|4: Triane’s Son Reigning
Okay– I know you’ve seen the covers before. But, well, the series is out now, all four books, and I thought I would remind you.
Bitter Moon IV: Triane’s Son Reigning is out today. It’s the last book in the series, and the moment is bittersweet for me.
While this series was in editing, I frequently got notes from the editors that they were in tears– that this book, of all of them, completely destroyed them. At the very end, the editors told me I’d accomplished something incredible, and I should be proud.
I am proud.
I was proud six years ago when I finished this series and published them on my own–but I was also a little disappointed. The Little Goddess series did so well for a self-pubbed series– I had just started figuring out sales trends, and I couldn’t figure out why this series wasn’t selling the same way.
|3. Triane’s Son Fighting
Well, the fact is, fantasy and science fiction– as much as I think they’re the pinnacle of human achievement– don’t really sell as well as romance. Knowing what I know now, I understand: romance sells hope. Fantasy and science fiction very often sell painful reality with a pretty change of scenery. I know that for all of the pre-industrial setting, the world building, the magic, that these books involved, there were some painfully real things in them that made them difficult to edit.
I figured I’d compile a list of “Bitter Moon” trivia– things about my life that coincided with these books–to maybe make that a little more clear. Also, it would be great to have a bunch of that all in one place.
So, some things to know about The Bitter Moon saga– on this, the day, of it’s completed release.
* This series originally came in two volumes. (You can still see the original cover art here and here, because amazon.com won’t let the three copies in existence die.) For the re-release, we split each volume into two pieces, because the original books were over 200,000 words one, and industry standard, especially for young adult books, is half that.
|2: Triane’s Son Learning
*. I started writing these books because my older kids were in middle school–I had written the first three books of The Little Goddess series which were “adults only”, and they wanted a book they could read. My daughter read the first of the books, my oldest son was not really ready for all of the figurative language. Chicken probably could have read the second book, but by then I was reading her all the good parts as I was writing, and, well, spoilers ho! Chicken hates spoilers. And, of course, by the time I was done with the second one, she’d already read The Little Goddess series, because, yes, they do grow that fast.
* The protagonist, Torrant, is bisexual. He did not start out that way, but, well, I fell in love with his school friend, Aylan, and Torrant did too, even though he was moon-destined to Yarri. I had to accommodate the ending so that they could have their moments. It was worth it.
* In the original version, Yarri didn’t live. All of my beta readers (except one– sorry Erik!) said, “YOU CAN’T DO THAT!” *sigh* Too much tragedy. When I read the books again, I realize they were right. My heart was sore when I was done with them as it was.
|1: Triane’s Son Rising
* I started writing these books right after Squish was born– she was probably two months old. When you are first introduced to the Moon family, they are pretty much where my family was at that time. Bethen is pregnant with her fourth child– a redhead–and her three-year old is giving her fits. One of the funny things (to me, anyway) was that when “Roes” (a.k.a. Chicken) is full grown, I keep referring to her as “short and practical”. That’s because in eighth grade Chicken was 5’3. Then she started high school, went to sleep for nine months, and woke up 5’9″–and willowy. Funny how, even when you’re there, you still miss the ways your children grow.
* My first year back to work with Squish was excruciating. I blogged a lot of it on the “lost” blog, and I was a lot fiercer and a lot angrier then. I alienated co-workers with my honesty–and, quite frankly, with my overwrought presentation. I once made a list of shit that went down when I went back to work that year– the computer, the administration, other teachers, AND the student body really were out to get me, in tangible, painful ways. It sounds paranoid–I know it. It sounded like the rantings of an exhausted, hormonal bitch on wheels, even when I was writing it then. But now, looking back at it, I realize that just because I was paranoid didn’t mean they weren’t out to get me. By the time I started book two (or books three and four now) my hero was stretched unbearably thin and under siege. By the time he reached the end of his story, I was a sobbing, hysterical mess.
And then the “thing” happened. If you read the books, you will read about “the thing” as an addendum in the last book. The thing broke my heart. Losing a student you are close too is never easy. I may never get to write a memoir about the vainglorious prickweenies who made my life miserable, the cowardly groveling our administration did at the feet of a parent who worked for the district, the breaking and shifting of an atmosphere made toxic by misogyny and despair. But I have Torrant, and the way his soul seemed to be destroyed one piece at a time. The fact that he is alive and happy at the end of this story is, to me, one of the most optimistic things I’ve ever written.
* While I was writing these books, I took breaks in between to write The Green’s Hill Werewolf series, one novella at a time. I remember the first time I blogged about Jack & Teague & Katy– I was extremely self-deprecating back then (if you think I’m bad now!) and I called it “gay werewolf porn”. (Forgive me, everybody. Seriously. Especially if you love Teague as much as I do. Forgive me.) One of my colleagues pulled me aside to tell me how far I’d fallen. I couldn’t explain to him, even then, how much it meant to me that Teague, damaged, broken Teague, found comfort and love. I’m a lot more articulate now–and I’ve had too many people tell me how much my stories mean to them to blow anything I’ve written off as “porn”. (Not that there’s not a long, distinguished history of porn–just my work isn’t in it!)
* The year after I finished Bitter Moon II, I wrote Rampant, and If I Must, and Keeping Promise Rock. The rest, as they say, is history, and I’ve been writing almost strictly m/m since. I’m going to break that this summer, and write Quickening to follow Rampant, and I’m worried and stressed– and exhilarated. I miss this kind of writing. I miss alternative universes, and shape-changing angst-monsters, and fierce little women with sexual powered nuclear fusion rays shooting out their mouths. And editing this story for re-release reminded me of the sheer creative force that such writing entails.
It also reminded me how far I’ve come, and how much more I’m bringing to the table.
So there you go– The Bitter Moon Saga. If you read it, and you’re new to Amy Lane, remember, it’s not a romance. It’s an epic fantasy with strong romantic elements.
And it was written to break your heart.
Comment on this blog to win the entire set of Bitter Moon books on e-book, OR one signed copy of Triane’s Son Fighting OR Triane’s Son Reigning.
Contest begins TONIGHT at posting,
Contest ENDS Sunday night, March 30, 2014, 7 P.M. PST. I’ll announce winners on Twitter, FB, and on the blog– if the prize isn’t claimed in 48 hours, I’ll pick another winner. Comment away!