Meanwhile, back in 1758...

    As many of you have already seen on Facebook, I now have the final cover to the re-release of Surrender. I was elated to see the first images of the cover — posted here a while back — because they demonstrated the care my editor at Berkley has put into getting historically accurate images on the cover.

    Compare this to the original cover with its entire village of tipis — I had sent an email telling my first publisher to make sure there were no tipis — and its “chastity plaid” that made an absolute waste of Nathan Kamp’s excellent chesticles — a request made by a shall-not-be-named distributor that is now defunct. Yes, I wept when I saw this cover, and not in a good way.

    But by now, most of you have seen the little gold medallion on the front that says, “Includes new material.” I thought I would explain what’s going on.

    Basically, we’ve gone back to square one with the original manuscript. So the novel is getting a new edit — I am making small changes to the text, but not to the plot — and my editor has edited it in a slightly different way. The manuscript was never altered very much from the original, and these changes are subtle.

    For example, my previous editor felt that using “ken” and “kent” in the story made it hard to read and irritating for people who don’t like the Scottish burr, so all of those were changed to “know” and “known.” But my editor at Berkley has left them the way I originally wrote them.

    (Those of you who wonder where I got my way of denoting the Scots accent and such might be interested to hear that I got it from Scottish music. The way I spell things and much of the vocabulary comes not from my imagination, but from old Scottish folk songs.)

    What won’t be subtle are new scenes or extended scenes that will be included in the final version.

    When I wrote Surrender, I was not too far away from the experience of having 100 pages cut from Carnal Gift. It wasn’t that the book sucked and needed to be cut. It’s that the original publisher just would not print anything beyond a certain number of pages, and I had overshot that by a significant number. It ruined the story, in my opinion.

    So, when I wrote Ride the Fire, I was very conscious of this page limit and was simultaneously trying to write and not write too much. That’s a hard thing to do as a writer. It was the same experience in writing Surrender. I never, ever wanted to go through the pain of having pages I’d worked so hard to craft cut just to please some bean counter somewhere. (It costs more to ship books if fewer fit in a box.)

    Now with this new edit, I can loosen things up a bit. How much new material will be in the story? I can’t say. But there will be some.

    This same process will occur with Untamed in about a month. The difference with Untamed is that the original manuscript had 25 pages cut out to make the book fit the original publisher’s even smaller maximum page count. (I was not pleased.) Those 25 pages will be restored, and the book will get a new, fresh edit.

    The same thing will occur with Ride the Fire later this year, only my focus there will be to get in the epilogue I didn’t have the stamina to write when I originally wrote the book. A deeply personal story for me, Ride the Fire stripped me to the bone. I had nothing left and couldn’t function for about six weeks after I finished writing it. So, the epilogue just never happened. It still isn’t written.

    A lot of things will be happening in a short period of time as we move deeper into 2011. Here’s a list:

    Later this summerSweet Release and Carnal Gift will be available in the original print versions as I sell off the limited stock I have of those books. I bought a case of each, and I’ll autograph them and sell them online or through email.

    Early autumnSweet Release and the original version of Carnal Gift will be available as ebooks for Kindle, Nook and in other formats. I’m going to be self-publishing them, and that means those 100 pages will be included in the ebook version of Carnal Gift. You can judge whether what I wrote is better than what was originally published.

    December Surrender will be re-released in print and as an ebook by Berkley with the cover you see at top, the new edit and the new material.

    January Untamed will be re-released in print and as an ebook by Berkley with the cover you see at top, the new edit and the new material.

    February (or later)Defiant, Connor’s story, which you have all (im)patiently been awaiting, will be released. This is a new book, not a re-release.

    So those of you who’ve been waiting for more historicals from me will be getting what you asked for, and the entire series, which went out of print after the original publisher hit hard financial times, will be available in one format or another, part of it self-pubbed.

    I’ll keep you up to date as a I go along. As we get closer, we’ll do a MacKinnon’s Rangers reading challenge so that everyone can remember who these guys are and what the heck three Scottish brothers from the Highlands are doing in Colonial New York.

    This weekend, I’m hanging with Iain and Annie, re-editing Surrender and making notes for ideas for new and extended scenes. It’s something I’ve never done before, and I’m finding it kind of fun.

    Have a great weekend!

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