Is the annual accountability post a useful exercise, particularly in an essentially creative endeavor? I’m not entirely certain, but it does provide a milestone (not millstone!) and reminder of sorts about whatever path I’m on. With that in mind, let’s review what my intentions were for 2016 before the reality of time constraints, the whims of imagination, and a ceaseless slog of negative news took their toll…
- Put the icing on the Symphony cake. I wrapped up my historical fantasy series, The Dreambetween Symphony, in 2015, but I wanted to package the series as an omnibus box set / compilation / what-have-you. Status? Mission Accomplished!
- Revise and publish The Pike. While the initial drafting phase for my latest novel was complete in late 2015, it still required heavy editing. Also, I wasn’t sure whether to publish the book under a pen name given that it didn’t quite fit, genre-wise, with much of my previous output. Status? Published, June 2016.
- Begin a new series. Status? Fail! I was in the planning stages for a series tentatively titled Gunmage. Expanding upon my short story Lamia’s Daughter, this alternate-world western with demons, fey magic, and gunslingers is still in the planning stages and has been pushed behind other projects in the queue.
Which brings us to 2017. What tentative goalposts do I put up and then pull a Charlie Brown trying to boot the ball through?
- Publish a new novel. The first draft of my next novel is complete, and I’m currently muddling through the first round of edits. Tentatively titled Zeitgeist 1919, this book is a beast, currently weighing in at almost double the page-count of my previous longest novel, Requiem. Zeitgeist tells the story of a reimagined aftermath/extension to World War I, where Kaiser Wilhelm II, aided by the sorcery and genetic monstrosities of his hexenmeister warlocks, invades the United States and faces the might of American technomancy (machine-magic!). Readers of my shorter work may recognize The Sack of Gotham, the novella (re-edited and slightly adapted) that forms the first portion of this new book. Assuming no catastrophic editing nightmares, Zeitgeist should hit the digital shelves in late spring or early summer.
- Start writing a new series (or possibly a stand-alone novel). The aforementioned Gunmage series is in contention to follow Zeitgeist, but it will have to push aside another idea that’s been pinging around in my skull. This would be a novel consisting of a series of linked paranormal and cyberpunk-ish short stories set in a near-future American spaceport. At some point, I'd also like to revisit the cross-dimensional, post-apocalyptic invasion series that Symphony shoved aside a couple of years ago. And get started on an epic swords & sorcery fantasy. And a space opera. Sigh...
- Begin to reboot my short story collections. While novel-writing will consume most of my production time, I’m also embarking on a reboot of my short story collections, splitting them into longer, novel-length work focused more narrowly by genre. The twenty-one stories of The Singles Collection will be repackaged with new work and some older, reworked material. I’m not sure how many collections are going to result, but the first should hit the digital shelves this year.
- Update my production workflows and website. Part of the process of rebooting the shorts collections and publishing the new novel(s) will include a move to a new publishing workflow using the ebook formatting software Vellum. This should result in prettier and more consistently formatted ebooks, and, if all goes well, most of my back catalogue should get a makeover in the next 12-18 months. Finally, I’ll try to work in a reboot of my website, which hasn’t exactly been lavished with attention the last year or so.
That’s the tentative plan anyway. See you back here this time next year (assuming the world hasn’t blown up or civilization collapsed into Dark Ages barbarism), to check how far off the roadmap I've veered!