Let’s Catch Up

So obviously it’s been quite some time since my last update; unfortunately, this may be the new normal for awhile. Biggest problem is that I realized how many cycles ended up spent on blog posts rather than actual fiction. One or the other had to give, and the fiction won out. I’d love to be able to give you weekly updates on status, though, and will try to do better on that front.

This is the opposite of bleak news, however; it means that not only have I been deep in the grind on my next few novels, but that the overall quality of the series will be higher. So what have I been up to? Quick update:

  • After my first revision (incorporating notes from my critique group along with some of my own changes), the first three chapters and prologue of Pathways of the Dead were handed over to my front-line editor, who will be examining structure, internal consistency, and plotting. Once she’s done, it’s updates again then off to the beta readers.
  • I am roughly 30% into my first revision now, which translates to wrapping up Chapter 6 yesterday. Some threads have been removed for future novels, while others are being pumped up. The work is always slower at this point, but the future for the novel is very exciting and I really believe in this one.
  • I have been reviewing Corridors of the Dead not only to ensure consistency between the series but also for an upcoming revised edition. Mea culpa, the book is not exactly what I would have wanted. The story is not changing, but some of the words most certainly are, as it’s not up to my current standards. For those folks who have already read the book or have a copy, you’re not missing out on anything new. Promise.
  • City of the Dead is well under way. A good portion of the plot is set in stone and I’m already deep into Chapter Two on the first draft.
  • Notes have begun for Portal of the Dead. I can’t say too much more about that one since it’s still very fluid at this stage, but the key elements remain what they always have been.
  • The cover for City of the Dead eBook is ready; the artist is working on the Pathways cover for both eBook and print, along with print versions of Corridors and City. Once the Pathways cover is ready, we’ll be setting up a tour for the cover reveal, which sort of kicks off this phase of pre-release marketing.
  • Speaking of pre-release marketing, expect to see a WHOLE lot more about Pathways on this blog in the ramp-up to release. Previews, snippets, cut scenes, character profiles, and more. As with last time, this world is a joy to play in and I’ve grown to like it more and more throughout the drafting process. So much to share with you.

I’m still a little hazy on release date for Pathways, but if I had to pin it down, I would say early-to-mid October at this point. Just about a year after Room 3’s release. If nothing else, my release dates seem to consistently hit in the Autumn. Wish I could get you guys more than one book a year, but for at least the next three books this seems to be my lot in life. I guess I can either do quality or quantity, not both, as some writers manage. I’ll take quality.

Catch you soon.

It’s Been a Long Time…New Cover, Winners, and Other Matters

Welcome back, folks. Apologies once again for the delay in posting, but real life has been pulling me away not only from the blog but writing in general. Never fear, though, City of the Dead is practically writing itself (already it’s at 10,000 words and I can see the clear path from Point A to Point Z) and Pathways is entering the editing phase just as soon as I can shake the funk of just finishing a project. That’s an odd thing when you’re a writer, you often just want to get away from a project for awhile – let the subconscious kind of work on the next steps, you know?

So yeah, as I said, in the meantime City of the Dead (book 3 of the series) is roaring along. Things end at a very interesting place in Pathways, and the beginning of City is turning out to be an intriguing, dreamlike experience. Even knowing exactly where everything fits and how it plays out, I’m still fascinated with pushing it forward, which makes Pathways feel a little dull at the moment. That’s the natural course of things for me, anyway. Doesn’t make Pathways inferior or fated to be inferior. It just means that I need time. Besides, I like the idea of having book 3 very close to ready when book 2 launches. This may mean that I leave some space between Room 3 and the Pathways release, but in the end I believe it will be worth it. Honest!

I also have some exciting news to share with you: we have a winner! Well, several of them, actually. The last few weeks have been the tour for Room 3, courtesy of Dark World Book Tours, and we’ve had quite a response.  Lots of entries, but only a handful of winners. I won’t name all the winners here out of respect to their privacy, but congrats to all of you folks. Expect your prizes very soon!

One more bit of news before I check out to work on other things: the covers are coming.

Oh yes, they are coming.

For those eagle-eyed folks who know me on Facebook, they may have seen the latest (and, truly, final) cover of Corridors of the Dead cross in a special sneak peek. Here it is for all you regular readers!

corridors_cover_1800x2700Pretty slick, huh? There’s a coded symbolism at work on this cover, one of a woman who resists the entreaties to turn herself into a weapon and finds herself in the midst of a crumbling world. And here’s the thing: the reason that I’m fairly confident this will be the last cover is that we’re working on the remaining covers in the series and they all align with the themes on this cover. So yes, a City of the Dead cover exists, and Pathways is coming along. Expect a reveal tour sometime in August as things begin to ramp up for Pathways.

