciate all the time and effort you put in. Keep faith in yourself and your skill. Ignore those who are impatient and unappreciative.

  • StacieB says:

    Reading this has made me wonder how long would I wait for one of your books, and made me think about how long I’ve been reading them. I found my copy of Touch the Dark, it’s a First Printing from 2006(and a little bit chewed by a puppy, the jerk). After sticking with your books for nearly 10 years, I think I can handle waiting a long time for the next one. I’ll be looking forward to them, whenever you’re ready to write them.

  • WithBatedBreath says:

    I used to think that I didn’t enjoy series all that much unless the entire thing was released before I started the first one. As it turns out, I was really very stupid.

    In anticipation of a release of your last book, I re-read the series (as I always do), realizing only near the last two available books that the release had been delayed. I was quite annoyed. And then I re-read Hunt the Moon.

    Quite honestly, I don’t think I’d ever realized before how much ‘more’ enjoyment I received when reading each book the second or third (or more!) time. Little things that I’d missed before clicked into place. I also noticed that since I basically inhale new novels in one fell swoop, I often forgot a good portion of the plot as well as managing to have read huge sections on auto-pilot without truly absorbing the details.

    I have never been one to comment, and I’d certainly never complain anywhere except in my head when I didn’t have a new book in my hand. I understand that authors have lives. This is your job, and you, like everyone else, work to live – you shouldn’t have to consider work the entirety of your life! I appreciate that you’re willing to work so hard for unpredictable rewards.

    I have actually enjoyed anticipating your novels much more that I’ve enjoyed devouring them instantly upon receiving them. Cassie and Dory and company have entertained and amused me for countless hours, and I’m looking forward to countless more in the future.

    The books are worth the wait. You can tell the impatient ones out there that they’re missing something by not appreciating how fun it is to page through the series and re-live the excitement and anticipation for what comes next. Good luck with everything, and please.. take your time!! We’ll all wait!

    • admin says:

      Well, actually the next book, Reap the Wind, is due out in a month as scheduled. The book that is delayed is Ride the Storm, the sequel. So you do have a book to look forward to very shortly! I hope you will enjoy it. 🙂

  • WBHampton says:

    There is always going to be a few that are not happy no matter what. Unfortunately people write things online that they would never say out loud. I have been looking forward to RTW for the last year, and not a bad way. More like I can’t wait to visit that world again way. And I’ll wait for all your books like that. Its not a bad thing.

  • Meowmix says:

    While I can utterly relate to those frustrated by the delay – everyone should remember that there is *nothing* shabby about Karen’s word counts per year, and she most certainly *ought* to be taking those days off IMHO!! The creative process is what it is …and I am not complaining since I really want Karen writing. Imagine if she quit because we discouraged her by being too demanding??

  • laughard72 says:

    In anticipation of RTW I’m rereading the series for the… fourth time? Not including going back just to skim my bookmarked favorite scenes (Cassie handcuffed to the couch makes me laugh every time)! No matter how my day was or what else I’ve been reading, coming back to your books is something special because they make me laugh, think, appreciate, and they inspire me. That kind of quality and true joy I get from slipping into the amazing world you’ve created is worth any wait. I’m glad you’ve chosen to put your happiness above deadlines and pleasing the whole world. Please yourself first and take your time, and if you’re happy with your writing then we’ll all be ecstatic with it. Thank you for working so hard, writing so well, and sharing with us this amazing story!

  • lgrinyer says:

    I’m not very good with writing only like to read, I would gladly wait for one of your books no mater how long it took.

  • yamineko says:

    Writing is hard, even trying to write out the stories in my head is hard. You do such a wonderful job in bringing your character’s to life. I’ve always loved reading your books and don’t mind the wait for them to come out. It’s exciting to have your books come out. Thank you for writing such amazing stories, and characters that I have grown to love and mean so much to me.

  • chibioniyuri says:

    I greatly enjoy a subsection of fans and their work: fanfiction. Some of the authors are very open about the writing process and their difficulties in meeting demands of their readers, and this is for a hobby outside of financial obligations. I can’t imagine the difficulties involved with the addition of editing and printing deadlines and contractual obligations.

