Super Secret Surprise Book Going Out on Submission

I know I’ve been announcing regular updates on MURDER CASTLE for, like, forever. That’s typically how books work with me. I get an idea. I write multiple drafts. I refine it with help from my agents. It goes out on submission. It takes at the bare minimum a half year of effort (more likely a year or more to actually get a book out to editors.)

Which is why it will no doubt come as a big surprise to you to hear that we’re sending out a whole new book to editors this week.

To explain what’s happened, I need to give a bit of context.

First off, I’ve been writing a family newsletter for Christmas every year since . . . 2007, it turns out. When Denisa and I moved to Maine, we decided we’d do a newsletter as a Christmas gift for family members. Each year, it included a variety of funny fake news stories written by me, as well as any stories the family wanted to include. (That first year our family just consisted of me, Denisa, and Tomas!) To make it seem more like a gift, I also write a short story for each newsletter, all of them Christmas-themed.

It was a fun project at first, but as with many projects, it takes work to keep it going. Each year around Thanksgiving, I realize that I still haven’t come up with a short story idea for that year’s newsletter. That’s the hardest part. This year over dinner with my agents, I bemoaned the need to come up with an idea yet again. (This would be my 12th short story, after all.)

Which is why when one of my agents made a pithy Tweet about a Christmas mashup he’d like to see, I leapt on it as an idea for my story.

As I got into writing it, I discovered the story felt like it would work better as a picture book. And I made an offhand remark in an email to my agents that it was too bad I couldn’t make drawings that would fit. They noted you don’t need illustrations to sell a picture book, to which I asked if they actually would represent a picture book.

They said they’d want to see the book in question.

And would ya know it? After some tweaks, it’s going on submission.

I’m being a tad cagey about the topic, mainly because it took me less than ten hours total of work to finish this puppy off. If we sell it, then I’ll announce it of course, but until then, I’d like to have a head start on anyone who’s thinking about sniping the idea.

However, if you’re one of my Patreon supporters, I’ve decided to post the story there as a Christmas present to you all in the next week or two, so you have that to look forward to. (And you can always sign up now to see it then.)

Anyway. Will this tale have an even more exciting ending? Who knows. I think the story has a shot of actually being pretty commercial, but I’ve been wrong before. If it sells at all, it would probably end up being the best hourly rate I’ve ever earned in my life. (And likely ever will again.) I don’t think it’ll be a hard decision for an editor to make. The book pretty much does exactly what the one sentence description of it promises. So we just need to see if any editors out there agree with my “could be pretty commercial” assessment.

Wish me luck!


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