In the meantime, thanks for all the support. Hope I can communicate more with folks as things go forward. Just hope for a quieter Summer than the one I’ve had so far.

 

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My Next Novel? Yeah, That’s Finished.

Had a long weekend out of town so this is my first chance to share with you, the reader, but Thursday evening I nailed down the first draft of the second book in the Among the Dead series, Pathways of the Dead. Even now I can scarcely believe that it’s happened; I began what would become known as Pathways last summer and pushed through it even during the Room 3 publication process. I had anticipated the finished first draft in March or April. May is acceptable enough, but it had begun to feel like it just wasn’t going to happen.

Of course, this is far from the finish line. The book is still working its way through the various layers of critiques and editors (TWO editors on this one in addition to the critique group and beta readers). The next stage of the voyage begins on the 24th, when I send a first draft that’s been altered with critique comments to my content editor. She’ll sanity-check the thing and make sure that I haven’t somehow put a character’s pants on his head, that sort of thing. Common errors. From there I incorporate her changes and get it out to my lovely, dedicated beta readers. All of this goes on while the critique group continues to read through the evolving drafts until they reach the end. Once ALL of that’s done, it goes to my final editor for final say.

This is a change. While the editing process on the last two books have not been solely on my shoulders, there have been phases that were nothing but my own changes. If all goes well, this book will see nothing like that. I’ll make my own changes in tandem with suggestions from other authors, readers, and editors, making for a far more polished reading experience.

In the meantime, you can expect to see a new cover for Corridors to accompany a revised edition (no major cheats, just some cleaning-up of the text) that feeds right into Pathways. Pathways cover reveal will be done about a month prior to release, so watch this space for more information.

In the meantime, a quick FAQ for folks who read the first book. This will evolve over time and sit on the Among the Dead page.

1. What is this Pathways nonsense? I thought the sequel was called City of the Dead. I wanted that to be so, but the version of City that I had crafted would have been north of 200K+ words. A thematic split also became apparent during the drafting process, and so it only felt natural to split the two books. City of the Dead is still coming, it’s just book 3.

2. What do you mean by a thematic split? Among the Dead is a series that incorporates elements of many different genres. Book 1, Corridors of the Dead, was an urban fantasy-cum-coming-of-age tale. Pathways is more of an action film with some mystery elements. Book 3, City of the Dead, is a cross between a fantasy and a mystery with some elements of a metaphysical journey. Book 4, Portal of the Dead, is a fantasy thriller. Now imagine trying to maintain some thematic consistency between an action film and a slower mystery novel and you see why City had to be split.

3. Is it still a trilogy? No. Among the Dead is now four books.

4. Are you going to be one of those authors who just keeps going and going with the series? Given the ultimate ending of this series, it would be pretty difficult to keep going. I do have a few ideas for prequels under my vest, but those would be far, far off and only for a good reason. I do think that some of the characters introduced over the course of the series would constitute that good reason, such as Omarosa and Anushka.

5. Omarosa? Isn’t she that woman from the Apprentice? The name Omarosa is actually Babylonian; it referred to a mistress of the universe, probably meaning “the sea.” The name is highly appropriate for the character devoid of any popular connections. Besides, I like the name. We’re taking it back.

6. Who are some of the new characters? Well, you know about Omarosa. I don’t want to give too much away, but you’ll meet the creator of the robot, Jazshael, from Corridors of the Dead (and oh boy will you meet him). He’s a very interesting, complex character who will pop up again and again through the rest of the series. The original founder of the Acolytes, Alma, will appear. Two characters from Room 3 make appearances as well – see if you can spot them. Both have prominent roles, though one is a younger version of himself.

7. How many characters die this time? Will your blood lust ever be satisfied? ALL OF THE CHARACTERS. ALL OF THEM. AND NEVER.

8. Where does Room 3 fit into all of this? Room 3 is a side-story to the series. You wouldn’t need to read it to understand what happens in Among the Dead, but some of the issues that pop up make a whole lot more sense when you understand just what the Watchers were up to in London in the late aughts. In time, I’ll fill in the gaps for folks who might have missed these connections.

9. Are you going to write about magick and fantasy all your life? No, sheesh, MOM. I actually have three literary books in the pipeline and am toying with the idea of using the whole Labor Day Rush method to write one of them. Crazy? Oh, probably, but it’s the best way I can think of to give myself the breathing room necessary to get one of those books out.

