Hey Heroes -
Spooky season is upon us here in Ohio, with all that entails: the whisper of dry corn husks, the oozing piles of fat gourds, the bite of deliciously cool evenings, the fading of the tomatoes, the desiccation of the cucumbers. It is the season in which the world begins to nod its head toward a deep slumber, looking forward to dreams of what will be in the spring to come.
Fall and spring in Ohio are luscious, glorious things; perfect temperatures and blue-blue skies. The seasons don’t change based on the relative politics of a region, and thank god for that.
It has been a productive summer, though as ever the season seemed to take forever to get going, and somehow was both too long (oh the humidity!) and too short (what am I going to do with all these green tomatoes?).
At some point this summer the Book That Shall Not Be Named finally kicked loose to become a nearly book-like shape. My agent read what I had cleaned up and based on that and my nearly-halfway-there word count, declared it strong enough to get us back into the publication schedule at my publisher again, which I had yanked it out of while flailing around during the Pandemic Years trying to figure out if anything at all mattered (why write books if humanity is full of assholes and we’re all going to die? Oh, the ennui! In fact, humanity has always been full of the willfully ignorant and of course all of us are going to die; it’s the one known constant in life).
So it’s a big moment to be getting the new contract amendment with a new book due date of May 1, 2023 for publication in Spring of 2024. That may still sound like a long time out to ya’ll, but as Pandemic Time has taught us: time is relative.
While new brain drugs certainly helped me climb out of the deep pit of The Plague Years, sometimes the cure for grief and horror is simply time - relative tho it is - and I have taken my time to grieve and flail and be angry and drink and read and garden and re-orient myself into this new skin of whoever I am now in this ever-changing world. I will start attending events in 2023 (confirmed GOH at Capclave, possibly a ConFusion appearance, and waiting to see if SXSW is confirmed), and realize I will be attending them as a very different person than I was at my last event in January 2020.
I will forever be jealous of those who managed to write complete books during these years, but I suspect there are many just as resentful of the fact that I held down a day job, wrote a short story a month, and churned out tens of thousands of words of book-like material these last few years, even if a lot of that book-like material was just throat-clearing.
Like time, progress is relative.
I remind myself that once I’m back in the groove with novel releases, the truth is no one will remember that I didn’t have much come out during the Bad Old Days (heck, few realize I had books come out in both 2020 and 2022). In a few years no one will ever remember what a wonder it is that any of us survived this weird time in history.
That is the nature of human memory. We carry on by forgetting.
What I’m Reading
I recently finished an exceptional standalone novel by R.F. Kuang called BABEL. I’m pitching it to folks as “Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell meets Traitor Baru Cormorant.” I feel that perfectly encapsulates the range of feels you’ll have while reading this one.
Sometimes you read something from another writer that just takes your breath away and makes you wonder what the hell you’ve been doing with your life. For me, this was that novel this year.
GET BACK TO WORK!
I was also a guest on Mur’s podcast Ditch Diggers last month. In this episode we talked about why it is we do the work we do, even when books don’t sell, reviews are bad, and the checks are always late.
I’ve got a new story for you from the Hurleyverse!
In this month's story: We meet the women who repair the time machines. Need I say more? If you’re a Patreon supporter, you can download it as a PDF, Mobi, or Epub file.
Garden and Pet Photos
And finally, some photos from Around the Fall Garden:
Be excellent to each other; for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.