It’s April and I’m Not Training for @RAGBRAI_IOWA

While this is making my body happy because said training is hard, it’s making my bicycle sad and destroying my soul.

I’m kidding. My bicycle doesn’t really have feelings.

If you don’t know, RAGBRAI is the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, and I’ve done it five times. I did not “win” the first time, but I did the other four times. The first time, I didn’t really grasp what I’d embarked upon, and I paid for that. The next year, I did quite well. Quite well indeed.

For those wondering why I put “win” in quotes, it’s because winning Ragbrai is lot like winning NaNoWriMo. These are personal challenges, not races or competitions. Ragbrai is a ride. A rally. Winning means you rode the whole time, or close enough for your personal metrics.

I am not going this year for a variety of reasons.

  1. Training takes away writing time, and I’m no longer willing to sacrifice it for this type of vacation.
  2. I’m taking a different trip that time of year.
  3. It’s expensive, and I just don’t earn enough to justify it.
  4. The older I get, the more I worry about my knees.

Since 2 of those will continue to be true for the long term, and one other for at least the next year or two, I’ve had to make peace with the idea of never riding it again.

What am I missing out on right now?

Mostly, my fancy bike is sitting, neglected, in my garage. I use a treadmill desk instead, and get out less to enjoy fresh air. When I do, I typically take a 1 mile walk for brainstorming purposes. On the plus side, I haven’t had to perform a spring bike tune-up (realistically, I haven’t paid anyone to do it).

Because I hate riding in the rain and I live in the PNW, I’d be watching the weather and jumping on my bike whenever I saw a clear space on the radar. That preference is all about vision. Call me crazy, but I like to see where I’m going.

What am I doing instead?

I’m glad you asked! Of the dozen or so active projects I have right now, one has surged to the forefront and demanded my undivided attention. I’m writing space-based YA sci-fi (because I obviously don’t have enough subgenres), and the main character is an 18yo girl suffering from bulimia. In space. No psychics or laser swords. Murder robots and angry wolfpeople cyborgs, though.

It makes sense, I promise.

This project started two years ago when I ran across an Indiegogo for a singer-songwriter names Ilana Harkavy. I wanted to support her because her girl-positive music wriggled under my skin and lodged there. She doesn’t make the kind of music I’d normally gravitate toward, but the message overcame my musical taste and broadened my horizons. Being me, I messaged her after donating and asked if she’d like to help me write a book inspired by her music and personal struggles.

She was so young and excited. We mapped out a plot, and it seemed like a really…weird direction for me to go, but I was game, so I started writing it. I asked her for her opinions about some stuff. It seemed destined for great things.

And then, something came up and I worked on another project I felt took more precedence. I tried to go back to it afterward, but just couldn’t get much done on it. I set it aside again. When I came back to it, I thought the opening needed to change, so I changed it. But that didn’t help, so I set it aside again. The story burbled in the back of my head while I worked on all kinds of other things. I returned to it one more time, and figured out where I’d gone wrong for my writerly being.

Finishing other things seemed more important, so I set it aside again.

In the meantime, I finished the Knights series. Darkside Seattle has become more a part of me. TGS had to be rescheduled for a fall release due to Real Life Things™. I wrote some short stories, including this month’s SotM, I started a few things, I had some new ideas for which I now have copious notes, and I looked through my unfinished stuff.

I read over what I had of this story, and I liked it. The themes and struggles resonated. The characters beckoned.

So now I’m working on it, and I’m anticipating a mid-June release. It’ll be book 1 of a series, but I’ll tie it off at the end like I did with Knights 1 so we can all wait while other things interrupt me from book 2+. I suspect that will be a theme of this series.

If you liked Spirit Knights, you’ll also like this series. No titles yet. (Sorry! I’m trying! I hate that part!)

To sum up, I’ll miss Ragbrai this year, but life has lots of other things to do besides spending a week in the corn. I’m excited and looking forward to finally finishing this project while still keeping up with the short stories and doing fun things.

Hopefully, I’ll have a cover reveal soon, and Clockwork Dragon’s patrons will see it first! They’ll also get the book at least two weeks before release. Just sayin’.

BTW, as usual, this month’s story is no longer available for free. You can find Disintegrate, a Denim Superheroes story on Amazon and Kobo for 99 cents USD. Want alerts about the stories when they’re free? Sign up for my newsletter (link to the side) and I’ll send you a reminder every month when it goes live.

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