Closing a landmark year, and wishing you all a happy, thriving, healthy and creatively joyous 2024!
Significant for me, this year past: the series is finally going to press! Huge relief, huge anticipation, huge satisfaction to see this project brought to closure, and my excitement that it will be in your hands in 2024 exceeds all bounds!!!
I had thought I could rest up a bit, sit on my laurels, and weigh out which projects to do next; in this, I was surprised: more deadlines than ever, and the choice of what next deferred until they are completed. I have: finished all the artwork for Grim Oak Press’s special edition of Servant of the Empire, waiting on the photographer to finish holidays to get the cover painting into digital format and turned in, but the painting is done.
We had a memorable trip to Oregon for Orycon, hand a blast of a party there, were treated exceptionally well, and made many new friends. First plane trip after the pandemic and happy to say, we played it safe and returned in good health.
Also, an unanticipated landmark - we were on a plane to Taiwan for a two week whirlwind jam packed schedule - both work and sightseeing - and a trip to a film set, action takes in progress - and I cannot say enough about this beautiful country, the friendly people, the beauty and nuance of the landscape and the flavor of an Asian island culture. We had an indescribable experience, came home enthused and exhausted - and under a veil of nondisclosure: lots in the works I cannot talk about! We shot a ton of photos, and piled up amazing inspiration, and deepened already esciting relationships with some superb people. One day I hope to be free to speak in depth of what is now in early development…so hang on!
Ahead for 2024: more work on the docket I cannot reveal;, but both Don and I are stoked for it, also the full set of illustrations and cover art for Grim Oak Press’s printing of Mistress of the Empire.
MORE stuff came in during December that - GROWL - I cannot reveal yet, but rest assured, you will love the news when it has reached the moment of fruition I can reveal to you here.
And a few whispers in the works of things that may come forward, now just queries and discussion.
Personally? I really need to hose out my closets!! clear my decks, clean up my workspace and order my papers - I did a cursory job of that, but the deep dive into setting the stage for the next projects had to step aside for the deadlines in progress. So that is looming.
I want to play more music and ride, fix some fences that are tacked together ‘good enough’ but need more serious work before the summer heat and storm cycle sets in.
Creatively: there is a LOT waiting in the wings - the moment I get back to writing again, I will have to choose between the projects that have been in ferment all through the past year - notes taken during insomnia piling up and filed, ready for the moment I select which project to step into. There will be a new novel,standalone in a new setting and also: short fiction tied to Athera. Depending what happens - where things stand - I will have to sort which platform and which road to take to see these to publication. How Song of the Mysteries is received will pave the way or shift what doors will be open to me.
I have spent the past year reading mostly independently published fantasy, and a write up of that experience will be coming shortly.
The booktube community has been extremely generous, and right now are driving a new wave of awareness of my work, and for that I am immensely grateful. Never too late, and beyond satisfying to see the awareness of both the series and backlist rising in the community. This could make all the difference, and in fact, is the force pressing the scant stock issue that has plagued distribution…the good side: people want the books! The bad side: continual understocking has caused gaps in availability, and I hope you will bear with this problem if you have been frustrated in acquiring the books. PREORDER Song of the Mysteries to secure your copy as I have no idea how many will be printed!!! The release date is late May and the lag has been Corrected: release in North America will be simultaneous with the UK, thank goodness!
Whatever comes, 2024 will be a defining moment - I hope you all will be there to share the ups and downs, as I will share yours.
May your New Years celebration be bright and merry, filled with friendship, love, joy and laughter, and my finest best wishes go with you into the tipping of the rollercoaster into the new year!
Be brave, be happy, seize your day, and keep your loved ones close, and make the story of your life chase your dreams, always, as you can. Best Always - JW