On the Taleweaver’s Desk Issue 7: February 2023

Hello, all! First off, a housekeeping note: going forward, I’m officially doing my Taleweaver’s Desk updates in the last month of each season instead of the second — so, February, May, August, and November. I think this’ll work out better in the long term; it’ll conflict with fewer events and busy life bits, and I think these are months in which I’m more likely to have news to share.

Also, a reminder in case you’ve missed the last half-dozen of these (or just forgotten, which is valid): On the Taleweaver’s Desk is my quarterly broad-view update on my writing projects. It’s meant both to keep y’all up to date on what’s going on in my writing and to help me periodically assess my project list. If you want to know more about any project in this post, you can ask me in comments or take a look at my Works in Progress page.

TD February 2023 Author


On the Taleweaver’s Desk Issue 7: February 2023

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.

Bastian Dennel, PI #4

What is it? Book 4 in my Bastian Dennel, PI series and my first murder mystery.

Status: Twenty-five chapters drafted and probably within ten chapters of a complete first draft.

This book was not supposed to take over half a year to write. And yet, here we are. Still drafting. I reworked my outline a second time, though this time I just focused on the climax and the chapters immediately leading up to that, and I’m pleased with the results of that in general — it gives Kona a bit more to do, and I think it’ll generally up the suspense and tension. Timeline-wise, I was averaging about a chapter or two per week on this project in January. Then I had to redirect my energy to a different project, but oh well. I suspect this one is going to take a lot of rewriting, but I still have hopes of a 2023 release.

Semi-Secret Selkie Story

What is it? The Little Mermaid, but make it selkies, swap the human and mermaid roles, and throw in a princess who genuinely wants to do all the things a princess is supposed to do.

Status: Eight chapters drafted!

I came up with this idea when I realized that I wouldn’t even be able to start the other Little Mermaid retelling I was planning before I needed it to be finished. I’d recently read a post from someone who wanted more female fantasy leads who didn’t disdain feminine activities and responsibilities, and I liked the idea of a roles-reversed Little Mermaid. Why selkies? That’s the wrong question — the correct question is why not selkies? And the answer is: yes selkies. (This one may turn into the first in a series, because I have a bunch of connected ideas . . . but we’re taking it one book at a time.)

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: Nearly done with the Middle Earth adventure! And looking forward to getting back to some other adventures I’ve had planned.

I said in my last Taleweaver’s Desk post that I doubted we’d end the Middle Earth adventure before the new year, and I was absolutely correct. We’re just about to hit Pelennor Fields, which means we’re about to a bit that could have some of the biggest changes from canon, so that should be interesting. I have hopes of finishing the writing of the adventure by the end of March. That’s reliant on my setting aside enough time to do more session prep each week than just what I need for that week’s session, though. But if I can, I’d love to get this done enough in advance that I can get the next adventure (which will be much shorter) laid out before we even start it.

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 last 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 rewrites. I probably won’t get back to it until late 2023 or 2024 at this point due to all the Bastian Dennel, PI books I have planned. I did reread Blood in the Snow recently, though, and that made me miss this storyworld, so who knows what’ll happen?

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 last 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.

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. Of everything in this section, this is the most likely book to move up to Stacked on the Side or On the Desktop, as I occasionally have wild thoughts of editing it and shopping it ’round to traditional publishers. However, that actually happening this year is improbable, due to selkies and Bastian Dennel taking priority.

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. There’s a particular character who’s getting a whole new arc, and I’m really excited to write it . . . when I 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: Books 5 (Jack and the Beanstalk) and 6 (Little Mermaid + a surprise non-fairytale) are still locked in, and I’ve done some additional ideating and plotting towards Book 6, which I am still quite excited for. I’m figuring out how some new magical beings work in the BDPI world, and that’s a lot of fun. Beyond that, I continue to have lots of ideas for new mysteries but not a lot of clarity about the order those mysteries happen in. In any case, I expect to be writing BDPI cases for quite a while yet.

Novellas from the world of Blood in the Snow

What are they? Currently, three 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), 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.

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, but it’s an idea with a really good soundtrack. Still not going to be tackled until after Blood in the Earth.

What are your primary projects right now, and how are they going for you? Also, now that my semi-secret selkie story is slightly less of a secret . . . any thoughts? Tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!


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