The trajectory I had planned was to have the first book out looking for agents while I wrote the second book. So far I've gotten about 40 rejections out of 96 queries (don't look so hopeful--many of these agents tell you up front that a non-answer from them means no), and I have the second book finished and in the editing process.
Here's the thing: Once I loosened the reins on the second book and wrote it with the same casual disregard for where it might go that I wrote the first one, it revealed a secret I didn't know. A secret I need to go back and sow through the first book.
Color me shocked.
I am reminded of my friend, Jeff, who wrote a delightful first book to a trilogy, then revealed to me that he regretted publishing the first book because there are things the story would like to do in the second book but is constrained by the first one.
Unspoken Rule #1 about writing trilogies: Finish the WHOLE story before you wander off and get anything published. I am actually now relieved that none of those agents have jumped onto my manuscript. There's still time to tell a better tale.
In the meantime, I thought I'd do a little reading aloud from the first book. This beginning probably won't change that much, and I do like to tell you a story. Enjoy.