The school year just started this week, and so it's back to real life for a while. This last few weeks of vacation crept by and if I'm honest, it's nice to be back in the office. I started the semester off by talking to the students about the old curse, "may you live in interesting times." I told them that we are certainly living in interesting times, and I asked them to consider these times something of an anomaly, and that things would sooner or later return to some kind of normalcy. I really hope I'm right about that. I try not to get super political here on the blog--I tend to save that for twitter, where it's more of the norm for the discourse there--so all I will say is this: the continued attack on education at all levels that we currently see in our culture can only be described as suicidal at best, and it has to be stopped.
I wish I could say that things had been more productive over the summer, writing-wise, but the current novel is creeping by. Over the summer the rough draft only grew by about 18K words or so. It's only just now making 55K. I'm not one of those writers who prides themselves on producing reams of work per second, but I did have hopes for being further along. I'm trying something new with this book and the differences are making it so that the book doesn't flow immediately like some of the others. Not that the work is bad--I think this is some of the most interesting work I've done if you'll allow me to say so. It's just very different from, say, Drowning, which is probably the most "me" of all my books.
Remains is doing well out in the world, though, and I can't thank you all enough for the support. Out in Print gave it a really nice review. If you'll allow me another somewhat self-congratulatory-but-not aside, I agree with them--that cover is haunting, and difficult to get out of your mind. Inkspiral did that design for the book and they just knocked it out of the park, I feel. In another huge milestone for not only me as a writer but for Remains, you can purchase it as an audiobook! (also here through Amazon). This is my first ever book-made-into-an-audiobook, and I'm over the moon about it. I didn't have any say in the selection of the reader, but I really like Garrett MacLauchlan's voice. His take on Mike's narration is good.
The sheer amount of "I live in Japan and I want to tell you about the culture here" vlogs I am watching on YouTube lately leads me to believe there's something brewing in my subconscious. I just realized this morning that, minute for minute, I've been watching more of that kind of content than anything on cable. TokiYuYu, Only in Japan, Tsukasa and Jonas and Life Where I'm From are particular standout favorites.
At work, our yearly literary festival has a rotating directorship. This year it is my turn and I've put together one I'm really proud of. Our featured speaker is Stephen Graham Jones. If you keep up with my Goodreads reviews, you'll remember I was blown away by his novel, Mongrels
As always, thanks for the support for the books. If you have read one or more of them, please do me a favor and stop off at Amazon or Goodreads (or maybe both if you have a bit of extra time) and leave a review. Every review (even a bad one) helps sales and is super appreciated.