June has been the busiest month of the year so far. Besides completing a few more short stories, I’ve started work on a new novel-length project – one which I can’t say anything about at the moment, sadly.
Black Library released the conclusion to my Fabius Bile trilogy, Manflayer. It’s available in the usual places, including Amazon, AbeBooks, Audible, et al. This one is a bit bittersweet for me, as it’s not only the final book in the trilogy, but also my final book for Black Library. I’ve been writing for Black Library since 2010, and while I’ll miss it, I’m excited to see what new projects the next decade brings.
This month also saw Belanger Books release both volumes of Sherlock Holmes & the Occult Detectives. My story, “The Ironwood Wardrobe”, is included in Volume 2, and finds an elderly Holmes turning to the Royal Occultist for help with a mystery involving a child’s disappearance and the eponymous bit of furniture.
On the subject of the Royal Occultist, I started posting chapters of the first novel, The Whitechapel Demon, to Curious Fictions this month. Four chapters are now available for free to subscribers, with further chapters due every Friday.
Also available on Curious Fictions this month is “Elizabeth on the Island”. This story first appeared in 2011, in the Innsmouth Press anthology Candle in the Attic Window. I think its one of the best stories I’ve ever written, even today. Its available for free, both to subscribers and casual readers alike.
Besides work, I’ve been reading quite a bit – mostly nonfiction. Ioanna Iordanou’s Venice’s Secret Service is an interesting read, as is Tom Holland’s Millennium. I’ve also started digging into Thomas Asbridge’s biography of William Marshal, The Greatest Knight.
On the fiction front, I’ve been on a John Sandford kick, reading (and re-reading) a good many of his Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers novels. Sandford has long been one of my favourite writers, and I consider his books my go-to comfort reads. I’ve also recently started The Delicate Dependency by Michael Talbot, which I’m enjoying so far.
Other than work and reading, I’ve been engaged in some long overdue office cleaning. Primarily, this means stripping my old writing notebooks and removing the ideas I haven’t gotten to yet. For years I’ve shuffled my ideas and story notes from notebook to notebook, weeding out the ones I lost interest in, completed or gave away, but hoarding the rest.
If I were a dragon, I’d be sleeping on a pile of moleskine notebooks.
Anyway, in an effort to shake some of the dust off of these old concepts, I’ve decided to strip out the ideas I feel still have potential and tack them to the cork board above my desk. At the moment, there are over forty story ideas pinned to the board, but I’m hoping there’ll be fewer by this time next year.
Other than that, I’ve been thinning out my research materials. Pulling aside books that I no longer have a use for – or never really did – and boxing them up in preparation for the eventual reopening of the local charity shops. Lots of game manuals and military history books.
All of this is in an effort to streamline a creative process that I fear has become somewhat muddled over the past few years. Only time will tell whether it works.