Every author feels a sense of accomplishment when they type two words, "The End." Sometimes they experience relief and sometimes they're let down because the characters they've spent so much time with are now committed to paper and the story is over. Usually, they get over it quickly because the follow up to writing "The End" is edits and then release. There's no author that doesn't enjoy release day, the day we get to share this new work with all our readers.
But there's another kind of ending that some authors have to write and this one is a lot bigger and lot more emotional than the end of a book. The end of a series can have a serious emotional impact on an author and, in turn, on the readers. Recently, I read some of Kate Douglas' thoughts about the end of her popular series "Wolf Tales." Reading her emotional words made me start to think about the end of "Tales of the Darkworld."
On October 7, Sunstroked, Tales of the Darkworld Book 6 releases. This is the second of the M/M stories in this series. It is also a quietly intense romance, almost sweet despite the hot scenes and fiery sexual tension. To me, it also serves as notice that this series is drawing to a close.
Tales of the Darkworld started with two novellas about brothers and sisters. Two vampire siblings who own a cemetery in the Darkworld and two black dragon siblings, one who suffers from unrequited love and the other who feels cast out of her family. From Shifting Winds and Hot Water came the bigger picture of the Tales. Two families, three best friends, and a man with a mission to ensure that all his friends and relatives find their mates. Ten tales of love, lust, betrayal, pain, triumph, redemption, life, death, rebirth, sexuality, and friendship.
The series revolves around the machinations of three Machiavellian best friends, black dragon Sean Antaeus, vampire Marius Granville, and the man with a mission, magia Alfred Stone. Alfred's task is to ensure that his friends and family find their mates. However, the reason for Al's task isn't clear until Book 9 Rain of Tears, Al's own story. At that point, I'll close out the series with the story of the most dominant character across all of the books, black dragon Sean Antaeus.
The release of Sunstroked next month means I'm on the downslope of the series. Each book from this point on is less standalone. Each book will bring me closer to The End. And I'm not sure I'm ready to face that. Sure, I have other ideas and another series in my worlds planned. I know my publisher and editor is rubbing her hands together in anticipatory glee of receiving the next of my Five Dark Realms series. We've had long discussions and conversations about all my ideas for these worlds.
Even so, I feel the emotional pinch of ending the Tales and I know when it's time to write "The End" at the end of Force Majeure (Book 10 Sean's story) I will probably sit and have a long cry. It will be time for me to let go of the Antaeus dragons, the Granville vampires, the Stone magia, the McCallan werewolves, the wildling, and the demons. I'm sure it will be difficult for some of the series fans as well. Letting go of Holden and Garret, Colin and Eden, Emily and Vahid, Sean, Marius, Declan, Alfred, Careen, Corey, and all the others will be emotional at best for them too.
This series launched my career and it will be with profound sadness and a huge sense of accomplishment that I write the final book probably sometime late next year. Between now and then, as I write the last four books, I'll be working to showcase the series as a whole. With each of the last releases, I'll be talking about not just that story, but all of them. Because in the end, when I write "The End", I'll have given my readers one very big love story that encompasses more than just dragons, vampires, werewolves and demons but also includes the relationship between me... and them.