Most of this went out in the last newsletter, but I figured I’d share here as well. As most of you know, it’s been a weird and messed-up few years. I lost about a year from writing while my wife was sick. Then COVID came along, and it sounds like my publisher has been dealing with some extra crap lately.
With all that said, here’s what I’ve been working on and what I know about future plans and releases…
TERMINAL PEACE: The third and final book in the Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse series was turned in back in September. I’m waiting for revision notes from my editor. If things go as they have with all my previous books, I’ll do one more revision after that, and then the book will go into production.
I don’t have a confirmed publication date yet, but I’ve heard rumors that we’re looking at late summer 2022. I’ll let folks know when/if that changes, or whenever I get confirmation.
SILVER QUEENS: I’ve wanted to break into middle grade for a while now. I started last year with Tamora Carter: Goblin Queen. After talking to my agent, I spent the first part of 2021 writing Silver Queens, a standalone middle-grade fantasy. Like Tamora Carter, this one has goblins and a different take on portal fantasy, but it’s not connected to anything I’ve written before. My agent and I went back and forth on a couple of drafts, and as of this month, it’s on submission.
I have absolutely no idea how long the submission process will take. When and if the book sells, it will take a while before it’s published.
But as soon as I know more, I’ll share it with the world!
PROJECT K: (Not the actual title.) Yet another standalone fantasy. This is one I’d worked on as middle grade a while back, but it never quite worked. So I’ve started going back and reworking the book into an adult fantasy.
We sent a pitch to my publisher in February. I’m hoping to hear something on this sooner rather than later. In the meantime, I’m continuing to work on the book. I’m about 13,000 words into the current draft.
My goal would be to have this done before the end of 2021. But if the past few years have shown me anything, it’s that plans and goals can be disrupted on a moment’s notice…
What this all means is that I’m unlikely to have anything new out in 2021. My last release from a big publisher was February 2019. I hate having such a big gap, even though I’m so grateful to my agent and my publisher for their patience while I dealt with things here at home.
I’d hoped to see Terminal Peace out this year, but with it being almost June, that’s not going to happen even if my editor got back to me today with revision notes.
So my new hope is that 2022 will get me back on track and putting out at least one new book per year. Maybe more, if this middle grade thing works out. (I’ve got ideas for another MG book, but I’m going to finish Project K first.)
Friday has a baby cherry tree!
A month or so back, my son decided we should plant a tree. We discussed what kind, and he wanted a fruit tree. We narrowed it down to apple or cherry. When we got the tree, it was basically a sad-looking stick with a few roots. But we planted it, and I’ve been watering the thing every day.
It’ll probably be a few years before we get cherries, but our stick has leaves!
- Comedy Wildlife Photography
- 2 Cats are Better Than 1
- Turning Colored Pencils into a Wooden Globe. (I just find this sort of thing soothing and hypnotic.)
Doctor and DeLorean, Wells and Bradbury.
We live to create magic and wonder.
So how can I not wonder and wish for second chances?
How can I not rewrite our story?
“This isn’t your normal back pain.”
How to make you believe your panicked husband from the future?
“Why don’t I come with you to the doctor?”
Push him to look past chronic pain and degenerative disk disease.
Just one test.
Just one tube of blood, drowning in white.
Would one more month give the butterfly time to flap its wings?
“The password is ‘Large B-cell Lymphoma of Germinal Center Cell Type, Non-Burkitt’s Type. Double Hit Type.'”
We have to be more aggressive than the enemy.
But who would believe me
as I sit by your bed and wait for you to return from your cursed sleep?
Test after test, every minute waiting, wasted.
The ER nurse said she’d never seen a WBC so high.
You were always the overachiever.
Were we too late before we even started?
“Let’s go for another walk in the wheelchair.”
“Why don’t we visit a little longer?”
“Can I read you one more story?”
Was the ending pre-written?
If I can’t fix the destination, can I rewrite the journey?
Hawaiian beaches and Alaskan glaciers and faithful geysers and lands of imagination.
