And the four most asked questions are . . .

1.  Are you WRITING ANYTHING?* And if so, WHAT?**
2.  Are you ever going to finish KES?  Is it ever going to be available to buy, either finished or unfinished, but maybe preferably finished?***
3.  Are you ever going to finish PEGASUS? I know you don’t do sequels, but surely the ending of PEGASUS isn’t the end.  Please say yes.
4.  Is there a sequel to . . .


Here’s the short form:  Yes, yes, yes, no.

Here’s the slightly longer form&:


ONE.  Yes.  I’m writing something.  Its working title is ONE YEAR DIARY.  But . .

I don’t know when I’m going to finish it, although by my standards I think more like sooner than later—but ‘sooner’ may mean 2020 rather than 2030.  This is McKinley.&&  Sigh.  I would write faster if I could.&&&  And a much bigger but . . . it’s a hell of a grim story.  It’s not like anything I’ve written before.  It’s not something I want to write, but it’s what is presenting itself to be written, and that’s the rule of my universe:  I write what wants me to write it.  I think it’s worth writing . . . I’m not sure what I’d do if the History of Twinkies or The Saga of the Purple Unicorn or something presented itself . . . but it’s not a jolly groovy good time with chocolate sprinkles.  Or unicorns.

But I’m so glad to be writing again.  I can’t begin to tell you.  A writer who isn’t writing isn’t alive.

Why this or any story is presenting itself to me now . . . well, as previously observed, it hasn’t been a good few years, including for my writing.  SHADOWS came out in 2013, a few months before Peter’s first stroke, and I kind of shut down.  Peter was himself to the very, very end, but he was an increasingly sadder and quieter himself and I . . . didn’t cope very well, either privately or professionally.  I managed to keep going with KES a little longer because of the gonzo relative freedom of doing it for free in 800-word chunks that got pinned up in public before I could get too obsessed with rewrites or story arcs or continuity or any of that sober professional writer stuff, but even that mail slot from the story council eventually stuck closed.  I haven’t written anything worth mentioning in over five years.  I’ve got frelling notebooks of fragments%, but nothing that would stay and play with me.%%   Just many splitting headaches of staring at an empty screen.  Till DIARY.  Two years since Peter died:  I started coughing out bits on the computer in December and waiting desolately for this story to leave me too . . . but it hasn’t.  It’s put down roots and started demanding increasing amounts of attention.  Yaay.

DIARY will also be the first story since DEERSKIN that Peter didn’t read first.  His fingerprints are all over my subsequent books—there isn’t a one that he didn’t have perceptive comments about—and some of you may remember that he came up with the title ROSE DAUGHTER, for example, and SPINDLE’S END would be some other book entirely without my frequently-baffling-to-an-introvert-only-child encounters with the Dickinson clan.  But it’s not even specific suggestions%%% or experiences so much as being able to rely on him to read honestly—knowing too that he believed in my writing and was coming eagerly to any new thing I offered him—and to give me his viewpoint as someone who really got my work but saw it from a fully, wholly, thoroughly different perspective from my own.

I’m not looking forward to doing without that this time.$

TWO.  Part One of KES . . . is FINISHED.  Really.  When I said a paragraph ago I haven’t written anything worth mentioning in over five years . . . well, I did manage to dodge around all the slavering, multi-fanged anti-writing monsters with small handfuls of KES words.  Lots and lots of guerrilla-dashing across monster-patrolled borders.  These literary [cough cough] spoils I then set up on safe ground, stuck together and gave a brush and polish.  And KES will be PUBLISHED.  Details are still being worked out but watch this space.  I think what will happen is that I will hang a few sample episodes for people who either didn’t read it the first time or need a little refreshing and reminding of the particularities of that lunacy, and then add one or two or three new episodes which leave our heroine in an EVEN WORSE situation than she was in the last episode on the old blog MWA HA HA HA HA HA. . . and then if you want to know what happens YOU WILL HAVE TO BUY THE BOOK.$$

At that point I’m hoping to get started on Part Two . . . it’s not a sequel!  There’s no sequel about it!  It just goes on!  Because, you know, the end of Part One is a little . . . disturbing!

Which is an excellent, evil-cow sort of way to end Part One of Answering Ask-Me-A-Question(s).  Because, of course, the answers are taking me longer than anticipated . . .

* * *

* Besides the blog.^

^ Listen, I wouldn’t have started the blog again if I weren’t writing something.+

+ But I’m getting ahead of myself.#

# Footnotes are like that.

** I could count this as two questions.  But I’m not going to.

*** It amazes me the number of people who are apparently willing to spend money even if I don’t finish it.  You are wonderful, kind, gentle, generous people and are too soft to live, and I worry about you.

