Another November, and another annual National Novel Writing Month is upon us. Although I'm not taking part in NaNoWriMo, I thought it would still be a good time to give you a little update on what I've been working on. Coincidentally, though, my current Work In Progress is expected to be (at least) a 50,000 word novella, which I hope to have completed by the end of November. I started writing Mass Hysteria! over the summer, with the blindly optimistic hope that I could finish it before my wife delivered our first child. Naturally, the story kept growing while time grew more and more scarce as we approached our September due date. And since Baby Hicks was born, free time has been...well. What is this "free time" you speak of?
Mass Hysteria! will be a return to straight-up horror for me, following my shorter detour into this arena with last year's Consumption (which, incidentally, received this great review from SCREAM Magazine). It's a dive into some natural horror, in which Mother Nature gets its aggro on against mankind and the food-chain gets flipped upside down...and then things get crazy from there. This past weekend involved writing a fairly strange and gruesome scene that I'd sort of been putting off, but finally plowed through. I'm now in the homestretch and think there's maybe two or three more chapters worth of material left to cover before I hit THE END on this first draft.
Editing this one is going to be a bit of a doozy I think-slash-fear. I've already had to cut out a particular subplot involving events in DC since it just wasn't flowing well with the main Northern Michigan-based narrative, and there's more than a few things that need fleshing out and clarifying. But I still really dig that subplot, which means although my work will (should) be done soon on Mass Hysteria! prime, I'll then begin working on a companion stand-alone side-story that I'm tentatively calling Mass Hysteria!: Checkmate.
The plan is to have both these titles released simultaneously sometime in 2016, budgetary concerns (read both time and money) permitting. They'll be independent narratives, but set in the same "world" and facing similar events and consequences. Each will give readers a full story in their own right, but reading them together will provide a larger A and B story. Or at least that's the plan...
Alongside writing, I'll also be proofing final edits for my short story, The Marque, and giving a read over on some of the other stories to be collected in Crime & Punishment.
My story is a bit of cosmic horror by way of the apocalypse turned wild, wild west. It's gooey and gory and inspired quite a bit by Eastwood westerns. I'm waiting on edits and suggestions to come through from Lucas Bale and Alex Roddie, and I was given a sneak peek at the forward from Samuel Peralta. If there's an award for Best Damn Foreword Ever, Sam's is a sure-fire winner, let me tell you.
I also recently completed edits on a short story, Preservation, which will be seeing publication in The Cyborg Chronicles, with an ETA of December. Keep an eye out for the cover and more release details as soon as I have them! Although Preservation is completely a stand-alone story, it is set in the DRMR world established in my novels, Convergence and Emergence. Preservation introduces us to all-new characters (a Wounded Warrior with plenty of cybernetic enhancements) and an entirely new setting (Africa's Kruger National Park) than the central storyline told in the two DRMR books, so there's no required reading prior to enjoying this short story. My hope is that it will act as a gateway to these novels, though, and introduce new readers to my work.
The Cyborg Chronicles is part of the line of The Future Chronicles anthologies, spearheaded by Samuel Peralta, and which, taken as a large body of work in its entirety, has featured the likes of Hugh Howey, Lucas Bale, Anthony Vicino, Ernie Lindsey, Susan Kaye Quinn, Ann Christy, Jennifer Foehner Wells, Peter Cawdron, Therin Knite, Ted Cross, and loads of other great authors.
In The Cyborg Chronicles, I'll be sharing pages alongside Hugo Award winner Ken Liu, whose debut novel The Grace of Kings released earlier this year, and Hugo nominee and USA Today bestseller Annie Bellet. This a huge, huge honor for me, and having the chance to appear in a Chronicles anthology has been a dream of mine since starting this whole indie author venture a year ago.
So I think these projects will carry me through the rest of this year, and hopefully 2016 will be just as productive as 2015 has been. Now, what's happening your world, writers?