    In this case, I’m hoping it’s just a very vocal minority complaining that need a lesson in delayed gratification. I appreciate you taking your time and writing the absolute best story possible for us. I’d rather read a high-quality novel once every year or every other year than substandard words churned out to meet a wordcount and deadline. I wonder sometimes if I’d enjoy one series or another better if authors had taken more time, considered word choice and plot and character motivations, if certain plot points were really planned or just a fix-it reaction to poor writing choices in a previous story.

    And honestly, I was happy to hear of Ride the Storm coming out so soon Reap the Wind, but I was also very, very worried about the quality with such a tight turnaround. Hearing some of the behind-the-scenes stuff reassures me now that it likely wouldn’t be a problem, but I’m still happy that you have more time to work on it.

    I’m wary of sounding too much like I’m “giving permission,” but really, go take a vacation. As a nurse, I’m taught to assert “me” time and prioritize caring for myself to ensure that I avoid compassion fatigue and give the best care possible to my patients. Everyone is subject to burnout without some sort of check-out time, and I’ve always thought that those in the fine arts, subject to ethereal whimsy like inspiration, were more prone to it. So yeah, I think you deserve to get away from the writing stress for a bit. Collect your furry friend and bask in some unconditional adoration. Travel to your favorite spot and recharge your battery. We your fans will still be here waiting and more than happy for the adventures you send our way.

  • marci says:

    To me, writing a book seems like magic. Starting with nothing, you build characters, settings, dialogue, plot, etc. You write really interesting, witty, entertaining stories. Those rude complainers must be used to reading that author that comes out with a book every month, well maybe every two months. So don’t pay attention to the nasty comments. Take time time to live life and enjoy. We will wait.

  • LisaK says:

    Many others have said it, but I’ll throw my hat in the ring as well. I don’t mind the waits, and I appreciate what you’ve given us with these wonderful stories! Like a previous commenter, I often blaze through new books just to FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS, so the re-reads are pretty amazing when I take more time to pay attention to details. I’ve re-read your series more times than I can count. I own the first bunch of Cassie and Dory books in paperback, and ended up buying all of the e-book versions as well so I always have them with me in my Kindle. “Buying Trouble” was my first exposure to this world so many years ago, and I’ve downloaded each of the freebies, bought the anthologies, and enjoyed the novellas that you’ve been so awesome to share with us. I’m gearing up for a full series re-read in the next few weeks, and I’m happy to wait as long as it takes for next awesome installment! Thank you for candidly sharing your struggles, and I’m sorry that you felt the need to justify the delays. It’s life, it happens, I totally get it. I’m just happy to be along for the ride!

  • iclaudia says:

    I’m really sorry to hear this has been such a stressful time for you! No worries about the delay, just look after yourself. Keeping to a high standard is important but so is your health, so pacing yourself is definitely a good idea.

    It’s a drag that we won’t get to see the original, really long version of RIDE THE STORM but I guess I can see where the publisher is coming from.

    Take care, please try not to fret about the delay, it’s all good 🙂

    • admin says:

      Actually, you will get the whole RTS. Reap the Wind was cut down, but not the extent of halving it as I’d first through was to be the case. And much of the material that was cut is being used in RTS. So you don’t actually lose that much. There’s just a limit on what Penguin will publish in a single volume. Thank you for understanding.

  • Caity says:

    Dear Karen. Please stop apologising to us. We should apologise to you. As ardent fans, we put the unrealistic pressure on you to produce books quickly because they enrich our lives. Yes, I have moaned in the past about my favourite authors taking a “long” time to produce the next in a series (usually only 6 months, a sad reflection that I have been caught up in the instant gratification culture). After reading your post I won’t ever do that again. Because know I know how selfish that is. I hate to think of you becoming unhappy and stressed. I too suffer from depression and know how hard it is to even get out of bed, let alone continue to produce excellent books. You have my sincere admiration.

    And you are, of course, 100% right: taking your time to write at a sensible pace will ensure the quality is maintained. In all truthfulness, I can say that I always think at the end of reading your latest book, that was brilliant, how does she keep such a high standard? I read a lot of paranormal/fantasy books and the only two authors whose series I have stuck with are you and Ilona Andrews.

    Thank you, Karen, for always bringing into my life that wonderful feeling of delighted anticipation when I first open your new book and the lifting of my spirits, when I’m feeling low, and re-read one of your novels. I won’t be so impatient again!

