A while back, I wrote a post about how I write with aphantasia and answered some other questions you’d asked me. After that piece came out, I heard from a lot of you who were really grateful for the updates and said you’d like them more often.
So in today’s post, I just wanted to pop in and give you all an update on what I’m working on.
Psychic State Series
The first book in the Psychic State series, Psychic City, in which a triad of psychic detectives (an eideticist, spirit medium, and empath) investigate a string of murders, has been out for a few months now.
The sequel, Psychic Inferno, is currently in second draft form and at the editor. I’m waiting to hear back about any revisions I’ll have to make on that, but my editor did get back to me after reading the beginning to tell me that the book is “brilliant, even better than Psychic City.” So I’m rather excited to share it with you folks. I don’t want to spoil too much, but the sequel answers the questions the first book raises about Penny’s background — and we spend a lot more time with Amarynth the Connections Agent as she teams up with Viv to investigate a series of arsons.
The third book in the series is called Minerva the Liar. Happily, it’s already written and is in second draft form. Minerva the Liar is a prequel that takes place in the early 1990s, at the time directly preceding the Psychic Phenomenon. Minerva the Liar is, among other things, the story of how the Psychic State came to be. That book centers around a woman who discovers one day after years of coworkers interrupting her and taking credit for her ideas that she has the power to make anyone believe what she says so long as she crosses her fingers when she says it. Hijinks ensue. She ends up with three dozen boyfriends and in deep trouble with a secret society of femdom bureaucrats.
The Ecumenopolis (Psychic State 4)
But that’s what is at the editor’s! I’d like to talk about what I’m working on at the moment. I am currently writing the fourth book in the series — The Ecumenopolis. Weird word, right? What does it mean? Ecumenopolis (from Greek: οἰκουμένη oecumene, meaning “world”, and πόλις polis “city”, thus “a world city”) is the hypothetical concept of a planetwide city.
Not to go too far into spoilertown, but The Ecumenopolis focuses primarily on Amarynth, a.k.a. “the Cassandra of PsyOps,” the long-suffering introverted Connections Agent with an uncanny knack for knowing things she shouldn’t. Unfortunately, because she’s not good at explaining how she knows, other people underestimate her abilities and rarely believe her, to their own detriment.
Amarynth is in both Psychic City and Psychic Inferno but never as the main character. She is extremely fun to write, so it’s been fun spending so much time with her lately.
I’m over a third through the rough draft at the moment and have a good, detailed outline, so while I still have quite a ways to go on this book, I’m moving through it smoothly (for now — the writing gods can be capricious).
Books Beyond 4
Part of why it took me so long to write the first book was because I had to build the world the books are set in, as well as plot character arcs for multiple major players in the series.
The good news about this is that I have a very good sense of what comes next. As I write this book, I know what the next 4 books in the series are going to be (books 5-8), their titles, who is in them, roughly what happens, and partial outlines (the further out the title is, the less detailed the outline becomes).
This could of course all change as I get closer to them. But I have a road map. I know where I’m going. And I have a lot of exciting things planned.
I have some other exciting stuff the works! A lot of it hinges on other people in the Poly Land team, who are doing their best to make some changes to the site and help me develop some new resources.
I wish I could tell you more about the progress of those projects at this point, but I don’t want to put unnecessary pressure on the people working on them or embarrass them. (Or get something wrong because I announce something and then the team finds it won’t work and has to change.) I’ll have more info in the future. But we’re definitely in the process of updating our site look and features.
But the important thing is that Poly Land isn’t going anywhere. I’ll still be updating the site daily (as I have been for over 4 years), and we’re going to be making some long overdue improvements. Stay tuned to that.
What Else Is Going On in My Life
Okay, that’s enough shop talk. What else is going on in my life?
Well, like anyone else, I’m living through the coronavirus pandemic, and in my own case, I’m pretty darn locked down. I’ve been trying to make the most of it. The past few months, I started exercising at home (by walking and jogging inside using YouTube videos) and carefully weighing and measuring my food and tracking my intake with an app called My Fitness Pal.
That alone has helped me get back down to my pre-pandemic weight (actually a few pounds under where I started lockdown). This is no small feat because I emotionally ate a lot during coronavirus — partly because of lockdown and also because of grief, after my father died in April.
Spending More Time with My Partner Than Ever
Other than that, I’m chatting with friends and family online and spending a lot of quality in person time with my partner. That itself has been a kind of test. The first few years of our relationship, my partner and I were on different work schedules with different days off so didn’t have extended time together. He also used to travel a lot for work, which meant a lot of time apart. And of course when we were dating other people, that, too, was time apart.
Coronavirus lockdown has turned that on its head. We’re both working from home and spending the vast majority of our free time together. I wasn’t sure how that would go. The answer is: Great.
It did take him about 3 days back in March to get used to working from home. (I have done that off and on for years, as a writer these days but in the past as a medical transcriptionist.) He was super cranky during that initial period. But after he adjusted to work from home, we’ve been doing really well.
Weirdly not sick of each other. And very few disagreements.
For my part, I’m so grateful that I have a companion to ride this whole thing out with that I find myself in a very forgiving mood. Not sure what’s going through his head. He’s generally not a person who talks all that much about his feelings, definitely doesn’t process much aloud.
Yes, This Relationship Writer Married a Person Who Doesn’t Easily Talk About Emotions
Yes, really. This relationship writer married a person who doesn’t easily talk about emotions. It requires a special kind of trust and bond but works beautifully.
I will say that whenever I write a love ode to him in public, I’ll inevitably get a few comments that say, “I hope you tell him this!” Which yes. I do. I talk very openly about my feelings, and I constantly give him compliments to his face. He does it less back — although he’s been working on doing it more the past few years or so, as words are my top love language, how I most easily understand love.
I appreciate every effort that has been made. (He knows this, too, gentle reader. I have thanked him many times. I thank him every time I notice that he’s making an effort.)
He is an incredible person by the way. He is someone I’m proud is even my friend, let alone everything else we are at this point (dating, legally married, and living together).
Anyway, that’s where I am! My everyday existence frankly isn’t all that exciting. But I’m still trying to make some productive use of the time that I’m (largely) stuck inside (aside from little field trips we take in the car).
And judging by that metric, things are going well. I just keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Every time I sit down to write, I think of you folks. I don’t think I’ll ever be done trying to learn and improve, because I want to be the best writer that I can be for you.
Thanks for reading,