So here’s the thing. I’m up to my fucking eyeballs in work. My teaching job isn’t overwhelming, but when there’s work to be done, it comes with deadlines. There’s the PhD thing: I’m not behind on it, exactly, but instead of spending the last several months forging ahead with new chapters, I’ve gone back and done some work on the first eight. Some of this work has been extensive: I pretty much rewrote Chapter 4. This is all to the good, as I now have a much clearer picture of where this whole thing (the working title is Inhospitable, by the way; I may have mentioned that at some point, but in case I haven’t, there it is) is going, but it doesn’t give me that comfortingly exhilarating feeling of churning out one fresh chapter after another. Instead, it feels as if I am — to some degree, anyway — spinning my wheels. Then there’s the feedback the beta readers (bless them) have given the early draft of Murder in the Cabaret Sauvignon: it’s off to a good start, but there is still work to be done. This is what I expected (and even wanted), of course. This time around, I enlisted help at an early stage because I knew I didn’t have the time to do it all by myself, as was the case with the first five books. My friends have given me some excellent feedback, very helpful and specific, and I intend to incorporate a lot of it when I finally manage to make the time for revisions. Which brings me back to my original point: I’ve had a number of those eye-opening “come to Jesus” moments in the last few months. Ever since my holiday trip to Canada and the US, I’ve found a much-needed sense of perspective on various issues in my life and realized what my priorities need to be. Finishing the PhD, or at least staying on schedule, needs to be at the top of the goddamn list. My supervisor is giving me terrific feedback, the book is shaping up well, the research I’m doing to support it is proving to be useful in a number of unexpected ways, and I’m generally enjoying the process; so I’m not going to complain, but at the same time, I’m also not going to let myself get distracted. This is why a number of things are going on a back burner until I have the time to focus on them properly. Being realistic, I will not have time to spend time on MitCS in the next couple of years. Instead, here’s what’s going to happen:
1. I’m going to defer the release of that novel until after Inhospitable is for all intents and purposes done. I’m going to give myself the luxury of not even thinking about it, and coming back to it fresh. If that means the book doesn’t see print for another three years, then so be it. I am seriously overwhelmed.
2. In the interim, I will release another collection of short stories, A Garden Fed by Lightning. My original plan was for the next book to be a late-2015 release; instead, I may do it sometime in 2016 instead. There’s no rush. The longer I take with this, the better the books will be.
3. The lessons I’m learning from the PhD/Inhospitable process will make MitCS a stronger book, so I want to wait on that until I have a clearer grasp and a more conscious sense of what I am learning.
4. I’m in preliminary talks with two potential co-editors about doing another book, possibly two, along the lines of The Queen of Statue Square. Details when and if they need to be shared.
5. Once I have a decent first draft (to the extent that my first drafts are “first” anything), then I’ll have another look at MitCS. In the meantime, though, I will luxuriate in not having to think about it.
6. Signal 8 Press (and Typhoon Media Ltd in general) attempted to slay too many dragons in 2013 and 2014, and as a result, 2015 is turning out to be the kind of year in which the principals find themselves looking for sofas to hide under. The decision: 2015, 2016, and 2017 will be slower and more cautious, enabling us to focus on doing a good job with a smaller number of books (all of which have the potential to be much, much bigger). There are reasons why we allowed ourselves to be spread so thin: lies told by former employers, job changes, ongoing and surprisingly expensive cleaning-up activities after the departure of certain former business associates, and so on. But we’re hanging in there and gradually right-sizing the thing so that we’ll be able to make a long-term go of it. Some announcements will be made in the next few months.
That’s about it.