I was still sending out The Steel Dragon to publishers, though by this time I had decided it should be three books instead of one. I entered the first part, The Voyage of the Minotaur, into the Amazon Novel Contest and it made it to the second round. In the meantime, I thought I would write a little story to promote the characters and setting. By the time I was done with Brechalon, I had put so much work into the story that it seemed a shame to give it away rather than sell it. I put it up for sale as a 99-cent ebook, but there was very little interest in it, so in the end, I went back to my original idea to offer it for free.
The Voyage of the Minotaur
By the time I was done with Brechalon, I had received quite a few rejection letters for The Voyage of the Minotaur. I realized that even if the story was great (and I thought it was pretty good) it had too small an audience for any publisher to be interested. At the same time, I was selling a few ebooks of Princess of Amathar. I decided I would publish the manuscript myself as an ebook, but by that time I had fallen in love with the characters and setting and decided that I wanted to write more. So only the first part of the original Steel Dragon manuscript was published. The other two parts would become books three and five of a series.
While trying to get The Voyage of the Minotaur published, and writing Brechalon, I had been playing Rock Band with my kids on the Wii. In Rock Band, you can create your own characters, which I did—four hot female rock stars—and you can unlock different outfits for them. As I was playing, I unlocked some steampunk goggles, and a story started forming in my head. By the time I started writing, the story was essentially complete in my brain. The only change really was that Tesla’s Stepdaughters was originally the name of the group. I’ve always been a huge Beatles fan and based much of my fictional band’s career on them, so they became The Ladybugs. I had never really attempted a detective story before. They aren’t my usual read, though I have enjoyed a few. I was happy with how it came off.
The Dark and Forbidding Land
After finishing Tesla’s Stepdaughters, I jumped into writing book two of Senta and the Steel Dragon (which I had decided was the name of the series). It was challenging because I was writing a new story set between two already written ones. For some series, this might not have been a problem, but in Senta books, lots of characters die.
As I wrote, I kept combining things from the outline and throwing some things out because they would mess with the later, already written, stories. In the end, the book was about 2/3 as long as originally planned, but I liked it. The Dark and Forbidding Land became my fourth book published in 2010.
The Drache Girl
By the time I got ready to publish book three of Senta and the Steel Dragon, it had been finished for almost three years. I went through a quick revision pass, changing very little before publishing it. Like all of the books in the series, I had a hard time with the title. I had settled on The Sorceress’s Apprentice for years, but some of my friends didn’t like it. They thought it could be confused with Disney’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. So, it became The Drache Girl.