Updates

Unfortunately, I realize that I’ve been neglecting this blog lately. I can only blame myself for that. 🙂

A few updates seem in order at least.

The latest book is past the copyeditors and headed to the layout department. Page proofs should be in my hands in a couple months, with release scheduled for sometime in the upcoming Autumn.

My employer (a community college) is taking a very careful approach to re-opening campus. Currently we’re at something under 5% of classes being face-to-face (F2F), and even those are largely the ones that require hands on work (ex. some nursing courses). Summer, the plan’s 10-15% with potential for some limited offices. Autumn, about 25-30% F2F with a comparative services opening. All of which is good and smart (unlike the approaches in some other states and institutions; one friend’s CC has been open F2F continuously through the pandemic).

In the meantime, I put pen to paper for a third book. Just starting notes for an introduction so far, but it’s started. Reviewing a few things, I think there are definitely two, possibly three, books left in me. The first (third) is built out of old posts here. The second is a hybrid of what my dissertation was going to be at the start (before I narrowed focus for time) and a few articles I thought about writing years ago. The third is more nebulous at the moment, as the rough idea occurred to me and I haven’t developed it yet. I’m not even sure if the last is a “book” or a collection of essays (edited anthology), e.g. me alone or a collaborative effort.

To explore the last option, I’m thinking I’l probably put together some posts here, to organize and mess with my thoughts on the subject. Eventually.

Manuscripts Away!

And the manuscript has been delivered to McFarland Pub. Well, uploaded to their ftp server.

Either way, it’s out of my hands for a month or two and that’s another stage of the publication process complete.

Just their editorial review, revision based on that, proofreading page proofs, and indexing to go.

Quiet

My apologies for seemingly abandoning this blog. It has not been intentional. It’s been a time and, in some ways, interest thing.

Between online teaching (which isn’t too bad, except for the number of students whom I really feel I could have helped pass the class if we’d been f-2-f) and tutoring (which is much more difficult online), my desire to be online and do serious, productive things has diminished. Add in book edits and that’s more screen time sucked away.

My creativity has been shifted to worldbuilding for fun, as a priority. Blogging hit the bottom of the heap, after work, family, book, kittens, and mindless writing.

On the fun side, we’ve been streaming Star Trek: Discovery and enjoying it as well as The Mandalorian. I’ve caught and enjoyed Umbrella Academy (Netflix) and The Order (Netflix). Wife’s been glued to The Crown (Netflix).

New Book In Progress

I know things have been quiet around here. Part of that’s Covid, family stuff, and work. Part of it is that things have been moving and shaking behind the curtain.

The result is that about mid-October, I sent a query letter to McFarland Books. Got a positive response in less than 24 hours. Sent out a full proposal a few days later.

Yesterday, I signed a contract to publish a book built out of the series of posts about magic from 2016 (tagged Magic Series). I need to add at least another 7,000 words, and have it all revised for delivery by mid-February. So, if things go well, it should be on shelves around May 2021.

WIP Snippet

Haven House.

The abandoned three story neoclassical colonial had a certain inviting appeal, Gil had to admit. Despite looking out of place, surrounded by corn and soy fields something like thirty miles from the nearest town. These signs screamed run away to anyone who had seen almost any horror movie.

Gilead Hayes smiled at the thought.

Not that Haven House’s appearance meant anything.

It had changed a few times in the several years that he had called it home. Not changed as in a new coat of paint and some landscaping. Changed as in last month it had been a two story Tudor manor.

Gil jogged across the deserted two lane county road, slowing to a stroll up the gravel driveway. He took the opportunity to absorb the changes, noting the wrap around porch. Someone, he saw, had gone all out with the shrubbery around the front. They looked southern, not native to the Midwestern farmland.

The door swung open silently mere seconds before he could knock.

Checking In From . . .

. . . well, not the best place in the world.

Numbers of infections & deaths continue to rise here as so much of the world gets things under control. The one ray of light is that the current regime seems to be getting hit hard by their absolute failure to respond adequately to the pandemic. 45* has falling approval numbers, increasing disapproval, dismal turn out at events, and is getting beaten in campaign fund raising. So, we have hopeful signs he’ll be out in November, in a fair election (assuming little to no voter suppression, etc.).

In the meantime, my college is continuing online only or 90% online for the foreseeable future. But, of course, aikido is shut down indefinitely beyond what little home practice can be done (weapons kata and basic movements).

Writing continues. Putting the finishing touches on the magic book. That’s currently sitting at over 56,000 words and 191 pages. Probably start looking at publishers soon.

Also working on a multiverse world build for fun. About 14-15k into that so far. Mostly working on iPhone Notes app then transferring to Word, converting notes to paragraphs, then editing & expanding a hard copy.

Watching ST: Discovery season 2. We’re down to the last couple episodes. I think the plan is to subscribe to Disney+ at that point. Continuing Mythbusters with the kid and introduced him to ST:ToS.

Also added some Discworld art from the Discworld Emporium in the UK.

Quarantine Writing

Third installment of quarantine activities.  This one has been modified a bit since first conception.

So, I’ve been working half-heartedly on the non-fiction book project.  Mostly looking through, marking up, and taking notes on articles, books, and websites to incorporate.  Still have yet to add anything from them, but hopefully that will start shortly.  In the meantime, roughly 50,000 words in to things.  Pretty happy with that for a second draft.

On the more creative, fiction side, I have put together several worldbuilds of varying levels of detail.  Most have been set aside as “practice” material, or proof of concept, or trying out an idea that may reappear later in a more evolved form.  Currently, I’m sitting on two, one of which may not go anywhere and the other is at a minimal detail stage (basically a collection of random notes).

That one has spawned a number of focused worldbuilding/lore vignettes and some shorts. I think the shorts are going to be further developed as a sort of slice of life style collection.  For a while, even before working on the magic book, but emphasized as I worked on it, I’ve had a thought nagging at the back of my mind.  We have a lot of stories, novels, TV shows, movies, etc. that incorporate, involve, or focus on magic schools.  However, these almost exclusively focus on the perspective of the students (usually the newest student).  The only exceptions I could think of off hand were Pratchett’s Unseen University (faculty perspective, and once a faculty-staff perspective, sort of, in Unseen Academicals) and Charmed’s Magic School (kind of faculty/admin perspective).  But, the former is a parody of real world schools and the latter was never a major focus (and was primarily added, for a season or so, due to the rising popularity of Harry Potter).

These little slice of life, linked, vignettes/shorts kind of morphed as I developed the lore vignettes.  They’ve become focused on the perspective of the staff of a magic school (caretaker, security, cook, grounds, librarian, steward, healer) moving behind the scenes.  I may expand them into some of the areas geographically immediately adjacent to the school too.

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