Just returned from a fabulous 5-year wedding anniversary trip to my old hometown of Philadelphia. Many nostalgic walks were taken. Dear friends were visited. All the food (as in, all the food in all of Philadelphia) was eaten. It was good.

Now I’m back at my desk and hard at work (anything to postpone that much needed morning trip to the gym!). With our trip, and the preceding week being occupied by a house guest, I’m not quite as far along with my final edits to ABSENT as I’d like. I’ll pick that back up today, continuing to hand edit the printed manuscript, enter the changes, and then read each section aloud for final tweaking.

This process is working well and I feel the final draft is tighter, cleaner, and lacking in some of the kinds of tiny POV slippage errors that can sneak by if you don’t read the manuscript. Thanks to my awesome batch of final readers, I’ve also got a few small revisions to make as well — in particular, switching a couple POV chapters (the novel has two main POV characters) and clarifying some of the rules (and consequences for violating them) of time travel in this universe.

I leave for another trip (to visit my archaeology colleague at his home institution in Kansas City) next Wednesday, so I’m using that as my deadline to finish this thing. So, hold me to it: I promise ABSENT will be done exactly one week from today. Then it will just be honing that query letter (which I’ve begun to draft) and researching agents to find the right folks to pitch the novel to.

In other news, I’m doing a fair bit of Beta reading these days. The two novels I’m doing this for are both about magicians and are both dark and funny. Beyond that, though, they’re pretty different — and both inspiring and fun in different ways too. I always enjoying seeing what my friends are up to, and since I’ve been reading for many of them for a long time, it’s also cool to see firsthand how we’re all evolving and changing as writers.

Since I have a background in academia, I always tend to think in term of “cohorts” (in grad school, this was the graduate class you went through five kinds of hell with, graduated with, became abused junior faculty or adjuncts with, and – in a perfect world – eventually rose to comfy tenured positions with). You suffered, grew, shared, and evolved together. I feel like my VP13 writing “tribe” (and the folks absorbed into that group over the years) is much the same. It gives me warm fuzzies.

Okay. Lots of reading and editing and not wasting time on the internet to do!

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