This past month has brought me all kinds of splendid news. First, THE TIME ROADS has been nominated for Best Fantasy Novel, for the 2014 RT Reviewers' Choice Awards. (*insert wild celebration here*) Second, I had a long talk with my husband, then my manager, about switching to part-time status for the first half of 2015. Goals? Get a complete, submission-ready draft of Current Novel to my agent. Edit as much of my pirate novel as possible in the time remaining. Avoid burn-out.
Since my last post...
An amazing, fabulous, absolutely shiny vacation in London (with a daytrip to Bath). Followed by a cold that turned into bronchitis. And in parallel, a rising tide of chaos at the dayjob. In spite of all that, slow but steady progress with Current Novel. I now have a rough draft of chapter 10, with detailed notes for chapter 11.
My current goal is to have a complete first draft ready by early January. Strike that goal, because the bronchitis left me without the mental energy to accomplish much. I'm now looking at having the draft done and out to readers by March.
The dayjob ended up more hectic than ever. I delivered all my projects on time by working weekends and longer days. The result, however, was that my tendonitis flared up badly, so when I finally had a weekend free, I could not use my hand to type. I did make baby steps of progress on the existing novel, but that's all.
In far happier news, THE TIME ROADS comes out this month!
*pause for author's dance of happiness*
Release Day is October 14th, and already the book has received some wildly opposite reviews. Publishers Weekly called it "ambitious but flawed." RT Book Reviews named it a Top Pick. And various bloggers either seem to love it or hate it. And that's all good, because a passionate response is far, far better than indifference.
You can read an excerpt here.
Goodness, where did last month go?
Dayjob (tight deadlines, long hours). Editing (short stories). Doctor visits (all with good news). I poked at the next two chapters for Current Novel but didn't make any real progress.
September promises to be as busy as August at the dayjob, so I've set very modest writing goals. Write one chapter for Current Novel. Review the existing draft for another novel. If I get more done, that's great.
I took a small break from Current Novel last month (Readercon, short story revisions, various house-related chores). This month I'm back on the novel. The plot rollercoaster just climbed to the top and is about to take the plunge into All Hell Breaks Loose territory.
First page proofs for THE TIME ROADS reviewed last month. ARCs arrived on my doorstep this month. (Yay!) Now I can show off a copy at Readercon, where of course I will be reading an excerpt or two.
TwoThree more chapters for Current Novel edited and sent to my agent. Fifteen or so more to go. I think it's time to switch from revolving edits to driving toward that first draft finish line. I've reached the point where I'm impatient of anything that gets between me and the story.
Last month I played catchup. I caught up on my sleep. Our house is now presentable. Our flowerbeds have more flowers. I wrote those promised blog posts. And I took care of all sorts of other errands. Plus, as always, there was the dayjob and its deadlines.
I also finished the new polishing pass for Current Novel. And, because I could not resist, I wrote the next two chapters and marked them up for edits. Usually I write the first draft from end to end before I tackle any edits, but this book feels different. Perhaps it's simply because I'm juggling a number of other projects, but I'm going to experiment with a pattern of write a few chapters, polish them, then move on to the next set. We'll see how that goes.
Meanwhile, the first page proofs for The Time Roads are due to arrive Any Day Now. I'm excited because 1) I get to see how the book pages will look, and 2) this is the last step for me before the book is released this October.
My agent reports that she loves Current Novel! We spent about an hour talking about which publishers might be interested. The plan is for me to make one more polishing pass through the chapters, then the novel goes out on submission. Soon. As in, this later month or early the next.
*runs around in excited circles*
Meanwhile, copyedits for The Time Roads showed up around the middle of April. I spent an exhausting couple weeks reviewing the pages, double-checking the Irish and German, triple-checking the names, and entering my edits. The revised copy is now back with the publisher. I have a few weeks before the page proofs show up in my in-box, which gives me time to recover the house from chaos, write a few promised blog posts, and catch up on my sleep.
