Upcoming Projects

Here’s a list of what I’m working on, in case you were wondering:

  1. Exile: The Book of Ever, the first in a trilogy of postapocalyptic young adult science fiction novels, forthcoming from Evil Toad Press.  The book’s done and out to my beta readers.  The release date’s looking like late summer or early fall, at this point.  I’ll be posting a cover reveal and a blurb here soon, so stay tuned for more on this one.
  2. The Akkian Mass (working title), an in-progress swordpunk novel.  You can read the first two chapters for free right here.  I’m not sure when this one will be done yet, but I’m hoping to release it in fourth quarter 2014 or first quarter 2015.
  3. Children of the Taking, my in-progress epic fantasy.  This is book one of a series of as-yet undetermined length.  I’m a solid one-third of the way through the story and have about 70,000 words written.  This promises to be a long one (I’d be very surprised if it clocks in at under 200K words) so it’s possible “Book One” will end up becoming Books One and Two.  Story usually happens in a very traditional three act structure for me, on both macro and micro levels, but it’s not always possible to predict how long each of those acts for me.  I conceived of this series as a trilogy, but it might turn out to need more space than that.
  4. A variety of short stories, some for submission to online magazines, and a couple for a book I’m working jointly on with P.J. Fox.  If you liked her novel The Demon of Darkling Reach, you’re probably going to like this project too, so stay tuned.
  5. Book Two of The Book of Ever.  I need a break from Ever and Co. before I jump into writing the sequel, so I’ll be working on one or all of the above projects for the rest of the summer (unless Ever demands attention).

There’s always a long list of other ideas on the back burner, of course, but these are the projects that are primarily taking up my attention at the moment.

Playlists for Writing

Next to Starbucks and, you know, the ability to transform thoughts into written language, music is a writer’s best friend.  Now, I know what you’re thinking: there are different schools of thought on this subject (is there any subject where there aren’t?).  Some writers must have music playing while they write, some can only listen to a certain type of music, and some eschew music altogether.  I’ve gone through all of these phases myself.  But one thing I can say for certain is that music has informed all of my writing in one way or another, even if it was only as an inspiration outside of the writing process itself–i.e., listening to a symphony or a song and thinking up plot ideas or character arcs, etc.

It also seems to depend a great deal on what I’m writing.  For more serious, complex writing, I tend to either work in silence or listen only to ambient, instrumental music that creates atmosphere without being distracting.  This holds true the majority of the time, for me: I listen to a lot of ambient or downtempo electronic music (Aphex Twin, Tycho, Bonobo) or classical music (Bach, Mozart, Boccherini).

When I’m writing something fast-paced and plot-heavy, though, I do like to rev it up a little.  The manuscript I’ve just finished and am currently editing is a post-apocalyptic young adult novel, the first in a series, about a group of young people on a mission to save their community.  Their religion is a far-future take on Mormonism, and the perils they face are by and large fantastic and bloody.

My latest thing is making writing playlists on Spotify (shell out for premium; you’ll never spend too much on iTunes again).  I called the playlist for this book The Blessed, after the main characters’ name for their people.  I wanted a mixture of young, dramatic rock and traditional religious music; I’m quite pleased with the results.  The great thing, too, is that each playlist is a work in progress.  I’m always adding to and changing them.  Here’s The Blessed:

I almost always listen to playlists on shuffle, these days, so the song order isn’t important.  What are your musical habits when it comes to writing?