Second Chance

I’m always happy when one of my previously published books is reborn as an e-book. I love the covers my publisher creates. I love that books from my early years as a writer are getting a second chance to find an audience.

But this week I’m more than just happy, I’m thrilled.

When I wrote Blackjack I’d spent several years off and on  building its alternate world, creating the structure of the Balkanized former U.S. I saw clearly a post-apocalyptic world moving toward the beginnings of rebirth. I saw my hero clearly, too. Rica Marin, mercenary spy, torch singer, deadeye shot with a laser gun, lover, adventurer.

Yes, her name is a joke I enjoyed making. Rich Marin, for the county I was living in at the time. It popped into my head and felt right there, like the book itself. Every turn and curve came naturally and honestly.

I loved my near-future novel. I sent out proposals to agents—not that many represent scifi– and got the usual variety of weird replies. The one I remember most vividly: “This is a really good book, but I don’t know how to sell it so I’m going to have to pass. I hope I’m not making a terrible mistake.” Huh?

I sent it to a well-known publisher who kept it for nine months and finally said it wasn’t emotional enough. No idea what he meant by that, I spilled my guts in this one.  I sent it to a medium-sized publisher who did genre fiction but only in hardcover. They bought it and produced a beautiful book that got some great reviews. But it was, I emphasize, a hardcover. It went to audio and then to e-book. I wanted it to be the first in a trilogy, and made some notes for the other two books, but I got engrossed in another project, the grocery store memoir, and didn’t see an easy sale for books two and three so I let it go. Sadly.

The e-book publisher who wanted all the Jake Samsons asked to read it, loved it, and offered to publish and publicize it, so I moved it there. She was as excited by this book as I was! And she spent time suggesting edits that made perfect and wonderful sense.

A couple of days ago, it went live on Amazon. Yet another cover—a strong one—this one with my actual author name on it. Shelley Singer, instead of the Lee Singer whose name, I thought, distinguished this book from the mysteries. A really dumb idea. And it’s got a new title. Because this is now volume one of the Blackjack trilogy and it’s called Torch Song.

It’s already selling.

I’ve done some work on the second volume, which remains untitled.

I think this is the best thing I’ve ever done. So does my publisher. So, for god’s sake, does my sister and compliments don’t fall easily from her Minnesota lips.

So I’m thrilled. Excited. It’s not that the universe owes me one, but the universe owes me one. So does my sister.








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