Updates and Anticipatory Ramblings

Cover image of “Certain Eldritch Artefacts” by K. A. Cook. Cover image shows a cartoony, stylised vector image scene of a market scene with hanging peppers and fabric above the text and rows of corked potion bottles sitting on a wooden counter display surrounded by vegetables and sacks. Title and author name are written in a dark brown handdrawn type.I’ve recently formatted and published [Certain Eldritch Artefacts as its own book on Smashwords], which I won’t post about separately because it isn’t enough different from the version I already posted. Just a few continuity tweaks and the removal of anything grammatically awkward. My own PDF and EPUB files are available for download on my new [short stories page], and clicking on the cover image will take you to a PDF you can read in your browser.

I really wanted to have a story about a trans autistic character that’s a little more tangible than “post on this blog”, and my recent med changes have apparently left me with enough motivation to make that happen.

Anyway, I know that professional writers tend to write updates about what they’re doing instead of vanishing for four months with a shoulder that doesn’t work and then throwing words on a website between ever lengthening increments of nothing. You know, the posting of regular content, even if said content isn’t anything other than a desperate suggestion or implication that there’ll be an ending three years from now if the chronic pain gods are kind.

I’m not a professional writer, as opposed to being a disabled queer with a blog, MS Word and an outdated copy of InDesign, but it’s reasonable that I attempt to imitate one. Occasionally.

The following is a list of things on which I am working that have half a hope of happening within a reasonable time frame. The things I still daydream of doing and haven’t entirely cast aside aren’t here, although if my recent med changes result in my being able to accomplish this list, I might add them. Please note that the hope of “happening within a reasonable time frame” will no doubt bear absolutely no relationship to the actual reality, so I recommend that you only get sceptical and pessimistic.

I’ve started rambling a little [on my Tumblr] about the things I’m working on, if anyone’s interested.


A Prince of the Dead (sequel to “Their Courts of Crows”) – Paide isn’t alive and is enduring the consequences of trying to hide it, thanks to the frustrating-in-hindsight declaration he made about a co-regent needing to be independent of a necromancer queen (the implication being breathing). Thereva might be able to help, but she really should have asked him first. This was meant to be about the intersection of being physically disabled, depressed and aromantic, a combination rather dear to my heart, but it ended up being an outpouring of my unhappiness at how my frustration with ableist people is too often treated as a symptom of depression. I’m not sorry.

(Short story, twice drafted, ready for polishing and editing.)

Maker (Kit March chapter) – Tes narrating. Darius answers the questions nobody asked about magic and has the conversation with Tes that March should have had with him, although Tes doesn’t realise this. March, thinking that this should help, reveals something about the tower that just makes Tes start wondering, and damn, March, do you not learn?

(I think this one just needs final line editing. I hope it does, because I’ve been over this one at least ten times already.)

Curiosity (Kit March chapter) – Tes is still narrating, because I don’t learn better than to do hir chapters back to back. Tes’s curiosity doesn’t kill any of the school’s five hundred cats, but it does leave an equally-curious Iris stuck. Literally. This is where the fact that Tes and Darius are too alike to not drive the other up the wall really starts to show. Also, there’s increasing placings of Chekhov’s guns that I’m really wanting to talk about but can’t.

(Probably needs another go-over and then line editing. Probably.)

Longevity (Kit March chapter) – Darius narrating and almost no Tes, which means less pronoun checking. This is the chapter where Darius and Amelia talk about death only to find it almost on their doorstep, which is either wildly inappropriate or unbearably obvious. Oh, and Amelia gives Darius a kitten on the theory that having to clean cat vomit might get a depressed man out of bed. My experience as a former human owned by a cat is that this either works wonderfully or not at all.

(I’ve got to go over this one and see what text I can cut. It’s currently at 11k after already cutting and then adding more text than that I cut, something I do more often than I care to admit. Like every single time I try to cut text out of a chapter, ye gods. I’d sell my soul for the ability to cut text without adding more.)


Blood Test (Kit March prequel) – this is the story of why Darius ended up Eren Adalet’s student, given that Eren isn’t the most accepting of teachers. She puts him through hell; he learns that the belt has taught him a little about not taking shit. Set in the very early days of Darius’s years in Rajad and showcases the lesson he still hasn’t learnt as a man in his early thirties—why he shouldn’t be correcting everyone’s grammar, especially when they’re allistic teenagers looking for an excuse to bully. I am absolutely speaking from personal experience. Have I ever said how cathartic it is to write awkward autistic characters who have been through or are going through the hell I went through as an awkward autistic person? It’s wonderful.

(I’m only a few thousand words in. This is going to be long, I think, and we all know that when I say long I mean no longer actually a short story.)

Exsanguination (Kit March chapter) – Darius realises, to his shock, that he and Amelia are maybe, sort of, kind of, friends, ye gods. Amelia continues to be awesome, in my biased opinion. There’s also the kind of inappropriate thank-fucking-god-we­-are-not-dead bonding that happens over a corpse and discussions of the ethical conundrums of blood magic before the belt points out that Darius works in a school with magical monkeys who will probably help him with his fingernails if he just asks, followed by Darius’s using an obvious loophole to ignore March.

(Three quarters done, I think, but I never fail to be amazed at my ability to add unneeded wordage to anything.)

The King of Gears and Bone (sequel to “Their Courts of Crows” and “A Prince of the Dead”) – Einas, who is now not merely a name-dropped character, doesn’t want to be king and is a bit miffed that nobody bothered to ask him first. Not to mention that the succession is somewhat awkward when you’re an aro-ace trans prince with no willingness to experience pregnancy. It’s probably not the best time to tell your undead brother who has feelings about the art of resurrecting the dead that you’ve been secretly studying necromancy, either, but Einas has never been much good at the art of subtlety…

Einas is trans, aro-ace, autistic and has chronic pain. When I was diagnosed as autistic, I did sign a contract requiring me to write at least one autistic character (preferably more) in any given fictional universe.

(5k, so far. I think this might be longer than the other stories, as I find myself exploring everything Einas must have felt while watching Zaishne and Paide squabble over Ihrne and why the situation even happened before I get to the actual plot of the succession.)

Luck’s Covenant – a short story about a non-binary autistic anthropologist who is a member of the autistic crew carrying sleeping allistics on the last ship to flee Earth for another planet. You know, standard SF “we fucked up Earth so now we’re leaving, probably to fuck up yet another planet” fare, just with autistic characters. Writing the first few sections made me cry, as it’s about playing with the sensory aspects of people boarding the ship in contrast to the quiet of space, alongside the importance of preserving memory for those who come after us, so I’ve been delaying writing the rest from the debilitating fear that I won’t be able to continue writing well enough to finish it.

(Two-fifths done, I think. Maybe. Who knows.)

On the positive side, I am working on things, which is more than I’ve been able to say for a long time.