Tuesday, April 11, 2023


It's been a rough winter for me, as I have mentioned, but spring is back, the azaleas are starting to bloom and I hope to get a start in my tiny garden as I see what's coming up. I will also plan another trip that will take me to places I can't really research any other way. There will be several of those. 

This is a collection of photographs from 1860 to 1880 taking me back where I think I belong, as I start a new book, with new themes and even a nearly-new character. 

This is a very difficult time in the writing process, because I don't know what I am doing, or why, or how. Not yet. It's not a about conscious discernment. Rather, I wander around a forest of ideas, darting here and there, seeking an attractive trail to follow. Mostly, they dead end or lead somewhere unexpected. Sometimes that is good.

My brain must cram itself full of information even as I fill notebooks with scrawls and a computer file full of links. I am entering a period of "don't bother me; I'm thinking." Not constantly, but a lot of the time, as I have to keep track of this deluge of data and let it organically sort itself out. 

I can't rush it; I can't hurry it. I can't even tell it to only do its magic Monday through Friday, nine to five. While some people have problems making it start, I have problems making it stop and get very grumpy when anybody or anything tries to interfere. This cannot be forced, not if you want a product of quality.

One of the hardest things about being a professional writer is learning to let the process happen, to isolate and trek the backroads of academia and the corners of my mind, to simply let it happen until there comes a point when I can cocoon with my computer and let the results emerge onto the screen, until there is the draft of a book. I hope this will happen during Steam Bath Summer. But maybe not, and maybe not even this year, for I am doing something very different this time.

Of course, it doesn't stop there. There are rewrites and editors and proofreaders and then the process of actual publication, of trying to get elusive reviews, and all the sorts of things I must do in the modern world, when I'd rather be seeing events unfold in the Meiji Era. This is now going on with The Reluctant Dragon, which will come out formally in June and informally before that, as I seek ARC reviews. If you want an ARC, just let me know. 

The purpose of Advance Review Copies is to seek the minimum number of normal people reviews on the Zon, which opens up all kinds of doors. Such reviews are amazingly hard to get. Editorial reviews are much easier. It's their job, as reviewers, and they know how important it is, so they do it. Fairly promptly. Normal people not so much. They read books, they like books, but they have a hard time clicking a link and posting the very short reviews that will help the book make the quota. I just posted two today, myself. If I get a review copy, especially if it's from somebody I know, I will read it and I will review it.  Karma. I still have four books in my To Be Read stash, and I am starting a new one today. 

I found this collection of photographs of Tokyo from 1860 to 1880 while I was looking for information on the Criminal Justice system in this period. If that doesn't show how this process actually works, I don't know what does.  Enjoy them.  


Click to get the link. There's music, too.

This one is just pretty!