First off, I’m happy to share the news that Fire Season, the first of my collaborative novels with David Weber, hit the New York Times best seller list at number thirty.   Needless to say, I’m pretty happy.

My Assistant Kel

The odd thing is that when you write for a living, the book that just came out is often “old news,” because there’s always something else that needs to be done. That really came home to me this past week.

Last Wednesday, I had lunch with a friend who has, in retirement, finally finished a novel he began about three years ago.  He asked me, “How do you handle writing all the time?  Do you take breaks between projects or do you just go immediately from one to the next?”

Since I was just about ready to turn in the manuscript of  Treecat Wars, the second of my collaborative novels with David Weber, this topic was much on my mind.  Huntress, the first of my new “Artemis Awakening” novels for Tor, needs to be finished by the end of February – and by “finished” I mean written, proofed by me, and proofed by Jim (who always serves as my first reader), and ready to be turned in.  That means I really need to have a complete manuscript by the end of January, at the latest.

Now, Huntress is already started.  In fact, I’d say I have at least half of the novel written and a good idea where I want to go from there.  However, holiday-crammed November through early January are full of days lost to work, even for someone, like me, who is more than usually disciplined.  So I feel a little like a racehorse who, having finished one race, is immediately led back into the starting gate and told to start running again.

It’s a good thing I like to run – I mean “to write.”

Nor is Treecat Wars necessarily off my desk.  One of these days – and I have no idea when – I’ll get editorial notes and need deal with them.  So, I still feel under pressure from that job.

Nonetheless, this weekend it hit me that my Muse is tired.  She’s clamoring for a chance to rejuvenate.   And I realize that, if I want to keep writing up to the level I expect of myself,  I’ve got to give her that chance.

So, although I know I’m going to be thinking about Adara and Griffin and Sand Shadow and all the other people (human and not at all human) who populate Artemis, I’m also going to take some time for me, just for pleasure.  I started by finishing Hide Me Among the Graves by Tim Powers, a book I’ve been nibbling at for the last couple of weeks and which I really enjoyed.  Now I’ve started Caliban’s War by James A. Corey (slow start but getting good).   And after that…  I have others in mind.

I’m going to listen to music.  Finally pickle those jalapeños.  Maybe pull out my polymer clay or, if modeling seems too demanding, just a box of crayons and some blank paper.  I’m going to read some poetry (the Powers’ novel fanned an interest that had been growing for quite a while into a roaring flame).    Maybe I’ll even write a poem or two.  I do, sometimes…

And while I seem not to be doing my work at all (and feeling, quite honestly, a little guilty about slacking off), I’ll be recharging the deep wells from which my stories rise.

Sounds good.  Sounds positively delicious…  At the edges of my mind, I can feel my Muse purring and stretching.  Or, maybe, that’s just Kel drowsing on my desk.


3 Responses to “Renewing…”

  1. Dominique Says:

    Congratulations Jane! You definitely deserve some rest!… And while I know today’s blog is all about taking a break, I have to tell you that I cannot wait until I get to read Huntress!

  2. Heteromeles Says:

    Definite congrats! Now you can put “New York Times Bestselling author…” on all your books, right? That should sell a few more.

  3. janelindskold Says:

    Yep. New York Times Bestselling author.

    Does that sell more books? I hope so — I do know it gets books into places where they would not normally have a chance. Airport bookstores, for example.

    The week turned out busier than I had hoped, but I did read a LOT.

    And I figured out at least one element for _Huntress_.

    All good.

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