10. Okay, I’m interested. When can I buy it? Patience. Good work takes time…I’ll let you know as soon as I can.

Bottom line? STAY TUNED….

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A Busy Summer on the Horizon

Hey all. Quick little set of announcements for the five people who might care:

  • May is going to be a busy month. We’ll have:
    • A giveaway co-sponsored by Grammarly – look for details about that in the coming weeks.
    • An appearance at the Gaithersburg Book Festival in Gaithersburg, MD.
    • A blog tour for Room 3 with plenty of prizes.
  • I’m going to be releasing at least two short stories this Summer. The first will be an expanded version of my story from Somewhere in the Shadows, On the Air. I’ll be firing up on this one soon.
  • The Among the Dead trilogy is now the Among the Dead Quartet. That’s right, I’m splitting City of the Dead into two books: Pathways of the Dead (which will release this year) and City of the Dead, which should release sometime next year. The current process for writing these, along with having a decent chunk of this new City of the Dead, should mean for a more rapid release schedule on the series. I’ll keep you posted.

I think that covers everything for the moment. Nothing too momentous, but at least the fiction is coming along well.

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They Kill Mondays, Don’t They? -or- A Sunday in Kensington

Happy Monday, y’all. You know, inspiration is a weird thing when you’re a writer; sit and wait around for it before writing and you’re bound to be disappointed. Sometimes it also abandons you even as you churn out page after page, leaving you to flounder for the right path forward through a story and yet you have to go on just the same because the alternative is leaving the page blank and allowing your precious time on Earth to slowly drain away.

And yet…sometimes it all fires. I have a confession: I really didn’t understand what would happen in the last third of City of the Dead. Oh, I knew exactly how the book ended and how that closing led to Portal of the Dead – that stuff’s been set in stone since 2011, but I didn’t know how the story got from Brooklyn to the City outskirts and from there to the temple in the center of the City. I also didn’t fully understand the nature of the City itself.

This is not as much of a problem as it might sound, however; I always knew that the City was tied to the subconscious, more a city of impressions and wild flights of fancy than concrete and mortar, so it seemed to make the most sense to rely on my imagination to fill in the gaps as the story proceeded. It can become something of a high-wire act. Will the answers come to you, or will you have to drag them out?

Funny thing happened, though: the answers began to appear in my dreams. On Friday night, in a dream, I found myself in a strange version of Washington, DC where the names of neighborhoods and towns shifted from one to the other. As those names changed, so too did the natures of the worlds that I inhabited. In one, the Metro train looked like ours. In another, it was made of brass, and so on. I ended up thoroughly confused and unsure of how to proceed. It was a pretty upsetting dream, but upon awakening I realized that this was the answer – this was the nature of the City of the Dead, and with that nature clarified, the history of the City laid before me. I jumped out of bed and wrote nearly a thousand words on that history.

That history pointed the way toward a chunk of the story. One of the major components had always been a race against time to learn the history of the city before something terrible happened. Now I understand that history and the nature of the obstacles that the characters must overcome to learn that history.

A large chunk of the City portion remained unsolved, however. I had no fear when it came to writing that, but I really had no idea how it would unfold. Until last night, at least, when I had a series of nightmares that seem to correspond to questions about identity and security – just the sort of questions that the character facing these trials would need to answer. I’ve been frantically writing down the nature of those dreams since, as they represent the missing pieces of the story.

So, two nights, two sets of dreams, and a large portion of the story is laid bare. That’s what I call inspiration, folks. You never know where it will strike, but when it does, you have to grab hold of it.

Now then. Yesterday was a fairly important day, as it marks the beginning of my Spring marketing endeavors. Yesterday was the Kensington Day of the Book Festival in Kensington, Maryland. We arrived around 10:30 yesterday morning and, after some confusion on our table location, got things set up. I had had some concerns about the new table layout, but I think it turned out just fine:

Table

Sales were pretty flat, but I’ve come to realize that these shows aren’t necessarily about sales. They’re about making connections with readers, other authors, and promoters especially. I was approached about a few different promotions which could bear fruit in the near future and made some new author friends. Given that I had set out expecting not to make much of anything and just show my public face, those were a nice bonus. I’m hoping that the May show is a little busier and we make a little more money, but this is a slow build and just making people aware of my name right now is very important. I’ll update you guys as the marketing progresses.

