I was going to make some kind of glib comment about missing a post this month, but then I looked through my blog history and realized that the day I keep a regular blog schedule on this website is the day I'm replaced by a lizardman wearing my skin. As such, should you begin to see a consistent pattern emerge in this blog's schedule, dear readers, I humbly ask that you rise up and exact retribution in my name. Thanks in advance for that.
February has been a super eventful month, you guys. I did an interview with the local radio station of a township not far from me, which was a lot of fun. The interviewer, who hosts a weekly show called Shelf Life, was a librarian at the library I'll be visiting in May, and as soon as the radio station gets their website in ship-shape (it's currently under construction) I'll post a link to the interview over on the Interviews and Other Media page. Past that, I've been trying to get all my ducks in a row for my next Chapters signing next week, as well as Ad Astra in April.
Oh yeah, I guess I've been writing a bit, too.
In truth, I've been writing quite a bit this month. As I told you guys in my last post, I'm working on a submission for Realmwalker Publishing Group's Legacy anthology currently, and man have I been enjoying it. If I'm being honest, I don't think this project could have come at a better time. I certainly don't want you guys to think that I got burned out on Four Kingdoms book three or anything like that, but the fact of the matter is that I have, for roughly the last fourteen months or so, been spending the bulk of my free time working on this series. It has been an amazing, rewarding, enriching experience, to be sure, and I do not regret a single moment up to this point. That being said, it has also been incredibly exhausting.
Maybe it's just the way my brain works, but if I keep doing the same thing for a long period of time, especially something creative, I find my creative well begins to dry up. Motivation withers in favour of mechanization, and frankly I'm not the type who can just go through the motions and fix it up later. Looking back at my old blog Between Two Junkyards is a great example of how dangerous this can be for me as a writer, because as soon as I allowed myself to slip a little, the blog posts that I managed to update on a pretty frequent and consistent basis began to trickle, both in quantity and quality.
Creeping toward 2015, I found that almost every time I sat down to work on book three I was asking myself more questions than I was actually putting words on the page. It wasn't healthy for the progression of this series, and it certainly wasn't healthy for my creative process. I suppose taking a break from writing altogether to allow my batteries to recharge was a possibility, and I'm sure there are writers who are able to do that, but the metaphorical lightbulb that is my mind seems not to be powered by lithium ion, but by one of those kinetic-energy science fair projects that involves an exercise bike.
Enter Legacy. The anthology is pretty interesting in that, rather than having a group of authors write stories set in their own worlds that are all thematically related, those of us submitting stories are working within the world of one of the Realmwalker titles, each of us contributing a story that ties into the history of a prominent family therein. The best part is that, while the submission packet offered the various prompts and necessary rudimentary information, we were more-or-less given carte blanche otherwise. I don't know that I have felt this much raw inspiration while writing since I was working on the first draft of The Summerlark Elf. Though I'm still not cracking out the kind of word counts I was back then (I'd have finished this short story weeks ago if I were), what I am clocking on the page when I write is stuff that I always feel good about.
Best of all? Since working on this short story I have had ideas sprouting like mushrooms in a rainforest for book three. In a perfect world, I'd be juggling the two with ease, but the reality is that I only have so many hours in a given day, and while I'm on a deadline for Legacy, I only have the barest semblance of one for my own novels, giving the former precedence at the moment. Know, though, that once I send this story off to my betas I will be charging back headlong into Olhean with a vengeance.
With any luck, Legacy will open up some new opportunities to do more work like this in the future. I guess sometimes everyone needs a change of scenery. If not, maybe I'll try my hand at the odd Four Kingdoms short story here and there and post them here on the website.
What do you think, guys? Would you be up for the odd 10,000 word story in between novels? Let me know in the comments, and I'll see you all in March.