A Week After the Sidewise

Last week I won the Sidewise Award. Then I went to a small village on the border between Bulgaria and Macedonia for a week. My older daughter found a firebellied toad (above!). My younger daughter learned how to say “I’m okay!” I got stung by a yellowjacket and took my wife out for dinner at the most with-a-table-available restaurant in Kyustendil (the place is hopping on a Saturday night in August. I am not kidding).

I thought during these seven days I’d be able to get some kind of grip on the Sideways. I did not. What do I do with this thing? How does a literary award translate into novel publication? Can I leverage this rain of gold into actual money? How do I pay back the karmic debt I now owe?

More alternate history for one thing. A sequel to “Treasure Fleet” is also in the works, and this time I’m really going to do things right. A discussion thread on the Alternate History forum! Reaching out to experts on Chinese, Muslim, and Aztec history and culture! A freaking map! But that’ll be for next year.

In the mean time, I already have a short story ready for the next Tales from Alternate Earths anthology (coming this fall), and I’m pretty proud of it. I did more worldbuilding homework with “The Goose’s Wing“, as I plan to reveal around the anthology’s publication, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to get a map for it, too. I also got a lot of quality consultation from beta-readers and experts in such things as gliding, Morocco, and the Mongolian language. And I promised them all sketches, so I’m working on that.

And then there’s always the novel in production, isn’t there? It’ll be better than the last novel, not to mention more althistorical, with a whole string of alternate (terrible) Chicagos to choose from! I’m planning to finish it by next summer, and also work on getting my historical fantasy (i.e. “soft alternate history”) ready to send to publishers. I hope it’ll be ready by New Year’s.

There are some projects I can’t talk about, too, because I’m doing them with other people. Collaboration – that’s something I’d like to more of. I’m trying to get out there more, get involved in more conversations, make some new friends, start new projects.

In other words, what can I do? What do writers always do?

Talk to you all soon, I hope.


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