    • admin says:

      Impatience is a compliment–it means you’re enjoying the books! I understand wanting them faster, and I will continue to try to get them out as fast as possible. I don’t usually do a book every six months, although if I stopped writing such monsters I might! But I always bring out at least one a year and don’t expect that to change. Thank you for reading. 🙂

  • Heather says:

    I have to admit that when I got the e-mail from Amazon I did swear.

    Mostly because I blamed them for cancelling the order so they could hike the price!

    I then read the e-mail to work out which book it was then came straight over here to find out what was going on. And you know what? There was an explanation waiting for me.

    Do not stress about the speed. We can deal with the speed. Don’t die on us would be my only request. If you do that then we’ll never get to find out how it ends in your head and will be left with how it ends in ours (and some of us have very weird brains…). Waiting 12 months for a book is nothing. For those that complain too much have them go do NaNoWriMo see how they get on trying to do ~2000 words/day let alone 10k.

    Have weekends. Have holidays.

    Now. I’ve got a new book coming next month. I should go re-read so I remember why Cassie is off with the father-in-law from hell!

  • getgetgetoverit says:

    You are a godsend. No explanation necessary- but hey it’s appreciated. You just keep rocking on with your bad self- spreading joy and expanding our world.

    And i always like to reference mr. Gaiman, when it comes to those a-holes who like to call themselves “fans.” See http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2009/05/entitlement-issues.html?m=1 and where he says “George rr Martin”, insert “Karen Chance.” You us nothing but to keep yourself happy, healthy and growing your soul. The world is a better place for it. Thank you. We need more dynamos.

  • chykgurl says:

    I think all successful writers end up up pushing back a deadline or two sometime in their careers because they opt for quality over expediency. Jim Butcher, Ilona Andrews, Karent Moning … hell, George RR Martin had a SIX YEAR wait between books 4 and 5 of a Song of Ice and Fire, and the Winds of Winter still doesn’t have a concrete release date. I think everyone, writer and otherwise, has had to postpone deadlines at one time or another — life happens and you just have to deal accordingly.

    For the people who get angry with Karen, I say, “Better take a look at your life and make sure you’ve never postponed anything or dispappointed anyone before you criticize (or throw tantrums at) other people for living their lives as they see fit.” Often times, the things that make us irrationally angry (cuz let’s be objective, a book pushing back its publication date is not really a big deal in the grander scheme of things) are things that we also do ourselves.

  • freyja.vanadis says:

    I know everyone else has written saying be god to yourself, and you really really need to do that, but I wanted to tell my point of view as well.

    You write fantastic books. I am a VORACIOUS reader – up until my daughter was born I averaged about a book a day, and in general I feel like I’m taking it easy if the book in question is less than about 3-500 pages. And I think at this point I have reread your books more than anyone else’s except the Terry Pratchett Discworld novels – and I’ve been reading those since I was about 8. I’ve recommended them to friends and had to buy second copies of the first three because my best friend lost one and it’s going to take her until after New Year’s to read them because she has too many other things to do.

    I only discovered your books about 3 months ago, when a friend had me cat sit for two weeks and told me to read all her books. I borrowed the first three Cassie Palmer books from her, read them straight through, and then read them again. Then I went looking for other things you had written. I found every novel you had written and bought them all at once, read them all in one go, then went back and read them all over again, in timeline order. Then I did it again. All my other reading came to a screeching halt, and I made my husband read TtD, and then loaned them to my best friend. I’ve never felt like I had to SHARE a story before. I finally understand what all the Potterheads were talking about.

    Take the time you need. Your stories are fantastic and the writing is wonderful. You need to keep yourself in great condition not for the fans of your writing, but for yourself. The most important person in your universe should be yourself. We can wait. We’ll just reread the books.

    TL:DR – Take all the time you need. You write great books. Self-care is really important.

  • Bansealgaire says:

    When a video game is delayed, when RWBY went on hiatus, when Reap The Wind was postponed, I understood; and I’ll be there when the new stuff comes out. The people who give us entertainment are always given a short stick. You guys work so hard on stuff all year, and not everyone understands how hard it is, or how much your emotions can drag you down. You write what you feel, and if that feel is depression, stress, or despair, it doesn’t make for a happy ending. I don’t care how long it takes, as long as you keep your passion for telling these stories. You keep your audience in the loop as much as possible, and I appreciate it. Don’t let negative comments get you down. It’s fashionable to hate things now, people who have never seen your work will hate on it to be cool. Just focus on the positive, the people you make happy, and how having a book you wrote in your hands makes you feel.

