So many plots, so little time

My latest set of short stories has hit the New Release Bestseller lists on Amazon UK and Amazon US, and my newsletter short story was opened by more than 200 people. I enjoy the short story format. Two main characters, one tight plot arc, and a gallop to a happy ever after you can enjoy over a lunch break, with a cup of coffee in one hand and the ebook reader of your choice in the other.

Could some of those stories be novels, as some readers have suggested? Yes, of course. Mostly, I manage to keep the word count tight by hinting at backstory, any part of which could be shown on the page.

But… if I write the books that occur to me as I go along, what will happen to the 45 or so plots I created before I wrote my first historical fiction novel?

I need to buckle down and write novels. At the moment, I’m still working in my day job 72 hours a fortnight, and writing in my spare time. I’m managing just under two novels a year. In due course (sooner if I suddenly start to sell lots more books), I’ll leave the day job, and make fiction writing my full-time work. Then, I reckon, I should be able to write at least four novels a year. Maybe five.

Here are the ones I have in the pipeline. Novels only. Short stories and novellas arrive like manna from heaven and get squeezed into the gaps. (The numbers are the order I’ve published.)

Standalone: not part of a series

2. A Baron for Becky (published)

A Monstrous Masquerade The tentative working name for the book about what Jonathan Grenford was up to between the end of Concealed in Shadow and the last quarter of The Bluestocking and the Barbarian (you may recall he was fetched from overseas during his mother’s house party.

The Golden Redepennings

1. Farewell to Kindness (published)

4. A Raging Madness (published)

5. The Realm of Silence (in progress)

Unkept Promises

The Flavour of Their Deeds

An Unpitied Sacrifice

Children of Wrath

The Children of the Mountain King

6. The Bluestocking and the Barbarian (being rewritten into a novel)

The Healer and the Hermit

The Rake and the Reformer (or The Saint and the Sinner)

The Diamond and the Doctor

The Lamb and the Lion

The Maid and the Mercenary

Danwood’s Daughters

Lord Danwood’s Dilemma

Lady Henry’s Choice

Charity Begins at Home

Smuggler’s Coast

Deborah and Destiny

And three others that don’t have titles yet

Lion’s Pride

(seven novel plots, no titles yet) — returned soldiers, all linked because they worked in a loosely connected group as Exploring Officers for Wellington

Series about three sisters

And also about the villain from the first three books — no series title yet

Lady Charlie Charms the Marquess

Lady Freddie Fascinates the Reverend

Lady Ernie Engages the Soldier

Miss Henwood Dices with Death

A Game of Mist and Shadows

(historical suspense with spies and thief takers)

3. Revealed in Mist (published)

7. Concealed in Shadow (work in progress)

Veiled in Darkness

The Wages of Virtue

3. (Revealed in Mist — Prue’s story belongs in both series)

Practising Charity

Finding Faith

Delivering Hope

And more…

Then there are the other three series that are no more than ideas on a piece of paper.

  • A half-formed idea about a series of eight novels under a series title The Curse of the Three: three linked families whose enmity dates from generations back and who each have a clue to a treasure.
  • Four West-Indies related stories in a series, one linked to Farewell to Kindness.
  • Four reverse fairy-story ideas.

Right. Better get on with it then.

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