Where to start? It’s been a hot minute (or twelve) since I last did a proper monthly-ish bloggy update, and, wow, that heatwave over here was brutal. Not so much for the total temperature so much as the fact that locally it went from a high of like 24 Centigrade to 38 Centigrade (75 to 100.4 Fahrenheit) in two days, which is a little tricky to adjust to.
Having just moved to a new home (thus the slowed down updates) I barely had time to put up my corkboard before having to tape those foil space blankets over my old moving boxes and parking them in the window to try and prevent the sunshine and the heatwave from combining to cook me alive. (Without them, the space between my blinds and the windows reached around 45 Centigrade/113 Fahrenheit. So… yeah, that sunshine’s pretty warm.)
But that’s the weather, and talking about the weather is small talk.
Big talk? Mouse Cage is out in the world, already picking up a few reviews, and I have had folks reach out directly to tell me how much they’ve been enjoying the book, which is incredibly rewarding. It’s hard to explain, but… putting a year into something and having people mentally synch with and enjoy what you were trying to do is an amazing feeling. Just, one of the best things I get as a writer – so even if I overwhelm easily, and don’t always answer fan mail and messages, know that I always, ALWAYS appreciate it.
Sales are creeping along at a relatively low level after a small boom at launch, not too dissimilarly to how Dog Country went. I will probably make some more noise on social media about the book when there are a few more reviews out there as I suspect, but cannot confirm, that having those reviews there do a lot to convince casual book-browsers to take a closer look. (As such, if you’ve already read and enjoyed the book, may I suggest adding your thoughts to the Goodreads page?)
That’s the flipside, of course. The personal reactions are astonishing and touch me to my soul, the sales… the sales are directly in the unexpected zone of ‘better than I feared, but not as good as I’d hoped’. Which is another reason to treat writing books and selling books as two separate careers running in parallel.
The writing side of me? Is thrilled and delighted, so, I’m going to focus on that.
Writing-wise, I have taken a crack at that JUNO story I mentioned last time, which I am sure I will hear back about eventually. I was also, out of the blue, contacted about a story I was trying to sell close to a decade ago, so I put in a couple of sessions of polish onto that and we’ll see what (if anything) comes of it.
The experience with both of those has kinda re-ignited my desire to work on short fiction, though, and I’ve had in mind a short story tentatively titled ‘Abbie’s Kids’ about Troy Salcedo and his brothers, and Abbie Lanthrop, who you can look up via google and you will likely very rapidly figure out the connection.
We’ll see what happens with it. I am also making notes for a maybe-novel-maybe-novella story about a fox from one of San Iadras’s younger production runs, who gets involved in a classic heist. So far the heist crew includes a human genemodded for intelligence, one of the Dixon sisters, an Estian war-dog back from the wars, and it may even include a cameo from a shadowy figure known as ‘Mr. Bell’ who you may recognize from Mouse Cage, if you read very closely.
(One thing I desperately want to do is, maybe not in this story, but in SOME story, have Troy the mouse appear tending bar with his old robotic prosthetic and someone calls him Ratz – a reference to the bartender from Neuromancer, which he absolutely doesn’t get…)
Anyway. Plenty of ideas, but at the moment, a lot of hard work to get them to go anywhere. So, with due respect for the fact that I need rest and recovery time, I’m going to go investigate just how I’m going to use my time this month.
I hope your months past have been good to you, that you’re all enjoying Mouse Cage, and that you all know how thankful I am for your support.
(PS. Monkeypox is kind of serious and is about to hit a lot of the general population, so mask up and all, because it’s respiratory-transmitted, but it’s also found in sweat and skin contact, so grab a pocket-bottle of alcohol based sanitizer and scrub up every time you enter/exit a building. Take good care of yourselves!)