In the last few weeks, I've been working on the "Dark" project, which comprises a number of short stories that are all linked by one character and all of them focus on one aspect of that character.
Yesterday, I completed the fifth story, called "Dark Lady", which is the natural end-point to one of the Big Archs I had in mind when I began exploring this. So, as it stands, I have 5 stories, ranging between around 5k and 12k in length, with a total wordcount of just under 40k - that's 2/3 of a novel.
There are a couple more stories, of course, so right now this feels like around 7-8 stories in total, grouped together in pairs and triplets for added structure. The last part (stories 7 and 8) are still missing, but I have their titles and will play with them over the next few weeks, hopefully completing the whole "Dark" project in the very foreseeable future. Then it'll need tweaking and editing and publication, of course. Right now, I'm pretty damn smug about this project - as smug as you can be when emotionally drained.
I'm also trying to help a friend sell her book, so I'm making phone calls and sending partials to agents in the UK. Just a day in the life, but at least it's a holiday, since I've taken the day off work to recover and regroup.
So, what now? There's a project that demands urgent closure before I lose the characters (yes, I can lose characters). I've promised some short stories and potentially a short novella tied into "Counterpunch", so I better get cracking on that. I'd absolutely love writing something for the current Samhain Publishing submission calls, but I have to step away from that, telling myself I have no time whatsoever for *additional* books.
Then there's the "Lion of Kent" sequel, and the "Dark Edge of Honor"-related novella, and the "Two Birds" book, and, of course, the most serious and slowest of all, the original WWII novel.
I'm hoping to get through some of them before the year's up. Sometimes I look at the list of stories I have to write and despair. It feels like there's just no chance in hell to finish all that in a lifetime, let alone a eighteen months or so. Worst is probably that people are waiting for me to join them or re-join them on some of these, and I'm already working hard and can't clone myself, and then I get my own books thrown at me by the muse, just like the "Dark" project.
I'll get there. One step after the other. Too many projects is - so much - better than being blocked.
Now starting on the "Counterpunch" shorts.