Yesterday, LR sent me an email letting me know that he was about 20 percent of the way through The Madness Engine.
That’s good to know: he got through the opening sequence without throwing the book across the room and exclaiming, “What fuckery is this?” or some similar expression. (I want to know what he did say/think when reading the early chapters. I suspect “Arrrghhh! Nooooo…!” was in there somewhere.)
He’ll laugh. He’ll cry. He’ll like the part with the cats. That’s my hope, anyway. (Also, I had to mention cats because of the original quote, which refers to a famous Broadway musical.) Maybe he’ll say the new characters are confusing. Maybe he won’t like the character who was first introduced late in the previous book, because he’s also seen a large chunk of a story set much later in that character’s personal timeline, and the cognitive dissonance may be deafening. (At least that won’t be a problem for any other readers, if that is the case. The rest of you get this stuff chronologically, not including the occasional bloggish spoiler.) LR is a most excellent beta reader, though, and I trust his input.
Yes, I’m nervous — someone is reading this novel! eep! — even though it’s not my novel. I was there when the protagonist was first named. I was there when he had that misadventure on Vesuvius setting off all the strange things that followed. (Um… Swap the order of those events. Sort of. We didn’t know his first name in the beginning. And we definitely didn’t know about any of his kin. Except the cat, of course. But gods only know what name Hrothgar Tebrey would have ended up with if I hadn’t kept a copy of Beowulf on the shelf next to the chair — burnt orange armchair, and how’s that for obscure-fiction-reference funny? — where my brother always sat when he was at my apartment.)
Look, I’m doing it again: tangenting like mad because I’m anxious. Which is silly, because as I said, I know LR will like The Madness Engine, and if he likes it, all the other cool people will like it, too. 🙂
Some of the nervousness is the sort of thing perhaps only a Wielder of the Red Pen can understand: Ohmigod, what if there’s a typo on page 47? What if the reader doesn’t understand why I didn’t italicize that word? (Yes, italics are much on my mind again. Goddamn reviewer with no frakkin’ clue about a technical aspect of writing… *sigh* Okay, I’ll stop now. But dammit, my professional competence was questioned by someone who was wrong!)
The book goes live on May 22; it has to be uploaded to Amazon by the 12th (because of how books made available for pre-order are handled). The window for last-minute changes grows quite narrow. Everything is fine, of course; we wouldn’t have sent it off to LR without editing first. But there’s still that nagging doubt, because there’s always a nagging doubt.
Then, the week after the book goes live, the author goes off to some forsaken place in Texas to do archaeology for a month, so I’d better have any additional author interviews and whatnot lined up (and his answers typed to send) before then.