& I know I’m a cow, but even I’m not that big a cow.

&& This is McKinley running out of money.  It better be sooner rather than later.

&&& I’ve been saying this for forty years.  BEAUTY came out in 1978.

% Including a second Miri-and-her-hellhound story, speaking of not doing sequels.

%% I’m hoping that DIARY is opening things up generally, and some of those fragments will play with me later.

%%% Which I mostly ignored anyway, as suggestions.  It’s one of those things we totally got about each other:  the UTTER REJECTION of an actual suggestion . . . but the critical boost or twist or tickle of something someone you trust has said, that you think . . . No.  Wrong.   But . . . um . . .  I can use that.  I’m not sure how yet, but I can use that.^

^ He could also be an appallingly bad reader, as he would be the first to admit:  I read it too fast, he’d say.  I had to know what happened.  But then he’d read it again.

$ I have a large articulated lorry-load of stuff to take up with God about this when I get to heaven.^   The simple version is that there should have been two Peters:  the one that married his first wife and had four children, and stayed married to her because she didn’t fall ill and die AND the one that I married who was my age so we had some hope of going out more or less together, or at least having more than twenty-five years together, or, more importantly, more level playing field years together, because he started getting old a lot sooner than either of us expected.  His first wife had thirty-five years of Peter at the top of his game.  I used to tell him he owed me thirty-five years too—and before this became too much like reality I used to tease him that if that meant pushing him around in his wheelchair I could do that too.  So what’s the frelling doodah deal.  Why was it this way?

^ Remember:  we all get there, it just takes the axe murderers longer.  I’m not on the fast track, but I’m not an axe murderer either.

$$ Which I’m hoping will keep me in books and yarn and hellbeast food and organic olive oil for the inner and the outer me, till I get DIARY done.

47 thoughts on “And the four most asked questions are . . .”

  1. Thank you. For persisting. For being you. For your amazing words that are always there for me whenever I need them. I was doing a deep meditation the other day on a search for my inner mentor when who pushed through the tree? Frelling Talat.

  2. Yaaay!!!! (Shovels money in your general direction for Kes.) Have you considered a Patreon?

  3. I’m so glad you’re writing again– I’m so glad you still have stories inside of you. I’m glad that you’re happier, too.

  4. I can’t begin to thank you enough for writing this post. I’ve been obsessively googling you for YEARS hoping to find the mere snippet of information about your next book. Or ANY book for that matter. And while I’m disappointed to hear it isn’t Pegasus or even a Shadows sequel (you don’t really think you’re done with that do you? Lol) I’m just overjoyed you have said you’re writing again. Now hopefully they’ll come out this year. Thank you thank you!

  5. Talat has poked, prodded, inserted, and snorted his way into my life in many ways too. Glad to see he gets around.

  6. Oh – God bless you – The Three in One plua all the various gods and goddesses – I feel safe showing that side of my catholic leanings, thanks to Pope Francis who almost has this fallen RC considering a trip to church one of these days – defo would be a done deal if His holiness were officiating… but I digress.

    YES I will find the ready in my frayed shoestring budget and buy whatever you publish!!! Totally looking forward to Kes and your One Year Diary has my furry little pony ears perked quite attentively…

    As for God for not giving you more time with Peter – yes, so not fair, such a huge hole in your heart. Words of comfort fall so short, one wonders why we say them at all. But I am so sorry for your loss and – go ahead and throw rocks at me – I’m so daggone happy that you’re back!!!!


  7. You’re going to publish Kes? Yay, yay! (jumping and twirling)

    But first you’re going to publish bits putting her in even more danger? Evil woman. Maybe I’ll ignore the bits and just buy the book.

    Oh wait. It’s only going to be PART I?!! Evil, black hearted woman! Can I bear to read only the first part?

    Can I avoid the temptation? I want that book.

  8. “Including a second Miri-and-her-hellhound story, speaking of not doing sequels.”

    ::gasps with happiness:: ::flails, falls down in a puddle:: ::sighs happily::

    Yes, yes, it’s only a fragment and I might never get to read more, but… I love HELLHOUND sooooo much. It’s one of my comfort reads when the world is falling apart and I don’t have *energy* for reading an entire novel. I don’t know how many times I’ve read that story through. I’m surprised my copy of FIRE doesn’t have darker page edges from my fingerprints on that one story. (Hmm, I might have to re-read it tonight now. Just because.)

