A new year and nothing to burn

Normally, I ‘burn’ a book on the new year. This year, I have nothing to burn. I simply haven’t been able to write.

It hardly needs to be said, but it’s been a difficult year. Writing has been pretty far from my mind for most of it. I even have to remind myself I published The Dark Queen of Darkness in February. I’m absurdly proud of that book and I had high hopes for the launch. Instead, the whole world shut down, hundreds of thousands of people (millions?) lost their lives, and folks who rely on in-person events for their livelihood found themselves without a source of income. My hopes for Hexe hardly even seem relevant looking back on it.

On launching Hexe this year, I had planned a whole PILE of new and interesting things to try and amplify my platform. I was going to start doing regular blog posts on my experiences. I had planned YouTube videos (not the airplane ones, those are a fun 1-off) that talk about my experiences. However, after everything shut down, and my author event was cancelled, effectively killing my book launch, the day job pretty much took over my life.

I’ve spend my last 10 months at the epicenter of contingencies to adapt our processes and tools to work in a remote environment. And for anyone who thinks that after the pandemic is ‘over’, that we’ll just get to go back to old and comfortable ways, that’s a fantasy. The pressure to continue remote work to ‘reduce costs’ and ‘improve efficiency’ will absolutely remain and are likely to increase. My division (or section? I don’t know anymore), spent more than 40 years honing and perfecting data collection practices and tools that make us a world-class organization. What we can tell you about subsistence in Alaska is quite literally unparalleled in the subject area. In March, I found myself repeating: “Yes, we can adapt, we can because we have to.” Now that I’m mid-way through that process, I’ve got two observations. The first is that you can change long-standing business practices nearly overnight. The second is that it’s crushingly difficult, but not for the reasons you might think. It’s emotionally exhausting, creatively exhausting, and takes a significant mental health toll. There’s no time to take a break and not think about it. This is all on top of the routine work we do.

I think this is a long way of saying. I’m exhausted and by the end of any given day, I can’t face it. I open my iPad to pluck away at Apple Pie and Comfortable Shoes (the sequel to Wine Bottles and Broomsticks), and immediately feel overwhelmed. What’s more, those books are intended to be a satirical take on how we treat each other and how people manipulate each other and how in the end we’re all just bloody human and make bad decisions. The “witch hunt” is meant to refer to the colloquial expression and also literal expression. Doom-scrolling through Facebook after an emotionally exhausting day has me fully unable to cope with it.

So, that’s it, I’ve got no writing goals for the year, no goals to keep up with my blog, no goals to get my YouTube stuff in order. It’s not because I’m lazy or giving up, as much as I just can’t cope with another thing right now, especially when that thing, though I love it, doesn’t pay the bills or ensure future employment. I do hope your year is a good one and maybe next New Year’s I’ll have a more upbeat post.

The Dark Queen of Darkness – Cover Reveal!

cover-reveal

To conform to a cliche that’s so overworn, you can see through it to the next author: I am excited to announce the final cover design for The Dark Queen of Darkness!

This book has been four years in the making. It took a dozen beta-readers, years of revision, criticism, editing, cover design, a massive fight with InDesign, creation of a new imprint with a logo, and at one point I even deleted the whole manuscript. But now, we’re just under two weeks from launch.

I’m going to be talking a lot about this over the next few months, including book signing events, pre-orders, and pictures, so I’ll leave this short post here.

Special thanks to Deby Fredricks and Jamie Marchant for supplying blurbs for the back!


Cover Layout: Hal Gage

Announcement Time!

No. I’m not pregnant, just fat, so stop asking.

For the past year, I’ve been working toward publishing The Dark Queen of Darkness. While I’ve had a date in mind for a couple of months, I’ve finally taken the step of looking into my magic mirror to see if I was even close. After he was done telling me all of the things I already know, but don’t really want to hear again (ie: lose some damn weight), I learned that I’m ready to announce the release date.

~ Feb 14, 2020 ~

Right now we’re still working on final cover design and some minor internal tweaks. I’ll do a full cover reveal once it’s ready. As I get closer, there will be giveaways – so keep an eye out for those! If you’re local to Anchorage/Mat-Su Valley, I’m also drafting up plans for a release party or event on or shortly after the official release date, I’ll have more details on that as they become clear to me. In the mean-time, you can still check out Wine Bottles and Broomsticks on Amazon.com, if you haven’t already.