On the Taleweaver’s Desk: Issue 3

Hey’a, all! It’s a month into winter, and that means it’s time for another issue of On the Taleweaver’s Desk, the part of the blog where I unpack the “big picture” of my writing activities and the status of my various writing projects. I think I’ll probably be sticking with the format that I put together last time for now, but again, if there’s any way you think I can improve this setup, let me know. As always, if you want more information on any project in this post, you can find that on my Works in Progress page!

On the Taleweaver’s Desk
Issue 3: January 2022

On the Desktop

These are the projects you might find open on my laptop or desk if you took a peek at it during a normal day. They’re currently in progress and at the top of the priority chart.

Mask of Scarlet (Bastian Dennel, PI #3)

What is it? Book 3 in my Bastian Dennel, PI series, a Jazz Age mystery take on Cinderella (with a little inspiration from “The Red Shoes” for extra spice).

Status: First draft finished; first rough edit in progress; cover reveal coming soon!

Three months later, it’s done! Well, drafted, at least. That’s two months longer than I planned to take drafting this, but it’s fine — in hindsight, I was kind of overambitious with my goal. I’m currently in the middle of doing a rapid, rough edit before I send this off to beta readers — essentially, I’m reworking some key scenes that I know have to change, making sure the changes that I made halfway through get carried back to the beginning, and fixing glaring issues, but it’s not the full-on rewrite that I often do. Then it’ll be ready to go to betas at the end of the month! I also have a cover reveal coming up on February 9; fill out the form here if you want to be a part of that (or if you want to help officially announce the group release it’s a part of).

Super Secret Mystery Project

What is it? You don’t know (unless you’re one of, like . . . a half dozen or so people). It’s a mystery and will remain so for . . . mmm, probably about a month and a half or two months.

Status: Going to start writing it soon! Have been thinking about it inordinately much for the past few months!

Yeah. Because I don’t want to give too many details before I’m absolutely certain that the plans I have will work out (I don’t like making promises I can’t keep, y’know?), there’s not a ton I can say about this. But I’m planning to write it in February while Mask of Scarlet is with beta readers (unless I can’t resist the urge to start it sooner), it’s a retelling of technically three stories (only one of which is, strictly speaking, a fairy tale or folktale), and it could arguably be considered portal fantasy.

D&D Campaign: Defenders of Serys

What is it? Defenders of Serys is the homebrew D&D campaign that I run for my D&D group.

Status: Thinking about the second module of Season 4. Should be writing that, oops.

I haven’t really worked on this much? Honestly, I thought about sliding it down a section to Stacked on the Side just because I finished planning the first adventure and then didn’t write any more because I needed to focus my energy on Mask of Scarlet (with the exception of couple of extra sessions of material to account for the fact that one of my players was going to miss a full month of play). That said, it needs to go back up the priority stack because I only have three or four more sessions’ worth of material, so here On the Desktop it shall stay!

Stacked on the Side

These are the stories that I’m not actively working on (at least not officially), but I’m keeping close at hand because I plan to get back to them soon (or I just work on them sporadically as the urge takes me).

There are no significant changes to any of these projects since my October 2021 update, but I’ll leave the list here for anyone who hasn’t seen it before!

Blood in the Earth

What is it? Blood in the Earth is the sequel to Blood in the Snow and a retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses crossed with the myth of Hades and Persephone.

Status: First draft finished; awaiting revisions. Despite my earlier hopes, I probably will not get back to this story this year.

Once Upon a Dream

What is it? A light steampunk (or gaslamp fantasy?) Sleeping Beauty retelling; the predecessor to The Midnight Show

Status: Edited several times over. Awaiting another round of rewrites/expansion/edits.

Shelved for Now

These are stories that are also on hold, but which I don’t have specific plans to work on very soon. They’re still within easy reach should I decide to return to them, but they aren’t a top priority.

There are no significant changes to any of these projects since my October 2021 update, but I’ll leave the list here for anyone who hasn’t seen it before!

Dust of Silver

What is it? Classic-ish fantasy retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses crossed with Rapunzel, the first book in what has the potential to be a rather long series. Also, a rewrite of a book I wrote years ago that won’t let go of me because CHARACTERS.

Status: Several chapters into the rewrite, though those several chapters haven’t been touched in a few years. I swear I’ll get back to this . . .

Between Two Worlds

What is it? A portal fantasy adventure about what happens when you come home from the adventure, only to discover that the adventure isn’t quite as done with you as you thought.

Status: Awaiting another round of edits/rewrites while I write other things and daydream about its sequels.

The Way of the Pen

What is it? Self-aware fantasy adventure about a girl and her author.

Status: The first draft is sitting on my shelf, patiently waiting for its turn back in the spotlight, as it has been for some time.

Berstru Tales series

What is it? A classic epic fantasy series and the longest-running series I’ve worked on (either in the number of books written or in how long I’ve worked on it.

Status: Needs to be rewritten from the ground up, but the bones are good. I did come up with more new and exciting ways to make the characters’ lives difficult, so . . . there’s that?

A Tower of Portals Campaign

What is it? A second D&D campaign inspired by one of my favorite video games.

Status: On hold; worked on as I come up with new ideas and have time.

Awaiting Delivery

These are the stories that are on their way, but haven’t quite arrived yet to the point where I can write them: ideas I’m toying with but haven’t even started to draft because they’re still too nebulous.

Additional Bastian Dennel, PI novels

What is it? Exactly what the heading said.

Status: I have between three and five reasonably solid ideas that I’m pretty confident I’ll write, as well as few other concepts that basically amount to “Hey, this fairy tale would be really fun to rework as a mystery and throw Bastian into.” I also have a rough idea of which three I’ll write next, though that’s subject to change.

Novellas from the world of Blood in the Snow

What are they? Currently, three and a half ideas for spinoffs, most of which are also fairy tale retellings: one Puss in Boots (no, really), one Orpheus and Eurydice (probably crossed with a similar Japanese myth, Izanagi and Izanami), one Snow Queen (that’s the half an idea), and one that’s not currently a fairy tale retelling but would be about Gan and Azuma before they were animal-keepers at the emperor’s palace (inspired the summer I spent watching a lot of Hogan’s Heroes.

Status: Won’t be written until after I edit Blood in the Earth. And the half-an-idea Snow Queen, which had the best chance of being written before then, has been . . . supplanted. Of the others, I have rough ideas of scenes in two of them, and a general concept for the last.

Unnamed Fantasy Murder Mystery

What is it? Exactly what the headline says. A prominent noble is murdered; his adoptive daughter is poised to inherit his lands and position — but some are saying her hand was behind his death.

Status: Still just an idea. Still not going to be tackled until after Blood in the Earth.

Mechanical Heart Sequel

What is it? Exactly what the title says.

Status: Still half-formed. Not a high priority, as Mechanical Heart stands very well on its own. May or may not actually happen.

Worldhoppers Inc./Mythology D&D Campaign

What is it? Yet another homebrew D&D campaign. Or two. Technically it’s two possible themes for series of connected one-shots and short-term adventures, with a few adventure ideas for each theme and a chance that I’ll just try to combine them.

Status: Probably not going to work on this until I have a lot of spare time, need a new campaign for my D&D group, or have reason to prioritize the Welsh myth adventure.

I think that’s everything! Which of these stories are you most interested in? Any questions you have about any of them? (If you ask in the next week or so, I might be willing to provide extra info or hints!) What projects are you currently working on?
Thanks for reading!

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