I am writing things!
But you already knew that.
Some of you, who have been following me for a while or following me closely, already know a bit about the things I’m writing.
However, I realized the other day when a reader asked, “Wait, are you writing steampunk?” over on facebook that maybe I haven’t done a very good job of letting my readers know WHAT I’m writing these days. Today, I plan to remedy that.
I guess I have been a little close-mouthed about this particular project, and maybe I should have been more shouty about it, but I am still learning a lot when it comes to marketing. My biggest worry is that if I advertise too soon, people will get impatient waiting for something and forget about it by the release date. Maybe that doesn’t happen? Well, my next publication is still a ways out, but now that the entire Minstrel’s Song has been released, I feel like I can talk about this next project a bit more, even if it’s not releasing any time soon.
A New Series
I am currently working on a new five-book series called TURRIM ARCHIVE.
Enter the world of Turrim. A single continent divided into six countries and an uninhabited “no man’s land” region in the center that most people agree is haunted or cursed. This is a basic map, but the names are not the names of the countries. I’ve scribbled all over my map and need to get my graphic-artist to create me an updated and correct version!
The world is a somewhat strange blend of medieval fantasy and Victorian steampunk. Certain large technologies have been artificially accelerated through the use of powerful orbs, but the majority of the world still lives in a very medieval era. For example: there was an elevated train system, and now there are airships, but they don’t have simple things like electric lights. Other technologies exist in isolation, but I don’t want to give too much away! Their weaponry is still very limited to things like swords and crossbows. Much of the fashion, food, and architecture is pulled from the 1800s, but a lot of other things come from the 1400-1600s, which has been a true challenge to write, but fun! But this is why, when people ask me what the genre is, I am not entirely certain how to answer, though my most common reply is: Fantasy Gaslamp.
Turrim is populated by humans, and there are no myth-folk in this world, so no dragons, pegasus, unicorns, gryphons, mermaids, etc. There are some unique beasts unlike those in our world: giant cats that people ride like horses, and enormous beasts of burden that can also be trained for war that I would liken somewhat to a stegosaurus.
Turrim is a small world. The continent is not very big, and as far as the rest of the world outside this continent… it is mostly unknown and doesn’t come into the current series. The story is poised well for more stories to come in this world many years after the events of Turrim Archive, though, so who knows whether or not that will come into play someday? Each country has its own specific culture and fashion and food, religious beliefs (which don’t really come into the story much, but it helps me to know certain things), landscape/architecture, etc. In general, this will hopefully help the world feel a bit more “real” but also means a TON of research and making things up from me!
My characters cover a wide range of ages and come from various parts of Turrim. I have a small crew of airship pirates who range in age from 10-40, a trio of young men (18-19 years old) enrolling in the military academy, and various other side characters who fall outside those ages already mentioned.
This is by far the largest and most complex thing I have ever written. I love it, but it definitely is taking a LOT of work, and everything grows with every book.
I am currently drafting the fifth book in the series. Last week, I passed 30,000 words, so I’m making steady progress and am staying on track to have this book finished by the end of September. My Master Plan, as I’ve mentioned before, is to write and edit the entire series before I publish book 1. That way, I can do what is called a “rapid release” of the entire series, where they go to print 6-9 months apart, instead of having to wait 1.5-2 years between each book. I don’t have a release date yet for book 1, but based on how long it usually takes me to get through edits, I’m hoping it will be somewhere in early 2021 (but that maaay be a slightly aggressive schedule and is certainly open to change in the event of… Life and things).
A Stand Alone
But that’s not the only thing I’m working on! During my March hiatus, another story grabbed me by the throat and refused to let me go. A bit of backstory:
Last year, the final Rooglewood Press Snow-White-Themed fairy tale anthology released. My friend and fellow-author Kendra E. Ardnek also organized a multi-author release at the end of the year for authors who had submitted their stories but not won. Then, she decided to keep up the fairy-tale-fun and organize another multi-author release, this one Rapunzel-themed.
I spent a little time trying to come up with an idea when she first announced the theme, but couldn’t come up with anything and was in the middle of writing Hearts of Stone and Steel anyway, so I kind of put it out of my head.
However, when I forced myself to stop working on all writing projects in March because of the move, suddenly an idea hit me with more force than any story idea has ever done. I couldn’t get the idea to leave me alone. I would play with it as I packed boxes, I would close my eyes and the first chapter would begin playing like a movie in my head, I even DREAMED about the story. Finally, I gave in and decided to write down a basic outline so that my brain would be appeased with the knowledge that I wouldn’t forget any of these ideas later.
1400 words later, I had one of the most complete outlines I’ve ever had. The outline doesn’t include the ending, but there’s plenty to get me started and keep me writing until well beyond the halfway point.
But was that enough?
So I also wrote down the prologue.
That helped for a bit, but the story refuses to leave me alone. So, for the first time ever, I am actively working on TWO stories at the same time. I mean, I often have multiple projects going at once, but usually they are not at the same stages. I’ll be drafting one thing while editing another and outlining something else… but this time, I’m drafting both this and Turrim 5 at the same time. It’s interesting. Thankfully, the stories and characters are vastly different enough as to not get confusing!
I don’t want to give too much away on this, but I believe it will be a stand alone, a bit on the shorter side (60-80k words), involves selkies and the fae, and is “inspired by” Rapunzel, though I don’t think it’s an actual “retelling” per se. We shall see.
A Picture Book
Finally, I have written a non-fantasy Children’s Picture book and commissioned illustrations for it. Our goal is to release this in October – it’s a Christmas picture book, so we definitely want to have it out well before the Christmas season, so that’s not too far off! There’s still a lot to do, but I think we’ll get it figured out!
And that’s my update on what I’m currently working on and writing these days! What are you most excited about? Is there anything you’d like to know more about? Do you enjoy steampunk? Do you have a favorite example? What is your favorite fairy tale? Let’s chat in the comments!