Setting ones balls in order

I’m a bit of a juggler. At least I attempt to be. I’m always writing something and I’m always doing something with music, usually multiple things. I tell myself that I can keep all of these balls in the air at the same time, but usually I end up concentrating primarily on one and the rest get…well, dropped.

I’m also very, very bad at blithely catching any new balls that are tossed at me, so several times a year I find a suitable juncture to stop juggling for a moment and organize my balls. Coming out of a summer of performing, this is one of those times, and it suddenly seems that I’ve got way more in the ball department than I realized (no, madam, titter ye not, etc…).

Here’s a brief summary:


Queen Of Clouds – my number one priority is to complete the fixes on the current novel (which as attentive readers will recall is a sort of prequel to The Moon King). I wrote most of it last year and then realised there were serious problems with it. It took me a while to work out how to (I hope) fix it, but I think I’m there. Just need a couple of months to do the work. September and October are those months.

Lost Sheep – but of equal immediate priority is a solicited story for a forthcoming anthology. The draft is written, and I’ll probably submit it to GSFWC for critique before finalizing it.

Other novel projects – I have some bubbling back burner ideas for future novels (a heroic fantasy series and a near future tech thriller, as well as a possible third book in the Moon King/Queen Of Clouds timeline) that I want to work into proposals and pass under my agent’s gaze.

More stories – it occurred to me during a recent discussion that I pretty much never have a raft of stories sitting on editors’ desks any more. Nowadays I tend to write specifically for a market. Which is not to say that I don’t have story ideas any more – a quick glance at my stories file reveals nine or ten decent, but partially executed, ideas – I just don’t get round to finish them before something else comes along. SO, the intention, is to get a bunch of those stories (let’s say five, that’s not too many) written up and out to editors as soon as possible after the novel is submitted. Editors, you have been warned.

Readings – I’ve been planning to record audio versions of some of my shorter stories and make them available here. A while ago I also promised to do a recording of Arrhythmia. It’s in the works, but I’ve not had the time to attend to the production requirements. Soon, though, hopefully.


Murnie – one of the things Murnie have been working on in recent months is putting together an EP. This had involved a certain amount of rerecording on top of existing material and a certain amount learning how to use a new recording package, so it’s taken a while, but we’re virtually there now. Next up for the band, I think we want to do the same for the album we recorded most of a couple of years ago. Having more confidence in our recording set-up, I’m really pretty excited about that. As I am about demoing up some new material that I’ve been working on while the band has been semi-dormant.

Other bands – I’m delighted to have been asked to provide some piano on the albums of a couple of other bands. The bands are stylistically very different, so I’m really looking forward to working with them.

Markee & Bert – one of the questions we were asked at the Fringe (after “is that a real saw?”) was “where can I see your show?”. There isn’t, of course, a M&B show. They were never conceived with that in mind, but now, possibly, we can see how it might work. It wouldn’t be, you know, a musical though. It’d be Markee & Bert singing and narrativing for 45-50 mins, but that wouldn’t make it a musical.

The musical – now this would be  a musical. Yes, I’m at the giddy tossing-ideas around stage of actually writing a proper musical. It’ll be in conjunction with another songwriter (whose work I admire hugely). It’s still very early stages, so there’s not much to actually report, but watch this airspace.

The last of these is the kind of ball I’ve tossed up experimentally before, but invariably dropped it and watched it roll under the settee. Really hoping that with two of us on the case – which means four hands for juggling! – we’ll see it all the way through to staging it somewhere.

So, that’s what I’ve got on plate for the foreseeable. Obviously it doesn’t have to be done at once – although quite a few of these bits and pieces will be taking place between now and, say, November – but you can see why I usually prefer to look in the air just see what’s up there as “some balls”, yeah?


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