I’m going to be honest: my knee-jerk answer to my greatest fear is public speaking (Michelle Falkoff, I feel you!) My book launch party is next Friday at The Strand Bookstore in Manhattan, and I am absolutely terrified of not only getting up in front of an entire room of friends, family and strangers and reading from my book, but *GASP* talking unscripted about it. I’m SO much better with a script. I will be confronting this fear in exactly one week . . .

But in the interest of mixing things up, I’ll confront another fear today: the fear of the dreaded Book Two. The contracted book, the book that wasn’t purchased as anything but a line item in a contract that generously described the project as “AN UNTITLED BOOK TWO,” the book that I wrote furiously under a four-month deadline. The book that I worry won’t measure up to my first book (if people even like my first book *nervous mumblings*). The book I worry will lose any readers I gain, the book I secretly love as much as I hate. The book that will absolutely, positively suffer from second child syndrome. The book that brings up the dreaded thought of one…trick…pony.

But here’s the thing: I know I need to get over it. Writers write. They don’t hold tight to what’s already finished and lament that they can’t replicate it, because it’s been done already. They try new things; they send those new things out to the world (or at least to their agents or editors), and they hope those new things resonate. Then they work on it, make it better, try their damnedest until the new thing is right.

So for the sake of confronting these Book Two fears, I’m just going for broke and putting this Second Child out there. Here’s the first page from my work-in-progress Book Two:


September 1926


Magic can achieve a lot of things, but it can’t undo the past. I’ve sworn off sorcery, buried my magic with earth, blood and tears below the ground, but I’d gladly sell my soul to use it just once more, if sorcery could find a way to bring me back in time. If it could bring me right to the edge of where I stood and shattered my world into tiny shards, and make me walk away instead.
I’ve managed to trick myself from time to time. Even after all these months, I’ll sometimes wake up and forget for those first few hazy minutes between dreams and morning, and the world will feel different. Like all of the color hasn’t been stolen out of it, like she might be in her spell room mixing lavender and poppy, whispering her words of power, sneaking in some work before breakfast as dawn creeps into the windows behind her. It’s such a warm and comfortable feeling, like burrowing into a blanket, and I want to hug in tight, burrow a little deeper, even as my mind’s coming into focus, even as my heart’s catching onto being duped and starts beating faster, faster, then double time.
And then it hits me like an avalanche of bricks.
She’s gone.
But that’s the problem with tricks. The world can feel even emptier, once their hold on you is over.

Okay, so I kind of sort of feel a little bit better ☺ Thank you!!

Lee Kelly has wanted to write since she was old enough to hold a pencil, but it wasn’t until she began studying for the California Bar Exam that she conveniently started putting pen to paper. An entertainment lawyer by trade, Lee has practiced law in Los Angeles and New York. She lives with her husband and son in Millburn, New Jersey, though after a decade in Manhattan, she can’t help but still call herself a New Yorker. CITY OF SAVAGES is her first novel.

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