Update on My Writing

Vodnik Book CoverIt’s been a while since I updated all you lovely people about what’s going on with my writing at the moment, so I thought I might take some time on this fine Thursday to fill you in. Ever since Vodnik was published, people have been asking me if I’m still writing and what my current projects are. The more popular question is “When does your next book come out?”

Alas, I still don’t have an answer to that other than “as soon as someone publishes it.” It’s not something I can really worry about too much–mainly because down that path lies frustration and many feelings of insecurity. All I can focus on is doing what I can control, and that’s writing great books, plain and simple. I’ve got super agents who are out trying their darnedest to sell those great books, but as we all know, sometimes the publishing gods giveth, and sometimes they taketh away.

That’s all outside my control. Yes, I could self-publish–an avenue I think about from time to time–but for now, in the super-busy spot of my life I find myself, I only really have time to write. Have I been writing since Vodnik came out? But of course! For those of you who might have missed it, here’s a rundown of the projects I’ve done since, as well as their current status:

  • TARNHELM–Written, revised, and went out on submission years ago. It appears that the world just isn’t ready for YA Noir Fantasy. I had some really good feedback from editors, a lot of which boiled down to “I loved this book, but there’s no way in Hades I could get people to buy it. The audience is too narrow.” Fair enough. After consulting with ze agents, we’ve decided to leave this one be for the next while, going on the theory that once one of my books takes off, others will be more easy to sell. In the meantime, just imagine how awesome a YA riff on The Maltese Falcon and books of that vein could be, especially when you’ve got Indiana Jones style magic thrown in.
  • GET CUPID–The YA heist fantasy that went awry. A group of teenage magic using miscreants are roped in to saving Valentine’s Day from a bloodthirsty maniac and a befuddled wannabe Godfather. I worked on this for three drafts, but it never quite came together. Sometimes you have to know when to shelve a project. This was that time. (More on this in a moment.) The main problem with this book was there was just too much going on for a single book to handle. I’ve since been working on trying to keep my imagination reined in a bit more. Hopefully successfully.
  • THE MEMORY THIEF–Written, revised, submitted, accepted(!), and then turned back into the cold cruel world by the harsh winds of publishing. It’s currently looking for a home again, and I’m doing my best to be optimistic. A contemporary middle grade fantasy about a boy fighting against a woman intent on draining his entire town of its memories. A bit more somber than my typical style. More broody, if that makes sense. I tried to mix things up from my usual approach, and I think it turned out nicely.
  • OUR LADY–When GET CUPID imploded on me, I really didn’t want to give up on it entirely. The concept (YA heist fantasy) was too much fun, and I liked the characters too much. So I went out and wrote a prequel to GET CUPID instead. A teenager sets out to con a magic school for delinquents out of all its money, only to find out the school plays for keep, and all that magic is real. This is Ocean’s Eleven meets Harry Potter, and I think it’s a blast. It’s currently with my agents, and they’re reading it over to see what tweaks need to be made before we (hopefully) send it out on submission.
  • PETER PAN–My Nanowrimo project from last November. I wrote this in a month, and I had a blast doing it. Think of it as The Neverending Story meets Peter Pan. Main character gets sucked into a copy of Peter Pan and has to find the exit before the book dissolves around him. My writing group is going through this one now, and I’m letting it be for a bit before I pick it up to give it a read-through and a second draft. Then it’ll be off to the agents as well. Notably, this is the first book in third person that I’ve written in about ten years. I was worried about it, but I think it went pretty well.
  • 30,000 FEET–A new project I just came up with about a week or two ago, and what I’m currently spending my writing time on. Back to YA for this one. I pitched it to my agents as Hunger Games in the sky–with magic! That doesn’t quite do it justice, but then again neither does Snakes on a Plane–with wizards! I get ideas for boring generic stories. I just never feel like writing them. This one came from me watching yet another airplane movie and wondering if I could do something like that in YA fantasy. My illustrious agents just green lit the idea, so I’ll be finishing this book, then revising PETER PAN and OUR LADY (not sure which order that’ll happen in yet) and then . . . moving on to who knows what.

There you have it. That covers most of my writing efforts in the past few years. There were a few side projects, and one novel I started and set aside because I wasn’t having any fun, but mostly it’s been a series of juggling acts, going from one book to the next and trying to keep them all progressing nicely. I would love to have OUR LADY and PETER PAN out on submission before the end of the year. In the meantime, it’s nose to the grindstone and write write write.

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