 

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Marketing, Marketing, Marketing…

The subject can make you tear your hair out, especially when you’re already in a somewhat tough spot with your writing. I mean, let’s face it, it’s not especially easy to market what I’m writing, at least, not yet. I do feel that it will eventually become easier, but for now I’m kind of taking my lumps as part of paying my dues. That’s how it goes, you know. Anyway, I say all this because after last week’s announcement, I’m in the process of commissioning a few covers, each for different purposes, at least for now. Here is the final outcome of my work with Silyvia Yordanova:

Real Full SizThe idea, of course, being to represent a more “realistic” approach to the work and give readers a face to associate with Matty. I think the cover fits in with a lot of what I’ve seen out there and will be easier to sell in personal appearances, so this may be the final print cover; not certain just yet because I’ve also hired an illustrator to create a fully illustrated cover that will better bring the vision of the original cover to fruition. I mean this one:

The Corridors of the DeadThe current concept is to take this one and more fully realize it, with a cross between the art of movies like Metropolis and Alien. With both in hand, it should be easier to decide which path is the more viable one moving forward with the series.

Let me just say that City of the Dead has been on an arduous path from the outset; it’s easily rivaled Room 3 in complexity, even with a pre-planned plot set out before it. The concept is just as tricky and there are far more characters and moving parts within the story. That said, I’m confident that it will be finished and work as intended – I just don’t plan to fail, period.

It’s probably natural that the cover art for City has followed the same tortured path as its creation. There have already been two abortive attempts at covers, which is why I want to take the time to get this right by first perfecting the cover to Corridors and having the theme to carry through the series. This is already a very difficult series to sell, and it’s important to get the tone and approach just right.

Let’s just hope that Portal of the Dead is much easier. This trilogy may well kill me.

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Status Update: Sick but Fighting

Hi folks, thought it might be time to do another status check. Things are rolling right along in Qwendellonia Publishing HQ, but this is going to have to be a real quick update, as some Iranian food from yesterday afternoon has knocked me down a peg or two. Kids, it ain’t cool to have IBS. Trust me.

First of all, I’m confirmed for the Gaithersburg Book Festival on May 18th. Check out the schedule/events tab for more information on that one, and as always I’ll keep you up-to-date on my plans there. I’m trying to arrange something for the long stretch between June and September, but I may take some time off from appearances to finalize City of the Dead then.

Speaking of which, City is coming along well. I just sent a batch of pages to my critique group for review and have finished my second draft of the first section. It’s going to be a long book, no lie about that; might surpass Room 3, but I’m not sure just yet, as the back third of the book is still in motion. Just rest assured that I’m working hard on it and have about 70,000 words in the can. You’ll see it this year, promise.

I also had a fantastic idea for a new novel that’s a little different from what I normally write in subject matter, but not structure. It’s called 7:30 Thursday Morning. It’s about the accidental death of a businessman and the ripples of cause and effect that both lead to the death and go outward from the event. It’s all set within one day and is a non-linear story, in that you’ll jump around in order to see the causes and effects in their logical groupings rather than a time-based grouping. Don’t worry, I think I’ve worked out a way to keep the reader from getting lost, and it’s not going to be an especially long book. No timeframe on this one, but I’ve already written a chunk of material for it. I’ll let you guys know more as it progresses.

That’s all for today. Now back to suffering. Hope you had a great weekend.

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Status Report: Down in the Tunnels

Good Friday, readers. This is a pretty exciting Friday for me as next Friday marks my first convention appearance; I’ll be talking more about it next week in the lead-up to the con itself, but suffice it to say that I’m both anxious and excited. I think I have just about everything I’ll need (though I’d like to know a little more about my table size), and I’m currently planning my table layout. I would normally say that this means no Friday post, but I’m considering the idea of blogging the event as it goes along, supplying you with pictures and some descriptions of what I’ll be seeing. I expect to arrive around 1:00 Friday afternoon and stay there into the wee hours. Pretty exciting stuff.

This post is not entirely about that, however; this post is my semi-monthly status check. I’m currently focused like a laser on City of the Dead, and don’t think I’ll be touching anything else until it’s entered beta reader status. I think those of you who have been waiting for the sequel will find that to be good news. The book is currently around 72,000 words with a significant portion still left to be written; I’m at the 32,000 mark in a significant rehaul of the first half of the book. Let’s just say that it’s already approaching the size of Corridors of the Dead and still has at least another 30,000 words to go. I think it’s going to be roughly the size of Room 3.

