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POINT OF VIEW: 2021 Is Here – What Now?

2021

Last week, I talked about some writing successes during an otherwise bleak 2020.

Today I’m turning my gaze ahead and pulling out my crystal ball (and my planner). Here are some things I am hoping for and preparing for in 2021.

In January (1/10), I am rereleasing Between the Lines, my River City Chronicles prequel. I have re-edited and extended it a bit, and it will be available in print as a novella for the first time. It also has a spiffy new cover, which I am previewing in this week’s newsletter!

In February (2/10), I’ll be rereleasing a short story – Across the Transom – which first appeared in Galaxy’s Edge magazine in 2020, bought by the late, great Mike Resnick. I literally dreamed this story, and then got up and wrote it at two in the morning. Also, going forward my shorts will now be available for 90 days before going out of print, and won’t be available again until I release my next short story collection. So grab ’em while they’re hot!

In March (3/10 – see a theme here?), I’ll release the second story in my Tharassas series – a new story tentatively titled Tharassan Rain. This is the same world as The Last Run and a new novel I’m querying to agents this year – more on that later. Also in March, we will launch our 8th annual flash fiction contest at Queer Sci Fi. This year’s theme? “Ink.”

In April (4/10), our publishing house Other Worlds Ink is releasing an exciting new hopeful anthology titled Fix the World – our first non-flash anthology. We asked writers to pick a current world problem and to write a story in which it was fixed. With more than sixty submissions, we were able to pick some truly amazing stories. There’s one of mine in there too, a short called Rise. You can pre-order this now in eBook form – it will be order-able in paperback as of April 10th.

In May (5/10), I’ll be releasing my first new novel in a year and a half. Dropnauts begins up at the same point of time as The Stark Divide, but tells the story of what happened on Earth after it was assumed to be destroyed in the Ariadne Cycle books. It also explains a seeming discrepancy – why Earth once again exists by the time of the Oberon Cycle series after being “destroyed” earlier. I’m really excited about this one, and hope you will love it and its diverse cast of characters.

In June (6/10), I will rereleasing my final Dreamspinner title. Flames. Inspired by Things We Lost in the Fire, a haunting sing by Bastille, this novella part of the 2016 A More Perfect Union marriage quality anthology (not to be confused by the great new A More Perfect Union benefit antho featuring stories by RL Merrill, M.D. Neu and a bunch of other great folks). Flames combines a number of things I love – Italian, my old hometown of Tucson, a cameo by a woman who is transparently my own mother (hi Mom!), and a well-loved teddy bear – I mean, who isn’t a sucker for a teddy bear?

In July (7/10), I’ll be releasing a new fantasy short called Lamplighter. Spoiler – it takes place during the “middle trilogy” – the Forever Cycle I plan to write to bridge the Ariadne Cycle and the Oberon Cycle.

In August (8/10), OWI will release Queer Sci Fi’s seventh flash fiction anthology – this one’s called Ink (theme suggested by the amazing Ryane Chatman). Expect 120 fascinating takes on the theme.

In September (9/10) I’ll be publishing a new urban fantasy. I wrote Firedrake back in the nineties, but never did anything with it. I’ve since dusted it off and updated it. It’s a stand-alone universe/story in a dystopian future where some people have special abilities.

In October (10/10), I hope to release my second novel of the year. Tentatively titled A Plague of Earth and Fire, it will be going out for agent submission soon, and if it isn’t picked up, I will self publish it through OWI.

In November (11/10) I will publish my second short story collection. No title for this one yet.

In December (12/10), I’ll be putting out a new still-to-be-written Christmas story.

Whew! That’s all gonna keep me really busy!

As I noted above, I’m also going to query agents this year for A Plague of Earth and Fire. I’m currently in edits on this one, and hope to have it out on the circuit by late February.

After that, I plan to start either the next book in that series, or the sequel to Dropnauts, tentatively titled Corediver. I may try to time this one for Pitch Wars.

On the writing skills front, I’m working on better characterization. The main criticism I got from agents, my editor, a few beta readers and a Pitch Wars mentor who was *this close* to picking me in 2020 was that my character skills need some work. They often don’t “feel” what they’re going through deeply enough, their reactions to outside events are limited, and they don’t have as much agency as many of my critics would like.

So I picked up a great book called Write Characters Your Readers Won’t Forget, and it’s been really helpful guiding me through exercises that help me think about how to reconstruct my characters. Characterization has been my achilles heel since I started, and though I’ve gotten better at itr, there is always room for improvement.

I’m also submitting Skythane for a BookBub this year, so cross your fingers for me. And The Stark Divide was accepted for SFWA’s annual book bundle – this year’s is titled “Expansive Futures,” and will feature a number of great books at 99¢ each. The bundle runs from 2/10-3/4.

Aspirationally? I hope to “break through” this year – to really broaden my audience and start seeing steady sales as my brand becomes wider-known and more established.

Oh, and a Netflix series wouldn’t hurt. 😉

That’s what’s on the books so far for 2021. But who knows what the new year will bring?

Wish me luck, and come along for the ride!

To my writer friends – what do you have planned for 2021, and what are your hopes and dreams?

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