Whoa, it’s March.
This would probably be a good time for an update… especially since I never finished the post I drafted in January about my 2018 projects. Oops.
So here it is: my installment of What Am I Doing In 2018?
I got derailed for about a month or so, I won’t lie. After I submitted Soulbound to my publisher in January, I took some time to just… not write. Or edit. Or do things that were terribly creative. That’s not the say the ideas stopped — no, those kept going, and I wrote way too many notes, successfully killing another notebook. But I took a couple weeks to catch up on things — half of it personal stuff; half of it author things. Though during the last couple of weeks in January and the first couple in February, I spent a lot of time just reading.
This is a HUGE deal. I didn’t read much last year, not in concentrated amounts, and books that I was stoked to read went untouched because I couldn’t focus. Or, in some cases, my eyes and brain wouldn’t physically let me read properly. But for a few precious weeks this year, I devoured two complete series. AND IT FELT SO GOOD. It was like being a kid again, always having a book attached to my hand. Total bliss. \o/
At some point, I’ll do a What-I’ve-Been-Reading post, talking about those series that I read, because I really enjoyed them — so much the characters stuck around and have bugged me for weeks. I’m dying to read more of the books… or just read them over again. 🙂
THIS post, however, is about my current WIPs. Several of them have been vying for my attention for months, scrapping with each other to see who’ll win. I’ve decided to show them all some love and see if we can’t all just get along. For now, here’s glimpse of them:
Rebel Call (The Republic #5)
I wrote about this last summer, when it popped itself into existence. I have scads of notes for this story that are just waiting to be plunked into the outline properly. Dawne, Massy, and Geyle — or DMG, as we refer to them at home. I’m going to have so much fun with this one. The first 1,700 words have already been laid down.
This story takes three misfit characters, throws them together with a serving of WTF, and comes out with three brand new bounty hunters. Dawne is a mason and a widower who’s tired of life in general. His relationship with the rest of his family is miserable, so it’s mostly just him on his own. Massy is a teacher who’s tired of teaching a certain set of values and not being able to live fully by them — things have to change, rules be damned. Meanwhile, Geyle works in the household of a Tract Steward, where he’s kept relatively safe from the things that could harm him, especially after his abusive ex ruined his life. They all end up hooking up and a lovely poly relationship is born.
Of course, it’s not going to be all that straightforward. Add a politically-charged murder, an impromptu manhunt, and magic they aren’t supposed to be using, and things get a bit involved. *evil smirk*
» Genre: High fantasy romance
» Pairing & Identities: M/M/NB (pansexual, transgender & genderqueer)
To Live A Dragon (Cinder & Scale #1)
My first dragon story EVER, inspired by a submission call by Less Than Three Press for their “For the Hoard” collection, which is all about dragons. (To see the full collection, all of the novellas are available here and at other online retailers!)
Unfortunately, I couldn’t write TLAD before the deadline for the collection, so I put it on the backburner… where it completely fleshed itself out. By the end of 2017, I had two VERY irate dragons bothering me on a constant basis. Now it’s blossomed into a series. *groan* I really can’t help myself.
This series goes into the dragon afterlife and what happens when that afterlife comes to an end or is interrupted. I’m also hoping to get into different character types that I normally don’t write about, including the super artistic and the awesomely nerdy! This world is a mash-up of time periods and technological progress, so there’s A LOT to work with.
To Live A Dragon is about Paise and Kildee, two dead dragon shifters who finally hook up after crushing on each other for a while, then are tested when things go terribly awry.
Paise is a modern guy, experienced with our kind of tech and cities. He can’t stop the itch to design and build stuff, thanks to his engineer/architect training. Kildee, on the other hand, is bright and shiny and glamourous. His training is in the performance arts with a Victorian-esque flair, so he’s rather different from Paise.
I’m excited for this project! It’s different from what I usually write, but still very me. It’s also exciting because Kildee comes from my love of music and theatre. (True story: In grade 13, I considered becoming a professional singer, but auditioning for the university music programs terrified me, so I pursued my love of zoology instead. I still really appreciate the discipline it took to get through my vocal classes, conductor’s class, and the performances I did, especially as an alto. Seriously, we get some of the crappiest parts in songs.)
