“Hello? Is this thing on?”
So…yeah. Yes, I am still alive. No, I haven’t moved to Canada (but more on that later.) And, yes, Misdirected has lain fallow for nigh on nine months now.
So, where the heck have I been, exactly?
Funny you should ask that…
In The Beginning, Was NaNoWriMo
So, in what has become a yearly ritual, I participated in NaNoWriMo last November. This attempt to write a 50,000 word first draft of a novel in a single month has turned into a yearly nightmare of outlandish expectations and frustrating failure. Every year I fail. And, every year, my failure leaves me paralyzed with Impostor Syndrome for months afterward. (Yes, Impostor Syndrome is a thing. Google it if you are unfamiliar.)
My most recent bout left me unable to produce just about anything until March. Just sort of sitting around, whistling Dixie, waiting for the lights to turn back on in my brain. Everything I wrote was crap, and immediately disposed of. Everything I read seemed an order of magnitude above anything I could ever hope to produce. Good times.
So, this year, I have declared my liberation from NaNoWriMo. My wife and my family members have specific instructions: If I start making noises about participating in NaNo this year, they are to strike me firmly across the face multiple times and then tell me to go lie down until the feeling goes away.
I am sure that NaNo is an awesome tool in the right hands. One of the members of my writing team (BTW, I hate you, Joe) uses it to draft the entire novel he will be working on for the next year. But, alas, it is not a tool for me. Under normal circumstances, I can easily produce 50,000 words in a month. They just can’t seem to be all related to the same project.
So, if that brings me up to March of this year, what the heck have I been doing since then, you might ask? Oh, nothing much. Just supervising a literary explosion.
The Summer of Ash Falls
Since 2016, I’ve been working on a little project called “Ash Falls.” It is a setting I share with several other very talented authors, all telling tales of dark doings and grim forebodings in a fictional city in Oregon.
I kicked the whole thing off with the novel Inheritance. Then, for a year and a half – not a peep has been heard out of the city. I’ve added authors, edited books, rejected short stories, and generally made a nuisance of myself for two years now, waiting for the whole project to come to fruition.
And this Summer, it arrived. Hoo, boy, did it ever.
Somehow, it worked out that every single one of our initial novels (with the exception of my original one) was completed within a few months of one another. Instead of a measured release schedule of one or two novels a year, we suddenly were dealing with the release of FOUR novels within a four-month period.
Thus was born the “Summer of Ash Falls” event – a celebration of Ash Falls exploding from one lonely novel to a full back catalog of five novels, with two more on the way before the end of the year.
Since March of this year, I have been editing. I have been suggesting revisions. I have been hammering on release dates and looking over the shoulders of frustrated authors. In general, I have been shepherding this project along like a nervous mother dropping her “gifted child” off for their first day of Pre-K. Sure, I recognize the inherent genius in my authors. But will the rest of the world agree?
So far, the answer has been “Yes.” Pre-orders and sales have been really good, despite our having about $2.49 in Marketing funds to work with.
So, like the proud parent that I am, let me introduce you to my “kids.”
The Lineup Of Unusual Suspects
Surely you need a police procedural featuring werewolves, drunks, and immortal serial killers, yes? Then you need Holly, by William Aime.
What is left when all you ever loved is taken from you by forces you don’t understand? Revenge. In another place and time, Rob, the protagonist of Reborn by Corinne Kunz would be a superhero. In Ash Falls…not so much.
Take one secretive coven, one morally ambiguous witch, and one BIG mistake, and you have Coven Ascending by Joe Mankowski.
And, coming this September to round out the #summerofashfalls event: the immortal bikers of J.M. Koczwara’s A Dead Sun Rises.
And we still have two more titles on the horizon: The Perpetuals and Fallen will be hitting the shelves before the end of 2019. And, if you are so inclined, you could always head back to where it all began and pick up a copy of Inheritance.
The Future’s So Bright…You Know The Rest
And that, gentle readers, brings us to today. The books are written, the editing (mostly) completed, and we are ready to look forward to 2020. Are there sequels coming? You better believe it. We won’t just leave you hanging on the fates of Brian Drake, Lydia Pike, and the rest of the residents of Ash Falls.
As far as Misdirected is concerned – yes, I should be getting back to a semi-regular writing schedule now. I will talk about what I am writing, what I am thinking, and what I am observing as usual. And I will NOT participate in NaNo this year. Nope. No sir. Not me.
As far as fitness-related info is concerned…there is not much to report. The results of the bariatric surgery are still holding up pretty well. I am all the way up to 189 (from 175), mainly due to the lack of dedicated physical activity that results from sitting in front of a monitor 24/7. But, my waistline is down to 34 inches and I can still hike 10 miles without collapsing afterward, so I am not terrifically worried. I just need to buckle back down and put in some time at the gym instead of just walking around the neighborhood to clear my head.
Thanks for all the concerned inquiries about where I’ve been and what has been up. I look forward to re-engaging with all of you in the weeks and months to come.
Sharpening My Pencil And Putting On My Sunglasses,