    Enjoy your weekends. I’ll keep reading, no matter how long it takes. 🙂

  • P5yx0Z0 says:

    You need to take care of yourself first und foremost. Yes, you’ll lose some readers, but those of us who absolutely love your world und writing will wait patiently. I’d rather one of your books come out a year later than planned while you tend to your own health (physical, mental, spiritual, etc.) so that you, as someone I hold in high regard, is doing well. It should be all around enjoyable to write your stories. Not stressful. We appreciate your dedication und pounding the paper to roll out wonderful stories, but we can wait. Ever since I discovered Touch the Dark years ago in someone’s garage holding a garage sale, I’ve been hooked. I soon found that there were three other books already published after. So I bought Claimed by Shadow, Embrace the Night und Curse the Dawn und fell into your world of wonder. I’m a slow reader, so I had a hiatus from day to day life for a few days. I absolutely fell in love. I love mythological fantasy. My bar is set pretty stinking high, too, for what I enjoy. You hit dang near every point I look for in such stories. How could I not fall in love with your work? I’d feel more awful (which I sort of do at the moment) to find that you overworked yourself to put out a wonderful story for [readers] to enjoy. I don’t want a treat at the expense of -you.- Without you, I wouldn’t have the charming tales to dive into. I don’t want you to burn yourself out, or anything outside to burn you out.

    As many have already said, regardless you will have many readers who love your work, who understands what it is to be human und who can appreciate that sometimes it takes time. I own all of the Cassie Palmer series thus far, have read your shorts, und intend to start on Dorina’s story.

    But you come first. Do whatever it is that you need to do to take care of yourself. We’ll be here waiting, patiently und eagerly, to indulge more into your webbed world of wonder.

    Take care, Karen. Relax und heal in whatever it is that needs it. Mind, body or soul.

    • admin says:

      Thank you for your comments, but I really hope you do not feel guilty. I didn’t say what I did to inspire that sort of a reaction. I just wanted people to know I was doing the best I could, and that I would have more work out to them shortly. Sometimes, I don’t know what to say, because some people want a lot of information and some don’t want any about the writing process. But because the book was delayed, I thought you deserved an explanation.

  • cm214 says:

    I could never ever be patient waiting for the next book in such a fantastic series. How can I be patient when I waiting for the continuation of an awesome story that always leaves me wanting more!!
    Alas, as all us fans know, we must wait. We must allow the anticipation to build and build to breaking point before we are all satisfied when the next amazing book comes out. And then scream for more when we end up reading the book way too fast because we just couldn’t slow down enough to draw it out a little more.
    What greedy things we are, always wanting more, more, more. With a story this great how could you not want more!
    Keep up the amazing work.
    I will continue to wait impatiently, but very eagerly, on the edge of my seat, hardly able to contain myself.
    It’s nearly November!! How am I supposed to contain myself?!!

  • aussiefan says:

    So I’m trying to pre-order my copy of Reap The Wind and somehow manage to end up on Ramblings where I discover some disappointed, rabid little fan has upset my favourite author. Well done all those people who don’t normally post coming out in defence of Karen with your positive comments and smiley emojes.
    All too often people who give us wonderful entertainment will hear the criticism or worse yet the damming “silence was the stern reply” of fans who love the work but are just to lazy to say thankyou for your wonderful efforts (myself included) thinking that our purchasing will do the talking for us. (Sorry! Really long sentence).
    Karen, whenever you are feeling pressured, depressed or mad at the world (insert publisher/rabid just can’t wait fan here) just look at this site and know that the world contains a whole big fan site of people who love your work and will wait with bated breath and lots of re-reads (think I’m up to 9 now) for the next installment – that and take the dog for a walk. Dogs and fans – we do enjoy the journey with you.

    • admin says:

      Thank you, but I promise I’m not upset. I was tired when I wrote this, and maybe shouldn’t have said anything at all. But I thought people should get an explanation. And I will take Boogie for a walk–he could use it!