Oh, and we’re currently developing the cover. Look for a similar look to Corridors of the Dead and the Station, with a scythe and circuitry taking center stage.

One of the struggles with writing a trilogy, and especially a serial trilogy as I intended this to be from the get-go, is how much information from the previous book to dump on the reader up front. I’m trying to find a good balance with my critique group, but it’s still very, very tricky. I think I might have found a solution to the whole mess, though! City of the Dead is going to release in two editions. The first will, of course, be the book by itself, for those who have read Corridors and want to continue their journey; for those folks, I’ll include a glossary and am tentatively planning a map of the Aethyrs (this may or may not happen, it’s in the embryonic stage). The second edition will incorporate Corridors of the Dead into one volume called Among the Dead: Matty’s Journey. The transition between the two books will be seamless, and it will not include the glossary, though it may include the aethyric map.

So this begs the question: is an omnibus coming once the third book drops? Absolutely. I’m still deciding on what sort of bonus material those will have, but I don’t plan to shortchange any buyers, whether they get in on the ground floor with Corridors, pick up with Matty’s Journey, or buy the whole thing once it’s finished. This will mean seven separate SKUs (including the two standalones of the Station and its successor, both of which will be in the collected editions) for a trilogy, but I’m okay with that and I don’t think I’m the first to do such a thing. I’ll be sure to price them competitively so a buyer of Corridors who then picks up City won’t get a better or worse deal than someone who buys 1 and 2 combined. The same will apply to the omnibus, of course, with Portal of the Dead; as things stand now, City will likely cost 2.99, with Corridors permanently dropping to 99 cents. This means that Matty’s Journey will be 3.98, which is a whole lot of book for not a lot of money.

I definitely plan to put out my first short story collection between City and Portal, along with a couple of non-fiction books about publishing. My fervent hope is to get the trilogy finished up in mid-2014, but we’ll see how that goes. For right now, Matty and crew are fighting through the tunnels beneath the former Watcher complex, ready to encounter a mysterious foe who will challenge them like never before.

Oh, and a reminder that the Somewhere in the Shadows giveaway is still going strong. All you have to do is follow us on twitter, visit our sites, tweet about the giveaway, or write about us on your blog during February and earn entries to win copies of our books and/or the anthology, so go ahead and sign up! I know I’ve said I had my issues with rafflecopter giveaways before, but I’m okay with this since it’s not a reviews-for-likes scam. Here’s what you need. Go nuts!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

400: This is not my beautiful house!

400

Welcome to post #400! While it’s great to reach a milestone, I also have to keep my wits about me. Shaggin the Muse is, surprisingly, not the longest-lived blog that I’ve ever created. It’s certainly getting up there, but I’ve had a few that lasted a year or so longer. That said, I didn’t have any doubt that it would reach this point; what, was I just going to give up on my writing? Hardly. Still, I can recognize my own happiness at having enough ideas to get this far. Ideas are always the toughest part of writing a blog, and so far I’ve had a few slow downs but no major roadblocks.

This has certainly been a strange journey, though, one that’s encompassed two novels (both of which received total rewrites), more than a dozen short stories, an anthology appearance, and even a novelette.  I’m saving some of the navel-gazing for post #500, assuming I get that far, but 400 is still a nice round number to look back and take stock.

Shaggin the Muse opened its doors on February 25, 2011, right around the time that I wrapped up the fourth draft of what would eventually become The Corridors of the Dead. At that time, I referred to it as the Torat series rather than Among the Dead, and the first book would be Torat: Initiation. The series still consisted of three books and had a similar game plan, but featured some key differences, which I’ll talk about in a bit.

This blog exists simply because I felt it had to, as a means of publicity and not much else. My rather unfortunate first post reflects my feelings on the process at the time:

Intend to turn this into an official blog for my works, however, I am currently head-down in trying to get this novel ready for submission to a contest. Will eventually update on progress and thoughts.

dat sum

That’s it. The entire substance of the post. The damned thing is that I had plenty of blog experience at that point. By my count, I’d had something like seven blogs prior to this site and have been blogging in one form or another since early 2005, so it’s not like my reticence had been borne of fear. Truth is, I had few ideas on what I wanted from this site  other than including updates on my works-in-progress, and even then I felt something of a grudging “requirement” to offer those updates.

You see, it’s always been easy  to talk about other people and their ideas, but not so easy to focus on myself and my ideas, especially when it came to writing. Oh, sure, I could blog about emotional issues in my life with very little trouble (at a base level fiction is already pretty much this), but writing about my actual works? Just way too personal, and running too much of a risk that no one cares. I know, I know. It makes little sense to me now, too. I can only surmise that the process of creating fiction showed even more of my soft underbelly than some of those deeply personal things that I talked about over the years.

