Last night I finished the editorial rewrite for INTO THE FIRE (I know, you’re saying FINALLY! in the same tone I did) and as always the book is better after a reworking. It’s a little shorter, it’s got more stuff IN it, and my brain is certifiably toasted to a crisp, very brown around the edges. This is the most difficult rewrite I’ve ever had, with multiple factors involved in making it difficult. But…it’s done, all but the icing decorations on the cake (putting the datelines back in because Editor wants them) . There’s a chance Editor won’t like the rewrite as much as I do, because some comments on the ms. suggest that Editor and I had very different ideas what the book was about–what its real “heart” was. Partly, I think, because Editor did not have time to read the first five Vatta books. But for the moment…I can quit working until after midnight every night, quit having to eat just to stay awake and write, and focus instead on other things.
There may be a significant delay between INTO THE FIRE and whatever comes next, because INTO THE FIRE is the last book on the contract, and that always means a longer break. Not always for me–I may be writing away on a book I hope the publisher will agree to take–but in this instance I’m not doing that. Recovery is my main goal now, and I have only the production work on this book and DragonCon between me and complete concentration on recovery. I want the story-well and the energy-well full before I start another big project. (Yes, INTO THE FIRE may be shorter, but it’s still about 144, 450 words. Not a short book.)
I will be working on putting together one or more short-fiction collections. I will be reading (not just re-reading, which is all I can do in a crunch) other books. I will be gardening near the house, and going out on the land and clearing some trails and things as well as documenting what’s there. (Husband found two grasses new to the place this past week, both non-natives and one determinedly invasive. We’re going to try to hack it back to the fenceline from which it invaded and keep it out, since it’s on the edge of encroaching into an area where we’ve brought back a variety of natives. We’ve eliminated *almost* all the Johnson grass, and we don’t want Vasey grass. The green bristlegrass, however (Setaria viridis) is an annual and not particularly invasive. I’ll be doing more cooking again (which means eating better), and finally doing some sorting-and-cleaning that’s been on hold while all my energy had to go into the writing. When I can, I’ll get back to singing in the choir, probably after DragonCon. Riding the bike, hiking around the land opening up the trails again (Richard just rides through on the lawn tractor, hauling the trailer with *his* tools behind him. He’s still building fence–it’s slow with just one person–and I’m the trail trimmer who does not like to push through branches.
Will there be more books eventually? Yes, God willin’ and the crick don’t rise. I have stories I want to write. Blog posts, including finishing up that bit about the Vatta twins in an Interlude (but not quite yet.) Short fiction. Nonfiction (about small-acreage land management, for instance.) And I have non-writing things that have been put off a long time that I also want to do. I thank you all for your encouragement, which has been great, and for your enthusiasm for the books (YAY!) and now I”m going to go ride my bike a mile or several before it gets too hot today.