I’m trying to stay on a regular monthly schedule with this newsletter, so I’m writing this a few days before I actually send it because any minute (or day) now I will need to go from zero to 1000mph.
Currently, I’ve done just about everything I can conceivably do on every project that is currently either under contract, or might soon be. So I’m languidly indulging in commercially unviable story ideas, reading for hours at a time, and playing more Dark Souls than is good for me.
And yet, I received word the other day that I will soon be getting revisions notes back on book one of my new trilogy with Orbit Books. Once I get those notes, my deplorable, guilt-inducing leisure will end because I will need to address any notes my editor has on Book 1 and return the revised manuscript quickly so that I don’t delay the publishing schedule. Once that’s done, I’ll need to immediately begin writing Book 2, which I have roughly outlined, but have not started in case there are major changes that need to be addressed in Book 1.
And so I wait, poised to spring into “action”, ever alert for the ding on my phone that informs me one of my VIP contacts has emailed me (incidentally, for the sake of my sanity, I have it set so that the only email notifications I get on my phone are from my agency, my editors, and my publicist). Once I get that ding, there will be no leisure for…I’m not sure how long. Probably until next winter. Well, unless some other things come through, in which case probably not until 2023. But as a freelance writer, that's a good thing.
I’m working my way through Poland: A History by Adam Zamoyski. The writing is fairly dry, which is a shame because the subject matter is fascinating. Perhaps it’s just me, or perhaps this is endemic to Americans in general, but I have a habit of thinking of the nations of Europe as firmly established, fixed points that have maintained their identities for centuries. But reading this history of Poland has made it clear just how wrong that is, and how fluid both borders and national identities can be. Poland expanded and collapsed many times, almost like breathing. There were times when it was the strongest power in central Europe, and times when, as a nation, it did not exist. It mixed and mingled so often with its neighbors that there seems little basis for any objective differentiation between “ethnic” Poles, Germans, Austrians, etc. When I look at European history as it spanned from, say the 11th-19th Century, the very idea of a national identity begins to seem entirely conceptual. I’m not sure where I’m going with this yet, but my gut tells me there’s a book in there somewhere, so I’ll keep picking at it. It’s also food for thought during this period of renewed ultra-nationalism throughout the world.
I’ve also been reading a comic called Die by Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans. I’ve been buying it in single issues, but I believe the first collected volume comes out next month. It’s sort of a portal fantasy gone horribly, horribly wrong, or as Gillen describes it: “Goth Jumanji.” The story and art are both dark, heartbreaking, and beautiful, with a healthy portion of monstrous humanity and humane monsters. I have loved every single issue so far.
My thirteen year old has hooked me on pop singer Billie Eilish, and I’m not sorry.
And…as I am writing this newsletter my revision notes have arrived. So here I go. By the time you read this, I'll be in the weeds. See you in a month. Don’t take any guff from those swine. And please, take some time to relax and enjoy life on my behalf.