» Genre: High fantasy romance, urban fantasy, paranormal
» Pairing & Identities: M/M (homosexual, homoromantic asexual)
Ashsender (Kindle Overthrow #1)
This is the darkest project on the roster right now, and the start to not just one, but two rather hefty series, which I’ve collectively dubbed “the Kindles”. I composed a post about this book and the series last year (the year before?), but I haven’t published it yet. Soon, though. I wanted to do this first.
Ashsender is an M/M sci fi romance, but the lead characters aren’t perfectly good heroes. They’ve done some pretty shitty things, whatever the reason; however tricked, trapped, or coerced they may have been. The relationship in this book is between Eve, a retired corpse collector for the galactic government, and Lexx, a corporate-owned assassin. Neither of them is in a good place mentally, emotionally, or physically. Both of them want out of their lives, and they’d sell their souls just to get free… if they hadn’t already sold them a long time back, leaving them with little to hold onto.
This is a redemption story, as are all of the books in the Kindles. It’s also spinning out from the general angst, fear, and grief society has been facing for a while now, none of which have been improved by the current political or social climates. In a way, the Kindles share things in common with The Republic series: people are trying to right the wrongs caused by illegal activities, morally unacceptable behaviour, and the conflicts that have been hanging around from past events. But where The Republic comes at social change from the unified angle of law enforcement, government, and citizens fighting against a criminal organization, the Kindles pit the people against the government and corporate control. There’s a lot of hurt that’s been caused by these organizations — lines that have been obliterated, not just crossed — and that’s what Overthrow speaks to.
Eve definitely wants to serve the government their just desserts for the crap he’s been through. “Corpse collector” is the short way of saying he cleaned up the dead bodies the government made because people were getting in their way, causing trouble. Rebelling. He just didn’t see the truth of what they were doing until it became personal. And Lexx… he wanted to get rid of the scum in the world, but he’s since discovered he’s working for them. So yeah, this is very much about two guys that have done things they’re not proud of — things that have messed up their humanity, making them into the monsters they fear most. This story is them finding that humanity again, but together, along with their chosen family.
I’ve been working on the outline for this in the last few days, organizing my notes. Along the way, I’ve discovered interesting details about the characters, including the fact that Lexx is actually demisexual, which wasn’t planned, but hey, that’s cool. It explains so much about his relationship with Eve. I love when characters surprise me.
» Genre: Science fiction romance
» Pairing & Identities: M/M (bisexual, homoromantic demisexual)
Heartfastened (The Republic #4.5)
This is Arieve and Coye’s story, which spins off from Soulbound. Their relationship is complicated, with plenty of ups and downs . Because of the length of Soulbound, I wasn’t able to focus on these ladies — just show glimpses of their relationship, particularly where it intersected with Mayr and Tash. But I want to tell their story, and for a few different reasons. First, the simplest reason: I wanted to add another F/F romance in the series, especially since it sees another lesbian added to the roster.
Second: There’s this thing I really wanted to do, where Coye woos Arieve through achieving impossible tasks. The plot was inspired by the song “Scarborough Fair,” which I’ve loved for a long time, though the book borrows from the concept only. I’ve written a whole new ballad that Coye uses. She’s got a lot to make up for when it comes to Arieve, so she pulls it all out.
The third reason for this story is extremely personal, and part of my healing process, I think. While I was developing Coye’s character, there were certain aspects that crept in — reasons why she’s never been able to fully commit to Arieve, and why she might seem emotionally unavailable. Part of her story is my story, dealing with tragedy and loss in our families, one right after another, taking our mothers, our aunts, our uncles… most of them without a definitive explanation. My uncle died from an aneurysm, but with my mother and her two sisters, we still have no idea. We’ll likely never know, leaving me, my brother, my cousins, and other family members to question if we’ll die the same way. Will our hearts simply stop while we sleep and never start again, no warning, no explanation, no reason a doctor can pinpoint? This can be a heavy weight to carry, and in Coye’s case, it influences her enough that sometimes she makes choices that hurt the people she loves. She has more issues to deal with — including commitment as a whole, which she finds rather frightening — but more on that once I get the story written.
