It’s spring break at the university where I teach. In typical North Dakota fashion, this means that the long-delayed winter (it’s been freakishly warm here for most of the winter months) has finally arrived. It’s -2 right now, and though that’s still mild for ND, it is much colder than it’s been. And the snow is here. I don’t mind it really–I like the snow and the unseasonal warmth felt weird–I merely point out the continuing use of the misnomer by the university in calling this hiatus anything to do with spring.
The blog tour is over. We’ll be announcing the winners of the grand prize package and the three smaller giveaways right here at some point tomorrow. We had nearly five hundred entries, which is nice, and lots of good comments, reviews, and new fans, which is even better. I’ll thank them properly tromorrow, but just know that there can’t be enough good things said about Heather and Danny at Kismet Book Touring. Friendly, efficient, and professional. They’ve got a Goodreads group you should check out.
I took a month-long break from work on the next novel in order to write two academic essays which were under contract deadline. Douglas Adams once said that he loved deadlines; he enjoyed the “whooshing” sound they make when they zoom past. He’s not wrong. I did get my essays in, and only a few days late each. One is on the parallels between Carmillaand the Swedish vampire film Let the Right One In, and one is on the intersection of steampunk and hip-hop in Professor Elemental’s The Indifference Engine. The Professor Elemental essay will be in a collection called Steaming Into the Victorian Future, coming out later this year from Scarecrow Press. I’m not sure of the publisher of the vampire collection, called The Ultimate Vampire and appearing, I believe, in two volumes. I’ll let you know the details when I get them.
So I’m jumping back into writing fiction. I’m waiting to get feedback from a reader on the first half of Charley Cross, and in the meantime I’m revising an older novella for a collection of short fiction that should be out later this year. This will pull together eight or nine stories, some previously published and some not, along with a few poems and other pieces of what-not. Late summer or early autumn, most likely, is when this’ll be available. It will most likely be available only as an e-book, and it will feature a brand new Reggie Spiffington story.
I’ve recently read Scott Westerfield’s YA steampunk Leviathan trilogy (Leviathan, Behemoth, and Goliath). Rolicking good reads, filled with adventure and steampowered walking machines and whaleships. Alternative-history WWI with a great female protagonist. I really enjoyed them. After that I re-read Howards End, ostensibly because I’m going to be teaching it in a few weeks, but mainly because it is so very beautiful. I come close to tears every time I read it, just from joy at the writing. I read an E.M. Forster novel every year, and Howards End is possibly his best, though Passage to India is a contender. I’m now reading Nicole Peeler’s Tempest Rising, which I’ve wanted to check out for a while now, and am gearing up for the Dickens bicentennial reading. I think I’ll do Bleak House. Gwyn will be doing Dickens with me, but I don’t know if she’s chosen hers yet or not. You, my friend, should read a Dickens novel this year. It can only do you good.
Stay tuned. Tomorrow is the prize winner announcement. Drop by and see what you won.