  9. Woo hoo for Kes being published! I was able to find the name of one of my current cats because of you and Kes, so I’m very glad I’ll get to read more of it. I also look forward to reading DIARY and PEG Part II, whenever you end up finishing them. **mentally sets aside a portion of savings for new McKinley books**

    Also, I totally get Peter reading your work too quickly because he wanted to find out how it ended. I’ve had the honor of being a beta reader for a friend who is writing short stories and novels, and I’ve had to do the “read once just to read it and (hopefully) enjoy it, read it again with a more critical eye so I can provide (hopefully) useful feedback.” She keeps asking me to beta read, so presumably my feedback is at least somewhat helpful. 🙂

  10. I’m happy to hear that you are writing. YAY!! I’ll be happy to send money your way for KES or ONE YEAR DIARY or anything, frankly.

  11. I’ve become a very bad reader–by the time I finish properly reading a new book, I’ve probably already read it badly at least twice, skipping along following character or story threads. But here’s the thing about it: when I read like that, it’s because the story and the character(s) and the writing are so compelling that, as Peter said, I HAVE TO know what happens, and to whom, and after that want to start over and read it like a civilized person that can pay attention to the details. A book like that is a book to love. I’ve read and even finished books of the “ho-hum, I guess I’ll read another chapter” variety, but they don’t linger on my shelves for long.

    And yay hurray for the forthcoming reappearance of Kes! And what a lot of lovely threads there will be to follow! 🙂

    1. I’m with you, Diane — if something’s compelling enough, I tend to race through and consume the story in great gulps.
      Only once I’ve *found out what happens* can I go back and reread more carefully, taking my time and savoring the details — like, as you said, a civilized person! 🙂 — instead of simply gobbling it up as quickly as possible.

  12. Even if it’s only two questions, this is still a Lot of Big News!

    You’re one of the authors whose work has made me the reader I am, and I will devotedly purchase and read any story that asks you to write it. And I’m terribly excited for more Kes, since I was enjoying it immensely when it was going up on the blog! (I always hoped there’d eventually be a print edition.)

  13. I didn’t even consider that aspect of two-writers-living-together or how it would entangle grief with craft 🙁
    Your writing has brought me so much comfort and I wish I could return some for you.

  14. Thank you for keeping on living, and keeping on writing. It is really good you’re doing both.

  15. In all honesty, you could probably publish your recipe for duck stock and we’d all beg you for a sequel.

  16. Yay for news! I thought I knew what your answers to your 4 FAQs would be, and I’m more than pleasantly surprised to find I was wrong! (So far…)

    As much as I can be happy for another human I know only in the virtual realm (and of course through your books), I am so, so, so happy that your stories have found you again, and also hope that you get lots of chocolate sprinkles and unicorns in other places to help as you write DIARY. I used to be a voracious reader, but as life and its stress became a bigger thing I’ve found less mental energy for engaging new stories and characters than I used to. But your stories are the ones that always bring me back, and that I keep coming back to with enthusiasm time after time. I’ve said it already, but I’m so relieved and excited to have your voice back, even in short little blog snippets, and I can’t wait to see what you have in store. So thanks, and many virtual hugs sent your way!

  17. I’m so glad to hear the Story Council has returned to you. I’m very much looking forward to reading what you’re writing.

    I’ve heard times when creativity is fallow described as “composting.” I like the idea a lot: all those ragged bits and bobs saved up and transformed into something rich and amazing.

  18. This news – and simply seeing you back online again – has made my day. I’ve just spent the morning getting caught up on all of your recent posts. I was a faithful reader of your previous blog (even if I was too shy to comment on the forum), and am so happy that you’re letting us get a glimpse of your life again. I missed your online presence*, and yes, prayed for you during your hiatus. Put me down for a copy of KES in whatever format you decide to release it to us. And a second story about Miri and her Hellhound? Yes, please! I reread it every Halloween.

    *Did some people really think there were too many footnotes? Bah – just open another tab and toggle between them. 😉

  19. KES! I will buy it and weep over the cliffhanger ending, as I did with Pegasus.

    So very glad you’re finding access to the mail slots for stories again, and sending virtual hugs to you still—as many or as few as you please.

  20. I’m a lurker rather than a commenter, but I wanted to add my voice to one of the people above and likewise suggest Patreon. It isn’t perfect, but it’s great way for punters with small budgets (erm, like me) to give a little regular support to their favourite creative persons, to avert privation of same.

    Also, a belated So Glad To See You’re Back!!

