Back in the spring, I gave a workshop on e-book publishing at a writers' conference in Michigan and someone asked me if I'd done any "shorts" for Amazon. I hadn't.
Afterwards, it hit me that I had some good, juicy material I'd filed away not so long ago while doing research in the Gilded Age for a historical novel riffing off of Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth.
The material I'd set aside was mainly a bordello sex scene I really liked, but hadn't figured out how to use. When I got home from the conference, I immediately took out the folder, studied the notes, and realized that I had the makings of a novella.
I love the novella form but hadn't worked in it for many years, so it felt brand new to me. Once I started writing Rosedale the Vampyre, the writing was swift and sure because the subject possessed me.
The book is a dark story of powerlessness and grief that takes a very unexpected turn when its hero crosses over into a different reality and discovers life is entirely more satisfying for him as one of the undead. Set in 1907 New York, it's filled with period detail and sexual obsession. It's my first Gilded Age vampyre story, but it won't be my last.
From writing through production, I was done in two months. That included having the book professionally edited and copy-edited, getting a cover designed, my own proofreading, and seeing the novella formatted and loaded for Kindle and the Nook. Before the e-book revolution, I would've had to amass enough new short stories to add to the novella to make a collection. Then I would've needed to try that collection with an agent, or look for an independent publisher. It could have taken years to reach readers.
Getting the book to readers so quickly, I felt as liberated as my protagonist when he first tastes blood.