  • irishjo13 says:

    Thank you for….
    -explaining the delay even though you didn’t have to.
    -picking quality over quantity (although the quantity is amazing too.)
    -giving me such an enjoyable and safe escape when life gets hard
    -sharing your wonderful stories and vivid characters with us.
    -for deciding to give yourself more of a work/life balance. By taking care of yourself, you are also taking care of your readers. We don’t want you to become burned out. 🙂

  • nikynik345 says:


    I love your books! I had a realization after reading your list of all the words you have written each year that I have read every single book and short story you have written! You’re my top favorite author. I think your words are magic and that the magic you create can’t be rushed. I’ve just been waiting here patiently for the next book, you come out with new material faster than a lot of the authors I follow. I hope that you find a routine that works for you and makes YOU happy not just your publishers, editors and us readers. I’ll still be one of your biggest fans and will be here to purchase any book that comes out with your name on it. Thanks for explaining your situation and thanks for not stopping what you love to do!

    – Nikki Shonoiki

  • Caity says:

    Wow, Karen! Just finished Reap the Wind. And it’s amazing, wonderful and fabulous. Got some strange looks on the train when I got to the fishy bra and snorted my coffee everywhere! And Rosier in the tree -laughed myself silly! Thanks for making the last two days joyful and frustrating – stupid work getting in the way!

  • dsolo says:

    Fortunately or unfortunately, some of my favorite authors seem to be victims of their own success. I may wish that the books came out faster, but I would prefer that my favorite authors (of whom you are definitely one) take care of themselves first. I love your books. I started with Dory, which led me to Cassie. My favorite Cassie scene is the one where she’s crouched on the kitchen floor with a drumstick in her mouth telling Marco that she freaked out the new guys. Cassie and Dory make me laugh, especially the second Dory book with Ray’s headless body. I love all the various side characters in both series. You have a gift, and I will gladly wait for your books, because I know that it will be worth it. Some series start to bog down after 4 or 5 books, but yours remain entertaining and unexpected. I loved the ending of Reap the Wind, and I immediately went back and reread Dory’s books. If you write it, I will preorder it. And yes, that includes Masks, which I liked. I love everything you write. Please take care of yourself. I will wait patiently for your next book. And thank you for all the freebies on your site.

    • admin says:

      I’m glad you’re enjoying the books. I am afraid, however, that most other people are not. So I honestly don’t know how many more books there will be. On the bright side, I am going to post a new freebie soon, and hope you enjoy it.

  • Caity says:

    What?! Are you getting comments that people are not enjoying the books? I can’t believe this. I am sitting here horrified.

    • admin says:

      I don’t recall saying that in this blog post. I was merely trying to give people an explanation for why Ride the Storm had been postponed. However, according to many of the reviews that Reap the Wind (and Tempt the Stars, and Masks) received, and the sales of the books (which have been poor), no, I don’t think people do like it. The feedback I am getting from many readers, both in reviews and mailed to me directly, is that they want short, simplistic novels with a perfect heroine, a typical Alpha male, and an easy resolution–in other words, they want a typical romance novel. And since I’m not writing that, I am in trouble. And I really do not know what to do about that.

      • LindaJ says:

        You cannot please everyone. Most people want simple to understand, but some of us want to think about what we are reading. That is what this series is to me. It makes me see what is would be like if you shun one person because you do not think that what they say is not important. The chaos that is happening in this series is because the people that Cassie is suppose to trust are not trusting her.

        I say this because I know exactly how she feels. That is the reason I love this series so much that I think have read it 5 plus times.

  • LindaJ says:

    I know first hand what it is like to live with depression and anxiety cause I lived with it my whole life. However, it has been in the past few years that I have found myself in books. Books have saved me on more that one occasion. So I hope what I am about to say helps you find a happy place so you can continue to do what you love. Mrs. Karen, your books bring me to a place that I find myself wanting to be apart of. You are at the top of my top 5 favorite authors. So what every you need to do to bring yourself to a place that you are happy with do it. No matter what everyone else says.

  • jenn s says:

    Thank you for sharing with us how hard you are working to bring out these wonderful series. I hate waiting for the next book but each book is worth the wait. So glad that another Dorina book is coming out. Love both series but I was starting to worry that Fury’s Kiss was the last in the series. I know when the book does make it out it will have been worth the wait. Please don’t feel like you have to rush to get the books out since your true fans will wait as long as it takes.

