April 8

Next update April 19

I’m a couple days late with this update, but I have a good excuse.

Okay, the excuse isn’t really “good” – I was in Vegas celebrating the completion of Star Wars: Annihilation, the next Old Republic novel, and I needed a few days to recover. (FYI – I mentioned the delayed update on my Twitter feed, so sign up if you came here early and didn’t know what was happening.)

I always like to take a break after I finish a manuscript. (Fancy talk, there, I know, but until it’s out on the shelves the “industry” likes to refer to something as a manuscript instead of a book.) Annihilation doesn’t come out until November 13, but there’s a long lead time on these things, so it was important for me to finish by March 31 so the editors, copy editors and everyone else involved in the process had time to do their jobs.

This is particularly important with a game based on an existing property, like Star Wars, and tied in with an on-going video game, like SWTOR. Even though I had the outline for my manuscript pre-approved by everyone involved, the final version still needs to get sign off from senior folks over at BioWare, at Lucas Publishing and over at Random House/Del Rey. That’s a lot of people who are waiting on me to deliver. So of course, I like to make sure I get things done early to give them plenty of time.

Just kidding – I have NEVER turned a manuscript in even one day early in my life. I’m always writing up until the very last day. Annihilation will be my tenth published novel, and all ten have ended the same way – with me working like a man possessed over the final few weeks to finish on time. That may seem irresponsible, but I don’t think it’s that uncommon in the writers’ world. Most of the writers I know are irredemable procrastinators, and I fit right in.

As I’ve mentioned before, I retired from BioWare in February to have more time to write. Of course, with more time to write I felt less pressure as my deadline approached, and apparently I NEED pressure to make my lazy ass work. So as we rolled into March and I realized I was way behind, I fell back into my typical pattern.

By the end I was mentally and physically exhausted. (If you don’t think writing 8-10 hours per day is physically taxing, then you’ve never tried it.) So I zipped off to Vegas to celebrate. Thanks to my friend Peter throwing one of the most amazing craps runs I’ve ever been part of, I crushed the tables and came home a big winner.

So now I’m feeling that odd mix of relief and lack of adrenaline that comes from finishing a project (and from leaving Vegas behind). But it won’t last long, because I’m kicking things back into high gear. On Saturday, April 14 I’ll be a guest speaker at the Pixels, Panels, and Prose colloquim at the University of Texas in Tyler. This is a free academic event, so come on down to Tyler for the talk!

And my appearances don’t stop there. In early June I’m going to be doing some panels at A-Kon in Dallas. And in August I’ll be speaking at Celebration VI in Orlando. But it’s not all going to be celebrity panels and free hotels for me. I’m also still working on Children of Fire, the first book in my original fantasy series. Super-agent Ginger Clark has taken me under her wing, and we’re close to having a deal… hopefully I’ll have more info on my next update.

Okay, that’s it. I’ll try to be on time for my next update. Now I’m off to watch what promises to be a thrilling Sunday finish at The Masters.

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