Looking Forward: 2021 in Writing

My ambitions for 2021.

That being said, a plan is the what, and a schedule is the when. So this post is about the plan, and the schedule is “Try for 2021!”

Here’s the plan with attempted dates, and the only promise I’ll give you is that, I WILL TRY TO MEET THEM.

Satan’s Salesman 2 – This one is almost done! I have a little over 30,000 words and am aiming to finish typing it by March. Then it’ll be off to the publisher. In this one, Shane Lowe is back and being the head of the American division of Perdition Investments isn’t all it’s cut out to be. Not only is everyone out to devour you, but one of his contracts, the one that got him his job, is in jeopardy and now he has to defend his decisions in a court of demons and angels. Between that and his future wife returning from Hell just a little off. The world of Soul Sales is cut throat, and Shane is learning just how cut throat it really is.

Broken Nights 3 – Mike and I are only about a fifth of the way through this one, maybe a little less. We’ve got the plan though: Stella Bernard is finally in the stage in which she can enact her plans to the fullest. She spent book 1 created enhanced human beings. She spent book 2 testing the resistance they could come up against. In book 3, we discover that she has an entire organization that has been kidnapping and testing the enhanced. There’s an entire complex filled with them. A prison for supers and Jason finds himself locked inside.

The Esoteric Cavalry – This is a new one and a first for me. I’ll be writing about the wild west, but with a twist. This wild west takes place in the Andrew Doran universe. The Esoteric Cavalry is the only defense that the United States Government has put in place to protect its citizens from the denizens of the dark. The Civil War is over and the battle scarred Hiram Cartwright doesn’t know what to do with himself. That is, until his commanding officer lets him know that while the war his over, the battle rages on. Hiram and his brother Buford will lead a charge into the western territories to recruit new marshals for the Cavalry and take on the unknown horrors hidden in the still expanding United States.

2 more Mythos Anthologies – I’m working on another fun Mythos Crossover. You’ll learn more later.

Coven – I’ve talked about this before, but I have only been waiting to finish Broken Nights 3 before I start it. In Broken Nights: Strange Worlds, we introduced Coven, the witch with the minds of 8 friends in her head, lending her their power to make her the most powerful practitioner out there. This is going to be a step down from the Broken Nights kind of theme, and follow an idea that is more like the X-Files meets Warehouse 13. Hunting for magical items and people who are breaking the rules, while traveling with with a partner/cop for the magical world (Samuel Dolan, the werewolf P.I. from my short story “Guard Dog.”

No Monster! – My first attempt at a children’s book, based on the imaginary adventures of my 2 year old. Willow saw a pile of leaves once and started shouting “No Monster!” at it. Since then, she’s made it her battle cry whenever she’s mildly intimidated by something that she doesn’t understand. The children’s book will have her confronting each of these monsters and them deciding to join her and help protect her as she faces bigger monsters. A large part of this is me honing my own artistic talent until I’m happy with it. This could easily be the same project I’m working on in 2 years, but I’m hoping to get it finished this year. Here’s a sample idea for the cover and art style I am currently working with. I like the Willow design, although it needs more practice. The monster is replaceable.

Andrew Doran Omnibus (or a more exciting name, I’m still working on it) – The full collection of every Andrew Doran story up to and including Andrew Doran and the Scroll of Nightmares. Yes, they are already written, but there’s some work to do still. Putnam Finch is working on a really great cover and sent me this sketch as an idea of what he’s thinking of doing for it. This isn’t the actual work, but just his idea, and damn am I excited!

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Review: The Peaslee Papers by Peter Rawlik

The Peaslee Papers: A Lovecraftian Chronicle by [Peter Rawlik]

This is going to sound counter to literally everything I am, but bare with me: I don’t normally enjoy to completion anthologies that are hardcore mythos.

The reason behind that is that when I read something, I fall hard for it, even the crap stuff, and I demand more. If you give me Reanimator, then hook me up to an IV of the green stuff and keep her coming. We’re reading about Yog-Sothoth today? Then blow my mind up! Unfortunately, large anthologies that tend to be a deep dive into the mythos tend to bounce around the universe and rarely touch back on whatever subject first sparked my interest.

Peter Rawlik’s The Peaslee Papers is something else entirely. It’s similar in effect to what I’ve been trying to be a part of in the group anthologies I’ve joined. Almost like a TV show, in that each story in this anthology acts more as a chapter, telling an enclosed story that actually lends itself toward the larger and all-encompassing plot of the book.

The Peaslee Papers is a biography of the Peaslee family, starting with the famed Nathanial Wingate Peaslee and following his descendants throughout the history of the world. They encounter the Mythos in differing ways (it touches on almost everything) and in ways that I don’t ever see enough of (had some good King in Yellow stuff going on) and are always tied back to the main part of Peaslee’s story: Quantum Leaping with the Yith.

It goes beyond that, though, in that we get to see a hint at the Yith’s very alien, and in many ways, all too human, agenda. He adds to the Mythos at regular intervals without feeling like it was shoehorned in. It wasn’t, it’s been there the entire time, we just didn’t know about it until Rawlik told us.

I’ve been a huge fan of Rawlik’s Reanimators series of connected stories, with my favorite being Weird Company, but this gave me a new dimension. Instead of the more visceral look at at flesh-craft and the psychology behind reanimating the dead, we got a philosophical look at manipulating the universe.

This book is an easy 5 out of 5 for me. I’m about to start his Legacy of the Reanimator anthology, with co-authors, and am looking forward to just as entertaining of a deep dive into the history of Herbert West as we received with Professor Peaslee.