  • Kerrin says:

    Do I want your books to come out faster? Of course!
    I’m very greedy and heavily addicted to your books. Cause I’m livng in Europe I got to wait additional weeks.
    Reading them is like a ride in a roller coaster, like beeing sucked in an action movie, like … amazing.
    Please keep up your fantastik work. I love your books and can’t get enough of your mind blowing work.
    Your books a rare enjoyment for me (and a huge distraction when I should learn for upcoming tests, but that’s my problem).

    Thank you for your hard work!

  • Enya says:

    I loved your book so so much. I did buy it as an ebook (this time, for the first time), because the poor quality of the other books has realy shown its ugly face over the years. I could not read them more then 4 times, before they fell apart.
    It would be great if you could convince penguin to do a hardcover edition?
    Or they might have considered limited hardcover + ebook and no paperbook?
    Or to put more quality to their book ?

    I mean paperbook is better that nobook, but i can not understand their decision.

    I am german and did buy it in its original language by penguin (the translation is not exactly great but alright, considering) and I gave it a 5 star review on german amazon. I believe all your english books have a 5 star review alltogether and 4 star in the german translated version even considering the paperbooks have a better quality here. (I dont know about america, is it so much worse?)
    It just shows what a fantastic writer you are.

    Karen, you should not forget, when you see bad reviews that we love you all over europe!

    It is such a fantastic book about timetravel, so bittersweet and fast paced.
    I did notice that reap the wind ended with a cliffhanger, but that happens anyway because I cant wait for the next read. If you had just releaded one big book we would have to wait even longer for the next one.

    (Do not post comments about me being a dumb idiot making grammar mistakes, if your german is worse than my english 😉 )

    • admin says:

      I’m really sorry your books haven’t held up. The problem with hardback is, that it cost the publisher more to print, so they don’t like to do it unless there’s a large audience for the series, which mine has never had. I do think that’s one nice thing about ebooks — they don’t wear out! And although I like the feel of a real book in my hands, it is nice not to have to worry about their physical quality, or about where to store them.

      By the way, I think your English is just fine. It is much better than my German, at any rate! (I did study it in school, but can’t say I was ever very good).

  • drum288 says:

    I started reading the Cassie Palmer books when there were only 3 of them, and got addicted immediately. I have also re-read the entire series every time a new book comes out. I can honestly say that you have created my absolute favorite character in anything I have ever read (that’s saying something because I am a huge bookworm). There are no words for how much I love Pritkin and his incredibly complex relationship with Cassie.

    Anyways, in response to your post about taking some time for you and not trying to crank these books out with a cost to quality. I would rather have an accurate release date than seeing one keep getting pushed back. I will patiently wait for these books to come out. It is absolutely necessary for you to take care of yourself first. I work 12 hour days with a high stress work environment. I get it. I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy these books and how much I have read and re-read them and still don’t get tired of them.

    Great Work! 🙂

  • Cyn_1004 says:

    Just finished RTW! I’m anxious to see what’s next, that’s how I ended up on this blog. But I’m more than willing to wait for work you are happy with as I love your characters and the world you’ve created for them. Please take care of you. Your readers will be here waiting when the book is ready.

  • Katyri Wren says:

    Let me start off by saying I love your writing. You have an art with creating your characters with a dimension that most writers don’t have. I couldn’t care if I had to wait 5 years for your next book, it would totally be worth it, your books are addictive. I have every one of your books and they have gotten me through some pretty rough times this past year, I’ve been pulled off work for burnout and mental health issues with no idea when I will be allowed to return. I’ve read and reread your books, they are like a mini escape. I literally just blazed through ride the storm. And will start from the beginning again😁. Take all the time you need to write, your loyal fans will wait because we k ow that what you give us is gold not some “half assed” story pushed out for a quick buck. You’ve got a seriously badass talent, don’t let anyone try and force you to publish anything that you don’t feel is complete or your best.

    I will however say that I will cry (teasing) if that was the last Cassie palmer book in the series. I so want to see how that love triangle ends, Cassie is probably the only woman to ever put either of them in their place and Dory, omg, I love dory…. I seriously just can’t get enough of your characters and epic story lines that keep you hanging on the edge of your seat, hands glued to the book, lol

    • admin says:

      I’m really happy the books have helped you! That’s always really encouraging to hear. As someone who has struggled with depression, etc., I know how debilitating it can be. I hope you have an easier time of it going forward. I’m finishing up the fourth Dory book now, so will probably have publishing info in a few months. I think you’ll enjoy it. 🙂

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