11 November 2022 › The Urban Goatherds Is Out

My new novella, The Urban Goatherds, is finally out. It took way longer than it had any reasonable right to take, considering it is only about 150 pages. I mean, this turkey took very close to two years to finish. I could blame someone—naming no names—because the text was pretty much locked way back in May. The illustrations took a long time, but they are absolutely gorgeous.

I remember as far back as February, Chris told me he didn’t know when he was going to have time to edit, and I told him it was okay. I said I had accepted the fact that the novella would not be out for a very long time.

Also, January, February, and March were bad months. They were awful. The day job was really, truly awful. It was reviewing my bank balance because there was a good chance I was going to flat-out quit awful. So I did not have the mental energy to deal with any editorial recommendations.

This was round the time Chris recommended I change a character’s name because Rancid November was a really poor choice. I had been worried it was over the top, so Rancid became Ash November. I still think of him as Rancid November. I constantly catch myself wondering who this Ash November person is.

Based on editorial feedback, I made some changes beyond the one character’s name that really, really worried me. I knew I did not have the mental energy to deal with it, so I knew—I absolutely knew—the text needed another pass.

And I am so glad I did, even though it caused another major delay while I waited for Chris to have time to slot it into his schedule, because word came back that my attempts to incorporate editorial recommendations had seriously damaged the text.

Oh boy, that caused another long delay while I tried to recover enough from the truly horrible day job that I might have a chance of fixing the text.

I think I fixed it.

I’m pretty sure I fixed it.

I hope I fixed the damage.

Anyway, I’ve never worked with an editor before, and I was really curious how it would go. Two reasons it’s never happened before. One is practical. The other is—for lack of a better word—pride.

The practical reason is I never had the money to afford one, and the only reason I can afford this one is because we worked together for years at the crappy day job, so he’s giving me a discount.

The stupid prideful reason goes all the way back to my days as a music composition student where we pretty much didn’t get anything resembling useful feedback on our musical monstrosities. So I was used to being my own final arbiter.

There’s this whole mindset about purity of vision or whatever. It’s not even about thinking the work is too good to need review or recommendations. It’s about accepting the work is imperfect and being okay with that.

As I once told Chris when I first asked him to copy edit something, I would rather chop off my own hands with a rusty chainsaw Evil Dead 2 style than accept editorial review and recommendations. I may be paraphrasing slightly. I probably said I would rather die. I don’t remember.

As I may have put in either the acknowledgments or afterword of The Urban Goatherds, humorous romance is way the bloody hell-raising fuck outside my wheelhouse, and I did not know what I was doing. I figured every word was garbage.

It was also really dark days of the plague years, and stringing coherent thoughts together was hard. It was really hard. I figured someone looking over the drivel would be helpful.

Anyway, The Urban Goatherds is out.


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