Weekly Update – March 17, 2020

Hope everyone is staying in and safe during what is undeniably a strange and stressful time. Massachusetts enacted on Sunday a rather strict ban on public gatherings and announced a lengthy public school closure, so a lot of folks are learning what it’s like to live as a professional writer: sitting at home all day, every day, starved for live social interaction — and, since it’s also St. Patrick’s Day, drinking a little too much.

Speaking of staying home and writing…

A lot of writerly folks online took advantage of this crisis to offer some well-intended but ill-thought-out encouragement to the aspiring author crowd to get cracking on that novel they’d never had time to write.

I call it well-intended because, sure, on the surface this feels like a perfect time to sit down and get cracking on that long-deferred novel project, but I call it ill-thought-out because — as others have pointed out — this is not some sort of bonus free time people are getting. More fortunate Americans have a job they can do from home, so they’re going to be busy working. And if they have kids who are stuck home and need to be home-schooled/cared for/entertained, they have even less free time.

And for those who are underemployed or straight-up out of work until this passes? They’re likely too stressed about how they’re going to pay their bills to try to be creative — and before you say, “Yeah, but if they write their novel, they’ll have money!” you need to acknowledge that you don’t know jack shit about how this job works financially and stop trying to help, because you are not helping.

(I’m not going to go down that rabbit hole now. If someone really wants to know why this is unfeasible, say so and I’ll indulge you, but for now I’m going to give it a pass.)

Now, if you do happen to find yourself in a situation conducive to creating — whether your chosen art form is writing, drawing, painting, music, etc. — then by all means, take advantage of it. Make some art and share it. It’ll help you stay sane throughout this mess, and might bring some much-needed happiness to someone out there who needs it. But if it simply isn’t in the cards? Don’t let anyone — yourself included — make you feel guilty for not creating your artistic masterpiece.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: First draft underway, tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

The Action Figures Omnibus – Volume One: This collection of books one through three — Secret Origins, Black Magic Women, and Pasts Imperfect — with new cover art by Tricia Lupien, is set for a mid-2020 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Blades of Glory: Recording of the audibook edition has begun, with Heather Auden returning to narrator duties.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs: The manuscript is with my editor, and my cover artist has begun her work! Tentatively set for an early 2020 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: Book five is in the plotting stages. Tentatively scheduled for a late 2020 release.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • Worcester Book Festival – Friday, April 17 – Saturday, April 18: The event features panel discussions on Friday evening and a daylong book sale on Saturday.

The New England Speculative Writers group has a new preview book for newsletter subscribers. Pick it up and read the opening chapters to Well-Behaved Women – Awakening and other stories.

If you’d like to make sure you don’t miss any news from me, remember that I have a weekly newsletter that features some of the stuff you see posted here plus new, newsletter-exclusive material. Click this link to sign up.

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