Rabies and germs, I hope all of you are well! As Mishmashers Publishing is gearing up for an exciting Halloween season (and an ambitious 2024), I decided I wanted to speak to all of you about some of the projects I am working on, where I am at with each of them, and when you might expect to see them available to you.
Firstly, I want to say I have been really happy with my productivity in the last couple of months. Without boring you with the details, I was in a funk recently.
I want to act like it was only a month or two long dry-spell, but the reality is that my productivity at writing novels had slowed to a crawl for the last year and a half. I still wrote stories like The One-Two Punchline, Even in Death, and Parlor Tricks, three novelettes that are now available to buy on Amazon or Mishmashers.com.
Those, however, were obviously smaller, easier projects to maintain and pursue.
All the same, I would go to bat that The One-Two Punchline and Even in Death are some of my personal favorite stories I have ever written. With horror, I have always had a surrealist, more left-hand approach with how I do it. While I enjoyed my novels Catherine: Forever with Love and Lunacy’s Dance, and I hope some of you do too, I believe the short-form approach is better suited to that approach. Although they’re a fifth the length, I’d argue they’re every bit as effective, if not more, for what I wanted to accomplish.
I was a little preoccupied and misaligned, focusing on the outs of Mishmashers.com (finding authors and willing contributors for Readers Digested, Vol. 1 and 2), as well as some other things I want to do. I developed new skills with social networking software and learned hard lessons about what works and what doesn’t. I believe these findings will prove helpful later on with Mishmashers, as I would love to pursue a platform for writers and readers to celebrate storytelling in a further, more intimate fashion. I simply haven’t found the right approach yet. Someday.
These last couples months I have found a new burst of energy and I have been riding that wave as far as I can. In the last two months, I have written 60,000 words on various projects.
The primary benefactor to my second-wind has been The Red Flux & the King’s Crown. Considering I published the first Red Flux back in 2016, I believe it was really a longtime coming that I write its sequel.
The way I wrote The Aeonian Fantasy was very inconvenient, as you will soon find out.
I wrote The Aeonian back in 2013, completely a one-hundred thousand word manuscript following the journeys of Naru, Secrat (main character of The Red Flux), Sairyn Althea, and Leonis Happick.
Unfortunately, I had the stupid but wonderful idea to write a prequel series to The Aeonian that would effectively be spoiled if I published The Aeonian first. Thus, because of that, The Aeonian was shelved and I started to write the prequel book The Red Flux & the Wunderkind Thief.
By writing it, I removed scenes from The Aeonian, stealing about 10,000 words from the script that would be either repurposed or discarded of entirely.
Now, as I revisit the 90,000 words that remain of The Aeonian, I find so many things that I can improve on or expand on. The novel was written when I was in high school, and I believe the smaller-scale, more personal story of a single thief in The Red Flux was a simpler feat than the grandiose epic I intended to tell with the original Aeonian.
Suddenly, I realized the shoddy workmanship of Naru’s story in spite of being what I once thought was the strongest part of the manuscript. Naru would need his own book to make proper sense of what I was trying to convey. This meant the 20,000 words or so I had spent with him in The Aeonian would need to be removed.
Now, The Aeonian was no longer the story of four different characters and would now more largely be a depiction of one city’s account of a key event in The Aeonai Fantasy.
It is all very confusing, but it is also exciting!
At any rate, I find myself with a 58,000 word manuscript for The Red Flux & the King’s Crown and am roughly 90% finished with the first draft, most of which was written in the last month.
I am now starting the second and third pass of The Red Flux & the King’s Crown. One will be to make sure all my ducks are in a row, the other will be largely polish and formatting what I have written.
Thus far, I have added 2,000 words with the second draft, and am imagining the final product will amount to about 75-80,000 words, which is what I typically shoot for with each book I write (Scott sometimes mocks my choice for concision, but I truly wanted Secrat’s standalone journeys to feel fun and brisk, with a foreboding sense of greater things to come).
I will debut the first five chapters of The Red Flux & the King’s Crown in October on Mishmashers.com for the Tier Three subscription service. In November, I will unveil another five chapters, another five chapters in December, and the final installment coming out in January.
In other words, interested readers can start The King’s Crown in October, and will be able to finish the whole story in January before anybody else, with a Paperback and Kindle release sometime in February.
After that, I will clean my hands of The Aeonian Fantasy for a little bit. I will likely start sorting out my thoughts for the Naru story and Althea & Happick’s story. I have no confirmation on when they will be released, but I imagine they will be amongst the projects I work on extensively in 2024 and 2025. (Katalene II is always in the back of my mind, however.)
The Canes Agenda is nearly entirely finished.
I am always excited to return and write anything to do with Vulpecula Noel, and my collaboration with Scott remains one of the series’ I am most proud of. In a lot of ways, I feel like The Fox Detective is my flagship character, or, at least, the one I most associate myself with.
That in mind, writing The Canes has become more difficult in recent years. This is partly because of the standard I set for myself when writing the character and the best way to go about making an episode of The Canes series. Plainly put, each Episode doesn’t feel like the Chapter of a book, for me. I expect them to be complete, self-contained adventures with beginning, middles, and ends, all held together my a unique purpose, and sometimes it can be difficult for me to make that come together in a way that abides a proper timeframe.