The Eiffel Tower and the Australian reefs.
Someday can be today.
Fight less. Forgive more.
Use the lessons of the future to rewrite each chapter.
All the while, knowing a real monster waits at the end of this book.
The end of your book.
Every night, rereading each scene.
Reliving each moment.
The blank emptiness of the final pages.
If I were a better writer…
A better husband…
A better friend…
I’ll carry your story in mine, in every chapter to come.
I’d started working on a post about the history of #OwnVoices when I heard about the killing of a 20-year-old black man named Daunte Wright by police in Minnesota. This happened at the same time as the ongoing trial of Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer charged with the murder of another black man, George Floyd. Today also saw another school shooting, this one in Knoxville, that resulted in at least one dead and one injured.
And I thought to myself, “After a year of COVID, I guess things are getting back to normal in America.”
I’m sure we’ll get more of the same old responses. Empty thoughts and prayers for the victims at the school. Excuses for the police, and claims that it’s just “a few bad apples.” (Click the link if you’re unfamiliar with the real history and meaning of that phrase.)
We’ll get the usual defenses and attempts at derailing. One popped up on Twitter earlier today, where Matt Walsh was saying,
“Since the beginning of 2020, over 500 white people have been killed by the cops compared to fewer than 300 black people. Yet there hasn’t been a single protest against the white killings. The protesters choose only the black victims to be outraged about. Ask yourself why.“
“Because Black people are killed *disproportionately,* revealing a racial bias in how how police treat us, and therefore we must protest to protect ourselves. But it’s not a bad question; why don’t white ppl protest how often white ppl are killed by the cops? They should.“
Going by Walsh’s numbers, almost twice as many white people were killed by police as black people. But it’s simple to look up the U.S. census numbers, where you’ll find that white people outnumber black people by more than four to one in this country.
And people will continue to insist that racism isn’t a thing. I remember a woman saying she’d unfollowed me online because I’d been talking about racism, and she hadn’t seen any of what I was talking about, and she had a black daughter, so she was pretty sure I was wrong.
Here are two of the many research findings people ignore, from The Sentencing Project’s 2018 Report to the UN:
- “Prosecutors are more likely to charge people of color with crimes that carry heavier sentences than whites. Federal prosecutors, for example, are twice as likely to charge African Americans with offenses that carry a mandatory minimum sentence than similarly situated whites.”
- “State prosecutors are also more likely to charge black rather than similar white defendants under habitual offender laws.”
And then there are the school shootings. Once again, people will link to that article from The Onion. “No Way To Prevent This,” Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.
I wonder if we’re ever gonna talk about the fact that 98% of these mass shootings are committed by men? Or that “white men are disproportionately responsible for mass shootings more than any other group”? (Source)
Nah. We’ll just wait 24 hours until the news forgets about Knoxville, and go about our business until the next mass shooting. That’s so much easier than facing our nation’s deep-rooted problems with racism, or the damage caused by toxic masculinity.
I’m so tired of the excuses and the lies. How are we supposed to solve problems when so many people refuse to acknowledge the problems even exist?
- Police shouldn’t murder people.
- We shouldn’t punish people more harshly because of their race.
- Children shouldn’t be gunned down.
None of these statements should be controversial. I suspect most people would agree. But too many would immediately make excuses, too. “The police have a dangerous job, and the victim should have cooperated, and if they weren’t a criminal they’d be safe,” and so on. Or they’ll simply refuse to believe the research and statistics.
And god forbid you restate things a little.
- We should take steps to stop police from murdering people.
- We should reform the justice system so people aren’t punished more harshly based on race.
- We should protect our kids from being gunned down.
Then it’s nothing but “Blue Lives Matter!” and “Well, I guess we’ll just have to run more active shooter drills and sell more bullet-proof backpacks.”
I hope I’m wrong, but I’m afraid America really is getting back to normal.
Friday is loving Howard Tayler’s comment about being vaccinated. “I am protecting my friends by becoming yet another place the virus goes to die.”