Somehow, we’re already closing in on spring and this blog has accumulated a fair amount of cobwebs. It’s been a couple months since I’ve updated, and the time feels nigh to do that and fill you in on what I’ve been up to. It’s been quite a lot, so I’ll try to keep it to the CliffsNotes for now, with the promise that I’ll be writing about some of the bigger things more in the coming weeks.
Most of my time these past few months has been devoted to my work at Winter Is Coming, primarily covering television shows like House of the Dragon, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, The Orville: New Horizons, The Peripheral, and other fantasy and sci-fi fare of that sort. I expected things to quiet down a little moving into the new year, but then The Last of Us came along and that plan went totally out the window. I had no idea how obsessed I was going to become with that series, both the show and games. I’ve written a borderline embarrassing amount about it since January (which you can find all of over at WiC under The Last of Us heading).
I’ve also been working hard to bring more coverage about fantasy and science fiction books to the site. During the House of the Dragon rush last year I reached a point where I really wasn’t able to review books at all, which bugged me a lot because there are so many great novels I want to shout about from the rooftops. One way I’ve been pushing back against that this year (aside from just reading and reviewing more), is by publishing a round-up of new books that are releasing each month. If you’ve been itching for more fantasy or sci-fi novels to add to your TBR, my lists for January, February, and March are all at your disposal. April will be up…well, when it’s April. I usually try to do these things around the beginning of each month.
Overall it’s been a lot of fun to immerse myself in the work at WiC, but also somewhat exhausting at times. Thankfully, with The Last of Us winding down, I have some breathing room to balance my schedule a little better for my fiction projects. It’s been much needed, because there have been a few developments on that front as well.
The first is that I can share a bit more about my new short story that’s slated for release this summer. It’s titled “Preserving Phylais,” and once again I’ll be teaming up with Zombies Need Brains for it. This one is science fiction, about a human colony adjusting to life on a planet ruled by sentient plants. It will be available on July 1, 2023 as part of the ZNB Presents online magazine, which you can access through the ZNB Patreon, and will release in print and ebook in the ZNB Presents: Year Two anthology sometime in late 2024.
Beyond short fiction, the other project eating up a lot of my time is my novel THE FOREST HEART. I mentioned during a previous update that my agent and I had parted ways (which I still plan to do a detailed post about soon). During our time working together, we sent THE FOREST HEART out on submission to publishers. Alas, it died on sub…but it wasn’t a clean enough death for me to give up hope on the book. There’s an adage I’ve heard a lot in publishing, that you should try to “give your book its best shot” if you went through all the trouble to write it. The simplest way to describe my sub experience is that the book went on sub, got some encouraging rejections and some discouraging ones, but didn’t receive the “best shot” at the process it could have. Suffice it to say, I have a lot of thoughts about the experience.
I’m currently working on a revision of that book, and making plans about where I’m going to take it next. I have a strong idea about how I’d like to release THE FOREST HEART, but it’s still a bit too early to talk details. For now, the revisions are going well and improving the manuscript in ways I couldn’t have fathomed back when I was on submission. As it turns out, writing hundreds of thousands of words for your day job can really improve your writing, even if all those words were for articles instead of novels.
At the same time, I’ve also been doing some exploratory drafting on a few other books, trying to decide which of them to tackle next. I’m finding that some days, my brain feels more wired for revisions, while others it hungers for drafting. So I’m keeping things very low pressure for now, just feeding the muse and enjoying the process. (Or trying to. I have a chronic problem with putting pressure on myself if I don’t feel productive; the curse of being a Capricorn.)
That about catches us up to now! I’m sure I’ve forgotten things, but this has already turned into a pretty long post. If you’ve read this far…thank you! I appreciate that you’ve taken the time. May you receive the karmic recompense of good stories in your near future.