September of slumping timber

Getting the engine started on Quicker than Blood is taking way longer than expected. Back in March I thought I was creeping up on getting into the meat of the prose, and, well…

I am in the midst of doing the last thing before I actually get into the drafting process – writing out a scene by scene outline, sort of doing the whole thing in miniature as a final kick of the tires to make sure the thing works out. So far the only significant changes to my narrative I’ve had to make are reordering a few events, and a little bit of work to make sure all the chains of causality work out.

(Specifically, a character was going to have someone’s business card in their possession for a given scene – but that scene had to get moved up, and that meant the business card business had to be removed.)

I am not sure what’s behind all this slowdown, other than quantities of ‘dealing with life’ I find extremely challenging. (As you may know I’m still getting into the swing of ‘living on my own’, and it can be surprisingly tough sometimes!) On the bright side, I have (most of) a set of new curtains up, and I think some very slight feelings of burnout I was harbouring and not talking about have started to ease off.

That’s really been the story for the whole of my Summer writing season – I arbitrarily cut the year into three four month seasons – and thankfully, while there have been a lot of productivity issues in my writing life due to the necessity of dealing with masses of errands and non-writing life things, I am also starting to hit a better balance. With luck, I can keep that balance.


I have also written my first review for SPSFC! … Which I am holding in reserve until I have a couple of other reviews to release alongside it, because that will, hopefully, take emphasis off any individual review and the nice/mean things it says.

Given that I haven’t written an actual book review for, like, five years plus, this should turn out… interesting.

What I can say is that our first three named ‘theoretical readers’ are Enthusiastic Everest, Militant Mickey, and Point-Of-View Pepper. More will be invented as necessary as I write more reviews.

Final tangent, did you know selling books is hard? Like, really hard?

It’s not something I really know how to do – I like to think I make pretty nice books, but I am not much of one for the actual selling.

All in all, Mouse Cage has sold somewhere in the vicinity of 55-65 copies in its first year. That is not a lot, and it is a little hard to admit – part of the self-publishing hustle is to always pretend like you’re doing fine and selling plenty of books, y’know?

Thankfully, as of late, I have the fine people at Fenris Books(US), whom you may have heard of, and The Book Badgers (UK), a much newer business relationship, carrying paperback copies of my books to cons and offering them for online sales. (Basically, they’re getting copies of my books wholesale and selling them on.)

I am so, so thankful that there are folks out there willing to do this. I know it’s not a huge, crazy thing, but it is incredibly validating to have people look at my books and say, ‘Yeah, I want that on my con table.’

That kind of thing, the reviews, the direct support, and the simple kindness all matter so much. You all help – whether a direct Patreon supporter, someone who wrote a review, someone who brought me into your business plans, a fan who bought one of my books*, or just random interested internet person.

(*55-65 copies may not be great financially, but at around 6 hours to get through Mouse Cage, that means readers have spent more time enjoying the book than I did writing it!)

It makes picking up the keyboard easier. It makes the dread of ‘what if I write a book and no one cares’ something I can actually confront. Knowing I can help people find entertainment and a bit of escapism and enjoyment? That makes me happy. It makes me really, really happy.


As ever, thank you for your support, and thank you for helping to bring me a joy that make the gloomier parts of writing considerably brighter.

Categorized as Patreon

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.