Category Archives: Latchkeys

Latchkeys: Mind the Gap

Bootleg cover FinalSo a while back, you saw that we here at Crazy 8 had announced a new property we were releasing—a strange, dark, spooky YA series called Latchkeys. Steven Savile led off with Unlatched, and we told you there would be new installments every six weeks or so.

Yeah, that didn’t exactly go according to plan, did it?

Why the long gaps between stories? Well, there were the usual real-world complications—people got sick, or moved, or changed jobs, or had some other project come up and insist on their full attention, and their Latchkeys story got pushed back. In a few cases, it was the fault of other books and other authors entirely—we try to give each new release room to breathe, and to shine, which means if a novel comes in late we may need to scoot it back in our publishing schedule, and that may shove back everything after it.

But there were also the in-story complications. You see, Latchkeys is an unusually collaborative venture. The HiveMind that created it has thirteen members, all of whom helped build the setting and the story arc and the characters, all of whom claimed one of the stories from that arc, and all of whom offered suggestions and feedback on each other’s stories. But no matter how careful your outline, when you sit down and start writing things change. They have to, really—you’re breathing life into that outline, giving it form and color and texture and flavor, and in the process you’ll fine-tune it, mold it, smooth out its edges and in some cases shift it slightly to give it a better cast, a better feel. What that means, though, is that your story won’t be a word-for-word reenactment of your outline—which means that anyone writing after you in the series will need to not only read your story once it’s done, but figure out what’s changed and how those changes will affect his or her story when its time comes. Continue reading

Latchkeys #5, Roscoes in the Night, now on Sale

Latchkeys: Roscoes in the Night is now on sale for Kindle and Nook. It’s the fifth book in the Latchkeys series and also the second part of a two-parter that my fellow scribe Kris Katzen and I informally dubbed “Speakeasy”. Working with Kris on the plot for this story, the first Latchkeys two-parter, was a lot of fun. Her passion and enthusiasm for these characters is unmatched, and she made it easy to stay excited about what we were doing. Thanks, Kris!

Veteran author and editor Paul Kupperberg also contributed to this yarn. Paul is a talented writer and a top professional who stepped in when he was needed, and I really appreciate what he brought to the story. Bob Greenberger, Aaron Rosenberg, and Steven Savile (affectionately known as the Evil Overlord) guided the entire project to a successful conclusion, and I owe a great deal of thanks to the three of them as well.

Getting more than a dozen writers together to work on anything is like the proverbial herding of cats, but in this case the result is spectacular. Latchkeys is a fine series that has few rivals in the breadth and scope of the stories it can tell. As a writer, I’m happy and honored to be part of it, and as a reader I’m excited to see what everyone else in the group has come up with. If you haven’t tried Latchkeys, go back to the beginning and get caught up, for goodness’ sake! It’s a great ride. Continue reading

What goes into a Good Cover?

Latchkeys: Roscoes in the Night will be available next week after a slight delay. But right now, author James Reasoner writes about a good cover.

Writing historical fiction is always a challenge. And a story like “Roscoes in the Night”, despite incorporating the fantasy elements of the Latchkeys series, is definitely historical fiction, set in a time and place that actually existed.

Because of that, there are all sorts of details that have to be gotten right, or at least close enough to right that they’re not jarringly out of place. If you’re writing a story set in the Old West, you can’t have a character pull out a smart phone and look something up on Google. (Well, you could . . . but then it would be a whole different kind of story.)

Not only do you have to worry about historical accuracy, you have to be concerned with capturing the feel of the time period as well. The reader has to think, if only for the time it takes to read the story, “That must have been what it was like in the Roaring Twenties.” Continue reading

The Bootleg War is now Available

Latchkeys #4, “The Bootleg War”, is now available for Kindle and Nook. Author Paul Kupperberg talks about the writing experience.

By Paul Kupperberg

For writers, ideas are like stacked up airplanes circling the fogged in airport. We want desperately to have all of them land safely, but some are going to have to stay up in the air a little longer than others until the weather clears or a runway opens up. As a result, we’ve all got lots of ideas circling our brains but no opportunity to bring them in for a landing on paper as quickly as we would like.

A few years back, Steven Savile, on a writers email list to which we both belong, suggested that a bunch of us join forces to take some of those high-flying ideas, throw them into a hat, and pick a few on which a dozen or so of us could work together. The idea was to hasten the development and writing of these various concepts by sharing the workloads. The result of Steve’s suggestion was a collective we came to call the HivemMnd. Continue reading

Latchkeys: Nevermore is Now on Sale

By Debbie Viguié

Latchkeys: Nevermore is for sale!  Release Day is one of the happiest, most exciting days in the life of an author.  It’s when you watch your story jump out of the nest and you hold your breath urging it to soar, to fly as you pray that it doesn’t crash and die.  There is an amazing sense of relief and accomplishment that accompanies the release of a new story.  Writers often talk about their stories as if they are children.  Well, the day a story is officially released is when the idea you’ve been nurturing and protecting is thrust out into the cold, cruel delivery room of the world.  Suddenly this story that’s been burning inside you is out there for everyone to see.

One of the coolest things about Twitter is how many posts I now see where editors, readers, and other writers congratulate you on your Pub Day or Release Day.  It’s such an amazing feeling of connecting and I love it.

So, Nevermore is now out there for the world to see.  I’m very proud of this story and of all the work that the Hivemind has put into the Latchkeys universe.  And when you read about the dark assassin who is trying to kill Poe there is an incredibly funny inside joke there.  In reality when Poe died he was muttering the name Reynolds over and over, something which has remained a bit of a mystery.  Without spoiling the story too much there is a Reynolds character in it, intent on killing Poe.  Now, I will say this, I kill Poe in the story.  But please don’t read too much into the fact that my maiden name was Reynolds!  I assure you that it’s only a happy coincidence. Continue reading

The Bootleg Wars Ensnare the Latchkeys

From Pixies to Poe to the Roaring Twenties—

(and everything in between, below, beyond, beside)

By Kris Katze

My first reaction when Steven Savile sketched his concept for Latchkeys: WOW! WAY COOL!

My second reaction: me, too, please!

Steve graciously included me in with his diverse group of writers who are all scary talented.

Writing is so often solitary that when an opportunity comes along to collaborate with a bunch of pros on a project, it’s a great joy and a ton of fun. With everyone’s vastly different backgrounds, personalities and perspectives, we set out to fill in some of the blanks Steve had left and build a framework we all could use. It wasn’t contention-free, but all the debate and the back and forth made for something much different than any of us would have come up with alone: something exciting and unique to the Hive.

Which brings us to those Roaring Twenties, in the form of The Bootleg War, also known as Speakeasy Part One. This story contributed a piece to our shared world, but more than that, it served as the first half of a story to be concluded by a different author in the group. Continue reading