Back home, and back writing
I'm recently back home from spending most of a month and a half helping relatives deal with some new challenges. Given how little I'd seen any of my family in the previous two years, one good part of that was that I was able to see folks I love again after a lot of time away, and get the feel of my hometown again after even longer apart.
I found it hard to get much writing done there, given how much was going on. It wasn't that I was busy all day every day, but there was enough happening, enough meetings, logistics, shopping, etc. that by the end of the day I was usually just ready to hang out with a book or TV show or video game rather than trying to be creative. Everybody's doing well, so I was able to come home to North Carolina over the weekend and settle in. The cats, as they always do, will take a while to warm back up to me, although they already see me once more as an easy mark for extra food. Here's Molly Bones in a particularly elegant moment.
I'm writing again, back on my new sci fi novel about a space marine with a hard past who takes up a security job on a newly-discovered planet. I've given up on competing in the SPSFC again this year - if I tried to rush it, the book would suffer, and it wouldn't be as good as it could be if I took more time to think and edit. But I'm back at it and hoping to finish in the next month or two, and I can always enter it in a future year.
I'm also wrapping up the querying process for my thriller. I stopped sending out new queries about two months ago. I still have four queries out to agents who typically respond, so I'm waiting on those. A lot of agents don't respond these days, so you just have to write them off after a couple months. I also have a full manuscript out to one agent who's yet to comment on it, which is a far bigger deal than just an unsolicited query. It's coming up on three months since I sent it to her, so I will probably follow up soon and see where I stand. I don't really know the protocol here, but I would like to put the book out myself soon if the agent's not interested. I don't really want to let it go indefinitely.
A new challenge
I did something on Monday I haven't done since 1987: I tried out for a play. It's The 39 Steps, based on the spy thriller book and movie, but with a lot of comedy thrown in. There are only four actors in the play, one playing the main character, another playing all the main female parts, and then two extras who play the other 140+ characters, sometimes multiple characters in one scene. Those two extras are the roles I'm after - I've done a ton of improv since 2006, and I love trying out new characters and voices, and changing roles all the time sounds like a hoot. All these characters are Scottish or English, so I've been making a fool of myself in my basement talking in accents trying to get ready. I read for three scenes at the audition, which was fun but also semi-terrifying, and I was surprised to get a callback. It being these current dysfuntional times, the callbacks got delayed because the director nearly immediately came down with Covid, but I go back on Sunday. It's already been fun to audition, but if I do end up with one of the parts, it will be a big commitment - rehearsals up to 5x a week for two months. That would be great and a way to get out of my quiet little writer's room. We'll see if my cheesy Scottish accent is up to the task. I will try to do my ancestors in Clan McCullough proud, or at least not embarrass them too much.