Sequels & Things

Cover and title banner for Courting the Dragon book.

Today UPS dropped two boxes of books on my front porch. I placed the order with Nook Press a week ago and their communication about it was copious, so the delivery wasn’t a surprise; my feelings as I unpacked the box were.

Opening a box of your own books never gets old, even when they’re just a restock of existing works. At least, I really hope it doesn’t. I never want to be immune to the pure rush of joy that opening that box can bring.

Except for Courting the Dragon.

Over a third of the order was paperback copies of my second book, Courting the Dragon. I ordered more of it than the others because, well, I didn’t have any. As soon as I took one of them out of the box, anxiety gripped me in a chokehold until I confirmed that yes, I really did update the Nook Press version of the book the same as KDP. And yes, chapter five contains the correct text. It wasn’t until then that I could breathe again and enjoy the rest of the unboxing and shelving.

I’ve been thinking about that book a lot lately. Partly because I needed to order additional copies, and partly because I’ve made sales of it recently. And also, I think, because getting through writing Finding the Dragon and Cursed Magic has been harder than I expected. I’ll let you in on a not-so-secret secret — I kind of dislike Courting the Dragon.

It’s really not the book’s fault. And it’s slow, but I’m finally coming to understand that the book itself isn’t a bad book, I just have bad feelings about it that have nothing to do with its quality. While the reviews on it remain few, the purchase to review ratio for it is actually much higher than either of my other books and the opinions are generally positive. In fact, I think it might even have the best average of the three on Goodreads at the moment.

So why are my feelings about this book so complicated?

I’ve spoken about this before, but Courting the Dragon took me approximately six years to write. By the time it was finished, I was sick of the book. My life had also undergone quite a lot of upheval. I’d gotten divorced, had a couple questionable relationships following that, and met the man who is now my husband all in the time it took me to write that book. Several of the arguably worst years of my life went into the creation of that book and in some ways it’s a reminder of ugly things.

And yet, whenever I see a sale of this book by itself, it always makes me grin despite it being a single-sale day, because I know—okay, assume—someone enjoyed the first one enough to come back for seconds. Selling the book I hate gives me the most warm fuzzies. Funny how that works, huh?

My fear now is that some of my feelings around Courting the Dragon are starting to creep into Finding the Dragon and even Cursed Magic. There’s a knot in my stomach that says if a book doesn’t coming as easy as Saving or Bared Magic, then it’s just going to be the awful process that was CtD all over again. There are several blog posts on here detailing the… adventure… of writing CtD, but I think you can get all the salient points and the best sass by reading this one.

It’s funny, but re-reading my old blogs about the making of CtD has me realizing I haven’t been taking my own advice about a few things. Huh.

Someday I want to get to where I can love Courting the Dragon for the piece of me that it is. (Not having a panic attack that the interior file is wrong would also be cool, but I’m pretty sure that’ll never happen so long as I’m self-publishing, haha). In the meantime, I think it’s okay that it’s not my favorite book. I love the characters and the world, and that’s what I need to take into writing the final book rather than the worries and doubt. Along with some gratitude for the lessons book 2 taught me.

Please share any thoughts you have in the comments. I’d love to hear others stories about their sequel writing days. Have you ever had complicated feelings about something you wrote?

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