It May be June, but…

It may be June, but I have yet to properly notice. I have re-read Mouse Cage (doing proofing and other minor polish) three times in a little bit over a week. It is not a short book, and that is after doing nothing but hammer on this book for… I don’t know how long.

I’m happy with the shape it’s in, I am very eager to share it with everyone, and I definitely enjoyed that last read-through, but, wow. I am tired, yo.

On the bright side, that means the text is finalized and as good as I can make it. I’m currently arranging typesetting and covers, and patrons are going to get some kind of early copy. Whether that’s the finished product or the final text pre-typesetting is up to my patrons, who can vote in the currently running poll on the subject, which will wrap up in a few days.

Publication date is a little bit up in the air while typesetting and covers happen, but I’m hoping for soon – with some luck by the next monthly bloggy update Mouse Cage will either be available or imminently available. More news hopefully very soon.

Next written projects? Well. I need to figure out my schedule, more on that in a moment, but I definitely need to make some serious notes towards the next San Iadras novel while my brain is still in the city, and I am hoping at least some of those notes evolve into shorter stuff I can finish more quickly and share sooner.

On the topic of other shorter stuff, I have been invited to (and plan to) contribute to Space Wizard Science Fantasy’s shared world anthology, The World of Juno. I took one look at the provided material and just immediately saw a story I wanted to tell about a very unconventional first contact situation involving a board game. I do have some other stuff to get done first (like publishing Mouse Cage), but I am cautiously confident I’m going to manage to get this one done, and I’m a bit excited to boot, so, take a peek at Space Wizard Science Fantasy’s kickstarter ( and consider chipping in.

So. Scheduling.

Somehow I’ve wound up a book-a-year guy, at least when it comes to the writing of, given that I finished Aconite Braid (still trying to sell that to publishers) last year September, and just finished Mouse Cage… … three days ago?

That might actually wind up being a three-books-every-two-years guy if I manage to make the most of the rest of the year, but, honestly. I did not know I had another book in me, back when the mental health crisis struck.

I’d like to do a proper post-mortem of what working on Aconite Braid and Mouse Cage was like – I’ve had doing one for Aconite Braid on the to-do list for much too long – but one thing I can say, right now, is that I appear to have a sprint working style. On the one hand this is great, because when I’m working, I work and work and work and the thing comes together relatively quickly. The problem… is burnout.

Working in sprints, as I do? I get tired. And when I’m fixated on working on something, I don’t take time out to recharge and recover. I don’t think that’s reached a point it’s going to visibly impact my work, but I have been scrambling to get the text of Mouse Cage finalized and I do know it’s taken me much longer than I thought it would. That seems to be an early warning sign.

The thing about sprints is that you have to balance them with rest and eating, and I think I need to do a better job with that while the warning signs are early. Theoretically I assign myself around 28 days off a year, but looking at my notes, it turns out I’ve only taken around nine of them in the past year.

The obvious solution would be take all the time off in one go, but… I don’t want to. I want to get everything else ready for Mouse Cage’s release and start on the next thing, and… that is possibly how I drive myself into burnout without really noticing that’s what I’m doing. As such, I will be taking a couple of Fridays off in a row as a way to thread the needle between ‘I have stuff to do’ and ‘I better quit overworking myself’. Interestingly, I’m doing it just as some employers in the UK are starting experiments with a four day work week, so, wow, I guess I’m just barely ahead of the times?

In the meanwhile, I am very much looking forward to sharing Mouse Cage with you all – remember to vote in that poll if you’re eligible to do so – and if you’re overworking yourself? Start making a plan to ease up a little. In the long run, you’ll thank yourself.

As always, thank you for your support. Your attention and kindness are why I am lucky enough to do what I do.

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By foozzzball

Malcolm Cross, otherwise known as 'foozzzball', lives in London and enjoys the personal space and privacy that the city is known for. When not misdirecting tourists to nonexistant landmarks and lurking at bus stops, Malcolm enjoys writing science fiction and fantasy with a furry twist.