We all know what the road to Hell is paved with, and even by putting this out there, I risk one of Murphy's corollaries, but here goes ...
I have several projects pending. "Pending" can mean different things, and sometimes the phrase "twisting in the wind" is more apt, but what it mostly means is these potential books, movies, etc. are in some stage of waiting-for-somebody-else-to-do-something before I can move on them.
On any given day, the phone could ring or the email inbox could pop! and those would be like a starter's gun going off at a long-distance race. I don't have to be in the blocks, but I need to be ready to step up to the starting line pretty quick.
As a writer, if you are juggling several efforts, you have to leave time, because there is usually a deadline involved for some of them, and more often than not, these deadlines are shorter than they should be: That tie-in novel that had eight months on the clock when you started talking about it got dicked around before somebody made a decision, and five of those months have slipped past—but the deadline is the same.
Or there's an opening in a schedule because something fell through, and they need a replacement yesterday. Sometimes you can do it, sometimes you can't, and while I hate to turn down paying work, I have had to do so more than a few times because my plate was simply too full. Better than the alternative, but still ...
As a working pro, if you delve into work-for-hire or shared universes, you have to be able to accommodate a certain amount of capriciousness, because ... that's how it is. Writers who can step up and step in and get something done cleanly and quickly will get work sometimes because that is the overriding factor–if they need it Tuesday and you can deliver it and a better writer can't? They'll go with you. A pretty good book on the racks when they need it there is better than a great book half-done at the writer's house.
Um. Anyway, what all this means is that I'm moving a back-burner project onto the front burner. I have attended to the paying projects as best I can for the nonce, and it is my intent—which I hereby repeat doesn't always mean much—to put my energy back into a book near to my heart, i.e., Churl, the next Matador novel.
Since Ace has passed on this one, I'll be putting it up as an ebook, possibly a POD, and possibly in conjunction with half a dozen of the backlist Matador novels, once those rights are reverted, a process that currently ongoing. Might take five or six months for that, because that's the general flow of such things, and after I have that, we'll see what's what.
There seems to be a demand for these, but that remains to be seen.
Here's the rub for my fans: If this book gets done and up and sells really well, then I'll do another one soon; if it tanks, probably I won't be in any kind of hurry. So if you want to read another one, the more bushes you beat to scare up buyers, the more likely I am to put it at the top of the list. How's that for literary blackmail? (I'm still planning to write another one, but the question will be, When can I get to it? That will be up to the market.)
Would that I had a patron who would pay all the bills whilst I paint the chapel ceiling; alas, that's now how it goes these days.
I realize that by getting back into Churl, it's like washing your car–which, as we all know, is why it rains–and that another project is apt to thunder in and put a halt to Matadornity, but just so you know? That's the plan ...