It’s the middle of February and I haven’t begun another novel.
I’m okay with that.
Writing The Book Of Lost Doors was a lot of work. Looking back at it now, with a little distance, I can see that I spent several years carrying that project. At the time I didn’t understand what drove me, and I’m not sure that I’ll ever be able to put it clearly into words, but I was driven by it.
When I started with Catskinner’s Book, I had no idea what I was getting into. And when I finished and published Gingerbread Wolves I wasn’t quite sure what I had done, but I knew that I was finished with it.
That felt good. I had something to say, and I said it. I won’t try to sum it up in a pithy aphorism–if you want to know what it was, read the books. Either you’ll understand what it is, or I didn’t do a very good job.
The point is that I don’t feel driven any more. I enjoy writing, and I probably will continue to do that, but the thesis of BOLD is completed. I may find myself with something else to say, but that particular story won’t be it. I do have a few queries about the series gathering dust on a few publisher’s desks, and if it gets picked up I will revisit it with an editor and make a few changes, I’m sure–there are spots that need work. I don’t have a problem listening to advice and giving the structure a new coat of paint.
The basic structure is sound, though. I feel confident that any publisher who doesn’t agree with that won’t want the series. And I would like to give the books a good once over, change a few mistakes, firm up the foundation in a couple of spots. It would be nice to release a re-edited omnibus edition.
I’m not driven to do that, though. If it happens, it happens.
At the moment I’m in no hurry to begin another project. Not a major one. In theory I should be working on a new novel, either BOLD II or some new project, but I’m not under contract and while I love and appreciate my fans it’s not as if any significant portion of my income depends upon selling books.
I’ve done a few short stories–one is in the Immerse Or Die anthology All These Shiny Worlds (now back to being free in the United States and some [but not all] other English speaking countries). Another is in the upcoming Issue #1 of Cirsova Magazine. I have two more that will be appearing in collections in the near future.
I’m doing what seems to have turned out to be a regular feature on the Castilia House blog. I call it “Appendix X”, and it’s a series of reviews of books that I feel have been unjustly forgotten because the authors didn’t stick to the rules are stay neatly within one genre. So far I’ve done Tannith Lee’s Tales Of The Flat Earth and Michael Shea’s Nifft The Lean, both of which straddle the line between Fantasy and Horror. In the pipeline are columns in which I discuss Alfred Bester’s Golem 100, George Alec Effinger’s What Entropy Means To Me, and Tim Power’s The Anubis Gates.
It’s a labor of love–these are the books that I loved and that influenced my own work, and I want to share them with as much of the world as will listen to me.
So I am not entirely idle. I am toying with making a universe bible for my Cirsova Magazine story, “A Hill Of Stars”. It’s a H P Lovecraft/E R Burroughs mashup, set at the end of the Great Old Ones dominion over Earth, and I think it could be a fun setting for other authors to explore. Barbarians and dinosaurs and shoggoths.
I’ll probably write more short stories. I like playing with new styles in a short format, so I’m keeping my eyes open for calls for submissions in all areas. Western Romance? What the Hell, I’ll give it a shot.
So that’s where I am right now. Not dead, only sleeping.