Delays, Delays, Delays

No, it’s not a deleted track off the first Destiny’s Child album; it’s the topic of today’s update! (Though if you imagine I’m Beyoncé singing these words to you, they’ll sound so much better.) This here is a little missive on the state of my writing as 2017 rolls along.

Back in the prehistoric days of 2015, I began publishing a little (actually: gigantic) series called Unfated. I decided to release it as what I termed a “serial epic.” Rather than drop one doorstop of a book on you every two or three years, I would unveil shorter books multiple times a year. Ideally, this would keep my writing tight, thus avoiding the dreaded epic bloat, while also keeping you the reader engaged and not spending years wondering, “When the heck is the next book ever going to come out?”

And it has worked! . . . Mostly. The only snag? Back then, I decided I’d release each new Unfated book on a quarterly schedule. Here’s my current, Spring ’17 update on that:

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Wait, I’m not finished:

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA

I should probably cut myself some slack; I did, after all,  manage to get the first six–count ’em: SIX!–books out on that schedule. The last release, When a Fool Dreams, dropped in Ocotber 2016. I was cruisin’.

Then Book Seven came along.

She’s called A Queen Among Ghosts. And she kicked my ass. For half a year, she ground me down to powder and then snorted that powder like cocaine, granting her the crazed strength to kick my ass even more.

The good news? She’s amazing. Once she let me finish her off, I was left with one of my favorite books in the series. I can’t wait for you to read her. She’s in the hands of my capably brilliant editor right now.

That little lover’s tussle between myself and Book Seven made me rethink my “four books a year” schedule, though. When I conceived that plan, I was envisioning the individual books being of short-novel length—say, 40-45,000 words. A Queen Among Ghosts is quite a bit longer; she’s a novel, full stop. And Book Eight, Monsters Born and Monsters Made, isn’t going to be any smaller.

There’s not a thing wrong with that! Quite the contrary: I love where this story is taking me and my characters, and I’m not planning on shortchanging anyone—including you, the reader. You’re going to get the best I can write no matter what.

I could keep putting out four books a year if I adopted a totally cloistered existence. (Do they have Wi-Fi in those Himalayan monasteries?) But at what cost? Oh, only my job, health, relationships, sanity . . . chump change, to be sure.

More importantly, the books wouldn’t be as good. And that I cannot abide.

In light of all that, I’m changing things up a bit. From now on, I pledge to release Unfated books semiannually, a.k.a. twice a year. That ain’t bad, right? So: you’ll get A Queen Among Ghosts this spring and Monsters Born and Monsters Made come fall. Then it’s on to 2018. If this sounds like a bum justifying his laziness, just trust me: I’m not going to be writing one word less. Hopefully, all those words will just be that much prettier for me having the time to really give them my all. Pretty like Bey is singing them to you.

And on that note, what you came here for:

Thanks for reading!

Hell or Alabama

And sometimes I find myself writing country western lyrics . . .

HELL OR ALABAMA

“If you’re looking for forgiveness,” she said, “I would recommend you go to Hell. There are devils down there eager to part with any such lie they can sell. But a human being can’t forgive any more than she can learn to fly. So I’ll flap my arms if you want me to. And in return? You can up and die.

“Now, you might call that trade unfair, but I suspect you’ve guessed it’s time to go—to Hell or Alabama, I don’t care and I don’t even want to know. Find another angel if you will, then beg her pardon when you stray. Just be advised that not all angels let a sinner like you slink away.

“For angels, much like devils, in Hell or Alabama, can be cruel. From Muscle Shoals to Mobile, down the Styx to fry in that infernal pool—you’ll find yourself descending into one Hell or another either way. And remember: all those halos and those horns, they all look the same when the bill comes due to pay.

“So when you reach Hell or Alabama rest assured you’ve found a home where demons and forgiveness and such other supernatural fictions roam. You won’t be the first I’ve sent there. Don’t think you’ll be the first to make it back into my good graces—for grace, divine and fallen, is the one true thing that neither Hell or Alabama claim to lack.”

One Man’s Theory on the Meaning of “The Last Jedi”

With the reveal of Episode VIII’s title (and that dope red type), we’re all having fun speculating on exactly what the linguistically ambiguous The Last Jedi means. This goes so far as examining the title as it’s rendered in other languages to try to discern whether the Jedi in question is singular or plural. From what I’ve heard so far, the German and Portuguese renditions indicate a single Jedi.

I think and kind of hope that means Luke is the last Jedi. As in the last last Jedi.

Here’s my theory: Luke considers himself the last Jedi not only in raw fact but because he wants to chart a new path for Rey. Something along the lines of, “I’ll be the last of the Jedi because you’re going to be something greater.” And a new order of Force users is born without all the baggage of the Jedi/Sith wars that have roiled the galaxy for centuries.

Why do I think/hope that?

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Time For a Little College Football Horn-Tootage

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. . . Very, very little. What I am here to celebrate about myself is a prediction that can’t exactly be described as risky. But hey, right(ish) is right(ish), right? Before the season, my pick for the College Football National Championship game was:

Clemson 27, Alabama 24.

And the reality?

Clemson 35, Alabama 31.

Not too shabby!

Of course, it didn’t exactly take Joe-Namath-before-Super-Bowl-III guts to predict the best two teams from 2015 would be the best again in 2016. (Though a 1 vs. 2 rematch had never happened before.) Still, as a wise man once said: He who eats much crow may also toot his own horn softly and sweetly into the dark night of the soul.

Here’s how one man (who is wrong about most things most of the time) broke it down:

For starters, my four-team playoff field prediction was Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma, and Ohio State.

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