Or, I could write the next chapter of Current Novel. Hmmmm.
Lots and lots of writing accomplished since last month. I now have three chapters written and polished, a synopsis, and plot notes for the rest of the book. Fred-the-Muse has gifted me with titles for both the book and the series, plus a few tantalizing glimpses into what could be the second book. (Optimistic fellow, this Fred.) The chapters are currently with readers, and I hope to have the proposal package off to my agent within the next few weeks.
Which is good, becauses copyedits for The Time Roads are due to arrive around then…
The new story is sticking. And growing in complexity. (This is a good thing.) I have two and a half chapters written so far. It's time now to take a break from the prose and map out the overall structure of the book. Oh, and at some point, I need a title.
Well, that didn't take long.
With the help of two very kind friends, I rewrote the middle section of my River of Souls novelette, did a final polish pass, and sent the new version off to its first market. I then tackled the next item on my to-do list: my Not Mansfield Park novel. Several thousand words in…I lost interest. No, that's not a fair statement. I still love the story, but NMP is a quiet, inward book, and to do it justice, I need be in the right headspace. The plot also needs reworking so it's less a rewrite of Mansfield Park and more its own story.
So for now I've set NMP to one side. Instead, I'm now working on a Totally New Idea that Fred-the-Plot guy dropped into my brain a couple weeks ago. Not quiet, though the opening is inward. Not historical, but the near future. Not a coming of age, but a mystery and thriller. I can't tell you more until I write it and find out. And write it I will. The plan is to finish three chapters and a synopsis and send it off to my agent to see what she thinks.
Meanwhile, The Time Roads has a release date (October 14, 2014) and several nifty quotes from amazing authors like Cherie Priest, D.B. Jackson, and Caroline Stevermer. Copyedits and cover art should arrive later this month, with galleys to follow in March or April. Step by step, the book turns real.
Hello, New Year. I can hardly wait to find out what surprises you have in store.
Every year in January, I make a list of writing and publishing goals. Every year, something happens to overturn those plans. Last year was no different. 2013 did see the paperback release for Queen's Hunt, and the hardcover for Allegiance. And I did finish my novella, Thief of War, which appeared on Tor.com in September, and got a lovely shout-out from the NPR Books Tumblr.
All the rest? Changed and changed again.
In May, my editor and I had a discussion about my next two books, and we came to the conclusion that we should re-arrange their publication order. The Time Roads would come out in 2015, and Edge of the Empire the following year. In September, the release dates changed again, with a new and exciting deadline for The Time Roads. Once more I locked myself in my office, finished the last novella of the set, and made a thorough editing pass through the entire book. I'm very pleased with the result.
And this new year?
2014 will see The Time Roads released. Beyond that, I have no information.
But I do have plans, even so. While I'm waiting for copyedits and galley proofs, I'll make one last editing pass through the River of Souls story I wrote in 2012. I also want to make a complete overhaul of Edge of the Empire. The central story won't change (I think), but a recent re-read has convinced me I need to push my characters harder, and follow through on more consequences. Even though I don't yet have a release date for the book, I want to tackle these revisions while I still have the setting and characters fresh in my mind.
Speaking of the series… I have notes and outlines for two more River of Souls novels. I had originally decided to set these both aside for later, but I've also decided that this is my year for writing what calls to me the strongest. So, if time permits, I will write at least the first three chapters for In the Presence of Her Enemies, the story about what happens after Valara returns home to Morennio?.
And yet, I also want and need to branch out to new worlds and new characters. So in between everything else, I've finally started what I call my magic and polyamory novel. This began life as a reply to Austen's Mansfield Park, which I greatly admire except for the ending. As I wrote down notes and ideas, the story took a sharp turn into the fantastical, with old gods and spirits, but it's still the story of one young woman, finding her place in the world. Of the personal, and not the epic.
So. Time to start writing.