Well, the important bit first: I’m a little over 70% done with the rough draft of book four, the final entry in Sol’s Harvest. It’s going to be entitled The Shattered Sphere, and I’m getting the cover done as we speak so (hopefully) we won’t have any delays in getting it out.
There have been some delays in the writing, however, mostly due to some guests and some illness. In terms of guests, my office just happens to double as the guest bedroom, so when you have someone visit for a week, well, that’s a week without being to stay up and write at night. Then there’s the invariable getting yourself back into the habit of writing. I think I’ve compared writing to biking before, in that once you’re up to cruising speed, it’s little effort to maintain said speed. But every time you stop you now have to go from zero to cruising speed again. That start and stop sort of compounds with multiple visitors/ illnesses in that if you have one week on then one week off, that week back on is all getting back up to speed, which is then ground to a halt the next week, at which you just repeat the process again.
Which is why I opted to just not write for almost two months, which set me back from my (stupidly) stated release date of August/ September.
Another stumbling point was that the book ballooned to much more than I was initially expecting. I mean, I have all my chapters mapped out ahead of time, but upon the writing of them I realized that some were faaaar tooooo looooong, and had to be divided in half. But because of the—in retrospect—infuriating writing conceit I had of alternating timelines, for each chapter I divided in either the past or present timeline, I had to add a corresponding chapter in the opposite timeline to counterbalance it. So my initial 37 chapters suddenly became 40. Which is pushing the wordcount into the 150,000. To put that in perspective, The Imbued Lockblade, which is currently my longest, clocked in a smidge under 119k. Which means there’s basically an additional novella’s (hey, you should check out my free novella here) worth of material on this book.
Anyways, I’m back on schedule and up to my cruising writing speed, and hope to get this draft done before a family reunion in July, which will act as a bit of a pallet cleanser before I attempt the rewrites. So, all in all, I’m hoping to have this thing out by the end of the year and bid adieu to Ayr for the time being.
Being as it’s Fathers’ Day as I type this, I thought I’d reflect a moment on being a stay at home dad and writer [side note: in a delicious display of irony, I was called away to deal with said wee bairn before I could finish this sentence]. Firstly, I’m exceedingly lucky to be able to stay at home with the little spriteling. Long ago my wife and I invested in our collective future with her career, while I tried my hand at that whole film writing gig. When that didn’t pan out, at least I still had a job in the field where I could work part time and raise that little monster. Us stay at home dads are pretty rare, by the way, accounting for only 3% of the population in the US.
That has a few odd side effects, from the humorous such as discovering you can screw up your sciatic nerve by keeping a spare diaper in your back pocket, to the obnoxious. Namely that stay at home moms don’t seem to cotton to me at the parks. Up until that point I found that raising a kid was a lot like raising a dog (don’t judge me), and being as we made pretty much all our friends at the dog park, I figured when I started attending the human park I’d make our new stage of friends based on the sheer fact we’d always be around each other and trying to stave off boredom.
It seems the stay at home moms, at least in this region of Orange County, are a fairly cliquish bunch, and though our kids may play together or they’ll give me a nod upon walking up, that’s about where it ends. I’ve watched them invite other mothers to join them, but I always seem the literal odd man out. I’ve read before that stay at home dads believe it’s because the moms think they’re hitting on them, which I find hilarious and a bit presumptuous. I mean, if I wanted to forsake my marriage to escape the soul-crushing tedium that is parenting… wouldn’t a fellow parent be the LAST place I seek it out?
Anyway, I enjoy the hell out of daddying, and it’s fun to watch the spud slowly morph into a real human being. I get to actively interact and play with my son, which is something that I didn’t really get growing up. I believe that’s more a generational thing though in that none of my friends remember their dads playing with them either (taking them to sports or throwing the ball around, yes, but not playing). So it’s sort of nice to help create the next generation where this bond exists between father/ son.
I’ve also always maintained that his kid is an addition to my life rather than the definition of my life. Which is why I may mention him here or occasionally on social media, but you won’t ever be inundated by him. He’s a part of my existence, an important one, but he’s not my sole purpose. Keeping this in mind, a lot of the last year and a half has been learning how to keep a lot of plates spinning while letting others crash. I figure, just counting the work week, I’m on a 45 hours shift. Throw in 15-20 hours of my day job then another 15-20 of writing per week, I’m doing a minimum of 75 hours. I’ve also maintained a 4-5 day a week workout schedule and kept up all the cooking and shopping for the household by learning to overlap these hours.
And in the process I’ve let a lot of things I loved wither. Jewelry making, for one. Watching more than 30 minutes of TV during the week is another. Keeping track of what’s going on in the film industry. Reading the internet for pleasure. Social media. Blogging. Reading. Etc.
Totally worth it though. Parenting seems to boil down to a realignment of priorities, which I’ve been (not always) happy to accommodate. I’m also pretty happy writing was able to remain a part of it.
So anyways, after all that long diversion, just know all three of you readers that book four will be out by the end of the year baring something else unforeseen.