As we stood in the Plaça Catalunya this year, grapes in hand and waiting for churchbells to chime, it struck me that once again, I was celebrating New Year’s Eve upon an unknown shore. Ten seconds to midnight, the crowd started counting down, ten, nine, eight. And then, at midnight–
Nothing. The fireworks were a dud.
But that didn’t change the fact that — for me and my partner, at the very least — something tremendous had shifted.
Often the biggest changes sneak up without warning. One moment, everything is calm, the next, the storm has come. Caught in the rage and fury of it all, we can do nothing but try to keep our footing and stay afloat, steering blindly through the lashing rain, the towering waves, and the darkness. It is only when the winds have calmed and the fogs have cleared that we can lift our heads, trace the stars, and see where we’ve ended up.
Now, well into February, I’m finally taking stock of all those goals I set at the very beginning of the year — and now I can actually start to map my path towards them. So if you’re curious about what’s going on in my writing life for 2023, read on!
2023 Works in Progress
A Lullaby of Stolen Stars
YA Fantasy Novel
Her voice brings death.
Growing up in the Sphere of Nilaya with no one but her fussy Caretaker, Rael, for company, 16-year-old Song yearns for a life beyond the wild and lonely shores of her island. All her hopes lie with Lanthir Navarre, Nilaya’s only visitor, and the last surviving member of the Cantor Order — gifted warriors who protect the Verse from monsters — or so he claims. He alone holds the key to taming Song’s dangerous power.
But when Lan disappears and a mysterious boy shows up on Song’s island bearing the dire warning that Lan is in danger, Song soon learns that more than the fate of the Cantors lies in her hands. Because there’s a monster lurking at the edge of the Verse, and Song’s voice may be the only thing that can unleash it — or finally put it to rest forever.
Writing is rewriting, as they say, and I’ve been steadily working on a complete reimagining of my YA novel the Shape of the World. Though the current novel starts in a similar place as the original version, A Lullaby of Stolen Stars is darker, more intense, and far tighter than Shape ever was. I’ve currently finished the first rough draft and am patching up the holes to be able to send it to my beta readers by the end of February. From there, we’ll see how intensely I need to edit before I’ve got something I’m happy with.
The Well and the Garden
Adult Fantasy Duology
The war is over. The invaders won.
For Elder Myrai, Queen of Sangeon, the arrival of invader ships in the Farisles’ skies signals the end of days. It is only through an unexpected alliance that Myrai is able to stay the hand of the Brummen colonisers and establish peace.
The Queen is dead.
Twenty-five years later Myrai’s daughter, Talih, is set to inherit rulership of the Farisles from her father, the Brummen Crown Governor. But when Myrai dies under mysterious circumstances, Talih’s status is thrown into question, as the Brummen move to place one of their own in her mother’s stead.
Long live the Queen.
But Talih won’t go down without a fight. Delving deeper into the secrets surrounding her mother’s untimely death, one thing becomes clear: Myrai’s spirit has come back to haunt. And everyone knows the dead only return when there’s unfinished business to take care of…
So I started this project as part of my NaNoWriMo last year, and it’s something that I haven’t really attempted before — namely adult fantasy. And I do mean proper epic adult fantasy — at the moment, I’m about halfway through the first book, and already it’s 60,000 words (not including all the gaps I still need to fill in), which means the full first book is going to be a real nice, hefty one. Once I’m done putting LoSS together, I’ll be scrambling to compose the second half of book one, using a second NaNoWriMo to finish it up by the end of the year, hopefully. Fingers crossed that I don’t get lost in the weeds.
And finally, I’ve started a Substack to try to organise some of my writing life outside of the novels. You’ll find my editorial newsletter on there starting next month, with writing tips, exercises, and opportunities, as well as updates on my books, writing, and editing availability, if you’re interested. And if you want to support me through the platform, paid subscribers will start receiving a serialised version of A Murder of Crows once I’ve got everything set up!
And that’s what’s on my plate for this year, along with a buffet of short stories that I hope to be submitting soon. What are you all working on at this point, and how is it going for you? Would love to hear about your works in progress and what you’re excited about down in the comments!