» Genre: High fantasy romance
» Pairing & Identities: F/F (bisexual, lesbian)
Rule Breaker, 2nd edition (The Republic #0.5)
This past June, the rights to Rule Breaker reverted back to me. This novella was originally in Won’t Back Down, an anthology published by Less Than Three Press, and was the very first queer romance I wrote. It was also my first time writing a trans character. I had such a fantastic time writing it and working with LT3 that I wrote A Question of Counsel, spinning off of the events and characters in RB. This was where Aeley and the entire Republic series were born!
RB has a special place in my heart, and soon after writing it, I’d hoped to do another story for Gren and Tracel to show how they met, called Healer. That story didn’t happen, mostly due to time and other projects, but I’m glad it didn’t: I can now take RB and expand it, including throwing in bits of the rest of their story, as well as telling Tracel’s part of the story from her POV. I had the option of letting LT3 republish RB as-is, but decided to hold back and work on a longer version that really puts their story on par with the rest of the series. Gren and Tracel have important roles to play — plus I really want to hang out with them more. They make me happy. 😀
» Genre: High fantasy romance
» Pairing & Identities: M/F (pansexual, transgender)
Story for “Home for the Holidays” Collection Call
Here’s a new project that wasn’t on my radar, though it’s something that’s been coming for a while. In December, there were a couple of tweets with a list of things that my publisher wanted to see more of in 2018, including the item “non-Christian holidays”. That made me think a bit, because I’d LOVE to see more Pagan holiday stories, though I didn’t pursue it because that requires real-life holidays, which screams CONTEMPORARY, and I don’t write contemporary. Everything comes up lacklustre and boring, then I lose interest and things fall apart. It’s a disaster waiting to happen.
When the “Home for the Holidays” collection call came out in January, I was thrilled to see this bit: “Stories must focus on a holiday, and preference will be given to holidays that do not get much mainstream attention (i.e. we are looking for stories that go beyond Christmas, Thanksgiving, and similar)”, but I was even happier to see this: “Any sub-genre is gladly accepted: sci-fi, mystery, contemporary, steampunk, etc.”.
I decided I’d give it a go, though it’s been like pulling teeth. My first ideas just plain sucked, one of which went the contemporary route, then paranormal, then it got boring, so I scrapped it. A few weeks ago, though, I had an idea that actually stuck. It’s sci fi, but involves future Earth and a space station. The story is still in development, but it’s finally coming along! It took me a few days to come up with character names, though, including one whole day of researching if the names I’d come up with were even real-life names, and what the heck the main character’s name was even going to BE. *face palm* Usually names are one of the easiest, quickest elements for me to whip up. Ugh.
But I’m keeping at it. So far I know the story is about Imbolc, which Druids, Wiccans, and other folks celebrate on Feburary 1st/2nd. It’s a feel-good holiday, celebrating life and light and the oncoming spring. It’s a time to pull around hearth and home and entreat the blessings of the goddess Brighde (aka Brighid, Bridget, and other spellings). Since I feel some pull to Brighde, who’s the Celtic goddess of fire, poetry, inspiration, wisdom, healing, smithing, and other lovely things, I’m running with this.
The premise of the story is simple: Dath, a botanist, has just returned to the space station after being away for a year on a research mission. All he wants is to go down to Earth and celebrate Imbolc with his family and grove, but things don’t go as planned — in fact, it all goes horribly wrong and he’s stuck on the station, all miserable and ick. But then there’s Mack and Kytzia, a couple who are pursuing his affections, and things get plenty interesting…
There’s poly romance, nerdy wooing, a tree made from sexy suggestions, and a chance of lizardbots. Hopefully it’ll turn out to be on the lighter, humourous side that I’m aiming for. Just a pinch of sweet holiday fun. 🙂
» Genre: Science fiction romance
» Pairing & Identities: M/F/NB (pansexual, transgender & genderqueer)