Until the summer of 2015 I was absolutely abysmal about keeping this up to date; it ought to be updated at least monthly, and I'd been averaging roughly once every two years. I'm making an effort to do better, with some success; I managed to keep it up for some time, but due to selling our house and extensive travel there have been some multi-month gaps. I'm finally getting back to it now. I hope.
Let me point out that for more than thirty years, while I might be working on multiple projects at once, there was almost always one that had top priority. Most of the time there was at least one under contract, and often more than one. Alas, this hasn't been the case for the past few years. With no contracts, no regular publisher, and no serials running, I've been free to work on whatever I like, and I've often been hopping from project to project rather than focusing on just one or two novels. I keep hoping one will catch fire and grab all my attention; sometimes that happens, sometimes it doesn't.
So, here's what I've worked on and not finished since July 1, 2015, with whatever I worked on most recently at the top regardless of when it was started, and getting older as you go down. I got very little writing done in the summer of 2018 because I was busy preparing our house for sale, so there hasn't been much progress, but notice that one short story that never even got mentioned here until now did get written and sold and is listed at the bottom:
I got an invitation for Across the Universe, an anthology of alternate Beatles stories, and as of now I have a complete first draft of my 1,800-word story for it. I'm not going to give my working title here because it may give away too much.
Prompted by the recent movie option for "Why I Left Harry's All-Night Hamburgers," I dug out five unfinished stories I started back in 1986-1988 -- four related to Harry's, and the fifth related to a previous Hollywood sale. None of those fragments were more than a couple of pages long. I've now written and sold three of the five, as listed below, and have added a page to one of the others, "Tales from the Crypt," bringing it to page 3, because I think I finally, after all these years, know how to end it. "Harry the Huckster" is still in limbo, with no decent ending in mind.
I also came up with an entirely new Harry's story for the first time in decades, and wrote it in a single day. "One-Hit Wonder" is out to market. 2,500 words.
- Way back -- I mean, way back -- I started a story called "The Night People." This month I finally finished it, after of a hiatus of thirty years or so, and sold it to Amazing Stories. Since it's sold it doesn't really belong in "Works in Progress," and I'll move it down to the "whatever happened to..." list the next time I update this, but I wanted to list it at least once.
Tom Derringer and the Steam-Powered Saurians: Third in the series. This one has dinosaurs, Mormons, and more. I ran into some problems and had to back up and do one section over, but I'm past that now and up to page 165. Now my biggest concern is that it looks as if the first draft will run short, and I'll need to do some pretty extensive rewrite.
"The Whispering Bandit" is the working title for a short story I was writing for an anthology, but it ran much too long, so I re-thought it and wrote "An Interrupted Betrothal" for them instead. However, I saved the original version, which had reached 4,500 words without even introducing one of the major characters; it's sufficiently different I think the world has room for both. It seems to want to be a novella. I'm still on page 17.
Elfshot is a fantasy murder mystery; I'm on page 18.
Stormchildren is a fantasy novel set in the Quandish Archipelago. I'm on page 13.
Charming Sharra is an Ethshar story, probably a short novel, spinning off a very minor character in Stone Unturned. I'm on page 49.
I have a Patreon page. I post at least one short story and one other item every month, and patrons are able to get one or two ebooks a year free. (The first free ebook, in October 2016, was Hazmat & Other Toxic Stories; the second, in June 2017, was an advance edition of Tom Derringer in the Tunnels of Terror.) For those of you who don't like Patreon, for whatever reason, I offer my own "Subscribers Central," providing the same materials. You can sign up here.
"The Dancing Teacher" (formerly "The Dance Lesson"): A short fantasy story about a court magician and a prince's dancing teacher. After cutting back several times because of plot problems, I'm now on page 15 of an estimated 25-30, but did not get it done in time for the anthology I had been aiming at. I have now set it aside indefinitely.
"Double Agent": A parallel-world short story I hoped would interest an anthology editor who suggested I send him something. I wrote three pages of an estimated 20-25, then decided I had a better idea and put it aside.
Earthright is a science fiction novel I've had on the back burner for years. It recently came up in conversation with an editor, so I wrote up a proper proposal -- four chapters and a twelve-page outline -- and sent it off to my agent. It's now at Tor.
