Plus, some musings on three years of writing in a pandemic
Happy spring, everyone! Time to bust out the blueberry melomel and lavender lemonade.
The big news for the spring is all about events.
Tomorrow! I’m doing another virtual workshop for Orange County Public Library. This one’s about building magical systems within your fantasy world. I’m looking forward to talking through my process for it as well as sharing a lot of recommendations. Anyone is free to attend! You do not have to have an OCPL card to register and join us on Zoom. (My Patreon and Ko-Fi members will also get the slide deck and handout!)
RavenCon is coming up April 21-23 in Richmond, VA! I’m so excited. This is my hometown con, and it’s in such a cute location. I should have my schedule of panels and such soon, so be on the lookout for that on my website and social media.
Then, I’ll be at ConCarolinas again in June! That’s in Charlotte, NC, June 2-4. I really enjoyed it last year -- though it was also my first con post-having-covid. I was only about ten days’ fully recovered, so I was pretty skittish, and I’m not sure I enjoyed myself as thoroughly as I might’ve.
In-between those, I hope to spend most of the month of May down at the beach. Hopefully I’ll have a nice solid tan before camp season starts!
Random Current Thoughts
I saw a Twitter post this week that said something to the effect of “It’s been three years since lockdown started; what are three things that have happened to you since then?”
Setting aside that in the US we were never actually on lockdown, it does make for an interesting moment of reflection. It’s been an odd three years for me. In some ways, it feels like my life has changed very little, at least in the day-to-day -- but when I set down the major changes, they’re pretty big ones, viewed objectively!
Since the pandemic started, I’ve released two books. That’s just the short way of phrasing it, though. The uncomplicated way of phrasing it. That doesn’t encompass the heartache of my DAW situation becoming untenable or the challenges of learning to self-publish. Give Way to Night came out in December 2020, before covid vaccines were widely available. No one was doing release events, certainly not in-person. Every book released during the height of the pandemic was affected, and Give Way to Night felt it. But despite that and all that followed, I didn’t let it grind me down -- which is why The Bloodstained Shade came out in January 2023, perhaps a little later than initially intended, but a book and an endeavor that I am so, so proud of.
Since the pandemic started, I got a new job. Multiple new jobs, in fact. I was supposed to be starting back up at the bookstore in Corolla the week after the pandemic started. By the end of the summer, I was teaching remotely for a community college. Eventually that turned into teaching in-person and working in their writing studio as well, but that life was clearly not sustainable. (Adjunct instructor compensation is woefully inadequate even by the generally wretched standards of education pay). So, needing more work, I got a summer gig as Quest Director at Camp Half-Blood Richmond. That turned into contract work over the winter, another summer at camp, and then, last August, a full-time job. A full-time job that I absolutely love and that pays me adult money.
Since the pandemic started, I joined the Worldbuilding for Masochists team! That’s been such a huge part of my life that I’d entirely forgotten it was a pandemic development. But yes, I joined the team at the start of Year 2, June 2020. I really can’t express how wonderful it is that every two weeks, I spend an hour or so chatting with two truly wonderful friends who are also incredibly brilliant authors, and then also we somehow have convinced a number of other wonderful and brilliant people to come talk to us. It’s also what allowed me to go to WorldCon in 2021 and 2022.
It’s been… a lot. More than it looks like, on the surface level of my life, I think. A lot of accomplishments alongside a lot of challenges.
Most of my Patreon/Ko-Fi work the past couple months has been sharing ongoing work on Infinite Variety, the secondworld fantasy I hope to complete a draft of in the not-too-distant future (though I’ll not jinx myself by naming a date). That’s not all, though! Here’s a round-up of the exclusive goodies that Patreon and Ko-Fi supporters have gotten access to lately:
Exercises in character backgrounds drawn from the instructions in Lisa Cron’s Story Genius
Aesthetic moodboards for Infinite Variety
Background write-ups for my Star Trek: Adventures characters
A first look at my new Aven Cycle promotional postcards
Mages of Aven microfiction featuring, among others, an Air mage who reads the future on the wind, a Water mage trying to protect homes from flooding, and a Fire mage who uses his power to comfort his lovers.
A county map and a topographical map for Cordeine, the country in which Infinite Variety takes place
If any of that tickles your fancy, then join up on Patreon or Ko-Fi! Members get 2-3 posts per week of behind-the-scenes peeks, craft musings, microfiction, and more.
I also had the great joy of getting to guest-star on someone else’s Patreon! Casey Blair and Django Wexler of House Wexlair invited me for a discussion about crafting politics in fantasy worldbuilding and storytelling. This was a dangerous thing for them to do, because they invited me to expound at length on matters of history, politics, and even rhetoric! I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and I highly recommend checking out their whole series of discussions.
What I’ve Been Reading
Hell Bent, by Leigh Bardugo
The Grimoire of Grave Fates, edited by Hanna Alkaf and Margaret Owen
Murder at Midnight, by Katharine Schellman
A Marvellous Light, by Freya Marske
Well Travelled, by Jen DeLuca
Also hey, my buddy and podcast cohost Rowenna Miller has a book coming out next week! And you want to read it. Trust me.
The Fairy Bargains of Prospect Hill is an enchanting tale of fairy magic, existing blurry and liminal on the edges of our reality, and how it weaves into -- and warps -- the lives of the humans bold enough to to bargain. It’s also a story about family, about sisters and daughters, and about the choices we make in trying to build the life we think we want. It’s absolutely gorgeous, and I devoured it. I hope you will, too!
Wrapping It Up!
I love this time of year. Spring always seems a time when possibilities energize the air, when it’s possible to make different choices, act with boldness, and set a new course. I hope that it brings you bounty!
Audaces Fortuna iuvat,
Thanks for reading Scribendi! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.