Today I’m the exact opposite. I’ve gotten so used to sharing my fiction and baring that part of myself that it seems odd that it ever worried me. At the same time I’ve gone back and removed a good portion of those older blogs because they cut too close to the bone. My fiction is still highly personal and incorporates much of my emotional landscape (I think good fiction should do this), but it’s different now – overt talk about emotional issues just doesn’t appeal to me anymore. Two years in the trenches of the publishing wars will do that to a person, that’s for sure. I certainly know that public appearances with my fiction felt unthinkable back then and here I am gearing up for public readings and sales with some anticipation.

Now, to talk about my relevant work on February 25th, 2011. Torat: Initiation would turn out to be a very different book from Corridors of the Dead. Oh, both books shared a majority of characters, save for an angel named Mora (AKA Uriel, the angel of death), a down-on-her-luck diner owner in Vegas. I miss her, but some of her lives on in the character of Omarosa, introduced in The Station and taking a much larger role in City of the Dead.

For comparison’s sake, here is the original opening of Torat: Initiation:

Working as the night porter for the motel really was the best and worst of both worlds. Matty loved having the extended alone time; the quiet time, the time when she could just sit with her charcoals and inks and do whatever came to mind. She hated that stretch between 3 and 6, when the entire world came to a dead stop and the spectre of sleep hung on her bones like a shroud, fended off with regular shots of Red Bull and Mountain Dew.

She dreaded it, but it also produced some of her more surreal works of art, and so she tried to be ready to seize that dragon and ride it all the way to some great art. This night she was working on a charcoal drawing of her lover, transforming her from a pretty blonde with curved, nordic features to a sneering warrior.

She looked up when the door chimed and sat Kristy aside, stepping through the doorway to find a small, hunched old woman who greeted her with kind eyes. “Good to see someone’s still awake.”

Matty rubbed her eyes and smiled. “Yeah, kinda my job.”

“Still admirable. Could just as easily sleep back there, you know.”

Matty lifted an empty Red Bull can from beside the register and shook it. “The magic of caffeine.”

It’s a testament to my growth that I can read that and immediately see why the book struggled to place with an agent; I hadn’t done much real work done to build a connection with Matty. I don’t blame myself, though, as I had very little idea of how to do such a thing. Thankfully, that’s changed over the last two years, and I know that I could do a fairly effective job of connecting the reader with that incarnation. Continue reading

State of the City: January 2013

Lazy

Hi Readers. It’s Friday yet again – the second Friday of 2013, of course, and I think it might be time for a status update. You know, I occupy a funny place as an indie writer. I consider this a job, and I take it very seriously, but there are times when I become tempted to think “well, I report to only myself (and possibly my wife), so who cares if I don’t do this or that?”

That’s the kind of threatening inertia that can take down a career before it even begins; I know, I’ve seen it happen with a few folks already. I want to avoid this kind of thinking, but it’s such a strange space to occupy that motivation beyond motivation “for its own sake” becomes a nebulous concept. At least, until I think about readers. That’s why I address so many of my updates to you readers directly. You’re the ones that (theoretically) pay my bills, and the ones who might possibly enjoy anything that I bring to market. In some respects, that makes you the ones to whom I report. And you know what? I’m pretty okay with that concept. Customers are king in my other business, and so customers must be king here. Thinking this way also helps when it comes to things that enrich my career, such as writers conferences or convention appearances.

Anyway, enough with the navel-gazing. It’s something that has been on my mind lately, and I just wanted to say something about it.

Now then, the good stuff: what’s going on? The answer is, a lot. Shadow Boxes, the short story collection, is still on the table. I had previously hoped for a February release, but a combination of factors (including aforementioned convention appearances) makes that highly unlikely. May might be a little more realistic, but we’ll see on that front. As I’ll explain in a bit, I’m currently very invested in City of the Dead and want to make that the highest priority. Still, Shadow Boxes is on my radar and will see the light of day in 2013, barring any major issues.

That brings me to the Among the Dead trilogy and, specifically, City of the Dead. I’m pleased to report that the first draft is at 64,000 words and counting. Forward progress is currently halted just short of the opening of Book 3 (which means I’m roughly 2/3rds of the way through) in order to return to the scene of the crime, as it were. I’ve gone back to page 1 and am revising from there forward. Continue reading