Sometimes, like last week, I will have what I think is a really good idea and begin mapping it out, and other times, an idea will feel forced, and I realize that if I try to milk a stone, I want end up with a finished product I am proud of.
Nevertheless, The Canes is mostly finished.
An episode apiece from Scott Moore and myself will drop in October. That means there will be five episodes apiece will remain. I decided not to load up in October, because it is already well-stocked. However, I will have a second and third episode apiece from Scott and I published in November. In December, we will at least publish a fourth episode apiece, and the left of the story should be made available on Mishmashers.com in February at the latest.
In other words, mystery fans can start The Canes Agenda in October, and will be able to finish the whole story in February before anybody else, with a Paperback and Kindle release likely arriving sometime in February as well. All Canes stories are available on the First Tier subscription.
Once Canes IV is finished, Scott and I will be now over the hill with The Canes series (the plan is to publish seven seasons of The Canes and then, at last, bring things to a conclusion). In 2024, he and I’s collaborative efforts will be reserved for a new project, but I assume we will be back at it again soon.
Sylver & Gold is now in serious development. What is Sylver & Gold? It’s Scott and I’s new collaborative project. Set in the galaxy of Canes, Sylver & Gold is a science-fiction adventure with a lot of story to be told.
In a lot of ways, Sylver & Gold was a major breakthrough. I have now written 22.5k words on the project. All of which was birthed in the last month. The project will follow a similar formula as The Canes series (Scott and I take turns each writing an episode), with six episodes shared between Scott and myself. The series will be much, much looser than The Canes. Our main sources of inspiration were series’ like Futurama and old-school classic science-fiction.
Everything has really poured out of me for Sylver & Gold. What was once conceived as a story hopeful to be released in early 2025 at the earliest will now likely see a release in the same window as The Canes IV.
As of now, I have drafted the first five episodes of Sylver & Gold and only have one left to write (which hilariously means I am at about the same point as The Canes, which I started a year prior to).
There is a lot of editing left, but I am hoping I will have my first draft written by the end of this month. Keep in mind, the second draft will be a tough cookie to crack, and also, Scott has to finish his half (he recently finished his first episode and will be well into his second and third by the end of this month).
I don’t have any concrete plans yet, but Sylver & Gold will be available in some form by March of next year. A reminder, Syl & Gold is connected to the Canes series and will, thus, be available on the First Tier subscription as well.
Lastly, over the next six months, I will be returning my attention to Cotton: The Spinster’s Daughter, a new collaborative young-adult fantasy I am writing with my wife Beccah McConnaughay.
Currently, we have about 20,000 words written for Cotton. I have stepped away from the project until I am finished with Syl, Canes, and Red Flux 2, but Beccah will be plugging away at it in the meantime. She is a wonderful “idea” person, and has done a terrific job fleshing out a big, beautiful world we can’t wait to introduce you to. That said, in terms strictly of word-to-paper, I expect she will add about 10,000 words of material by the end of this year to it.
From there, I will edit and clean up her ideas, and use them to branch out and create my own subplots and self-contained scenarios in the book. It’s a very unique, interesting approach to writing I hadn’t tried. With Scott and myself, our collaboration largely sees us clearing the way for ourselves to tell our own stories and intertwine them. He writes Mayor Barker, I write Integral Noel. I write Syl and he writes Gold. In Cotton, there is no such distinction. Everything in the book will be uniquely a collaborate effort.
In October, Cotton: The Spinster’s Daughter will launch with its Prequel story (a story about Cotton’s father Jameson and how she came in-contact with the island of Petree she now lives on), and in November, Beccah and I will publish the first five chapters of the novel. The rest of the novel will be more touch-and-go, but I do hope to have Cotton available on Kindle and Paperback by April.
- The Red Flux & the King’s Crown (starts publishing to Mishmashers.com in October, is officially, fully released in February 2023).
- The Canes Agenda (starts publishing to Mishmashers.com in October, is officially, fully released in February 2023).
- Sylver & Gold (publishing to Mishmashers.com and is officially, fully released in Q1 2023.
- Cotton: The Spinster’s Daughter (starts publishing to Mishmashers.com in October, is officially, fully released in Q1 2023.
That’s right! I will be releasing four books in the first quarter of 2023. Since ’15, I have averaged roughly one and a half book releases per year (counting both Readers Digested, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2), with my best year being the year I published The Heir’s Brother, Lunacy’s Dance, and The Canes Perception.
This year will beat that record.
In a perfect world, I may even publish Readers Digested, Vol. 3 next year if we can find enough contributors.
After that, I will be pretty well wiped.
It would be inappropriate to try and make any official statement on what I will work on next. If I had to guess, I would say that I will likely start plugging away at Sylver & Gold II, because the original book is still fresh in my mind and I still have a lot left in the tank for it.
Beck will surely start developing ideas for Cotton II, but I believe we are a ways off before any major development starts there.
I have about eighty-thousand words of unedited, decade-old manuscript for Happick & Althea and The Howl from the Black Tent (which is the name I am tentatively using for the Naru novel), so I am bound to start trying to piece that together for the next installments in The Aeonian Fantasy.
The further we extend beyond my initial four books, the cloudier and more unpredictable it becomes. It isn’t uncommon to burnout or become plagued by the responsibilities of life, but I am completely confident that all four of my books listed will come out early next year and that, that’s amazing for me.
Thanks for listening to me ramble,