Artist’s impression of Mars four billion years ago. Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser

some thoughts on the MARS books

If you like science fiction romance, you might have read my MARS books. And if you’ve read my MARS books, you may have noticed that there are only three of them. That wasn’t the original plan.

I know, I know. Today is launch day for the newly rebranded Rune Witch series, and here I am talking about an old scifi/romance series. I get wistful sometimes. I hope you’ll bear with me.

My original idea for Mars Ho was kind of a vague “Pride and Prejudice in space”—or more accurately, in a reality show biodome. The members of my writers’ group had been urging me toward romance—specifically romantic comedy—for a few years and being me, I wasn’t really interested in anything outside of the science fiction universe. So, the seeds for this books were planted and started to germinate.

There were five books planned. So, why did I stop at three? It was a business decision rather than a creative one. Mostly. I was running my first real ads to promote my books and had a steep learning curve on all of the different advertising channels, frequency, metrics, and more. I’m still getting up to speed with all of that actually; I think it’s a never-ending train and you just have to jump on where and when you can and do your darnedest to work your way up to the leading engine. In the case of the MARS books, sales weren’t great and there weren’t many reviews.

The first three books were written, revised, critiqued, and released in a much shorter time than I was used to, so there was that experiment happening. These books went live in rapid succession, and that was new to me, too. It was a whole lot of new, and it was a lot of work. Frankly, I was tired, and I needed a break.

And there was the fact that I was writing romance—really sexy and occasionally explicit romance. This was brand new to me. I’m told that I pulled it off fairly well, but I didn’t get to the point where I felt natural or fully comfortable writing the sex scenes, something that was even more apparent when I hedged whenever someone new asked about the series. My books aren’t hugely graphic, but they’re not especially “sweet” or tame, either. I dedicated the first book in the series to my high school math teacher, and then got a little embarrassed about sending her a copy. So I’ve got some things of my own to work out there.

But it’s a job. I figured I would come back to the last two stories in the series if the market and my schedule warranted.

Mars Heat is not the end of the story for the Mars Colony Program, though it seems to be for now. I have at least three more love stories I’d like to tell across two more volumes. I’ll set aside some time and some funds to push a little more marketing, and will gauge the results. I have plans for Guillermo and Melissa and April and some great new characters, too, but I have to respect my readers as well as myself and invest my efforts in projects that are going to reach and resonate with the most people.

If you have a burning desire—oh, gosh, no pun intended—to find out what happens next inside the fledgling colony on Mars, please let me know. If there’s something else you’d like to see from me, I’m interested in your thoughts there, too. I do write for myself, but I also most definitely write for you.

Creative Commons photo: Artist’s impression of Mars four billion years ago, by ESO/M. Kornmesser.

Posted in writing & publishing.

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