  21. Yah for writing questions being answered – but I know there are a few of us who want to know…

    1. It’s a serial story I ran on the old blog. About 800 words usually once a week. Modern-day fantasy writer stumbles into something that looks horrifyingly like one of her own stories. 🙂

      1. Thank you. Hope it gets published soon so I can read it too! (Though I was also hoping that it was the long-delayed third part of the Damar trilogy. I suppose that’s out of the question?)

  22. And you stopped right before question 3 which has been KILLING ME. When I picked up Pegasus for the first time I was relaxed because I was like “Robin doesn’t do sequels- this is gonna be great!” And then I got the the end and freaked! My husband (who is not a reader and doesn’t carry the character in his head) did not understand why his newlywed wife was flipping out over the end of a book. He STILL teases me about it. I reread Pegasus frequently and I’m so glad that you’re in a place where you can write again!! I came to your last blog too late to know much about KES but I’m crazy excited about Diary and so hopeful about Pegasus!!!!!!

    1. I did the same thing! I had read a lot on on the blog, but skimmed over things about books I hadn’t read because spoilers. So I had just gathered there wasn’t a sequel, then got to the end and freaked! I love it anyway, but wow… what a place to end it! Especially for me not knowing it wasn’t the whole story, LOL.

  23. Hooray!!!
    This is such excellent news.

    I’m delighted – partly because I’m selfish and want more of your words in the world where the rest of us can read them… but still more so because of what the return of the Story Council must mean in terms of your general well-being.
    I’m truly glad that you are in a place where those stories can once again put down roots and grow.

    And I’m looking forward to reading more KES. (Yes! More KES! KES we can *buy* and press into the hands of friends who somehow missed it on the old blog! Excellent!)

  24. A cliffhanger for the answer about the second part of a book that was itself a cliffhanger? Now that’s cruel and unusual. I hadn’t known I COULD wait with bated breath for a period of four years, but here we are.

    Also, I’m rereading The Blue Sword and savoring every morsel. ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤

  25. Oh man, I am so flipping happy right now. KES! AND a new book? AND Peg II??? Be still, my heart.

    And no, it’s not fair about Peter. But he *is* still reading over your shoulder. Maybe even putting in a good word with the Story Council…

  26. Yay! for Kes and Yay! for anything else you publish! I will buy them all…yours are the only books I pre-order.

  27. Adding a hearty hurrah for Kes getting published and another vote for a Patreon if you need to keep yourself in duck stock until Diary and Peg II are finished. I had heard Pegasus ended on a cliffhanger and so I just didn’t read the last 30 or so pages because I thought I would get the sequel soon enough…..the suspense is truly dire!

  28. I’m glad you are finding your way back to writing.

    [Hugs] for missing Peter. I can picture him pulling up a chair and hanging out with your Story Council.

  29. It is 12:55pm I have a report on my grant proposal due at 7am but I just sat down my torn up, grass stained, dog chewed copy of Pegasus and thought, I DO NOT REMEMBER IT ENDING LIKE THIS. You know, when I read it a billion years ago. I am glad to have stumble upon this (very recent) post! Kinda odd how that works. I am beyond relieved that the short answer to #3 is yes and hopefully the long answer will come soon! or the book, either one! I knew nothing about the author or her predicament, only the compelling story I read SO MANY TIMES throughout high school. I am very sorry for your loss. Unfortunately I am as familiar with loss as I am most things in life and can understand the reasoning for the *pause* and lack of creative flow. I had to stop making art for a few years before I could continue without the person who believed in me. God bless and woman, I will pay top dollar for anything you produce.

  30. “*** It amazes me the number of people who are apparently willing to spend money even if I don’t finish it. You are wonderful, kind, gentle, generous people and are too soft to live, and I worry about you.”

    We may be entirely too easily swayed into throwing out our blinks, but we’re also hardy persistent types and we LIKE what you give us for our blinks so please take them and worry less. We’ll eat somehow.

    1. The nice thing about books is that in the grand scheme of things they are usually not too expensive (exceptions for textbooks of course obvious), so flinging blinks after them is not as likely to kill the bank acct as, say, if we were all devotedly following a race car manufacturer and buying all of her product just to support her. I have worked hard as I’ve gotten older to choose what I want to spend my money on, and to make sure it’s going towards what really matters to me. I have a handful of authors that I follow regularly and try to support with my money by buying all of their books bcs I want them to be able to keep writing. You are most definitely on that list.

  31. All the yes, digging into pockets to hurl money, and so happy you are emerging from the swamp of Bad Things enough….. finding joy and purpose enough….. to write. I’ve really missed you, and worried about you, and gone through similar personal crap in the last few years.

  32. Even more goodness from your keyboard to my eyes. Thank you. Once again, my devotion to a “lapsed” author pays off.

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