Friday, March 30, 2018

Juggling Books

Normally, when I have a writing vacation as I did this week, I write. In a perfect world that’s all I do for the entire nine (or however many) days—with breaks for eating, sleeping, and family, of course. I even try to schedule my podcast so that neither questions for the authors nor the interviews themselves intervene.

But this time is different. For one thing, I have two novels on the brink of completion: The Shattered Drum, already critiqued and revised; and Song of the Siren, which has passed one beta reader and is waiting for comments from another before proceeding to final draft status. Second, I have two other Five Directions Press novels in the final stages of typesetting and proofing: Gabrielle Mathieu’s The Falcon Soars, which concludes her excellent Falcon trilogy; and Joan Schweighardt’s Before We Died, which kicks off a new trilogy, Rivers. In Before We Died, the river in question is the Amazon, circa 1910.

The publication schedule is The Falcon Soars (May), The Shattered Drum (July), and Before We Died (September). Song of the Siren won’t appear until early 2019, when it too will signal the beginning of a new series, Songs of Steppe and Forest. I already have rough ideas for three more books in that series—Song of the Shaman, Song of the Sisters, and Song of the Storyteller—but I can keep only so many plots and main characters in my head at one time. With The Shattered Drum and Song of the Siren, I’m already at capacity. So Grusha and Nasan must wait their turn.

As a result, this writing vacation has been devoted to other things: basic appointments that are hard to schedule around work (things like haircuts and annual physicals); proofing The Falcon Soars; editing my next New Books in Historical Fiction interview (yes, I’m actually making progress with Audacity, although I could write a whole blog post there); reading for the interview after that; typesetting and checking The Shattered Drum; updating the Five Directions Press site; writing a couple of blog posts; and considering where to go next.

One plan is to make some minor revisions to The Golden Lynx so as to post a newer edition that I can sell through Ingram Spark as well as CreateSpace/Amazon. That’s because I have reason to think that some of my colleagues have begun to adopt the book for courses in women’s history or Russian history, which would be great. A second project is to take that revised version and combine it with The Winged Horse and The Swan Princess in an electronic boxed set, so that people (at least people with Kindles or Kindle apps) who discover the series close to its end can catch up quickly. A third, once it gets that far, involves typesetting Song of the Siren. And of course, I still have to finish Before We Died, which is due long before its September release because it’s heading for a proper publicity campaign.

But by the end of summer at the latest, I expect to be writing again. And then my writing vacations will be just that, complete with virtual beach umbrellas and cocktails by the pool.

Image: no. 109717486.

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