Since I just wrote a big long blog post about martial arts, which I suspect is not the reason many people come to this website (inasmuch as anyone comes to this website, period), I thought I would toss out a quick note about how things were going writing-wise.

Feeder came out in 2018, and with the exception of Dragon Age: Tevinter Nights, an anthology of stories tied to the game franchise I’m on at work, I haven’t had anything out since then.

Part of that is early November 2016 through the present having been stressful for one reason or another.

Part of that is the aforementioned day job, which has been a lot. Turns out making video games is hard. Who knew?

Part of that is having my confidence take a hit after Feeder. It got really kind reviews from people who were really touched by it, but I didn’t feel like it did as well as it could have, and while it’s not healthy to tie your self-esteem as a writer to the commercial success of your novels, it’s also really really super hard not to do that.

The other part of it is that I actually did write stuff:

  • I wrote a future “world where goodhearted aliens are mostly in charge,” story that I had intended as a fun swashbuckling adventure. When all 125,000 words of it was done, it turned out that the number of different alien groups and names to keep track of made the whole thing kind of impenetrable, and also, a lot of the stuff with the aliens being in charge but mostly good ended up feeling like a defense of colonialism. And after sitting with that for a bit, I threw the novel out.
  • I wrote the first third of a second take of the aliens story, moving it to the present, making the aliens clearly evil, and giving it a kind of X-Files vibe. This one was easier to understand, but also sort of joyless, and at the one-third mark, I realized that I was failing the writing test that I had made for myself so many years ago: I was writing something that I personally wouldn’t be excited about reading. So I threw that out.
  • I wrote the first third of a “fantasy monster city” novel loosely based on an RPG I’d run for friends a few years back (in 13th Age, a really fun game similar to D&D). This one was fun, with a city full of hobgoblins and lizardfolk and elves and satyrs all living together in flawed but interesting ways, and the story was about the wacky police precinct in this monster city — Brooklyn Nine-Nine as done by a D&D group. Then 2020 came around and it turned out that “Wacky adventures of undisciplined but goodhearted police,” was not something I felt like I could keep writing in good conscience. So I threw that out.

As you can see, there’s a lot of what I would euphemistically refer to as personal growth in that period. Lot of words put to paper, looked at carefully, and then tossed out because I decided that they weren’t something I felt the world needed. You don’t get a lot of royalties from novels you toss because you’ve been writing something against your values, but you do get the ability to keep looking at yourself in the mirror.

On the glass half-full side of things, though, here is what is currently going on for me in terms of my writing:

  • My wonderful agents are shopping one of my novels around. It’s an epic fantasy with pilots battling in crystal gliders and heroes blasting monsters with firewands, and I hope that it lands somewhere at some point, because it was fun to write and will hopefully be fun to read.
  • The same wonderful agents are currently looking at yet another attempt at the aliens story — this one with a different style and focused on fighting fascism and figuring out how to help and punching bad guys and occasionally kissing your fellow Resistance fighters. Maybe this will be the version of the alien story that works.

So, for all the people who came here looking for information about novels and stuff and got a lot of words about martial arts instead, that’s what I’m up to. I’m looking forward to having more to share at some point in the future.