Since it's been so long, I figure you guys deserve an update on where I'm at.
First and foremost: Cogs and Cognizance is coming out very soon! By the end of the month, if I can swing it. (Early September at the latest.) This is good news.
Why did it take so long, after my supposed renewed focus last year? Well, for a lot of reasons.
It took some time to get feedback from my beta readers - everyone's busy, you know. And then, as I was getting into the middle of my rewrite, we got a pandemic.
You might have heard of that COVID-19 thing, perhaps. But besides my workplace getting much busier due to all that, leaving me less time and a lot less energy to write, I also fell back into a bit of anxiety. My old nemesis...
There's a lot going wrong with the world, and this event just tipped me over the edge. But I got back in, and have the text finished and ready for publication!
So what about The Sleepwar Saga? Ah, well, that's a little tricker.
Some of you may recall that I was several chapters into the first draft of "Shadow Cabinet" when my first huge anxiety issue happened a few years ago. I was finally gearing up to dive back in when I was forced to reconsider.
You see, four of the remaining six books I originally had planned were due to feature people of color as the POV characters. Folks who had been in the first two books, but not had their "feature" book yet.
Recently, though, many authors of color have been asking white authors not to write books from their POV. For many reasons, all of which I am sensitive to.
For example, we tend to just "do it wrong" and be so inauthentic that as a best result, POC are required to put in a huge effort as sensitivity readers to get it back on track. And that's the optimal (rare) outcome.
Plus, even for self-pubbers like myself, we're taking up "real estate" - making it harder each time for authors of color to get published. And/or clouding the reading field with takes on their culture that make potential readers used to our inauthentic approach, leading publishers to not want real stories about people of color to be published, as they don't feel like it's what the audience expects.
I've followed the discourse, I respect it. I know there are multiple viewpoints, but I don't want to cause harm where it isn't necessary.
And so, I have felt the need to totally revamp my approach to the remaining books in the series. No longer will each of the six leads have a POV book - and the series will be shortened to four installments. This way Kaz & Andy will each get two POV books to themselves.
I will not be reducing the presence or effectiveness of my characters of color throughout this, though - don't worry! I will still strive to make them real, active, and vital. But I can't try and "tell their story", not through their eyes. Not in any way that tries to seem as though I can "speak for" their experience to which I can't relate.
So two more books will be coming. I have lots of great ideas about Book 4, which should be improved now that Andy is the POV character. As the team's leader, he has a lot to do in the finale, and it just makes sense to have him tell this chapter of the story.
It's Book 3 - "Shadow Cabinet" - that will need the most reworking. Meesha should still get a lot of development in this - and Jason with her - but it will have to take a little twist so that it needs to be told from Kaz's point of view.
I have ideas, this can be done well. Just might take some time to get right, so hold on for a bit. But it's coming!
Possibly the next thing from me will be the first installment of The Casebook of Detective Moriarty - but that is a discussion for a later time.
For now, prepare to hear all about Cogs and Cognizance - coming very soon!