Three Now, Three Near, Three Far

The illustrious author Ysabeau Wilce quoted something on Slack the other day that’s been haunting me ever since.

“HAVE NINE IDEAS ON YOU AT ALL TIMES.” — Gustavo Arellano, reporter and author of ¡Ask a Mexican!

She went on to expound on the quote, or perhaps summarize what she remembered: “This is the advice I would give my writers . . . I always told them to have nine ideas on them: three they could do immediately, three that would take a couple of days to gather, and three long-term projects.”

I really liked the idea of having several projects in line and on the burner, ready for when I am ready for them. So I thought I’d do a little mental housekeeping. A little list making. I make them for groceries, after all. And for taxes. And prep scripts. And chores. I get ALL OF THOSE THINGS DONE. So why not writing?

My three for the present all have to do with my novel revisions. Markus (my agent) got back to me in November, and I’m more than a third of the way through them now. My whole goal is to be faster on these revisions than I was on last year’s. (Took me ten months. Count ’em. Ten.)

They won’t necessarily make sense to anyone reading them, unless they have also read one of the COUNTLESS DRAFTS of Miscellaneous Stones: Necromancer, but here they are anyway, for me.


  1. More dark underpinnings in middle.
  2. More of a conscious plan on protagonist’s part, even if these fail.
  3. That thing with the ghost. Fix it.

As for the next bit of planning, I have several projects I want to be working on–including some Brimstone Rhine stuff. And so:


  1. Ballads from a Distant Star
    1. a.) Send package of Distant Star lyrics and concept to Patty Templeton and Brett Massé for illustrations and graphic design of lyric ebook.
    2. b.) Send same to Jeremy Cooney, Stefan Dollak, Carlos Hernandez (possible other musicians? Tim Rodriguez? Faye Ringel?) for instrumentation ideas.
    3. c.) Collaborate with Amal on a few more song ideas to round out the album.
  2. Dragon poem for upcoming anthology, loosely titled “The Wyrm of Lirr.”
  3. “The Twice-Drowned Saint” novella re-drafted and submitted. (TIME TO TRY AND CRACK THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION MARKET!!! Or, really, anyone who’ll take me is good.)

Meanwhile, we have ambitions for the future, and these are:


  1. Well, you see, Miscellaneous Stones: Necromancer is the first of a trilogy. The second one being called Miscellaneous Stones: Justiciar. (Which word I will have to learn how to pronounce.) Not to mention Miscellaneous Stones: Psychopomp. BOOM!
  2. Possibly collect all three Dark Breaker novellas into novel-shape and try to sell it. And/or put together a new collection of short stories and poems. Mmn. The two Witch’s Garden pieces could go in there. And all kinds of secret, interesting, weird little uncollected things. In fact, wouldn’t THE WITCH’S GARDEN be a WONDERFUL title for a short story collection??? I’d finally get to write “Silver and Bone” for it–my sequel to “The Bone Swans of Amandale” in which Nicolas gets nicked by the Faerie Queen and Greenpea et al have to save him. With MUSIC. TRA-LA!
  3. Also, there’s that not-so-little matter of SHADOWSTALKERS. Possible MAGNUM OPUS, or at least my opinions on graduate schools and what they do to my BEST FRIENDS. In a fantasy setting. With spies and shapeshifters. Right now I am happily collecting, buying, and reading ALL THE BOOKS about the HISTORY of SPIES, so if you know of any good ones (pre-20th century, or even pre-19th, if possible) LEMME KNOW! Especially non-European histories. I have several of those, and two about the United States. One about Washington’s spy networks, and one about THE PINKS–the lady detectives of the Pinkerton Agency–fascinating stuff.

And here we are. I just got freshly excited about the future. So thank you, Ysabeau Wilce (read her books, not joking, just do it), and thank you, Gustavo Arellano–now I want to read your column, among other things!

In the meantime, keeping hopeful is the hardest bit. But that’s my concern for the new year. To remember that the act of sitting and writing is . . . play! It’s the thing I want. The thing I yearn for when I’m not doing it. So I’m gonna stop treating it as a headache and a chore and start WRIGGLING LIKE PAVLOV’S PUPPY every time someone says, “Let’s write!” including me. Wriggling is an instant mood-changer, I’ve found. Wriggling and lots and lots of lightbulbs.

Farewell for now.



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