Of All Stripes

I did it. I finished the line edit revise on The Poison Prince, book two of what the publisher calls Throne of the Five Winds and I call Hostage to Empire. This book fought me every. step. of the way.

Second books in trilogies are difficult. The throughlines have to be placed just so to get from Book One to Book Three, and certain choices made in Book One affect the range of choices one has available for the rest of the series. And being “orphaned”–switching editors mid-series-stream, for whatever reason–makes it even more difficult, even when both Previous Editor and New Editor are flat-out amazing.

I tried to take some time off, but with the pandemic and all, it was hardly relaxing. Now I’m in initial revisions for Finder’s Watcher (how on earth did we get to six Watcher books, my goodness!) and if I can just get these turned around by tomorrow, I’ll feel caught up.

For, oh, about two seconds before I take a look at what’s next on the schedule.

I was going to do a giveaway this month, but… well, you know. I was also going to take the week off from subscription duty because Season Two of HOOD is a wrap and the book is up for preorder. Unfortunately, I think my beloved subscribers probably need a thing or two to take their minds off the state of the world, so I’m foregoing any vacation at the moment. I’d say until things calm down but it doesn’t seem like they will, honestly.

So today is for laundry and for pushing on these revisions, shaking each sentence, turning it upside down, eyeing editor remarks, and just generally ripping out what doesn’t work and crocheting together what does. At least while I’m working I’m not thinking about the current shitshow, except as a rumble-mumbling background of anxiety.

And frankly I’m used to anxiety of all stripes. The current state of the world feels very familiar; I grew up holding my breath, walking on eggshells, in a constant state of low-grade tear spiking at random intervals. I could even view it as somewhat relaxing, in a weird way–at least people aren’t telling me to “calm down, it could be worse” or “calm down, it’s not that bad.” There’s less shaming of people with trauma-based or even regular anxiety because every reasonable person is absolutely petrified.

I also meant to read a few books I’ve been looking forward to, but instead I’ve crawled back into the well of true crime. For some reason Ann Rule and criminology textbooks soothe the anxiety, probably because the narratives either presuppose some small manner of justice or are entirely focused on doing something in the face of terror.

Maybe once I get this round of revisions done I’ll have some leeway to take a breath and read something else. My goal has shrunk to “ride the next wave.”

What are you up to today, dear Readers? How is your quarantine? If you’re an “essential worker”, how’s that going? Tell me everything.

We’re here for a little while; we might as well enjoy each other. So to speak.

It’s Tuesday, which means paid Haggard Feathers subscribers get a new post at 11am PST. This week, continuing Marketing March, the focus is on book marketing “ancillaries.” I’m wondering what the theme should be next month…