Laurie’s busy year: an annual report
2011 has been a busy year. A ridiculously busy year. A year so nuts, it has forced me to declare 2012 The Year of No. Meaning that if you’re about to ask me to write a short story, participate in a seminar, or show up at your festival, I can only say that if you’re not on the docket already, you probably won’t be.
Here’s what I’ve done in 2011:
This represents eight writing projects—only the writing projects, you understand, not the conventions, engagements, book tour, or family stuff. From the bottom up (I’ll put links, in case you want to read excerpts or order things):
1. Volume one of The Grand Game, a collection of Sherlock Holmes writing that Les Klinger and I did for the Baker Street Irregulars. I helped select and edit the essays, and wrote the introduction, which laid the groundwork for the collection’s organization along the lines of Biblical Criticism: “Textual, Higher, Radical, and Midrashic Sherlockian Criticism.” It’s actually quite a clever piece, although if you don’t have a background in Biblical studies, it may not make a whole lot of sense.
2. “Beekeeping for Beginners,” an e-novella published in July that gives the meeting of Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes from his point of view—the opening scenes of The Beekeeper’s Apprentice really didn’t tell the whole story.
3. Pirate King published in September, and although the actual writing of the book was done in 2010, the online activities associated with a new novel bulldozed my summer: contests, guest blog posts, and a free short story (“Parrot King”) are but the tip of the iceberg. We’ve left the “Laurie ARrrgh! King” events up, here.
4. A short story for a collection that originally bore the title, Fantastic Dicks, it being intended as a cross between fantasy and private investigator fiction—I had already committed to it when the editors decided on the less titillating title, Down These Strange Streets. “Hellbender” was a ton of fun to write, totally different from anything I’ve for a long time, and has left me tempted to dip my toes into more SciFi.
5. A Study in Sherlock, published in October, makes for a very different kind of anthology from the scholarly Grand Game. Les Klinger and I asked a bunch of writers who are not knows for their Sherlockian interests to write something “inspired by the Sherlock Holmes ‘Canon’.” We had a fabulous time with it, and everyone is so happy with how it turned out, we will be (yes, already on the docket) doing a second volume.
6. The Arvon Book of Crime and Thriller Writing. A little over a year ago, my friend Michelle Spring asked if I would co-author a book she’d agreed to do for the Arvon foundation in the UK, on crime writing. Arvon is not known in the US, but in the UK it is a highly respected writing foundation that holds week-long courses on various kinds of writing, from crime to poetry, taught by two writers with a guest writer coming in mid-week. Like most writers, I’d played with the idea of doing a how-to book, but decided I never would a) because I wouldn’t make the time for it and b) because I don’t do enough teaching to have a firm grasp on what is needed. However, Michelle does, and this would give me a chance to say my part on craft. It was a ton of work and taught me far more than I’d anticipated, but it’s now finished—we’ve just today (!) sent off the final draft. It will be published on both sides of the Atlantic next summer.
7. Volume 2 of The Grand Game. Les Klinger did the majority of the work on this volume, and wrote the introduction, although I do have a learned paper in the collection itself, the key portion of a Distinguished Speaker Lecture given to the Baker Street Irregulars in 2007. If you wish to read the definitive answer to the question of Dr Watson’s war wound (PTSD? Early onset Alzheimer’s?) here will be your chance.
8. And finally, Garment of Shadows. The bulk of my writing time during 2011 was taken up with Russell & Holmes 12.5 (if we count Beekeeping for Beginners as the .5) which will be published next September. As you can see from the photograph, this is still a manuscript, in the copyedit stage. Which means that over the Christmas “holidays” I will be nose-down in paper, sorting out the copyeditor’s corrections and my editor’s lethal little penciled remarks that turn into entire plot problems.
9. And in January? I start the next book, a sequel to Touchstone.