Progress Report Summer 2022
In which everything falls apart.
It has been a minute, hasn’t it? Before I get into recounting my summer struggles, I do have a new short story for all of you that will go out to everyone on this list sometime next week. More on that below.
In my last progress update, I mentioned that my kid was bringing round after round of cold and flu home from school, and that continued to plague us all throughout June. Then came summer break. Those of you with school-aged children will laugh when I try to convince you that I really thought I could keep up a full-time work schedule with a child at home all day. Reader, I could not have been more delusional.
After a year of semi-reliable work hours while the Hobbit was at school, I struggled to find time to write. The problem mainly stemmed from the fact that I’d wound up with two full novel revisions to tackle over the summer months. Revision is a little different than writing first-draft material, because it demands a sharp headspace. A headspace I could not for the life of me slip into after long days of uncharacteristically hot weather here in Vancouver. By 8 pm when my daughter was in bed, I was ready to go to sleep myself. On the nights I did prop myself up in front of the computer with my weak little portable AC unit running full blast beside me, I struggled to untangle and polish my first draft into anything that could really be considered an improvement. None of this was helped by my need to work on a few side projects in order to pay the bills, but since these books are where my heart lies, I did my best to tackle these revisions between camping trips, park and pool days, and running my kid to one summer camp or another.
And so progress came at a glacial pace. I did, however, eventually manage to get my magic academy book, Saber & Stone, revised and sent out to beta readers. Sometimes this thing happens as a writer where we have to spend so much time with a story that we start to get sick of it, but the more times I read Saber & Stone, the happier I am that I wrote it back in 2018. I’m not sure it’s going to be something you all love as much as I do, but I can’t wait to see this thing published. I have to give my beta readers time to fit the book into their schedules, but as soon as I hear back from them, I’ll make any last tweaks and do my best to get Saber & Stone into your hands.
I also wrote a short story for you all, though I’ve still yet to think up a decent title for it. It’s a cozy little piece about a cook in the Duke’s kitchen who’s sent out to track down a rare ingredient on the day of a feast. I had a lot of fun with this story, and though my novels are a little more plot-driven than this short story, I think it has all the hallmarks of what you can expect with future releases like The Traveling Librarian series. This story will hit your inbox sometime next week, by which time I’ll hopefully have thought up a title for it.
The Hobbit is back in school now, and this week I’ll be diving into revisions on The Traveling Librarian. I’ll also get another short story out to you all sometime this fall. More on this in future updates.
Recent Indulgences and Influences
Exhausted dad-brain hasn’t been the best for reading lately, but I have a pile of non-fiction books that I’ve been working my way through. Some highlights include:
A Brief History of the Hundred Years War by Desmond Steward
The Secret Voyage of Sir Francis Drake: 1577-1580 by Samuel Bawlf
The History of Magic by Chris Gosden
Endurance by Alfred Lansing
On the fiction side of things, I’ve been burning through a fair bit of upmarket coming-of-age fiction, but also really enjoying:
All the Seas of the World by Guy Gavriel Kay
Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi
Bleak House by Charles Dickens
The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket by Edgar Allen Poe
And of course, I’m tuning in each week to watch The Rings of Power and House of the Dragon, both of which I’m enjoying well enough to be happy we’re continuing to get fantasy adaptations with such high production values. I know adaptations of beloved franchises are always polarizing, but what do you all think of these shows if you’re watching? Enjoying them? Still emotionally scarred by the eighth season of a show I dare not name for fear of triggering rage among some of you?
That’s all for this update. I have plenty of work to catch up on!
My dear friend Sev lent me this book before the pandemic hit, and though I’ve seen him a few times in the interim, I have yet to return it. Next time I see you, Sev!