Erin Evans, one of my editors from Wizards of the Coast, called the other day. I immediately took this to be a bad sign. Editors are generally happy to work with you entirely by e-mail until something goes wrong. They they call you to break the bad news personally (which, honestly, is a brave and classy act). So when I got the voice mail on my cell phone, I suspected something was up.
I called Erin back, and she let me know in as polite and professional a way as possible that I do not need to keep working on the novel she commissioned from me, as the entire series of books (a sub-line for one of Wizards’ worlds) has been canceled. Management at Wizards apparently wants to do something different with the book department, although I’m not privy to what it is. They’ve removed a number of books from their schedule recently, including (it’s reported) their entire Wizards of the Coast Discoveries line of original fiction.
For myself, this is not a bad thing, as I’ve had too much to do lately to spend any time on the book, which wasn’t due until December. All I ever put on paper for it was the initial pitch. Despite that, I get to keep my initial advance, so I really can’t complain. It’s decent money for a few pages worth of work, and I now have a bit more time to work on more pressing things without feeling guilty about not getting rolling on the book yet.
The news is a bit sadder for the people who’d gotten farther along on their work, like Jeff LaSala, Marcy Rockwell, Paul Kemp, and Ari Marmell, plus Steve and Melanie Tem and many others I probably don’t know about yet. They all have my sympathies.