I don’t think the world needs another blog entry bemoaning 2020 and 2021, so I’m going to skip right past to the part where I try to make some sort of writing plan for 2022. Throughout 2021, I had three things in my head—one of which solidified because it’s already underway—and the other two still feel insubstantial, despite having been working on them for ages. And, at the end of the year, I decided on a potential fourth.
So, in the interest of concretizing the plan, here we go.
Thing the First: “Hope Echoes” (my contribution to the three-novellas anthology Three Left Turns to Nowhere).
This is the “already underway” project, and the only contracted thing I managed to complete last year. Coming from Bold Strokes Books in 2022, Three Left Turns to Nowhere is a trio of queer YA novellas from Jeffrey Ricker, J. Marshall Freeman, and myself, all centred around a particular town, Hopewell Ontario, which seems to have snared our protagonists for reasons they might not realize at first. My own contribution to this one, “Hope Echoes,” is a mystery of a sort, where my protagonist Fielding tries to get a long-lost love letter from one young woman to another, despite having no idea how many years might have passed, or—for that matter—if anyone involved still lives in the town, or still lives at all.
When I say this is already underway, I mean it, too. It hits shelves in February. That’s only a month from now. You can pre-order directly from Bold Strokes Books’s webstore at that link above.
Thing the Second: “Felix Navidad” (my proximity-romance queer holiday novella, rounding out the Bittersweets Club friends)
I’ve been working on this novella for over a year, and I struggled and struggled until I finally had a breakthrough with a writers retreat alongside many members of the Toronto Romance Writers, and I cannot tell you how happy I am to finally feel like I can get this one put together. With a little luck, I’ll have it drafted soon, and then I can pitch it to my publisher. This one puts Felix front-and-centre, the guy from “Village Fool” with the poor impulse control, and picks up a few Christmases later, when he’s taking some time for a vacation rather than working through the holiday, but ends up somewhere very unexpected, with company, and having a little bit of holiday magic doing some last-minute winter matchmaking. Timeline wise, if they like it, I’ve no idea when it would hit the shelves—it’s likely I’m too late for Holiday 2022, but you never know.
Thing the Third: Triad Magic (my third urban paranormal fantasy novel)
When I blew out my wrist—or, rather, my loveable dog did—I learned the hard way I can’t do anywhere near what I used to, and the pandemic sure didn’t speed up recovery (I cannot recommend virtual physiotherapy). But. I’m at the point now where I understand what my new normal is, and I believe 2022 could be the year where I step back into the Triad world and try to get that partially completed novel in motion again, toward a finished state. Triad Blood and Triad Soul do stand alone, but the plan was always to round them out with Triad Magic to complete the threads that weren’t book-specific. This one feels the most tenuous, honestly—my pace has reduced so much and I’m so nervous about it feeling like a slog rather than a joy. And—in the interest of honesty—given the diminishing returns of sales in series writing, it’s not exactly something my publisher has been asking for, even if I do have some amazing readers who still ask me for more of the Triad boys.
Thing the Fourth: a queer holiday collection (putting together all my queer retellings with a half-dozen or so new stories and releasing a collection)
This came up after I posted this year’s holiday queer re-telling, The Future in Flame, and multiple people reached out to ask me if I’d considered releasing a collection thereof. I have seven stories now, and that’s around half a collection, so if I added more, I could very well do a release, couldn’t I? As I so often need a mid-week change of plan when I’m working on a large project—which Triad Magic would be—this might be just the right thing to give me that sense of ongoing accomplishment. So. Queer holiday story collection for 2022? Perhaps.
So, that’s my tentative planning for the writing life. I’m also thinking this might be the year I try—again—to keep an eye on open calls for submission, but I’m not going to make that a stated goal. I’ve not been entering contests or writing for open calls since the wrist injury, but like I said before, I’m starting to feel like I’ve got a handle on it (that’s not a challenge to the universe, in case the universe is listening). There are a lot of other things going on in the non-writing, real-world life, and so I’m trying to set goals that can handle a few other major moving parts. I still have so many other things I’d also like to write, but I don’t want to set myself up for failure.
I hope 2022 brings you good things. And I hope any resolutions you set feel like solutions, rather than uphill climbs.