I was wrong. I didn't immediately come up with an idea for another book in the series as soon as I posted that I had no more ideas. It could still happen, but if I hadn't given the last book a good ending, I'd probably be panicking.
But I do still have story ideas swirling around in my head. I have sequels for a couple of the things I've been working on. I have another YA steampunky thing I'm dying to write that will take a lot of research. I have the one I'll probably work on next that's been living in my head for more than 20 years. I have another one I want to revisit that's been living in my head even longer than that (I figure if an idea lasts that long, it's probably a good one). And then I came up with a new thing a few nights ago that's suddenly started developing and adding flesh. It at first seemed to be a straightforward historical romance, which is weird because I don't do that sort of thing, but then I realized that one of the characters was a secret agent (maybe both of them?), and I think the bad guy might be an evil wizard they have to stop. I suspect this all grew from that gothic urge. The new steampunk YA started from the gothic place but ended up not really going there, mostly because my Mr. Rochester turned into the Scarlet Pimpernel (only his cover is as a nerd rather than a fop), and that kept things from getting properly atmospheric. But I think with this idea, the Mr. Rochester is actually the villain, which I think I could pull off, and our heroine in the flowing white nightgown is the agent spying on him from within his house, so she's stuck in the spooky, dangerous house. But it will be a while before I let myself even think about writing it, and I'm not even sure how I'd market it. Depending on how it comes out, it may be too romancey for the fantasy houses, but it would be a total one-off to do it as a historical romance, since I'm not likely to hit my core audience there and the odds of me coming up with another one are slim.
Idea-wise, I may be in a 19th century rut at the moment. I don't seem to be coming up with contemporary stories. The fun thing about now being officially a steampunk author is that I can indulge my penchant for Victoriana. Keeping my hair really long now counts as a business decision, since it means I can put it up in all those fun Victorian styles for public appearances. I can buy hats to wear at conventions. I think even the pros dress up and join the fun at steampunk conventions, so I get to make and wear Victorian clothes. As a YA author, I'll probably be doing a lot of school and library talks, which means visual aids. This year I may finally get around to steampunking my already rather Victorian Christmas decorations.
The other nice thing about selling a book is that I can relax a little about money. It's not really what most people would consider life-changing money, but compared to the past few years, it is changing my life. I've been on pretty extreme austerity measures. I started making money late last year from the self-published books, and that's done very well for me, but it's not guaranteed income. I never know from one month to the next what I'll make. With this, I already know a minimum of what I'll earn this year. For the first time in years, I can let myself spend money on something other than necessities. Not that I'm going to go crazy, but I'll finally get my garbage disposal repaired, get the dishwasher replaced, get the ceiling fan replaced and get new glasses.
Yes, an author's life is so very glamorous.
But I didn't get around to much celebrating (or anything else) yesterday. I was so drained as to be useless. I managed to wash some dishes and respond to some e-mails, and that was about it. I did get my blanket started and have a few inches knitted, after some bad starts in which I was somehow messing up the pattern before the pattern was established enough for me to tell I was messing up. Once I got going, though, it became a bit easier.