The Wizard's Key: A story set in the Walasian Empire maybe twenty years before A Young Man Without Magic -- I think; the date may well change. It involves a pair of sisters with certain magical gifts. The idea is older, I resisted the temptation to actually start writing it until October 19th, 2016, when I produced the first three pages. I'm now on Chapter Two.
Eleven Blades: Another new fantasy story that insisted I start it. I'm on page 8. I think it's an entirely new setting.
I've plotted three more Tom Derringer novels -- well, not so much "plotted" as come up with premises for them and figured out how they connect to the series. They're Tom Derringer and the Electrical Empire, Tom Derringer and the Floating Fortress, and Tom Derringer and the Misplaced Metropolis, though that last title may change. (I've also now plotted a shorter Tom Derringer story, "Tom Derringer and the Monster of the Mills," that takes place during Chapter Two of Tom Derringer in the Tunnels of Terror.)
Scattered Sparks: A new fantasy novel project that I came up with late on January 28, 2016. I wrote about fifteen pages in my initial burst of enthusiasm, but seem to have stalled out on page 27.
The Innkeeper's Daughter is over fifty pages now.
I'm up to fifty pages on Veran the Fair and the Thieves of Borgran.
Wrote the first couple of pages of Kelder the Small, an Ethshar novel.
I seem to have plotted a superhero novel, but haven't started writing it: The Rise and Fall of the Emerald Eagle, set in the same city as "One of the Boys."
Three Days Late for the Hanging: This popped into my head awhile back, demanding to be written. I'm sixteen pages in, and think it's going to be a novelet, maybe a novella, rather than a novel. It's a supernatural Western about a deal with Death (not the Devil, just Death) that's gone slightly wrong and needs to be fixed.
The Multidimensional Adventures of Victoria Jane Nesbitt: I have no idea whether this is going to be a novel, a never-ending serial, or what, but it ate my brain for awhile. I only have three pages of actual text, but lots and lots of notes and outlines. It's about a fourth-grade teacher who happens to have the Chosen One of an alternate universe in her class.
It probably won't go anywhere, but I just started a story called "Uncle George" about a kid discovering that his uncle is a famous hero in another world. And after I'd written the first couple of pages I realized it's connected to The Multidimensional Adventures of Victoria Jane Nesbitt.
I have literally dozens of other projects that could be considered works in progress; see my future projects page for information about several of them. This list (including both the above works in progress and the stuff below that I'm no longer working on) is everything I've actually worked on since July 1, 2015, though.
Incidentally, I welcome feedback on which of these you'd like to see finished; feel free to e-mail me with your preferences.
"Personal Space": Short story, loosely based on a never-filmed story treatment I sold the CBS "Twilight Zone" series back in the 1980s, sold to Asimov's, tentatively scheduled for October 2019 issue.
"Valedictory": Short story written and sold entirely between updates of this page; is in the anthology Release the Virgins! published January 2019.
"An Interrupted Betrothal": Short story that began as an abridged version of "The Whispering Bandit," but wound up its own thing. Sold to Lace and Blade 5, published February 2019.
"How I Found Harry's All-Night Hamburgers": Sold to Asimov's, appeared in March/April 2019 issue.
"Harry's Toaster": A short story about Harry's All-Night Hamburgers. Appeared in the first issue of the most recent revival of Amazing Stories, Fall 2018.
"The Prisoner of Shalott": Published in the anthology I wrote it for, By the Light of Camelot, summer 2018.
"Sorcery of the Heart," a novelet set in the Bound Lands, is in Lace and Blade 4, published February 2018.
"An Evil Opportunity Employer": A short superhero story. Included in an anthology called Unidentified Funny Objects 6 published in October 2017.
"On the Border," a story for a licensed anthology, has been abandoned permanently. It wasn't working.
The novel I referred to here as Bravo Foxtrot (probably not the actual title) has been completed and delivered to the game company that commissioned it. I have no idea if or when it will be published; since it's work-for-hire that's not my concern.
The Dragon's Price: Back-burnered but still alive. Over 20,000 words written.
On A Field Sable: Back-burnered but still alive. Over 40,000 words written.
Graveyard Girl: Put aside awaiting rethinking and rewrite -- my agent didn't think it was ready. 50,000 words written.
Our holiday card for 2015: The story is available free on Smashwords.
For anything not listed above, see my future projects page.
That's it; here's your list of handy exits: